December 4, 2008
Scientists create body swapping illusion
Swedish neuroscientists say they have demonstrated, for the first time, that people can perceive another body to be their own.
Valeria Petkova and Dr. H. Henrik Ehrsson of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, conducted five experiments, during which participants wore a head-mounted video display that showed high-fidelity, stereoscopic images taken from cameras in the eyes of a life-sized, male mannequin.
The scientists said the illusion
was so strong that people could experience being in another person's body when facing their own body and shaking hands with it.
The scientists concluded that to create the illusion, there had to be (1) a continuous match between visual and tactile cues about the body; (2) the use of a
sufficiently humanoid body; and (3) images corresponding to what one would see from the eyes of the other body.
The study is detailed in the online journal PLOS One.