Apr 11, 2016

Unconscious integration of multisensory bodily inputs in the peripersonal space shapes bodily self-consciousness

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Roy SalomonOlaf Blanke


Recent studies have highlighted the role of multisensory integration as a key mechanism of self-consciousness. In particular, integration of bodily signals within the peripersonal space (PPS) underlies the experience of the self in a body we own (self-identification) and that is experienced as occupying a specific location in space (self-location), two main components of bodily self-consciousness (BSC). Experiments investigating the effects of multisensory integration on BSC have typically employed supra-threshold sensory stimuli, neglecting the role of unconscious sensory signals in BSC, as tested in other consciousness research. Here, we used psychophysical techniques to test whether multisensory integration of bodily stimuli underlying BSC may also occur for multisensory inputs presented below the threshold of conscious perception. Our results indicate that visual stimuli rendered invisible (through continuous flash suppression) boost processing of tactile stimuli on the body (Exp. 1), and enhance the perception of near-threshold tactile stimuli (Exp. 2), only once they entered peripersonal space. We then employed unconscious multisensory mechanisms to manipulate BSC. Participants were presented with tactile stimulation on t...Continue Reading

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Mentioned in this Paper

Body Structure
Identification (Psychology)
Anatomical Space Structure
Visual Suppression
Therapeutic Tactile Stimulation

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