Illusory movements induced by tendon vibration in right- and left-handed people

Emmanuele Tidoni, Gabriele Fusco, Daniele Leonardis, Antonio Frisoli, Massimo Bergamasco, Salvatore Maria Aglioti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Frequency-specific vibratory stimulation of peripheral tendons induces an illusion of limb movement that may be useful for restoring proprioceptive information in people with sensorimotor disability. This potential application may be limited by inter- and intra-subject variability in the susceptibility to such an illusion, which may depend on a variety of factors. To explore the influence of stimulation parameters and participants’ handedness on the movement illusion, we vibrated the right and left tendon of the biceps brachii in a group of right- and left-handed people with five stimulation frequencies (from 40 to 120 Hz in step of 20 Hz). We found that all participants reported the expected illusion of elbow extension, especially after 40 and 60 Hz. Left-handers exhibited less variability in reporting the illusion compared to right-handers across the different stimulation frequencies. Moreover, the stimulation of the non-dominant arm elicited a more vivid illusion with faster onset relative to the stimulation of the dominant arm, an effect that was independent from participants’ handedness. Overall, our data show that stimulation frequency, handedness and arm dominance influence the tendon vibration movement illusion. The results are discussed in reference to their relevance in linking motor awareness, improving current devices for motor ability recovery after brain or spinal damage and developing prosthetics and virtual embodiment systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)375-383
Number of pages9
JournalExperimental Brain Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014



  • Body illusion
  • Handedness
  • Kinesthetic illusion
  • Proprioception
  • Tendon vibration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

Cite this

Tidoni, E., Fusco, G., Leonardis, D., Frisoli, A., Bergamasco, M., & Aglioti, S. M. (2014). Illusory movements induced by tendon vibration in right- and left-handed people. Experimental Brain Research, 233(2), 375-383.