Impact of body posture on laterality judgement and explicit recognition tasks performed on self and others’ hands

Massimiliano Conson, Domenico Errico, Elisabetta Mazzarella, Francesco De Bellis, Dario Grossi, Luigi Trojano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Judgments on laterality of hand stimuli are faster and more accurate when dealing with one’s own than others’ hand, i.e. the self-advantage. This advantage seems to be related to activation of a sensorimotor mechanism while implicitly processing one’s own hands, but not during explicit one’s own hand recognition. Here, we specifically tested the influence of proprioceptive information on the self-hand advantage by manipulating participants’ body posture during self and others’ hand processing. In Experiment 1, right-handed healthy participants judged laterality of either self or others’ hands, whereas in Experiment 2, an explicit recognition of one’s own hands was required. In both experiments, the participants performed the task while holding their left or right arm flexed with their hand in direct contact with their chest (“flexed self-touch posture”) or with their hand placed on a wooden smooth surface in correspondence with their chest (“flexed proprioceptive-only posture”). In an “extended control posture”, both arms were extended and in contact with thighs. In Experiment 1 (hand laterality judgment), we confirmed the self-advantage and demonstrated that it was enhanced when the subjects judged left-hand stimuli at 270° orientation while keeping their left arm in the flexed proprioceptive-only posture. In Experiment 2 (explicit self-hand recognition), instead, we found an advantage for others’ hand (“self-disadvantage”) independently from posture manipulation. Thus, position-related proprioceptive information from left non-dominant arm can enhance sensorimotor one’s own body representation selectively favouring implicit self-hands processing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1331-1338
Number of pages8
JournalExperimental Brain Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Body representation
  • Hand laterality judgment
  • Proprioception
  • Self-touch
  • Sensorimotor information

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Medicine(all)


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