Rubber Hand Illusion survives Ventral Premotor area inhibition: A rTMS study

V. Peviani, F. G. Magnani, A. Ciricugno, T. Vecchi, G. Bottini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The sense of body ownership is a fundamental feature that refers to the ability to recognize our body as our own, allowing us to interact properly with the outside world. Usually, it is explored by means of the Rubber Hand Illusion (RHI) during which a dummy hand is incorporated in the mental representation of one's own body throughout a multisensory (visuo-tactile) integration mechanism. Particular attention has been paid to the neurofunctional counterparts of this mechanism highlighting the pivotal role of an occipito-parieto-frontal network involving the Ventral Premotor area (PMv). To date, the specific role of the PMv in generating the sense of ownership is still unknown. In this study, we aimed at exploring the role of PMv in generating and experiencing the RHI. Off-line repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS) was applied to a group of 24 healthy participants whilst changes in proprioceptive judgment and self-reported illusion sensations were collected and analysed separately. The PMv was not directly implicated in generating the sense of ownership. Indeed, its inhibition affected the explicit detection of the visuo-tactile congruence without interfering with the illusion experience itself. We hypothesized that the conscious visuo-tactile congruence detection may be independent from the conscious illusion experience. Also, our results support the view that the RHI grounds on a complex interaction between bottom-up and top-down processes, as the visuo-tactile integration per se may be not sufficient to trigger the subjective illusion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18-24
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2018


  • Body ownership
  • Rubber Hand Illusion
  • TMS
  • Ventral Premotor Cortex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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