The body fades away

Investigating the effects of transparency of an embodied virtual body on pain threshold and body ownership

Matteo Martini, Konstantina Kilteni, Antonella Maselli, Maria V. Sanchez-Vives

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

15 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The feeling of â € ownershipâ € over an external dummy/virtual body (or body part) has been proven to have both physiological and behavioural consequences. For instance, the vision of an â € embodiedâ € dummy or virtual body can modulate pain perception. However, the impact of partial or total invisibility of the body on physiology and behaviour has been hardly explored since it presents obvious difficulties in the real world. In this study we explored how body transparency affects both body ownership and pain threshold. By means of virtual reality, we presented healthy participants with a virtual co-located body with four different levels of transparency, while participants were tested for pain threshold by increasing ramps of heat stimulation. We found that the strength of the body ownership illusion decreases when the body gets more transparent. Nevertheless, in the conditions where the body was semi-Transparent, higher levels of ownership over a see-Through body resulted in an increased pain sensitivity. Virtual body ownership can be used for the development of pain management interventions. However, we demonstrate that providing invisibility of the body does not increase pain threshold. Therefore, body transparency is not a good strategy to decrease pain in clinical contexts, yet this remains to be tested.

Original languageEnglish
Article number13948
JournalScientific Reports
Volume5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 29 2015

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Pain Threshold
Ownership
Pain
Architectural Accessibility
Pain Perception
Pain Management
Human Body
Healthy Volunteers
Emotions
Hot Temperature

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

Cite this

The body fades away : Investigating the effects of transparency of an embodied virtual body on pain threshold and body ownership. / Martini, Matteo; Kilteni, Konstantina; Maselli, Antonella; Sanchez-Vives, Maria V.

In: Scientific Reports, Vol. 5, 13948, 29.09.2015.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Martini, Matteo ; Kilteni, Konstantina ; Maselli, Antonella ; Sanchez-Vives, Maria V. / The body fades away : Investigating the effects of transparency of an embodied virtual body on pain threshold and body ownership. In: Scientific Reports. 2015 ; Vol. 5.
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