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Exp Brain Res. 2012 Dec;223(4):541-51. doi: 10.1007/s00221-012-3281-7. Epub 2012 Oct 2.

Interaction between vibration-evoked proprioceptive illusions and mirror-evoked visual illusions in an arm-matching task.

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  • 1Department of Physiology, Showa University School of Medicine, 1-5-8 Hatanodai, Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo, 142-8555, Japan.


We studied the influence of false proprioceptive information generated by arm vibration and false visual information provided by a mirror in which subjects saw a reflection of another arm on perception of arm position, in a forearm position-matching task in right-handed subjects (n = 17). The mirror was placed between left and right arms, and arranged so that the reflected left arm appeared to the subjects to be their unseen right (reference) arm. The felt position of the right arm, indicated with a paddle, was influenced by vision of the mirror image of the left arm. If the left arm appeared flexed in the mirror, subjects felt their right arm to be more flexed than it was. Conversely, if the left arm was extended, they felt their right arm to be more extended than it was. When reference elbow flexors were vibrated at 70-80 Hz, an illusion of extension of the vibrated arm was elicited. The illusion of a more flexed reference arm evoked by seeing a mirror image of the flexed left arm was reduced by vibration. However, the illusion of extension of the right arm evoked by seeing a mirror image of the extended left arm was increased by vibration. That is, when the mirror and vibration illusions were in the same direction, they reinforced each other. However, when they were in opposite directions, they tended to cancel one another. The present study shows the interaction between proprioceptive and visual information in perception of arm position.

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