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Br J Psychol. 2010 Nov;101(Pt 4):791-808. doi: 10.1348/000712610X492558. Epub 2010 Mar 25.

Corporeal awareness and proprioceptive sense of the phantom.

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Experimental Neuropsychology Research Unit, School of Psychology and Psychiatry, Monash University, Clayton, Victoria, Australia.


Phantom limb perception almost invariably follows limb amputation, and can be characterized by various corporeal and proprioceptive qualities. We report a study of 283 amputees, which administered a structured questionnaire to systematically determine the relative frequency and nature of various bodily aspects of phantom limb perception. These include the size, shape, posture, and telescoping of the phantom; exteroceptive sensations of itch, touch, pressure, vibration, temperature, and 'electric' sensations; and prosthesis embodiment. Phantom limbs were generally found to be characterized by properties that parallel those of the intact body, although with anatomically impossible configurations sometimes being perceived. We suggest that both the internal limb image and limb schemata play a significant role in the continued perception of phantom limbs.

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