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Perception. 2010;39(6):839-50.

Now you feel it, now you don't: how robust is the phenomenon of illusory tactile experience?

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Division of Psychology, School of Psychological Sciences, University of Manchester, Zochonis Building, Brunswick Street, Manchester M13 9PL, UK.


Recent studies have reported that in normal healthy individuals, the perception of illusory sensations in one modality can be induced by the presentation of a stimulus in another modality. These illusory sensations may arise from the activation of a tactile representation in memory induced by the non-target stimulus, in a process mirroring that thought to be responsible for many forms of medically unexplained symptoms. The reliability of illusory-touch reports was investigated here in two experiments with a novel perceptual paradigm designed to simulate the occurrence of somatoform symptoms in the laboratory. A concurrent light significantly increased the number of tactile stimuli reported, and resulted in a higher number of illusory-touch reports, while the modality of the trial start cue did not affect subsequent responses. In addition, a strong relationship was found between the rates of illusory sensations that participants produced in successive sessions, indicating that the tendency to report illusory sensations is a robust phenomenon.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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