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Perception. 2010;39(9):1296-8.

Pulling the finger off disrupts agency, embodiment and peripersonal space.

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  • 1School of Psychology, University of Nottingham, University Park, Nottingham NG7 2RD, UK.


For this experiment a visual illusion was created in which the participant's finger looked and felt as though it was being stretched to twice its normal length until it snapped and the tip came off. It was then stabbed with virtual weapons while skin conductance was measured. Sometimes the fingertip moved under the participant's own control and sometimes it moved independently. Curiously, detaching the tip of the finger destroyed the underlying ownership for the remaining stump as well as for the tip itself, even when the tip was under participants' control. These results have implications for theories of agency, embodiment, and tool-use.

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