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Exp Brain Res. 2019 Jan;237(1):81-89. doi: 10.1007/s00221-018-5398-9. Epub 2018 Oct 10.

Effects of transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation and visuotactile synchrony on the embodiment of an artificial hand.

Author information

1
Department of Occupational Therapy, Faculty of Rehabilitation, Niigata University of Health and Welfare, Niigata, Japan. asao@nuhw.ac.jp.
2
Department of Health and Nutrition, Faculty of Health Sciences, Niigata University of Health and Welfare, Niigata, Japan.
3
Department of Occupational Therapy, Faculty of Rehabilitation, Niigata University of Health and Welfare, Niigata, Japan.

Abstract

The rubber hand illusion (RHI) is an experimental paradigm known to produce a bodily illusion. Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) combined with the RHI induces a stronger illusion than the RHI alone. Visuotactile stimulus synchrony is an important aspect of the RHI. However, the effect of TENS and visuotactile stimulus synchrony in TENS combined with the RHI remains unknown. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of TENS and visuotactile stimulus synchrony on the embodiment of an artificial hand when using TENS combined with the RHI. The participants underwent four experimental conditions in random order: TENS/noTENS × Synchronous/Asynchronous. TENS was set at an intensity such that it generated a feeling of electrical paresthesia in the radial nerve area of the hand but did not cause pain, i.e., 100-Hz pulse frequency, 80-µs pulse duration, and a constant pulse pattern. A visuotactile stimulus, either temporally synchronous or asynchronous, was generated using paintbrush strokes. To evaluate the outcome measures, the participants completed a questionnaire report and proprioceptive drift assessments (motor response and perceptual response). There were significant main effects of TENS and visuotactile synchrony, but no interaction between these factors, on the results of the questionnaire and the perceptual response. In contrast, there was no significant effect on the result of the motor response. These findings indicate that TENS and visuotactile synchrony might affect differently the embodiment of an artificial hand when using TENS combined with the RHI.

KEYWORDS:

Proprioceptive drift; Rubber hand illusion; Sense of body ownership; Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation; Visuotactile synchrony

PMID:
30306246
DOI:
10.1007/s00221-018-5398-9
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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