Description: Spatially and temporally congruent visuotactile stimulation of a fake hand together with one’s real hand may result in an illusory self-attribution of the fake hand. Although this illusion relies on a representation of the two touched body parts in external space, there is tentative evidence that, for the illusion to occur, the seen and felt touches also need to be congruent in an anatomical reference frame. We used functional magnetic resonance imaging and a somatotopical, virtual reality-based setup to isolate the neuronal basis of such a comparison. Participants’ index or little finger was synchronously touched with the index or little finger of a virtual hand, under congruent or incongruent orientations of the real and virtual hands. The left ventral premotor cortex responded significantly more strongly to visuotactile co-stimulation of the same versus different fingers of the virtual and real hand. Conversely, the left anterior intraparietal sulcus responded significantly more strongly to co-stimulation of different versus same fingers. Both responses were independent of hand orientation congruence and of spatial congruence of the visuotactile stimuli. Our results suggest that fronto-parietal areas previously associated with multisensory processing within peripersonal space and with tactile remapping evaluate the congruence of visuotactile stimulation on the body according to an anatomical reference frame.
Related article: http://doi.org/10.3389/fnhum.2018.00084
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