Laterality in the rubber hand illusion

Sebastian Ocklenburg, Naima Rüther, Jutta Peterburs, Marlies Pinnow, Onur Güntürkün

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


In patient studies, impairments of sense of body ownership have repeatedly been linked to right-hemispheric brain damage. To test whether a right-hemispheric dominance for sense of body ownership could also be observed in healthy adults, the rubber hand illusion was elicited on both hands of 21 left-handers and 22 righthanders. In this illusion, a participant's real hand is stroked while hidden from view behind an occluder, and a nearby visible hand prosthesis is repeatedly stroked in synchrony. Most participants experience the illusionary perception of touch sensations arising from the prosthesis. The vividness of the illusion was measured by subjective self-reports as well as by skin conductance responses to watching the rubber hand being harmed. Handedness did not affect the vividness of the illusion, but a stronger skin conductance response was observed, when the illusion was elicited on the left hand. These findings suggest a right-hemispheric dominance for sense of body ownership in healthy adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)174-187
Number of pages14
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Body ownership
  • Cerebral asymmetry
  • Handedness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology(all)


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