Losing Touch With Your Body: Clinical and Experimentally-Induced States of Body Disownership – Professor Bigna Lenggenhager, University of Zurich, Switzerland

May 21, 2021 @ 4:30 pm – 6:00 pm
Zoom meeting
Matthew Attwaters

Abstract: The seemingly stable construct of our bodily self depends on the continued, successful integration of multisensory feedback about our body, rather than its purely physical composition. Empirical evidence suggests that using multisensory stimulation paradigms, healthy individuals can embody external and supernumerary body parts or full bodies, even if they are very different from their own body. The sense of a bodily self is thus thought to be plastic and easily extendable towards external objects. Yet, pathologies of embodiment often involve an altered sense of ownership towards one’s own physical body rather than towards external objects. Such psychiatric and neurological disorders might include a feeling of disembodiment or disownership, which might even lead to the desire to amputate a healthy limb. In this talk I will present combined evidence from recent clinical and empirical experiments to shed further light on underlying processes of disownership and disembodiment. I will discuss the relevance of these findings for current theories of body ownership and embodiment as well as for potential clinical considerations and applications.

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