Henrik Ehrsson, M.D., Ph.D.
Multisensory mechanisms of body self-perception
Our core line of research is centered on the question of how we come to perceive ownership over our bodies. This question can be framed in terms of a multisensory binding problem: how is visual, tactile and proprioceptive information combined to obtain a single coherent object that is one's own body? Our results suggest that that the underlying mechanism is the integration of multisensory signals by populations of neurons in the premotor cortex and the posterior parietal cortex.
Another line of questioning addresses how this central own-body representation influences other cognitive functions, such as visuospatial perception of environmental objects and the recollection of personal memories. We also aim to improve our understanding of why people experience phantom limbs after amputation and how experience and training can change one's central body representation.
Novel behavior paradigms based on perceptual illusion are used in combination with state-of-the-art neuroimaging techniques to address these questions in humans. These illusions allow the controlled manipulation of specific aspects of body representation in healthy individuals.
Neuroimaging and focal neurodisruption methods allow us to test hypotheses regarding underlying brain mechanisms.
The multisensory model of body ownership that continues to be developed in our laboratory is already being used in the field of neuro-prosthetics and by the virtual reality research community, thereby establishing opportunities for important clinical and industrial applications.
- Martti Mercurio, research engineer
- Loretxu Bergouignan, postdoc
- Claudio Brozzoli, postdoc
- Hiske van Duinen, postdoc
- Catherine Preston, postdoc
- Pawel Tacikowski, postdoc
- Andreas Kalckert, PhD student
- Giovanni Gentile, PhD student
- Arvid Guterstam, PhD student
- Christopher C. Berger, PhD student
- Björn van der Hoort, PhD student
- Zakaryah Abdulkarim, student
That's near my hand! Parietal and premotor coding of hand-centered space contributes to localization and self-attribution of the hand.
Journal of Neuroscience. (2012) 32:14573-14582
From part to whole-body ownership in the multisensory brain.
Curr. Biol. (2011) 21:1-5
Being Barbie: the size of one's own body determines the perceived size of the world.
PLoS One. (2011) 6(5):e20195
Upper limb amputees can be induced to experience a rubber hand as their own.
Brain. (2008) 131:3443-52.
The experimental induction of out-of-body experiences.
Science. (2007) 317:1048.