4 years ago

Rethinking Body Ownership in Schizophrenia: Experimental and Meta-analytical Approaches Show no Evidence for Deficits.

Eka Chkonia, Albulena Shaqiri, Roy Salomon, Ophélie Favrod, Michael H Herzog, Mariia Kaliuzhna, Maya Roinishvili, Olaf Blanke
Schizophrenia is a severe psychiatric disorder, in which patients experience an abnormal sense of self. While deficits in sensorimotor self-representation (agency) are well documented in schizophrenia, less is known about other aspects of bodily self-representation (body ownership). Here, we tested a large cohort (N = 59) of chronic schizophrenia patients and matched controls (N = 30) on a well-established body illusion paradigm, the Full Body Illusion (FBI). In this paradigm, changes in body ownership are induced through prolonged multisensory stimulation, in which participants are stroked on their back while seeing the stroking on the back of a virtual body. When the felt and seen stroking are synchronous, participants typically feel higher identification with the seen body as well as a drift in self-location towards it. However, when the stroking is asynchronous, no such changes occur. Our results show no evidence for abnormal body ownership in schizophrenia patients. A meta-analysis of previous work corroborates this result. Thus, while schizophrenia patients may be impaired in the sense of agency, their multisensory bodily self-representation, as tested here, seems to be unaffected by the illness.

Publisher URL: http://doi.org/10.1093/schbul/sbx098

DOI: 10.1093/schbul/sbx098

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