People’s mental representations of their own body are malleable and continuously updated through sensory cues. Altering one’s body-representation can lead to changes in object perception and implicit attitudes. Virtual reality has been used to embody adults in the body of a 4-year-old child or a scaled-down adult body. Child embodiment was found to cause an overestimation of object sizes, approximately double that during adult embodiment, and identification of the self with child-like attributes. Here we tested the contribution of auditory cues related to one’s own voice to these visually-driven effects. In a 2 × 2 factorial design, visual and auditory feedback on one’s own body were varied across conditions, which included embodiment in a child or scaled-down adult body, and real (undistorted) or child-like voice feedback. The results replicated, in an older population, previous findings regarding size estimations and implicit attitudes. Further, although auditory cues were not found to enhance these effects, we show that the strength of the embodiment illusion depends on the child-like voice feedback being congruent or incongruent with the age of the virtual body. Results also showed the positive emotional impact of the illusion of owning a child’s body, opening up possibilities for health applications.
Scientific Reports – Springer Journals
Published: Aug 29, 2017
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