Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Body representation differs in children and adults

Date:
April 4, 2013
Source:
Association for Psychological Science
Summary:
Children's sense of having and owning a body differs from that of adults, indicating that our sense of physical self develops over time, according to a new study.

Children's sense of having and owning a body differs from that of adults, indicating that our sense of physical self develops over time, according to a new study published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

Related Articles


Many of our senses -- vision, touch, and body orientation -- come together to inform our perception of having and owning a body. Psychological scientist Dorothy Cowie of Goldsmiths, University of London and colleagues hypothesized that there might be age differences in how these processes come together. To test this hypothesis, they relied on a well-known sensory illusion called the "rubber-hand illusion."

In this illusion, the participant sits with their left hand on a table -- but hidden from view. Instead of looking at her real left hand, she looks at a fake left hand. The experimenter sits across the table and strokes the participant's left hand with a paintbrush while also stroking the fake rubber hand. When the paintbrush strokes are matched so that they occur at the same time and in the same place on the two hands, the participant will often feel as if the fake hand is her own, and perceive the touch she feels as arising from the brush she sees stroking the fake hand.

Cowie and colleagues tested children of three different age groups (4-5; 6-7; and 8-9 years old), as well as adult participants. After experiencing the stroking, the participants were asked to close their eyes and point with their right index finger under the table, so that it was directly underneath the left index finger of their actual hand.

Like adults, children were sensitive to whether the vision and touch cues given by stroking were matched on the real and fake hands. When they were matched, all participants experienced the rubber hand illusion, and when they were asked to point towards their real hand, the points drifted closer to the fake hand and farther away from their own hand.

Interestingly, children of all ages responded more strongly to the illusion than did adults. This shows that children rely more than adults on seeing their body in order to determine their sense of physical self; that reliance on vision created a strong bias toward the fake hand that they were looking at.

These findings indicate that there are two distinct processes underlying the sense of the body that develop according to different timetables -- the process driven by seeing touches on the hand develops early in childhood, while the process driven by seeing a hand in front of us doesn't fully develop until later in childhood.

Co-authors on this research include Tamar Makin of the University of Oxford and Andrew J. Bremner of Goldsmiths, University of London.

This research was supported by a grant from the European Research Council and an award from the Royal Society.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Association for Psychological Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. D. Cowie, T. R. Makin, A. J. Bremner. Children's Responses to the Rubber-Hand Illusion Reveal Dissociable Pathways in Body Representation. Psychological Science, 2013; DOI: 10.1177/0956797612462902

Cite This Page:

Association for Psychological Science. "Body representation differs in children and adults." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 April 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130404122457.htm>.
Association for Psychological Science. (2013, April 4). Body representation differs in children and adults. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130404122457.htm
Association for Psychological Science. "Body representation differs in children and adults." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130404122457.htm (accessed December 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Monday, December 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Brain-Dwelling Tapeworm Reveals Genetic Secrets

Brain-Dwelling Tapeworm Reveals Genetic Secrets

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 22, 2014) Cambridge scientists have unravelled the genetic code of a rare tapeworm that lived inside a patient's brain for at least four year. Researchers hope it will present new opportunities to diagnose and treat this invasive parasite. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) A double-amputee makes history by becoming the first person to wear and operate two prosthetic arms using only his mind. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) Harvard researchers found children whose mothers were exposed to high pollution levels in the third trimester were twice as likely to develop autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins