Rethinking body ownership in schizophrenia: experimental and meta-analytical approaches show no evidence for deficits

Albulena Shaqiri*, Maya Roinishvili, Mariia Kaliuzhna, Ophélie Favrod, Eka Chkonia, Michael H. Herzog, Olaf Blanke, Roy Salomon

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    13 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    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.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)643-652
    Number of pages10
    JournalSchizophrenia Bulletin
    Volume44
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - May 2018

    Keywords

    • schizophrenia
    • body ownership
    • bodily illusions
    • multisensory integration
    • meta-analysis

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