Acquisition of ownership illusion with self-disownership in neurological patients

Mariella Pazzaglia, Anna Maria Giannini, Francesca Federico

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The multisensory regions in frontoparietal cortices play a crucial role in the sense of body and self. Disrupting this sense may lead to a feeling of disembodiment, or more generally, a sense of disownership. Experimentally, this altered consciousness disappears during illusory own-body perceptions, increasing the intensity of perceived ownership for an external virtual limb. In many clinical conditions, particularly in individuals with a discontinuous or absent sense of bodily awareness, the brain may effortlessly create a convincing feeling of body ownership over a surrogate body or body part. The immediate visual input dominates the current bodily state and induces rapid plastic adaptation that reconfigures the dynamics of bodily representation, allowing the brain to acquire an alternative sense of body and self. Investigating strategies to deconstruct the lack of a normal sense of bodily ownership, especially after a neurological injury, may aid the selection of appropriate clinical treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number170
JournalBrain Sciences
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Body representation
  • Disembodiment
  • Disownership
  • Neuroplasticity
  • Ownership
  • Parietal cortex
  • Rubber hand illusion
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Tumor resection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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