Beyond the colour of my skin: How skin colour affects the sense of body-ownership

Harry Farmer, Ana Tajadura-Jiménez, Manos Tsakiris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

100 Citations (SciVal)


Multisensory stimulation has been shown to alter the sense of body-ownership. Given that perceived similarity between one's own body and those of others is crucial for social cognition, we investigated whether multisensory stimulation can lead participants to experience ownership over a hand of different skin colour. Results from two studies using introspective, behavioural and physiological methods show that, following synchronous visuotactile (VT) stimulation, participants can experience body-ownership over hands that seem to belong to a different racial group. Interestingly, a baseline measure of implicit racial bias did not predict whether participants would experience the RHI, but the overall strength of experienced body-ownership seemed to predict the participants' post-illusion implicit racial bias with those who experienced a stronger RHI showing a lower bias. These findings suggest that multisensory experiences can override strict ingroup/outgroup distinctions based on skin colour and point to a key role for sensory processing in social cognition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1242-1256
Number of pages15
JournalConsciousness and Cognition
Issue number3
Early online date1 Jun 2012
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2012


  • Body image
  • Body-ownership
  • Multisensory
  • Rubber hand illusion
  • Skin colour
  • Social groups

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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