Research Output
The Digital Rubber Hand Illusion
  The rubber hand illusion (RHI) is a body ownership illusion whereby congruently stroking a fake rubber hand and a subject's hidden hand while observing the rubber hand produces the illusion of them feeling the touch on the rubber hand and experiencing the rubber hand to be part of their own body. The parameters of the RHI have not been fully defined and we describe an approach utilising digital media and technology to examine and establish parameters for this illusion beginning with three experiments: (i) Repeating the original RHI to determine if our test conditions are conducive to producing the classic illusion. (ii) Replacing the original rubber hand with either a static or animated digital image of it displayed on a tablet. (iii) A VR implementation whereby participants see an image of their own hand viewed through a head-mounted display. Measurements of proprioceptive drift (an objective indicator of the feeling of ownership of the rubber hand) corroborated the original RHI and also suggested that a similar phenomenon can occur when the rubber hand was replaced with either a static or animated digital image of it or in a VR condition.

  • Date:

    03 July 2017

  • Publication Status:


  • Publisher

    BCS Learning and Development

  • DOI:


  • Library of Congress:

    QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science

  • Dewey Decimal Classification:

    006.6 Computer graphics

  • Funders:

    Edinburgh Napier Funded


Aldhous, J., Hetherington, R., & Turner, P. (2017). The Digital Rubber Hand Illusion. In Proceedings of British HCI 2017 – Digital Make-Believe.



Rubber hand illusion, digital media, virtual reality, body ownership illusions.

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