IMRF2023: The International Multisensory Research Forum
Own-body perception is shaped by multisensory signals and prior knowledge. Modifying the frequency spectra of self-produced walking sounds has shown to alter such perception. These alterations can make the body feel heavier/lighter, slower/quicker, more masculine/feminine, and alter emotions and gait patterns. Individuals with eating disorders have exhibited distinct effects from this paradigm, showing perceptions of a heavier body even for acoustic signals consistent with a lighter body. We aimed to replicate and extend the previous findings on a larger scale with 100 participants by using an improved setup, including a highly portable digital audio system, a full-body motion capture suit, and physiological sensors. Participants were pre-screened regarding eating disorder symptomatology and physical activity levels. Results so far replicated prior findings of heavier/lighter perceptions based on sound changes, according to self-reports and body visualizations. Data collection for some subsamples is undergoing, but preliminary results for individual differences in the illusion according to the pre-screening criteria will be presented. Further exploratory data on the effects of social support networks and sensory imagery will be outlined. Finally, a preliminary pipeline to release the created database and apply machine learning techniques to find relationships between sensor data and body perception measures will be discussed together with its potential impact. This study highlights the role of body transformation technologies that may be transparent (i.e., not interfering with other sensory aspects), portable, and potentially used in real-world settings, thus paving opportunities to support people with eating disorders and low physical activity levels.