BRnet2023: Body Representation Network
Mental representations of the body are influenced by motor efferents and multisensory signals. Modifying the auditory feedback of self-generated walking sounds in real time can result in people perceiving their body as lighter or heavier, as moving slower or faster, it may lead to changes in gender identity and induce variations in happiness levels. Individuals with eating disorders have shown distinct effects on body perception when exposed to acoustic manipulations. In this study, we employed an improved digital sound system together with a motion capture suit and physiological sensors, to further our understanding of subjective, behavioral, and affective changes derived from this illusion. We further investigated the influence of group differences in terms of body concerns and levels of physical activity on the effects of such an illusion. Participants underwent a pre-screening assessment. The selected sample (N=104) answered questionnaires about their body perception and emotional state and completed a body visualization task after each randomized experimental condition. The results successfully replicated previous research, with participants reporting sensations of being heavier or lighter based on the manipulated sounds. The effects on emotional valence differ according to individuals’ body concerns, while dominance is influenced by the symptomatology of eating disorders. The experiment is still being analyzed for its effects on behavior, physiology, and the influence of social behavior and sensory imagery. Given the portability and transparency of acoustic transformations, this illusion is particularly relevant for health as it can be integrated in daily life and thus impact participants’ habits and health.