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The impact of using an upper-limb prosthesis on the perception of real and illusory weight differences

Buckingham, G, Parr, JVVV, Wood, Greg, Vine, SJ, Dimitriou, P and Day, S (2018) The impact of using an upper-limb prosthesis on the perception of real and illusory weight differences. Psychonomic Bulletin and Review, 25 (4). pp. 1507-1516. ISSN 1069-9384

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Abstract

Little is known about how human perception is affected using an upper-limb prosthesis. To shed light on this topic, we investigated how using an upper-limb prosthesis affects individuals’ experience of object weight. First, we examined how a group of upper-limb amputee prosthetic users experienced real mass differences and illusory weight differences in the context of the ‘size-weight’ illusion. Surprisingly, the upper-limb prosthetic users reported a markedly smaller illusion than controls, despite equivalent perceptions of a real mass difference. Next, we replicated this dissociation between real and illusory weight perception in a group of non-amputees who lifted the stimuli with an upper-limb myoelectric prosthetic simulator, again noting that the prosthetic users experienced illusory, but not real, weight differences as being weaker than controls. These findings not only validate the use of a prosthetic simulator as an effective tool for investigating perception and action, but also highlight a surprising dissociation between the perception of real and illusory weight differences.

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