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The developing bodily self : how posture constrains body representation in childhood.

Gottwald, J. and Keenaghan, S. and Zampieri, E. and Tosodduk, H. and Bremner, A.J. and Cowie, D. (2020) 'The developing bodily self : how posture constrains body representation in childhood.', Child development., 92 (1). pp. 351-366.


Adults’ body representation is constrained by multisensory information and knowledge of the body such as its possible postures. This study (N = 180) tested for similar constraints in children. Using the rubber hand illusion with adults and 6- to 7-year olds, we measured proprioceptive drift (an index of hand localization) and ratings of felt hand ownership. The fake hand was either congruent or incongruent with the participant’s own. Across ages, congruency of posture and visual–tactile congruency yielded greater drift toward the fake hand. Ownership ratings were higher with congruent visual–tactile information, but unaffected by posture. Posture constrains body representation similarly in children and adults, suggesting that children have sensitive, robust mechanisms for maintaining a sense of bodily self.

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Publisher statement:© 2020 The Authors. Child Development published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of Society for Research in Child Development. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Date accepted:No date available
Date deposited:14 May 2020
Date of first online publication:07 August 2020
Date first made open access:19 August 2020

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