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Is an artificial limb embodied as a hand? Brain decoding in prosthetic limb users

Maimon Mor, RO; Makin, TR; (2020) Is an artificial limb embodied as a hand? Brain decoding in prosthetic limb users. PLOS Biology , 18 (6) , Article e3000729. 10.1371/journal.pbio.3000729. Green open access

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Abstract

The potential ability of the human brain to represent an artificial limb as a body part (embodiment) has been inspiring engineers, clinicians, and scientists as a means to optimise human-machine interfaces. Using functional MRI (fMRI), we studied whether neural embodiment actually occurs in prosthesis users' occipitotemporal cortex (OTC). Compared with controls, different prostheses types were visually represented more similarly to each other, relative to hands and tools, indicating the emergence of a dissociated prosthesis categorisation. Greater daily life prosthesis usage correlated positively with greater prosthesis categorisation. Moreover, when comparing prosthesis users' representation of their own prosthesis to controls' representation of a similar looking prosthesis, prosthesis users represented their own prosthesis more dissimilarly to hands, challenging current views of visual prosthesis embodiment. Our results reveal a use-dependent neural correlate for wearable technology adoption, demonstrating adaptive use-related plasticity within the OTC. Because these neural correlates were independent of the prostheses' appearance and control, our findings offer new opportunities for prosthesis design by lifting restrictions imposed by the embodiment theory for artificial limbs.

Type: Article
Title: Is an artificial limb embodied as a hand? Brain decoding in prosthetic limb users
Location: United States
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.3000729
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.3000729
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2020 Maimon Mor, Makin. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Keywords: Prosthetics, Body limbs, Vision, Hands, Congenital disorders, Functional magnetic resonance imaging, Wrist, Elbow
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10101076
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