Poster D97, Monday, March 26, 8:00-10:00 am, Exhibit Hall C
Long-term tool-use changes body representation
Lara Coelho1, Jason Schacher1, Jon Doan1, Claudia Gonzalez1; 1University of Lethbridge
Tool-use has been found to change body representation. For example, participants who used a rake for 15 minutes, perceived their forearms to be longer immediately after its use (Sposito et al, 2012 Neuropsych; they incorporated the rake into their perceived size of this body part). It remains to be examined if there are long-term effects of tool-use in body perception. To test this possibility, we recruited 18 elite baseball players (EBP) and 19 age matched controls to participate in a hand representation task. We included EBP because of their many years (10+) of training with a tool (baseball glove). We had two competing hypotheses: 1) that EBP would show larger hand representations (to encompass the glove into their representation), or; 2) the representation would in fact be smaller because during testing the glove was not present (as if their hand was smaller without the glove). The task required participants to place their hands underneath a covered glass tabletop (no vision of their hands), and to point to where they believed 10 locations (the tips and bases of each finger) were on their hands (Coelho et al., 2017 Psych Res). Each point’s XY coordinates was tracked using an Optotrak camera. From these coordinates we mapped out the participants perceived hand size. The results supported the second hypothesis; compared to controls, EBP underestimated hand width and finger length. This suggests that long-term tool use causes long-lasting changes in body representation. This result is discussed in relation to theories of altered body ownership.
Topic Area: PERCEPTION & ACTION: Multisensory