Direct electrophysiological correlates of body ownership in human cerebral cortex

Arvid Guterstam, Kelly L. Collins, Jeneva A. Cronin, Hugo Zeberg, Felix Darvas, Kurt E. Weaver, Jeffrey G. Ojemann, H. Henrik Ehrsson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Over the past decade, numerous neuroimaging studies based on hemodynamic markers of brain activity have examined the feeling of body ownership using perceptual body-illusions in humans. However, the direct electrophysiological correlates of body ownership at the cortical level remain unexplored. To address this, we studied the rubber hand illusion in 5 patients (3 males anD2 females) implanted with intracranial electrodes measuring cortical surface potentials. Increased high-γ (70-200 Hz) activity, an index of neuronal firing rate, in premotor and intraparietal cortices reflected the feeling of ownership. In both areas, high-γ increases were intimately coupled with the subjective illusion onset and sustained both during and in-between touches. However, intraparietal activity was modulated by tactile stimulation to a higher degree than the premotor cortex through effective connectivity with the hand-somatosensory cortex, which suggests different functional roles. These findings constitute the first intracranial electrophysiological characterization of the rubber hand illusion and extend our understanding of the dynamic mechanisms of body ownership.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1328-1341
Number of pages14
JournalCerebral Cortex
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • body perception
  • electrocorticography
  • functional magnetic resonance imaging
  • rubber hand illusion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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