Imagined paralysis alters somatosensory evoked-potentials

Palluel, Estelle; Falconer, Caroline J.; Lopez, Christophe; Marchesotti, Silvia; Hartmann, Matthias; Blanke, Olaf; Mast, Fred W. (2020). Imagined paralysis alters somatosensory evoked-potentials. Cognitive Neuroscience, 11(4), pp. 205-215. Taylor & Francis 10.1080/17588928.2020.1772737

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Recent studies employing body illusions have shown that multisensory conflict can alter body representations and modulate low-level sensory processing. One defining feature of these body illusions is that they are sensory driven and thus passive on behalf of the participant. Thus, it remained to establish whether explicit alteration of own-body representations modulates low-level sensory processing. We investigated whether tibial nerve somatosensory-evoked potentials were modulated when participants imagined paralysis of their legs and arms. Imagined paralysis of the legs decreased P40 amplitude, but not imagined paralysis of the arms. These results show modulation of early somatosensory processing via explicit, top-down alteration to the internal representation of the body. Interestingly, P40 suppression positively correlated with bodily aware-ness scores whereas it negatively correlated with body dissociation scores. This suggests that the ability to actively alter own-body representation and its corresponding sensory processing depends upon dispositions to attend to and focus on bodily sensations.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Psychology > Cognitive Psychology, Perception and Methodology

UniBE Contributor:

Falconer, Caroline, Maalouli-Hartmann, Matthias, Mast, Fred


100 Philosophy > 150 Psychology




Taylor & Francis




Fred Mast

Date Deposited:

27 Jul 2020 09:12

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 15:39

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:





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