Published: 10 February 2021| Version 1 | DOI: 10.17632/b5rtnrdb6b.1


Our bodies provide a necessary scaffold for memories of past events. Yet, we are just beginning to understand how fundamental feelings of one’s own body during the encoding of realistic events shape memory accuracy and phenomenology. Here, participants formed memories for immersive, lifelike events by watching pre-recorded 3D videos that involved a first-person view of a mannequin’s body through head mounted displays. We manipulated feelings of body ownership over the mannequin using a perceptual full-body illusion. Participants saw an object touch the mannequin and simultaneously felt touches on the corresponding location of their real body, which created an illusory sense of ownership over the mannequin. As a control condition, we disrupted the illusion by delivering seen and felt touches in an alternating pattern in half of the videos. Participants completed cued recall questions pertaining to event details and subjective ratings (i.e. degree of reliving, emotional intensity, vividness, and belief in memory accuracy) for each video immediately following encoding and one week later. Repeated-measures ANOVAs show that sensing the mannequin’s body as one’s own during encoding enhanced cued recall accuracy at both testing points, reliving at immediate testing, and emotional intensity, vividness, and belief in memory accuracy at delayed retrieval, compared to the disembodied control condition. These findings suggest that a basic sense of bodily selfhood provides a crucial foundation for the accurate and vivid reliving of the personal past. Acronyms: Sync = synchronous condition Async = asynchronous condition Ill = illusion Con = control CR = cued recall Imm = immediate Del = delayed Cent = central details Periph = peripheral details EI = emotional intensity Reliv = reliving Viv = vividness Bel = belief in memory accuracy



Karolinska Institutet


Cognitive Psychology, Memory