Modified Sensory Feedback Enhances the Sense of Agency during Continuous Body Movements in Virtual Reality


The sense of agency refers to the feeling of control over one’s own actions, and through them, the external events. This study examined the effect of modified visual feedback on the sense of agency over one’s body movements using virtual reality in healthy individuals whose motor control was disturbed. Participants moved a virtual object using their right hand to trace a trajectory (Experiment 1) or a leading target (Experiment 2). Their motor control was disturbed by a delay in visual feedback (Experiment 1) or a 1-kg weight attached to their wrist (Experiment 2). In the offset conditions, the virtual object was presented at the median point between the desired position and the participants’ actual hand position. In both experiments, participants reported improved sense of agency in the offset condition compared to the aligned condition where the visual feedback reflected their actual body movements, despite their motion being less precise in the offset condition. The results show that sense of agency can be enhanced by modifying feedback to motor tasks according to the goal of the task, even when visual feedback is discrepant from the actual body movements. The present study sheds light on the possibility of artificially enhancing body agency to improve voluntary motor control.

Scientific Reports, 11