Illusory Body Perception and Experience in Furries

AbstractThe Rubber Hand Illusion (RHI) is an illusion of body ownership. This study investigates the RHI in furries: people who manifest interest in anthropomorphic animals through various combinations of costuming, roleplay, identification with a fursona, and unusual bodily experiences. Furry culture suggests two ways furries could differ from non-furries in their RHI experience: (1) furries’ malleable perception of bodily self and identity may result in stronger feelings of illusory experience; alternatively, (2) furries’ identification with non-human animals may result in weaker feelings of self-ownership for a human prosthetic. Results support the latter hypothesis; furries felt less subjective embodiment compared to non-furries. Moreover, proprioceptive drift was predicted by the extent individual furries valued humanity and their human bodies. The less esteem furries had for humanity and their human form, the less drift toward the human rubber hand was perceived. These findings suggest how embodiment is related to subjectivity, identity, and practice.

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