The impact of using an upper-limb prosthesis on the perception of real and illusory weight differences

Gavin Buckingham, Johnny Parr, Greg Wood, Samuel Vine, Pat Dimitriou, Sarah Day

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Little is known about how human perception is affected using an upper-limb prosthesis. To shed light on this topic, we investigated how using an upper-limb prosthesis affects individuals' experience of object weight. First, we examined how a group of upper-limb amputee prosthetic users experienced real mass differences and illusory weight differences in the context of the ‘size–weight’ illusion. Surprisingly, the upper-limb prosthetic users reported a markedly smaller illusion than controls, despite equivalent perceptions of a real mass difference. Next, we replicated this dissociation between real and illusory weight perception in a group of nonamputees who lifted the stimuli with an upper-limb myoelectric prosthetic simulator, again noting that the prosthetic users experienced illusory, but not real, weight differences as being weaker than controls. These findings not only validate the use of a prosthetic simulator as an effective tool for investigating perception and action but also highlight a surprising dissociation between the perception of real and illusory weight differences
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1507–1516
Number of pages10
JournalPsychonomic Bulletin & Review
Issue number4
Early online date19 Jan 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2018


  • size-weight illusion
  • object lifting
  • amputees
  • body representation

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