A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of the Effectiveness of Body Ownership Illusions in Virtual Reality

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Body ownership illusions (BOIs) occur when participants experience that their actual body is replaced by a body shown in virtual reality (VR). Based on a systematic review of the cumulative evidence on BOIs from 111 research articles published in 2010 to 2021, this article summarizes the findings of empirical studies of BOIs. Following the PRISMA guidelines, the review points to diverse experimental practices for inducing and measuring body ownership. The two major components of embodiment measurement, body ownership and agency, are examined. The embodiment of virtual avatars generally leads to modest body ownership and slightly higher agency. We also find that BOI research lacks statistical power and standardization across tasks, measurement instruments, and analysis approaches. Furthermore, the reviewed studies showed a lack of clarity in fundamental terminology, constructs, and theoretical underpinnings. These issues restrict scientific advances on the major components of BOIs, and together impede scientific rigor and theory-building.

Original languageEnglish
Article number76
JournalACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

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© 2023 Copyright held by the owner/author(s). Publication rights licensed to ACM.

    Research areas

  • body ownership illusions, embodiment, meta-analysis, systematic review, Virtual reality

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