The Role of Empathy in the Rubber Hand Illusion

ABSTRACT THE ROLE OF EMPATHY IN THE RUBBER HAND ILLUSION by Scott Cannon Lewis Master of Arts in Psychology Psychological Science Option California State University, Chico Summer 2010 The relationship between empathy and the rubber hand illusion has yet to be investigated. The current study investigated the relationship between measures of susceptibility to the rubber hand illusion and measures related to empathy and alexithymia. Latency to the illusion was recorded and participants completed a post-illusion questionnaire. Illusion latency, intensity scores, and questions affirming the illusion were compared to scores on the IRI and TAS-20. Significant correlations were found between illusion intensity and illusion latency. Regression analyses indicated the Empathic Concern subscale of the IRI predicted Illusion Latency. Findings indicate an inverse relationship between latency and self-reported strength of the illusion and that empathy may be related to onset of the illusion.