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Higher Emotional Intelligence Is Associated With a Stronger Rubber Hand Illusion

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The aim of the study was to investigate how emotion information processing factors, such as alexithymia and emotional intelligence, modulate body ownership and influence multisensory integration during the ‘rubber hand illusion’ (RHI) task. It was previously shown that alexithymia correlates with RHI, and we suggested that emotional intelligence should also be a top-down factor of body ownership, since it was not shown in previous experiments. We elaborated the study of Grynberg and Pollatos [Front. Hum. Neurosci. 9 (2015) 357] with an additional measure of emotional intelligence, and propose an explanation for the interrelation of emotion and body ownership processing. Eighty subjects took part in the RHI experiment and completed the Toronto Alexithymia Scale and the Mayer–Salovey–Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test (MSCEIT). Only MSCEIT was detected to be a significant predictor of the subjective measure of the RHI. There were no significant correlations between alexithymia scores and the test statements of the RHI or the proprioceptive drift, thus we did not replicate the results of Grynberg and Pollatos. However, alexithymia correlated with the control statements of subjective reports of the illusion, which might be explained as a disruption of the ability to discriminate and describe bodily experience. Therefore, (1) alexithymia seems to be connected with difficulties in conscious or verbal processing of body-related information, and (2) higher emotional intelligence might improve multisensory integration of body-related signals and reflect better predictive models of self-processing.

Affiliations: 1: Psychology Department, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow 125009, Russia

*To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail:
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