Viewing Images of Jagged Texture in Digital Artwork Affects Body Sensations: A Virtual Reality Study

Hava Aldouby, Béatrice S. Hasler, Tehila Nadav, Doron Friedman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


One of the topics recurring in contemporary aesthetics is haptic visuality—a sense of physical touching, or being touched, induced by exposure to a purely visual stimulus. In this study we attempt at an empirical evaluation of this elusive concept, and specifically address the role of visual texture in inducing bodily sensations. We carried out a virtual reality experiment in which 144 participants could see their virtual hands and use them for interaction. Inside the virtual reality experience, the participants viewed four contemporary art images that were preselected as fostering haptic visuality. After viewing each image, the participants immediately performed a simple motor task and answered a few questions. The motor task comprised picking a virtual ball and placing it in a designated place, and in half of the cases their virtual arm was threatened by a virtual chainsaw. Our main hypothesis was supported—art stimuli depicting a jagged object reduced the perceived threat to the virtual arm, indicating a decrease in ownership of the virtual body.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPsychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts
StatePublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was partially supported by The Open University of Israel’s Research Fund (Grants 41139 and 37197) to Hava Aldouby

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 American Psychological Association


  • Art
  • Haptic visuality
  • Ori gersht
  • Rubber hand illusion (rhi)
  • Virtual body ownership


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