iScience (Sep 2023)

Ownership of the affected leg is further reduced following deceptive behaviors in body integrity dysphoria

  • Marina Scattolin,
  • Maria Serena Panasiti,
  • Jasmine T. Ho,
  • Bigna Lenggenhager,
  • Salvatore Maria Aglioti

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 26, no. 9
p. 107551


Read online

Summary: Although predicted by the notion of embodied morality, it remains unknown whether a reduced sense of body ownership (SoO) is associated with increased or decreased dishonesty. To clarify this issue, we tested patients with body integrity dysphoria (BID), a clinical condition characterized by chronic reductions of SoO toward one leg that patients persistently desire to have amputated. Participants with BID played a card game in which they could voluntarily tell the truth or cheat an opponent, and thus either steal or give them money. To assess whether SoO toward the effector limb influences (im)moral decisions, responses were communicated with the affected or the unaffected leg. We found that a higher number of self-gain lies was followed by further reductions of SoO toward the affected leg. Our result supports the idea that reductions of SoO may follow immoral behaviors to distance from unwanted characteristics of the self, like one’s own dishonesty.