Disgust and the rubber hand illusion: a registered replication report of Jalal, Krishnakumar, and Ramachandran (2015)

Hiroshi Nitta, Haruto Tomita, Yi Zhang, Xinxin Zhou, Yuki Yamada

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13 Citations (Scopus)


Heightened experience of disgust is a feature of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), particularly contamination-related OCD (C-OCD). Previous studies of the rubber hand illusion (RHI) reported that the sense of body ownership is related to the interaction between vision, touch, and proprioception. One recent study demonstrated a link between the RHI and disgust, suggesting that there is an interaction between these three perceptual modalities and disgust (Jalal et al., PLOS ONE 10:e0139159, 2015). However, there have been no direct replications of this initial study. We therefore performed a direct replication of Jalal et al.’s (PLOS ONE 10:e0139159, 2015) study. We examined 133 participants (based on a power analysis) to determine whether placing contamination-related stimuli on a rubber hand causes OCD-like disgust among healthy participants experiencing the RHI. That is, we tested whether Japanese participants experience more intense disgust when the rubber hand and the participant’s hidden hand are stroked synchronously than when stroked asynchronously, in order to replicate and examine the cross-cultural validity of this effect. The main finding of the original study by Jalal and colleagues was successfully replicated in a large sample. Some inconsistencies in one of the control procedures exploring coldness sensations during the RHI were found, which could possibly be due to cross-cultural differences or the improved statistical power of the present study. Based on the present replication study, we conclude that an intervention using the RHI as proposed by Jalal et al. (PLOS ONE 10:e0139159, 2015) might potentially be useful for the treatment of OCD following replications in clinical OCD populations. Preregistration details: This study was preregistered with Cognitive Research: Principles and Implications. The Authors’ protocol received in-principle acceptance on 31 March 2017. The preregistered protocol is available here: https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.6217295.

Original languageEnglish
Article number15
JournalCognitive Research: Principles and Implications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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