How sense of agency and sense of ownership could affect anxiety: A study based on virtual hand illusion

Jing ZHANG, Wei CHEN, Yanyan QIAN

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


By using computer program we created a virtual environment to study the possible impacts of sense of agency and sense of ownership on anxiety. The aim of the present study is to investigate whether our setup could achieve the similar effect as traditional rubber hand illusion had, and how sense of self (mainly sense of agency and sense of ownership) affects participants' anxiety. Study 1 the sample consisted of 24 first grade student(12 female, 12 male) aged 18-21 (M=19.98, SD=0.82), who moved a 3D virtual hand in a synchronous or asynchronous situation. Study 2 included 48 first or second grade students (24 female , 24 male) aged 18-22 (M=20.67, SD=1.05), who passed the SCL-90 rating-scale and completed the SCL-90 rating-scale again after they performed a catching/avoiding task. In study 1, all the results only provided evidence for a VHI but no other effect. Study 2 showed that asynchronous conditions had higher anxiety scores than synchronous one in terms of modality and sex, different virtual images would lead to participants' different anxious feelings. Sex itself was not a differentiating factor, however, mean and women reacted differently in different situations. Results indicated that, in general, sense of agency has more impacts on anxiety level compared with sense of ownership. However, sense of agency seemed to affect male more than female while sense of ownership placed more influence on female than on male. This finding may because the different contribution styles and empathy abilities between men and women. Copyright © 2018: Editum. Servicio de Publicaciones de la Universidad de Murcia. Murcia (Spain).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)430-437
JournalAnales de Psicologia
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2018



Zhang, J., Chen, W., & Qian, Y. (2018). How sense of agency and sense of ownership could affect anxiety: A study based on virtual hand illusion. Anales de Psicología/Annals of Psychology, 34(3), 430-437. Retrieved from


  • Sense of agency
  • Sense of ownership
  • Anxiety
  • Contribution style
  • Empathy ability