Sunday, April 14, 2013

"The Invisible Hand Illusion"

The team’s work was inspired by the classic rubber-hand illusion, devised by two Princeton scientists in the 1990s. You sit with your real hand under a table and out of sight, while a rubber hand sits in front of you. By stroking the fake hand in time with your real one, an experimenter can convince you that the fake hand is yours. The trick proved popular at college parties, and when Ehrsson tried it, the experience was revelatory.

It suggested to him that even though we have a lifetime’s experience of owning our bodies, this seemingly ingrained feeling is actually very fragile. Our brain constructs it all the time using information from our senses.