Written by Arjun Walia
As a piece from The Guardian explains, “The illusion comes on when the real and fake hands are stroked at the same time and speed for a minute or two. In combining the visual information with the touch sensations, the brain mistakenly concludes that the rubber hand must be part of the person’s body. When questioned about the feeling, the volunteers said it seemed that their own hand had vanished and the fake hand had become their own.”
Participants are usually shown a fake rubber hand while their own is behind the screen. It’s amazing how the brain starts to believe that the fake hand is actually their own, and makes you ponder what else is illusionary, yet considered real by our brain. If you’re interested in that, you might want to look up concepts like the “Holographic Universe.”
Below is a demonstration of the experiment:
In this particular case, the rubber hand experiment was modified. This time, scientists duplicated the test but instead of touching the fake hand, they applied brushstrokes in mid-air, above the fake hand.
The study involved 101 adults, and instead of participants believing the fake hand is their own, they started to sense what feels like a “force field” between the rubber hand and the brush.
Although it may seem like it, this isn’t a new phenomenon. As The Huffington Post points out:
“Neuroscientific Evidence of the phenomenon first emerged in the late 1990s in animal studies. Princeton University’s Michael Graziano recorded the electrical activity of neurons in the parietal and frontal lobes of the brains of monkeys. They found that some neurons fired not just when they were touched by an object, but also when it came near them.”
Quite remarkable, isn’t it? This means that we have the ability to sense the world around us, without the use of what are our commonly believed “6 senses.” We clearly have more that we are unaware of, and this could be one of several.
The study posits that this sensation continues at at least 15 inches above the rubber hand
“We can elicit this bizarre sensation of there actually being something in mid-air between the brush and the rubber hand.”
It’s been dubbed as “peripersonal” space, used to help us navigate through the physical world with safety.
But Wait, There’s More…
More research to complement this type of research has emerged, adding more confusion to the puzzle. In neuroscience, there’s a term known as Predictive Anticipatory Activity (PAA). More than 40 experiments investigating PAA in humans have been published over the past 36 years (including: Hartwell, 1978; Radin et al., 1995, 2011; Bierman and Radin, 1997; Radin, 1997, 2004; Don et al., 1998; Bierman, 2000; Bierman and Scholte, 2002; McDonough et al., 2002; Spottiswoode and May, 2003; McCraty et al., 2004a,b; Sartori et al., 2004; May et al., 2005; Tressoldi et al., 2005, 2009, 2011; Radin and Borges, 2009; Bradley et al., 2011).
One study found that the body can actually sense events up to 10 seconds before they happen. The study was published in the journal Frontiers of Human Neuroscience titled “Predicting the unpredictable: critical analysis and practical implications of predictive anticipatory activity” examined a number of experiments regarding this phenomenon that were conducted by several different laboratories.
You can read more about that HERE.
We also have a lot of articles pertaining to this on our website. Here’s a related one as an example that you can check out if interested:
The wonderful and brilliant scientists over at the Institute of HeartMath have done some amazing work shedding light on the science of the heart, as well as the electromagnetic fields that all life has surrounding it, and how these fields communicate with the fields of others, and can change depending on what emotions we are feeling. They are also deeply connected to our biology.
You can learn more about that by checking out these related articles:
Originally posted @ Collective Evolution