News-in-Transition

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

By Arjun Walia

The human body is fascinating, and although we’ve come a long way with regard to understanding how our own biology works, there is still much to be discovered, and still much that has yet to be understood. Even with all of our advancements, and how far we’ve come, it’s but a minor peak in a long road of discovery.

How do we sense the world around us? Are there hidden factors which are UN-observable that remain hidden from the human eye? Sure there are. Why do we duck before coming to a low ceiling? Why do we dodge things that are thrown at us? Do we have more senses than we’ve been lead to believe, and do these senses play a role?

New research from scientists at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden have used a very well known experiment, called “the rubber hand illusion,” to demonstrate that humans can sense what feels like a “force field” between the brush and the rubber hand.

The rubber hand experiment causes people to feel that a rubber hand placed on the table before them is their own. A great example of a shift in perception that is followed by a sense of disowning their real hand.

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.”

A demonstration of the experiment can be seen in this video clip.

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.”...

Read more: Collective Evolution

 

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