Full body illusion is associated with skin temperature reduction

Roy Salomon

Our bodily self-consciousness arises from the spectacular integration of body and mind.  This integration is so fundamental that we have a unified experience of the self, which includes both our physical body and our mental experience.  However, people with neurological conditions often show severe deficits in bodily self-consciousness suggesting … [Read more...]

Presence Through the Eyes of a Child

mel slater virtual small body

Using a head-mounted display and body tracking suit, entering into a virtual reality, you can experience yourself as a child of about 4 years old.  You look into a mirror, or directly down towards your own body, but you see the child body instead.  The brain appears to be remarkably flexible in quickly accepting the proposition that your body is … [Read more...]

Aristotle’s illusion in focal hand dystonia

Aristotles illusion

Some philosophical observations can raise interesting neuroscientific questions. This is the case of the so-called “Aristotle’s illusion”. Aristotle (in Metaphysica IV, 6) first noticed that by crossing the fingers, one gets the illusion of doubling a single stimulus positioned in the contact point of the fingertips. This type of tactile illusion … [Read more...]

Seeing your pain site helps

Martin Diers

Do you know what your back looks like? And if you now compare your back to your hands, what appears more familiar to you? In contrast to other body areas, one’s own back cannot be seen directly, so you always have to use mirrors. The back is only perceived when it causes trouble. In most chronic back pain patients the exact localization of their … [Read more...]

Body posture influences tactile sensation during the preparation of movement

Have you ever had your scalp massaged with an orgasmatron? And then tried to re-instate the pleasure yourself but it just did not feel the same? It appears that a short time delay needs to be present between the movement of the hand and the experienced tactile sensation, in order for us to assign an external cause to the felt sensation.  As a … [Read more...]

Shared mechanisms in bodily illusions and imagined movements

silvio ionta

Imagine a cold winter day. Everything is covered by snow. You are getting ready to go out. Coat, scarf, wool cap, but on the table next to the main door there are your brand new gloves, one is blue the other one is red. How do we choose which glove corresponds to which hand? Most people automatically prepare, or imagine, moving one hand into the … [Read more...]

Impaired spatial body representation in CRPS I

Annika Reinersmann

Imagine being offered one half of a Snickers Bar that on first glance was cut into two equal halves. Unless a machine bisected it, the right half would still be just a tiny bit larger. Why is that? Roughly said, the brain’s hemispheres are responsible for different functions. The right hemisphere is specialized in spatial abilities. When asked to … [Read more...]

Interoception and pain – is it better to be ignorant?

I just read a fascinating paper by Pollatos and colleagues[1] in a recent issue of Pain. This paper evaluated the relationship between interoception (ie, the ability to consciously perceive signals from the body) and pain perception. This study was based on the theory that emotive stimuli initiate changes in physiological and bodily processes and … [Read more...]

Beyond the colour of my skin

Harry Farmer body ownership

Our sense of our body is the foundation of our subjectivity, and our understanding of the subjectivity of others.  Through the mapping of other people’s actions, sensations (i.e. touch, pain) and expressions onto our own sensorimotor neural systems we are able to recognise them as, like ourselves, possessing of subjective experience. However our … [Read more...]

Healing Hands MIRAGEs and illusions

Helen Gilpin

Around this time last year, our research at The University of Nottingham unexpectedly stumbled into the media spotlight: “Mind tricks may help arthritic pain; Illusions can halve the pain of osteoarthritis” the headlines read. See the original BBC news article complete with video here. They were referring to our MIRAGE multisensory illusions … [Read more...]