Stuff I Found

Thursday, December 11, 2008

When your mind disowns a limb

Here's an interesting Scientific American article (I really miss getting that magazine... someone buy me a subscription please):

... what if you could be fooled into thinking that one of your hands belonged to someone else? Scientists at the University of Oxford recently incited this false perception through an illusion—and they found that when people felt dissociated from a limb, their brain devoted less processing power toward that limb and even interfered with its temperature regulation. These findings, building on a smattering of other studies in disembodiment, suggest that the conscious mind’s control over basic body function is much stronger than scientists once thought.

Sounds kind of creepy... but also kind of fun!


  • I had a crippling neurological disease at age 12. My immune system went hyperactive and killed it. I grew a second nervous system. My brain rewired itself to match, and sometimes still has to switch programs when my blood oxygen level drops in polluted air. An example of their theory in reverse?? I used conscious learning to get my detached limbs back. I read a med journal report about over 100 known cases like me. I excell in all my activities that do not require brute strength or fast reaction time.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:55 AM  

  • Wow. On one hand, that sounds scary, but on the other, it's amazing that the brain can do that! What do you mean by "switch programs" and what is that like? And, I'm curious, what kind of things did you do to learn to get your limbs back? That's pretty fascinating!

    By Blogger Sean Hannifin, at 1:14 PM  

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