Scientists simplified a rubber hand illusion.


Researchers from the Italian University Chieti-Pescara found out that in the classical experiment with a rubber hand, the real tactile feelings of the person aren’t required. Now the expectations are capable of replacing them. A classical investigation with a rubber hand described by Botvinnik and Cohen in Nature in 1998 is carried out as follows.

The Rubbe Hand Illusion

The volunteer is seated at the table where the right or left rubber hand lies. And the corresponding hand of the experiment participant hides behind a screen or under a table. The experimenter’s two brushes start touching the same time rubber hand and the volunteer’s hand. Approximately two-three minutes later, two-thirds of the experimental had a resistant feeling that the rubber hand belonged. They point to it blindly when about it volunteers are asked by the experimenter.

Fundamental effects of rubber hand illusion scientists called earlier synchronism of contacts, information about which experimental receives in two modalities: through sight and tactile feelings. There was considered that the rubber hand illusion can be caused only by the strict correlation of different emotions, which the brain “merges” into one action.

The team led by Marcello Costantini concluded that less effort is required to create illusions because real emotions can be swapped out for expectations. Scientists made 14 volunteers experiment in the same statement as it did Botvinnik and Cohen. However, no actual contact was made; the brush was only brought close to a rubber hand for experimental purposes. The brain of volunteers “finish thinking” about a contact thus independently.

According to scientists, the operability of such a simplified experiment confirms today the concept of work of a brain standard. According to this paradigm, perception and picture recognition are based on the brain’s active development of hypotheses about what is seen and felt. The brain continually compares these hypotheses to the information received from the sense organs and deems the ones most likely correct.
Experimenting with a rubber hand is one of the most known in neurobiology. In 14 years, not less than a hundred researches were devoted to it, and more than one thousand times referred to Botvinnik and Cohen’s work. Experiments affected neurobiology and many philosophical concepts, trying to explain consciousness nature.

The scientists simplified a rubber hand illusion by creating an artificial hand that could be controlled with a computer. It will help researchers better understand how the brain processes touch and movement. The information can be used to create prosthetic hands that are more realistic and comfortable for users. The study provides valuable insight into how the human brain works, which can ultimately improve our understanding of neurological disorders and help those affected.

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