Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Scientists produce illusion of body-swapping

04.12.2008
Cognitive neuroscientists at the Swedish medical university Karolinska Institutet (KI) have succeeded in making subjects perceive the bodies of mannequins and other people as their own. In one of the experiments, subjects swapped bodies with other people and shook hands with themselves without illusion being broken.

"This shows how easy it is to change the brain's perception of the physical self," says Henrik Ehrsson, who led the project. "By manipulating sensory impressions, it's possible to fool the self not only out of its body but into other bodies too."

In the first experiment, the head of a shop dummy was fitted with two cameras connected to two small screens placed in front of the subjects' eyes, so that they saw what the dummy "saw". When the dummy's camera eyes and a subject's head was directed downwards, the subject saw the dummy's body where he/she would normally have seen his/her own.

The illusion of body-swapping was created when the scientist touched the stomach of both with two sticks. The subject could then see that the mannequin's stomach was being touched while feeling (but not seeing) a similar sensation on his/her own stomach. As a result, the subject developed a powerful sensation that the mannequin's body was his/her own.

In another experiment, the camera was mounted onto another person's head. When this person and the subject turned towards each other to shake hands, the subject perceived the camera-wearer's body as his/her own.

"The subjects see themselves shaking hands from the outside, but experience it as another person," says Valeria Petkova, who co-conducted the study with Dr Ehrsson. "The sensory impression from the hand-shake is perceived as though coming from the new body, rather than the subject's own."

The strength of the illusion was confirmed by the subjects' exhibiting stress reactions when a knife was held to the camera wearer's arm but not when it was held to their own.

The illusion also worked even when the two people differed in appearance or were of different sexes. However, it was not possible to fool the self into identifying with a non-humanoid object, such as a chair or a large block.

The object of the projects was to learn more about how the brain constructs an internal image of the body. The knowledge that the sense of corporal identification/self-perception can be manipulated to make people believe that they have a new body is of potential practical use in virtual reality applications and robot technology.

Publication: "If I were you: perceptual illusion of body swapping."

Valeria I. Petkova & Henrik Ehrsson, PLoS ONE, 3 December 2008.

Photo gallery: http://ki.se/pressimages

For further information, please contact:
Henrik Ehrsson, MD, PhD
Department of Neuroscience
Tel: +46(0)8-524 87231
Email: henrik.ehrsson@ki.se
Valeria Petkova, postgraduate
Department of Neuroscience
Tel: +46(0)8-517 761 13
Email: Valeria.Petkova@ki.se
Press Officer Sabina Bossi
Tel: +46 (0)8-524 860 66 (redirected to mobile)
Email: Sabina.bossi@ki.se
Karolinska Institutet is one of the leading medical universities in Europe. Through research, education and information, Karolinska Institutet contributes to improving human health. Each year, the Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet awards the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.

Sabina Bossi | idw
Further information:
http://ki.se

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Study suggests possible new target for treating and preventing Alzheimer's
02.12.2016 | Oregon Health & Science University

nachricht The first analysis of Ewing's sarcoma methyloma opens doors to new treatments
01.12.2016 | IDIBELL-Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

Im Focus: Fraunhofer ISE Develops Highly Compact, High Frequency DC/DC Converter for Aviation

The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

UTSA study describes new minimally invasive device to treat cancer and other illnesses

02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering

Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product

02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

What do Netflix, Google and planetary systems have in common?

02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>