Oct 01 2012

See What You Feel

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9 responses so far

9 Responses to “See What You Feel”

  1. d3dudeon 01 Oct 2012 at 9:23 am

    This reminds me of the experiment with glasses that flipped the image upside down. The test subjects adapted to function normally and eventually became unaware that everything was flipped.

    I’m curious though, were any of the test subjects completely immune to the “haptic torque perception” tests? If they were, do you think this means their brains are abnormal and would other brain “issues” be evident as well?

    I really enjoy reading your blog posts. You have the knack of making complex ideas relatively easy to understand. Or possibly you are very adept at tricking my brain into thinking that.

  2. Quineon 01 Oct 2012 at 12:43 pm

    I think this subject is very important, not only from the neuroscience standpoint, but also from the standpoint of trying to understand why we have such a strong impression of Cartesian Duality. It reminds me of a lecture in which Thomas Metzinger asked what Natural Selection would favor: “There is an iconic representation of a wolf associated with this point in my visual cortex” v. “There’s a wolf.”

  3. SimonWon 01 Oct 2012 at 4:32 pm

    My hypothesis is that the “illusion” or “idea” of Cartesian duality is in part wrought from the effective working of the blood brain barrier. That is your body can take quite a lot of damage and abuse, and your mind can still function surprisingly well (as long as this abuse isn’t in the form of chemicals easily or actively transported across the barrier).

    e.g. The feeling we are in our heads is partly that is where most of the sense organs are, and partly that we have evolved a lot of separation for the brain from the other more disposable bits (like finger, toes, or the occasional arm, leg, kidney, or even eye that goes missing); both chemical and physical separation.

    If you have a medical condition where the brain does start to suffer significant defects with the status of the medical condition, I think it can change one’s “normal” perspective, and one realizes one is properly a unity of ones parts – even if some bits are better insulated from the outside world than others. I guess like in this experiment you get to peak behind the curtain and see the machine for what it is, rather than the apparently magical outputs it produces so effortlessly under better conditions.

  4. ConspicuousCarlon 01 Oct 2012 at 9:27 pm

    SimonW:
    If you have a medical condition where the brain does start to suffer significant defects with the status of the medical condition, I think it can change one’s “normal” perspective,

    This little chunk of brain appears to be one such place:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angular_gyrus#Out-of-body_experiences

    If it isn’t working right, your brain appears to lose track of its own location in relation to your body.

    Also very strange is that the right damage to the Angular Gyrus can cause you to lose the ability to distinguish amongst your different fingers.

  5. daedalus2uon 04 Oct 2012 at 1:04 pm

    This is interesting. I would argue that haptic sensation has to be mediated this way, in that cross-calibration from the visual system is necessary for eye-hand coordination to occur.

    I don’t think that anyone can be “immune” to this effect because this is how motor function (and visual pattern recognition) is learned. Infants are unable to control their motions, the neuroanatomy that controls motion is not developed at birth. Similarly, the cells that detect light in patterns on the retina are not connected into neural networks with high fidelity to do pattern recognition on the nerve impulses from those light patterns. As those nerves grow and wire together, they require feedback to maintain consilience between the visual world and the haptic world “views”.

  6. elmer mccurdyon 04 Oct 2012 at 7:48 pm

    I imagine if you kept the mirrors there long enough, one would adapt.

  7. elmer mccurdyon 04 Oct 2012 at 10:23 pm

    At least your vision would, no?

  8. elmer mccurdyon 05 Oct 2012 at 8:58 pm

    Also, what makes this noteworthy is that it’s so freakish, and so unusual. The vast majority of our subjective perceptions are accurate, else we wouldn’t be able to function.

  9. Lenoxuson 08 Oct 2012 at 1:58 pm

    Shouldn’t this post’s title be “Feel What You See”? ;)

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