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According to Science Everything Seems Big to Me

This is just a very weird experiment to show that the way we perceive our bodies affects how we perceive the physical world.

A research group at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden has managed to make people feel as though they actually inhabited bodies of vastly different size - either that of dolls or of giants. The researchers showed that this fundamentally changed the way people perceived the physical world. Those in smaller bodies felt as though they were in a world populated by giant hands and pencils the size of trees, while those in giant bodies felt the same objects to be tiny, toy-sized versions of the real thing.

In order to accomplish this trick of self-displacement, participants in the experiments lay on a bed and wore a head-mounted display connected to two video cameras. These cameras faced a fake body lying on a bed next to the participant; thus, when participants looked down toward their own bodies, they instead saw artificial bodies where their own should have been. These artificial bodies were either huge (a 13-foot form made of chicken wire) or very small (a Barbie Doll).

In order to make participants feel ownership over these false bodies, researchers employed a technique well known to those interested in body perception. Participants would place their hands out of view, perhaps under a table, while an artificial hand sat atop of the table. The experimenter then stroked both the obscured real hand and the visible fake hand synchronously. As a result, participants would witness a hand in roughly the same position as their own being touched in precisely the manner that they felt themselves to be touched. This had the effect of making the majority of participants feel the false hand to be their own. This method has been shown to work with whole bodies - it even allows a participant to feel as though he or she is sitting in another person's body, shaking hands with their self!

The bit about self-displacement relieves my mind, though. Those of you who don't scuffle very often may have never experienced this, but there have been times when tangled up during a fight that i've actually confused which limbs were mine. So now i know i'm not an idgit (shuts up). Woo.

At least this article recognizes this experiment sounds wacky and attempts to justify it with a practical and useful application of their findings.

Though to some, these experiments may seem to be no more than glorified parlor tricks, findings from this line of research have a very useful application. The same principles behind this body-swapping illusion were recently established to be an effective treatment for arthritis pain, since they allow sufferers to feel as though their cramped fingers are being stretched to impossible lengths, thus providing relief from their pain.

So the question on my mind is does this mean Reed Richards will never experience arthritis or is he screwed cause this type of treatment won't work for him? Mebbe he wouldn't try it anyway because it's too "undignified".

By min | November 8, 2011, 5:38 PM | Science