Here’s a neat little trick you can play on yourself. In fact, you can only play it on yourself. Raise your arm (any of them), extending it over your head with an open palm, in such a way that you can’t see it.
Now, with your other hand, touch the tip of your nose with your index finger. Stay in this ridiculous position for around five seconds. Finally, raise your index finger and try to touch the thumb of your raised arm.
If you can’t find your thumb the first time you try, and starts to wander around, you will have the feeling that your thumb disappeared from your hand.
Congratulations, you have just played with your proprioception. That’s the sense of the relative position of the neighboring parts of the body, for instance, right now you know where your feet are even without looking at them. And we only notice the proprioception when it doesn’t work very well, as in the example below:
Much more interesting are the experiences with proprioception that lead to the rubber hand illusion. Or, in an even more extreme – and proportionally fascinating – version, where you fail to feel your whole body, in a sort of artificial “out-of-body” experience.
Thus, that classic scene of standing on one foot and touching the tip of your nose goes from proprioception to consciousness and out-of-body experiences. Tell that to the officer, he may find it a trip. [via Microsiervos]
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