The Disappearing Hand Trick

2012 First prize
Roger Newport, Helen Gilpin and Catherine Preston
University of Nottingham, UK

This multi-sensory illusion uses vision, touch and position sense to create the illusion that the hand has disappeared. The felt positions of the hands are gradually adapted without the participant noticing so that the real locations of the hands end up further outwards than their perceived locations. When the right hand is removed from vision and the participant reaches across to touch it, all they can feel is the empty table. The combined loss of vision and touch creates a powerful illusion that the hand is missing and was designed to simulate loss of awareness in stroke patients.

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