A New Illusion At Your Elbow

– Peter Brugger and Rebekka Meier:  “A New Illusion At Your Elbow”.  University Hospital Zurich, Switzerland

Move your finger slowly along a person’s forearm from the wrist towards the elbow crook – eyes closed, the person will anticipate touch in the elbow crook. This illusory anticipation may rest on our experience of tactile velocities that are usually much faster and make us believe we feel touch at a body location not yet reached. Neural characteristics of skin receptors specialized for slow motion may also contribute to the anticipation error. Like previously described illusions, the elbow crook illusion is larger on the non-dominant arm. Women showed a smaller illusion than men, confirming their reportedly superior cutaneous sensitivity.

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