Fake Hand Freakout

Science Channel


This is an experiment where an individual is given a rubber hand in front of them and their real hand is hidden behind a sheet, so they can only see the rubber left hand and their real right hand. They begin with giving the rubber left hand and the real left hand the same stimulation, whether it be a paint brush or another textural item. Over time, the brain will begin to be tricked into thinking the rubber hand is their actual hand because of the visual component with the rubber hand, and the feeling with their real hand. Then out of no where, they’ll stab the rubber hand and the individual will recoil their left hand, believing that their hand with get stabbed, but in reality it was just the rubber left hand that was stabbed. There are also experiment similar to this one where someone is given a video of a rubber hand that was stabbed and even though their real hand was only given pressure, no wound, they would actually see the video and believe they can feel pain of being stabbed when in actuality they have not.


This is a very interesting experiment because of how the brain can trick itself into believing something that may not be your hand, is your hand. The rubber hand is by no means very realistic, it resembles a hand but anyone can tell it’s fake at first glance. But the build up of tricking the brain into believing something that isn’t real, to be real, is something that many would believe to be wild; similar to phantom pain.

This can possibly be used in other situations, not just a freak out trick, but visual training for an individual that may need practice regaining and training their muscles, a visual image or video may be helpful in that. I believe there’s potential in using this concept for helping others as a way to trick the brain into believing something and it happen, like a placebo effect.