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Gallery: The Invisible Hand

Invisible Hand Illusion

Invisible hand experiment

(Image credit: Gustav Mårtensson)

In this invisible hand mind trick, a participant sits so they can't see their hand. A researcher brushes both their real hand and an invisible spot the participant can see. The result? The participant comes to feel that their hand occupies that "invisible" space.

Two Hands?

Invisible hand experiment

(Image credit: Gustav Mårtensson)

A researcher brushes a participant's real hand, but she feels as if her limb is in the empty space she can see.

Invisible Hand

Invisible hand experiment

(Image credit: Gustav Mårtensson)

Researchers were surprised to find that the brain could be so easily fooled into believing in an invisible hand. They reported their results April 11 in the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience.

Invisible Hand Threat

Invisible hand experiment

(Image credit: Gustav Mårtensson)

The brain can be so convinced that an invisible hand is part of the body that people sweat when the "hand" is threatened with a knife.

Knife Threat

Invisible hand experiment

(Image credit: Gustav Mårtensson)

A researcher pretends to stab an invisible hand, which the participant feels is part of their own body.

Brushing the Hand

Invisible hand experiment

(Image credit: Gustav Mårtensson)

Brushing a person's real hand while simultaneously brushing an empty space they can see fools the brain into believing the hand occupies that invisible space.

Live Science Staff
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