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How could you confuse a rubber hand for your own hand?

By: Julia Layton

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Author's Note: How could you confuse a rubber hand for your own hand?

The brain and its integration of sensory stimuli is an enormous topic, and I tried to limit this article's scope to the specifics of the rubber-hand illusion in the hopes of making it manageable for readers of all backgrounds (and avoid producing a tome). Note, however, that while the premotor cortex is at the center of the rubber hand illusion, as it appears to be in control of body ownership, the parietal cortex is also involved in sensory interpretation, and it appears to control body image (shape and size). In my brief mention of disease processes that may be elucidated by findings in studies like the rubber hand illusion, the parietal lobe plays a central role in at least two: anorexia and body dysmorphic disorder. There is a very cool illusion that sheds light on body-image disruptions, which you can read about here in PLOS Biology.

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