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21.11.14

The easy way to swap bodies
The easy way to swap bodies

There are some really cool stage magic tricks where people seem to swap bodies – either exchanging places or physically feeling each other's experiences, voodoo doll-style.

But I was intrigued by these experiments that actually trick your body and mind, just by changing what you're looking at (and I love that this is called the 'Quantum Leap effect'...)

You might have heard of the Rubber hand illusion – where a subject looks at a fake hand being stroked, while at the same time having their real hand (which is concealed from view) stroked. The brain matches the stroking you're seeing to the one you're feeling, and decides the hand is yours. Well, scientists Petkova and Ehrsson have found a way to trick the mind into thinking an *entire fake body* is theirs! 

The subjects wore headsets that showed a 'mannequin's eye view', and posed their heads looking downwards, same as the mannequins. (So, if you can imagine, the effect was of looking down at yourself as a mannequin.)

It seems to be something we just can't help. Threatening the mannequin body with a knife even caused the subjects to break out in a sweat! When they tried with less human-looking things, though, the effect didn't work.

So – with just a video camera, a head-mounted display and a reasonably convincing shop dummy, you can body swap all day long!