Brain Bulletin #68 - The Rubber Hand Illusion

in Brain Bulletin

Your brain would know the difference between your hand and a rubber hand. Or would it?

The Rubber Hand Illusion Video may look like fair ground fun but it reveals one of the most important new ideas in brain science.

Here's the 3 minute video:

Watch it. And then we will talk about it. (Thanks to Brain Bulletin reader Rodney from New Zealand for this one).

In the last Brain Bulletin we talked about the incredibly important discovery of neuroplasticity. In case you missed it here it is: Your Incredible Plastic Brain

Neuroplasticity refers to your brain's ability to change itself in response to experience. This happens through acting, thinking, perceiving, sensing, and incredibly, also through imagining. Your very thoughts can change the connections between your brain cells. Thought changes matter. This is important because your behavior is expressed through the information encoded in you synaptic connections. This has implications for every area of your life. Think about it.

What does the Rubber Hand Illusion add? It shows just how QUICKLY your brain can change itself! This is exciting. But also a little bit sobering. Fundamental, structural changes are taking place in your brain in response to experiences you are having in real time.

It turns out that your brain is extremely malleable. It can change and adapt in phenomenal ways.

I find this exciting because positive changes can be made in minutes. The little daily decisions we make add up to big changes over a longer period of time.

Mindfulness is key here. It's important to pay attention to what is going on. More about this in the next Brain Bulletin.

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Twitter is a great way to learn and fuel your brain. I just posted something cool on why "magical thinking" works.

I will be posting, or tweeting as it's called, regularly about the brain. What I'm reading, watching, thinking, doing....all as it relates to your brain. Twitter restricts tweets to 140 characters, so it is always quick and to the point. No time wasting!

Twitter has the easiest sign up page in the world. Even if you are not on Twitter you can check out my tweets's been a very busy 2 months for me. I was in 9 continents in 52 days!...if you count North America 5 times. I spoke in Brazil, Hong Kong, Switzerland, and Japan, as well as lots of local talks. I am looking forward to getting my brain back on Pacific Standard Time. I have one more presentation next week at the University of the Fraser Valley and then a nice stretch of "down time" for my brain.

In January I'm looking forward to keynoting the Bosch Worldwide Sales and Marketing Conference in Germany. I also get to speak to the City of Richmond, MDA Corp., Dept. of Fisheries and Oceans, and lots of students and teachers.

One of the great things about traveling is that I get to read a lot. Best book this month: "The Mind's Eye" by Oliver Sacks. I love Oliver Sacks!