Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Cutaneous rabbit illusion

The cutaneous rabbit illusion is an illusion of the sense of touch, which is achieved by tapping two different areas of the skin. Most often this is done on the forearm. A quick sequence of several taps on the wrist followed by one or two taps on the elbow crease produces the sensation of taps going up the arm from the wrist to the elbow. This is often compared to a rabbit hopping up the arm, although there was no physical stimulus between the wrist and the elbow crease. This illusion has been the center of many studies. One study demonstrated that the taps that we think we feel between the wrist and elbow crease are associated with neural activity in the same areas in the brain which are activated by the actual taps to the skin on the wrist and elbow crease. Although the exact neural mechanisms that are behind the cutaneous rabbit illusion are not known. I also learned about this illusion in another one of my classes previously this semester. In class we tried the cutaneous rabbit illusion, I was able to feel the illusion of the taps going up my arm, although there were a few people who weren't able to feel it.

-- Jen Merlock

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