Blind drawing of hand

Blind drawing of hand starting from the left and using a continuous line, before and after experiments.
before-afterCould this exercise be used as a measure of “proprioceptive drift” before and after ‘Rubber hand illusion’ type experiments? I will be exploring this idea soon with the research group at BEAM lab…


Clay hand drawings

Here are are a selection of drawn outlines of clay hands created by workshop participants aged 6 to 12 for the original clay hand experiment (see posts tagged rubber hand or clay hand) Participants of all ages were asked to create a hand and use it in place of a replica rubber hand, the idea was to test if a self-created hand was easier to connect with. The hands were then taken and worked on further, sometimes becoming more distorted and abstract.

Face as Interface

Trying to create a simple motion tracking patch using PD_extended and Gem, I came across this project by Elektro Moon Vision the mini App provides OSC data from movements such as eyebrows, nose, mouth, orientation scale etc. This is massively useful for an experiment I have in mind related to the “strange face in the mirror illusion” The data can be captured and used to control a 3D model in virtual space for example. Matching rotation, scale and orientation to the model and the movement of my head…

This is a simple motion detection patch that tracks the difference between two frames creating ghostly outlines of momentarily disembodied features. Its sensitive enough to pick up facial expressions such as the movement of muscles and eyeballs. A combination of these two systems should be enough to develop a system of projecting on to a face and follow its movements.

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In this video still, the tracking detects the movement of my left side of the face as I smile on one side, to see if it detects the movement of my mouth as well as cheek muscles. the Red circle detects the centre of mass of the image 


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Sensing motion by measuring differences in live video frames Using Pure Data and GEM


See here for the experiments with the strange face in the mirror illusion so far…

Drawing a strange face in the dark

Shortly after my experience of the “Strange face in the mirror experiment”  I made these drawings in low light conditions as a way of recording the perceivable elements of my face and shape of the head. The particles of carbon and graphite reflect well the visual noise, like static, one experiences in the experiment. These drawings don’t illustrate the hallucinations I experienced [these will follow]

“staring at one’s own reflection in a mirror in a darkened room for some time can induce vivid hallucinations. For purposes of research, I had to try it”  My experience of the ‘strange face illusion’…

Drawing in near darkness
Drawing in near darkness

For my description of my experience of the ‘strange face’, illusion see here… “staring at one’s own reflection in a mirror in a darkened room for some time can induce vivid hallucinations. For purposes of research, I had to try it” 
My experience of the ‘strange face illusion’…



Mixing object actions and context

This research looked at how we respond to the observation of actions and how the context affects our neural processing of that action. I was fascinated to learn simply by observing an action with an object that can be potentially used for an action – such as a potato peeler – the brain seems to simulate this action.

But what happens when we observe an object being used for an action in an unusual context? Or what happens if we see an object being used for an unusual action, perhaps even in an unusual space.

The experiments used videos of a person performing a task with specific objects in specific contexts such as cracking and egg into a bowl in the kitchen. and was then repeated in a different context or with a different tool. such as cracking an egg into a shoe in a garage for example. The experiments yielded interesting results [see links below]

For me, this reminded me of the mechanisms artists use all the time. Mixing of materials that would otherwise rarely come together – or simply mixing contexts actions and labels.

“The influence of contextual information on action observation and anticipation
“In order to properly interact with each other it is of utter importance to understand what people around us are doing: that is, to be able to derive intentions, to predict and anticipate future steps of an unfolding action and hence to capture overarching action goals. As actions are highly complex stimuli, action recognition and more specifically goal inference involve not only the readout of core information (manipulation movements, manipulated objects) but also the integration of contextual information, i.e. the scene (including actor, room and contextual object information) in which an action takes place. The latter may be especially important for the inference of action goals. Hence, information that is not necessary for the recognition of an on-going action (e.g. cutting a carrot) might be crucial for higher-level inferences of goals (preparing a salad) and the prediction of forthcoming action steps (e.g. cutting more vegetables, preparing dressing)”
Nadiya El-Sourani, University of Muenster, Germany

Link to related paper:
Making sense of objects lying around: How contextual objects shape brain activity during action observation

Rubber hands ‘feel’ touch that eyes see

The first report on the Rubber Hand illusion. Published in Nature in 1998 by Matthew Botvinick, and Jonathan Cohen of the Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh…

“We report here an illusion in which tactile sensations are referred to an alien limb. The effect reveals a three-way interaction between vision, touch and proprioception, and may supply evidence concerning the basis of bodily self-identification.”

“It has been proposed that the body is distinguished from other objects as belonging to the self by its participation in specific forms of intermodal perceptual correlation7,8. Subjects in our first experiment who referred their tactile sensations to the rubber hand also consistently reported, in both sections of the questionnaire, experiencing the rubber hand as belonging to themselves. Indeed, eight of ten subjects spontaneously employed terms of ownership in their free-report descriptions, for example: “I found myself looking at the dummy hand thinking it was actually my own.”