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Mapping the invisible hand: a body model of a phantom limb

Longo, Matthew R. and Long, C. and Haggard, P. (2012) Mapping the invisible hand: a body model of a phantom limb. Psychological Science 23 (7), pp. 740-742. ISSN 0956-7976.

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After amputation, individuals often have vivid experiences of their absent limb (i.e., a phantom limb). Therefore, one’s conscious image of one’s body cannot depend on peripheral input only (Ramachandran & Hirstein, 1998). However, the origin of phantom sensations is hotly debated. Reports of vivid phantoms in the case of congenital absence of the limb show that memory of former body state is not necessary (Brugger et al., 2000). According to one view, phantoms may reflect innate organization of sensorimotor cortices (Melzack, 1990). Alternatively, phantoms could reflect generalization from viewing other people’s bodies (Brugger et al., 2000), a sensorimotor example of the classic theory that understanding oneself follows from understanding the “generalized other” (Mead, 1934, p. 154). Because phantom limbs cannot be stimulated, sensory testing cannot directly compare visual and somatosensory influences on representations of phantom limbs. Consequently, empirical investigation of phantoms is limited.

Item Type: Article
School or Research Centre: Birkbeck Schools and Research Centres > School of Science > Psychological Sciences
Depositing User: Matthew Longo
Date Deposited: 22 Jun 2012 12:27
Last Modified: 13 Jun 2013 09:27

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