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TED-Ed Original lessons feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed original? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator Maryam Alimardani
  • Director Ivana Bošnjak, Thomas Johnson
  • Script Editor Alex Gendler
  • Animator Ivana Bošnjak, Thomas Johnson
  • Composer Stephen LaRosa
  • Sound Designer Stephen LaRosa
  • Narrator Julianna Zarzycki

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Additional Resources for you to Explore
The rubber hand illusion shows our perception of self is not coherent and the way we experience our body is a dynamic process that is constantly regulated by our brain. The rubber hand illusion is just an example of a larger group of illusions called Body Ownership Transfer Illusions, in which, by integrating different types of sensory inputs from a real body and a fake body, one can be tricked to feel a fake body part or even an entire body as one’s own.

There are reported cases of patients who feel their hand or foot does not belong to them or is out of control. One such condition is known as Alien hand syndrome. In extreme cases such as body integrity identity disorder (BIID), patients desire to remove a healthy limb by amputation because it feels alien.

By studying body ownership illusions and clinical disorders, scientists try to understand the cognitive and neural mechanisms that underlie the mind-body interaction. Interested in learning more? Take a moment and watch this excerpt video from the “Through the Wormhole” series.