Table of contents:
- In June 2019, Nature magazine published an unusual article about a mother and son who have six fingers on each hand. Scientists have studied the couple as thoroughly as possible. And what did you manage to find out?
- What is the middle finger? (If you have six)
- Psychologists have introduced a new feeling to man. Are we all superhumans?
- Are you ready to turn into a gorilla? Trust your avatar
- Are we used to moving into new bodies?
- Drawing conclusions together with leading scientists
Video: Scientists Have Discovered A New Feeling. Are We All Supermen? - Research
In June 2019, Nature magazine published an unusual article about a mother and son who have six fingers on each hand. Scientists have studied the couple as thoroughly as possible. And what did you manage to find out?
What is the middle finger? (If you have six)
Such an anomaly is not very rare. During excavations of ancient civilizations, skeletons with six fingers are found. On average, this structure of the hand occurs in two newborns for every thousand. But people most often prefer to remove such fingers at a young age, considering it an ugliness, so this is not often met.
The sixth fingers did not turn out to be some kind of freaks - they had their own independent muscles, full-fledged nerve fibers and their area was highlighted on the brain map. They were represented in the brain like any other organ. A person could feel where he is and what his sixth finger touches at any time, even with his eyes closed. Due to this, a person could perform very complex manipulations that an ordinary five-finger person cannot do. And in some cases, doing what others would have required two hands.
In the house-museum of Ernest Hemingway, there are about 50 six-toed cats, whose progenitor, nicknamed Snow White, was donated to the writer by the captain of the ship. In the fleet, these cats were prized for their excellent balance during pitching and their unrivaled ability to catch rats.
Modern robotics gives us the ability to add new body parts or enhance some abilities (through, for example, exoskeletons). The main problem is precisely in the integration of artificial addition to the map of the human body.
Research has shown that our brains can perfectly “accept” several more body parts and integrate them without problems or conflicts with other limbs
Psychologists have introduced a new feeling to man. Are we all superhumans?
But this is not news. 15 years ago, scientists from the University of Osnabrück in Germany conducted a stunning experiment, the results of which did not receive adequate coverage.
German psychologists successfully introduced a new feeling to a person - in the literal sense: they gave a person inhuman sensations
The participants in the experiment, putting on a special belt, could feel the earth's magnetic field, just like birds. There were sensors on the belt, and one of them, directed towards the north, vibrated. Thus, a person at any time could literally feel where the north is. It would seem, so what? But the brain learned in a week to understand these signals and integrate them with other senses. By putting on the belt, the person actually acquired another, new feeling that is difficult to describe (participants tried).
This feeling is somehow related to the perception of space, unity with the outside world and the feeling of home. When the participants turned in the belt after a month-long experiment, they found themselves feeling nostalgic for losing something of value.
Researchers are continuing their work and have already made the device even more interesting. Now you can set a route from your smartphone and, putting on the belt, let it guide you with vibration in the desired direction. This is especially useful for the blind: with a belt, they get another dimension of perception of the invisible world for better orientation.
Are you ready to turn into a gorilla? Trust your avatar
I learned about the project six years ago, and if you ask me what will happen in the near future, I would confidently predict the flowering of self-knowledge and the expansion of our capabilities. Then I was still amazed by the ease with which the brain discovered for itself a previously unknown, inhuman feeling, calmly accepted it and made the owner a little "superhuman".
What are the limits of our possibilities if we can calmly “arrange” the sixth finger or “shelter” a new feeling? Through witty and incredible experimentation, today we are discovering these limits.
One of the places for searching has become the virtual space. Imagine you are wearing a suit with special markers. This costume is designed so that markers at key points on your body convey information to your avatar in the virtual world. As you move, the avatar follows your movements instantly and accurately.
Next, you put on a virtual reality headset and scan the room in the digital world. There are different items, your guide and a mirror. You are asked to look at your hands. You bring them to the "eyes" and see that these are the legs of a gorilla. A person standing next to you in the virtual world slaps you lightly on the paw, and you feel it! All this is already enough for you to feel yourself in the skin of a gorilla.
Are we used to moving into new bodies?
A large number of experiments of this kind are now being carried out all over the world. The subjects are "implanted" into the bodies of people of the opposite sex, of a different race, the elderly or children, into dolls, into dwarfs or giants, with huge arms or a long nose. And it always happens very easily, as if “moving” to another body is a common thing for a person. Such plasticity itself is curious.
This year, a team from the University of Duisburg-Essen set itself the task of trying to transfer humans into different non-human bodies, differing in size, shape and skeleton: a tiger, a bat and a spider.
39 participants went through the "transformation" into beasts, and again, to the surprise of the researchers themselves, the process was incredibly easy. It would seem how you can even imagine yourself as a six-legged spider, and even more so to get used to this body in a matter of minutes? Moreover, it turned out that some non-human bodies are even better than humanoid ones in some specific situations. The bat avatar becomes the home for the human body if it flies in the virtual world.
The most popular avatar, by the way, according to polls, are flying creatures. They have the best potential for VR gaming. Well, why not - when you are offered such an incredible choice of options, it is stupid to "fit" into the usual human body. In addition to games, avatars will naturally be used in pornography, how can we go without it?
Have you tried sex hanging upside down like a bat yet? Soon you will have such an opportunity
It's time to draw some conclusions.
Drawing conclusions together with leading scientists
1. Our brain has no limit of five fingers.
A carpenter with seven fingers now lives in India. It is registered in the Guinness Book of Records.
2. The brain of each of us is ready to accept a completely new feeling
For example, it could be the Earth's magnetic field or readiness to fly like a bat. Why not? Also quite an inhuman ability.
3. We can very easily change the map of our body and get used to bodies of the most diverse types.
And we do it somehow so simply that after Schwarzenegger in the legendary film "Predator" I would like to ask a person: "What is it?"
Obviously, we still do not even imagine our capabilities and boundaries. And this is after thousands of years of self-knowledge and contemplation! But one thing is clear - they are much more than we think.
The coming years will bring us many new discoveries. Get ready for miracles. They will certainly happen
More about this:
- Dalton RP, Roseberry T. Studying the superhuman // Scientific American. September 4, 2019.
- Mehring C., Akselrod M., Bashford L., Mace M., Choi H., Blüher M., Buschhoff A.-S., Pistohl T., Salomon R., Cheah A., Blanke O., Serino A., Burdet E. Augmented manipulation ability in humans with six-fingered hands // Nature Communications. 2019.10 (1), 2401.doi: 10.1038 / s41467-019-10306-warxiv.org / abs / 1907.05220