Japan. Super-GT. The land of GT-R, HSV, SC430, Nismo, Honda, TOM’S…..while I loved every moment in the presence of those Japanese icons, the car that really stood out when I visited Autopolis late last year was the little European GT300 you see above.
I’m not quite sure why I was so drawn to the Goodsmile Racing Z4 (or “GSR & Studie with Team UKYO BMW Z4” to give it’s full name). Ok, I do know why really, it’s that awesome manga livery!
Bielefeld neuroscientists present a new bodily illusion
Our bodies are made of flesh and bones. We all know this, and throughout our daily lives, all our senses constantly provide converging information about this simple, factual truth. But is this always the case? A new study by Irene Senna from Bielefeld University’s Center of Excellence CITEC and her colleagues reports a surprising bodily illusion demonstrating how we can rapidly update our assumptions about the material qualities of our bodies based on recent multisensory perceptual experience. The study was published in the international scientific journal PLOS ONE on 13 March 2014.
To induce an illusory perception of the material properties of the hand, a group of neuroscientists from Bielefeld University, the Max-Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics (Germany), and the University of Milano-Bicocca (Italy) asked volunteers to sit with their hands lying on a table in front of them. They repeatedly hit the participants’ right hands gently with a small hammer while replacing the natural sound of the hammer against the skin with the sound of a hammer hitting a piece of marble. Within minutes, hands started feeling stiffer, heavier, harder, less sensitive, and unnatural. Moreover, when approached by a threatening stimulus (a needle that the experimenter moved near their hands), participants showed an enhanced Galvanic skin response, thus demonstrating increased physiological arousal.
To perceive our bodies and the world around us, our brains constantly combine information from different senses with prior knowledge retrieved from memory. However, unlike most bodily properties that frequently change over time (such as posture and position), our body material never changes. Hence, in principle, it would be unnecessary for the brain to constantly try to infer it.
This novel bodily illusion, the ‘Marble-Hand Illusion’, demonstrates that the perceived material of our body, surely the most stable attribute of our bodily self, can quickly be updated through multisensory integration. What is more, it shows that even impact sounds of non-biological materials – such as marble and metal – can be attributed consistently to the body, as if its core material could indeed be modified. This surprising perceptual plasticity might help to explain why tools and prostheses can merge so easily into our body schemas despite being made of non-biological materials.
October 5th (JST) marks the second to the last race (Round 7) in the SuperGT series! Let’s wish Good Smile Racing the best of luck! So far, they’re ranked 1st place overall by two points. Let’s hope they remain in that position!
(All illustrations by official Racing Miku 2014 illustrator Oguchi. Top pic was taken by @Milly. Bottom pic was taken by GSR)