Headline April 30, 2016/ ''' *SCIENCE* of *SELFIES* '''

''' *SCIENCE* of *SELFIES* '''

'' I HOPE  -to convince you that the time has come to take up consciousness as a strictly biological problem.''

So rang out the opening address at the  1902   meeting of the  American Associations  for the advancement of Science {AAAS}.

However, Charles Sedgwick Minot, the anatomist who said those words, jumped the gun.

Consciousness is still an enigma. That is created within the brain, scientists agree. That it is biology's most intellectually glamorous problem, they also concur. But what it is  and how to find it remains very unclear.

Which is why, despite Minot's aspiration, its study has remained fodder for the rambling final chapters of  cognitive-science  textbooks and those at the dusky end of distinguished scientific careers.

Few have dared take it on without a tenured position under their belts and Nobel-prize medal around their necks.

Some what recently, two young biologists without  Nobel prizes have had a go. Working independently,  Henrik Ehrsson of the Karolonska institute in Stockholm and Olaf Blanke of Geneva University Hospital have been making inquiries into the notion of the bodily self  -an important part of conscious experience.

*A sense of self is what makes a person distinct from his environment and from other people in it. It is also the thing upon which more complex layers of consciousness appear to rest.

Dr Ehrsson and Dr Blanke try to divorce this  perceived self   from the perceiver's body  -in other words to create that phenomenon so beloved of mystics,  an out- of -body experience. And in two papers published in the edition of  Science,  the  AAA'S  house journal.    

Dr Ehrsson's previous experiments have relied on an illusion called the rubber hand. This shifts someone's sense of owning his body away from his real hand to prosthetic one.

It works by allowing him to  view only the rubber hand while both it and his real hand are stroked in synchronicity with one another. That coincidence is enough to fool the part of the brain that integrates inputs from different senses.

The result is to redirect the subject's sense of self from his real hand to the rubber hand in a way analogous to the redirection employed by a ventriloquist when he makes his dummy ''speak''.

Dr Blanke, by contrast, works with epileptics. Occasionally, people who suffer from epilepsy report having standard  out-of-body experiences  -the ones in which an individual looks down on himself from above.

Five years ago Dr Blanke found he could induce such experiences at will in one such person by stimulating a particular part of the brain  -the right angular gyrus  -with an electrical current.

*A small current made her feel as though she was sinking into her bed; a little more had her floating close to the ceiling or seeing her legs kicking towards her face*.

Once again, the part of the brain in question seems to be involved in integrating inputs from different senses. If this area is overstimulated during an electrical brainstorm that is an epileptic fit, the consequence is an out- ---of-body experience.

With these results in mind,  both  Dr Ehrsson and Dr Blanke wondered if they could design experiments that would induce complete  out-of-body experiences in healthy volunteers. The answer, in both cases, was that they could.

Dr. Ehrsson did it by making his volunteers look at themselves from behind. He sat them in a chair and asked them to wear  virtual-reality goggles, which project by projecting a figure in front of each eye. 

Behind the chairs there were two video cameras adjusted so that they were at the level of the volunteer's eyes.

The left hand  camera sent its pictures to the left eye of the goggles; the right-hand camera sent its pictures to the right eye. The subjects could thus see their own backs, in stereo, as though they were sitting behind themselves. 

Dr Ehrsson then tested how touch is combined with vision to locate the self. [Time to take a selfie]. When he tapped  his volunteers on their chests at the same time as he tapped the air at chest height below the cameras-

*They reported feeling that the core of their identity inhabited the camera's position.. They were, in other words, out of their own bodies, and they considered their real  selves- seen through the goggles- as another person. 

When, however, he prodded the chest and the air at different times, that illusion immediately dissolved*.  

The Honour and Serving of the Scientific ''Operational research'' continues. Thank Ya all for reading and sharing forward.

With respectful dedication to the Students, Professors and Teachers of the world. See Ya all on !WOW!   -the world Students Society and the Ecosystem 2011.

''' Consciousness ''' 

Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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