Class 3: Hearing, Feeling / Touching – February 12
Class Lecture & Slides
1. Losing our Touch, from the NYT
2. Technology and Touch: The Biopolitics of Emerging Technologies, Chapter 2 (pp.37-62) – NYU Library Log-in required
Create a wearable that explores the theme of touch / tactility / being touched.
Alternatively, create a wearable that explores one of the bodily awareness disorders we discussed in class (see below)
“The hand is the window on to the mind.” Immanuel Kant
Arduino Capacitive Sensing Library
Products, or on the way to:
Disorders of Bodily Awareness:
Out-of-body experience (cf. Blanke and Mohr, 2005). Some individuals feel that they are located outside of their body, which they can see often from an elevated location: “He felt as if he were at the other end of the room, as if he were floating in space below the ceiling in the corner facing the bed from where he could observe his own body in the bed” (Lunn, 1970).
Supernumerary phantom limbs (cf. Miyazawa et al., 2004). After brain lesions and in some psychiatric disorders, some people report experiencing the presence of more than two legs and two arms: “Examiner: How did you notice that you had a third arm? Patient: The first time was when I had visitors in the hospital. I was waving goodbye with my right hand and I thought it was strange, as they did not wave back… And I moved my arm a second time, looking at it, but did not see an arm” (In Staub et al., 2006, p. 2142).
Somatoparaphrenia (also called asomatognosia or alien hand sign, cf. Vallar and Ronchi 2009; Feinberg, 2009). Following a brain lesion or epileptic seizure, patients deny ownership of one of their limbs, and can attribute it to another individual: “Examiner: Whose arm is this? AR: It’s not mine. Ex: Whose is it? AR: It’s my mother’s. (…) Ex: So, where is your left arm? AR: It’s under there (indefinite gesture forwards). (In Bisiach et al., 1991, p. 1030).
Alice in Wonderland syndrome. Some individuals suffering from migraine aura vividly experience their body parts as growing in size (i.e. macrosomatognosia) or as shrinking (i.e. microsomatognosia): “Sometimes I feel ‘real tall’—and I’m only five feet two! I’ll feel weird and tall, and walk into my kitchen and feel like my head is going to hit the ceiling and like I’m towering over the countertops.” (alt.support.headaches.migraine, cool aura page, February 2, 2000—see the Other Internet Resources).
Peripheral deafferentation (cf. Cole and Paillard, 1995). After rare acute neuropathy, some patients lose all tactile and proprioceptive information on their body. They no longer know where their limbs are without looking at them: “IW: I looked where my legs were before I started. I looked where my arms were. I looked where my body was and then I started to sit-up very gradually. And I was so euphoric at having sat-up for the first time that I almost fell out the bed because I lost the concentration” (Rawlence and Crichton-Miller 1998).
Thalamic syndrome. In some patients with lesion of thalamus, heat produces excessive pleasure on the affected half of the body: “it is more comfortable; it is a real pleasure; it soothes me; it gives me the feeling that it must do me good” (In Head and Holmes, 1911, p. 222).
Anosognosia for hemiplegia (cf. Vallar and Ronchi, 2006; Vuilleumier, 2004). Although paralyzed, patients experience that they can move and that their body is immediately available to carry any action they may intend. “N: Could you go surfing on the sea should you wish to do so? NS: Why not, if the wind is strong enough” (Cocchini et al., 2002, p. 2031).