Brain scientists have long believed that our body image is limited by our innate body plan and that we can only experience having one head, two arms and two legs. However, a team at the Swedish medical university Karolinska Institutet has shown that it is possible to make healthy volunteers experience having three arms at the same time.
‘It may be possible in the future to offer a stroke patient, who has become paralysed on one side of the body, a prosthetic arm that can be used and experienced as his own, while the paralysed arm remains within the patient’s body image,’ said study leader Henrik Ehrsson. ‘It is also conceivable that people with demanding work situations could benefit of an extra arm, such as firemen during rescue operations, or paramedics in the field.’
I would totally get one of those. Whenever I had to fix my bike, cook, or just read – one arm for the book, one to turn pages, on to hold the cup of tea – a third arm would have been come in handy more than once. Actually, a forth one could be useful as well but I won’t ask for too much. No, I won’t.