10 Cool Ways To Hack Your Brain

7. Trick Your Brain Into Thinking A Rubber Arm Is Real

We’ve all heard of the phantom limb, wherein people who’ve had limbs amputated can still feel the presence of their missing appendage, to the extent that they can feel pain and other sensations in it. While still mind-blowing, it has been extensively studied and talked about. What’s surprising, however, is that you can do something similar with your existing limbs, as well.

In an experiment, researchers asked volunteers to put both their arms on the table, with their right hand inside a box. They then placed a rubber arm on the box and aligned it with the participants’ right shoulders in the same position as their real arms, with just the tips of fingers visible. When the scientists stroked both the fake and real hands for a minute or two, they were surprised to find that eventually, the volunteers started perceiving the fake hand as the real one.[4]

Scientists don’t quite understand how it works, though they’re sure that it has something to do with how the brain gives priority to visual cues over anything else while determining the ownership of its parts. Now you definitely can’t use this one to, say, get out of tricky situations, but it makes for a freaky diversion at otherwise dull parties.

6. Stop Yourself From Choking By Singing

How many times has it happened that you’re called to speak in front of a group, and before you can say anything, the words seem to get stuck in your throat? It’s not just psychological, either; for many people, that choking is quite real. And seeing how public speaking is one of the biggest fears around, it happens to more people than you’d think. If only there was a way to counter it.

Fortunately for us all, science has figured out a way to effectively halt choking in high-stress situations. All you need to do is sing a song to yourself, as it distracts the brain and helps alleviate the feeling of panic you get in those moments.[5] In case singing is not a socially acceptable option, like during a meeting, you can also try other things like counting backward from any number or simply focusing other things.

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