I know you have heard of illusion before. Usually we think of optical illusions. This weekend I explored Tactile Illusions with the kids. They found this fascinating and I have found them carrying out the activity I showed them again and again just for fun.
Tactile Illusions exploit the sense of touch. They make you feel something that isn’t there or make your body appear like it is doing something that it is not. These types of illusions are not generally practiced.
The tactile illusion I taught the kids was what I dub pushing our arms through floorboards. It is a fairly easy trick that once modelled can be replicated by children themselves in pairs. All it involves is one child lying face down on the floor, eyes closed tightly with their arms stretched out straight above their head. Stretch their arms up as high as possible without hurting them. Hold the position for a minute and then gently and slowly lower the arms. As their head touches the ground say “your arms are now going below the floor boards” as you continue to lower their arms. This should provide the illusion of their arms going below the ground or of them falling.
This can provide a similar response if you use your legs too.
Want to try some more tactile illusions? Here are some more for you to try:
How to Feel Like You Have Two Noses (often called the Aristotle Illusion)
The cutaneous rabbit illusion hops out of the body
A Brief Taxonomy of Tactile Illusions and Demonstrations That Can Be Done In a Hardware Store