this is not IgNobel but false

The 2016 IgNobel prize winners have been announced and the medicine prize went to "Christoph Helmchen, Carina Palzer, Thomas Münte, Silke Anders, and Andreas Sprenger, for discovering that if you have an itch on the left side of your body, you can relieve it by looking into a mirror and scratching the right side of your body (and vice versa)."

But I just tried this out and it did not work. I had a random itch on the right side of my face, went to a mirror, looked inside it and scratched the left side. The itch persisted until I scratched the right side.

11 comments:

CapitalistImperialistPig said...

Maybe you can publish this in Nature.

wolfgang said...

Journal of Ireproducible Results would be more appropriate.
But seriously, try it. I'm curious if this works for other people.

dino said...

this reminds me of: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qbE2ch-9ZFc

wolfgang said...

Yes! Maybe this is where they got the idea from ...
But did you try it with a random itch in your face?
As I wrote, it did not work for me (meanwhile I tried it several times).

dino said...

it kind of works if I fool my brain a little more: 1) I have to mirror left with right: my chromebook camera has an option to do that, and 2) I have to hide my real hand and watch only my hand on the screen.

wolfgang said...

I guess I would have to fool myself better , perhaps the way House did ...
... but once I have the mindset that it does not work, it is pretty much impossible
to trick myself.

Fernando Leanme said...

It didn't work for me. So I tried my own experimental procedure: I slapped my face very hard on both sides, and I couldn't feel the itch anymore. If you want to help me please proceed to test this procedure. But remember, you have to slap yourself very hard.

wolfgang said...

>> I slapped my face very hard on both sides
Also a good way to wake yourself up ...

Lee said...

You might be interested in reading the mirror box article in Wikipedia. V.S. Ramachandran has at least anecdotal success stories in using mirror therapy to alleviate phantom limb pain. I enjoyed reading Ramachandran's books.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mirror_box

d said...

This is also interesting and somehow related:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Body_transfer_illusion

Btw, the original ignobel paper is fully available online:
http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0082756
(there the "rubber hand" is mentioned too)

wolfgang said...

Lee, d,

thank you for the links !