The alien-hand experiment

Jesper Sørensen

pp. 73-90

This article reintroduces a phenomenological experiment designed in the early 1960's, The Alien-Hand Experiment (TAHE), and it illustrates how phenomena denoted by theoretical concepts like body image, body schema and agency can be studied via the experiment. An analysis of the verbal reports from 26 subjects who participated in TAHE is presented in this article. Subjects were divided into three groups: A group of non-bulimic men, a group of non-bulimic women and a group of female bulimics. The group of (female) bulimics was studied due to the widely spread notion that subjects suffering from eating disorders have a distorted body image. TAHE can be thought of as both a qualitative and quantitative way to study the phenomena arising when the normal relationship between motor behaviour and body experience is disrupted. The present investigation is not an operational definition of body schema and body image, but the two concepts offer a useful interpretive framework.

Publication details

DOI: 10.1007/s11097-005-5854-4

Full citation:

Sørensen, J. (2005). The alien-hand experiment. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 4 (1), pp. 73-90.

This document is unfortunately not available for download at the moment.