Science Fair 2016


Doctors and researchers have discovered breakthroughs about phantom sensations, what causes them, and how to prevent them. This project demonstrates the causes and effects of phantom sensations. The procedure for creating phantom sensations were tested on different test subjects to recreate the effects. My hypothesis is that the effects of phantom sensations can be replicated by tricking the brain through optical illusion. The results of my experiment supported my hypothesis by showing most of the desired effects.



My question is how does what you see with your eyes affect what you experience in other parts of your body.



If mirrors are used correctly, then phantom sensations will occur in the test subjects.




  1. One full-body mirror


  1. At least two test subjects




  1. Set up the mirror so that the subject can stand against one edge of it with half of their body towards the reflective side and the other half of their body towards the back of the mirror


  1. The subject should be able to see one half of themselves in the reflection, giving the illusion of a whole body.


  1. Allow the subject time to play with their reflection. They should feel the reflection acting as their other half.


  1. Stimulate various parts of the subject’s body such as tapping the knee with a hammer or moving their feet up and down on the carpet.



Both subjects that were tested reported feelings of phantom sensations. After five minutes of standing next to the mirror, they reported that the reflection felt “under their control.” After moving their feet, the subjects reported the feeling that their other foot was moving as well, although it remained stationary behind the mirror. When lifting the leg facing the mirror, the subjects reported feelings of floating and unbalance. Feelings of sensation were faint between the subjects or not present at all.



My results support my conclusion. Both subjects experienced phantom sensations. They did not, however, experience certain sensations, such as pain, as much as sensations of touch.


Future Direction

Understanding what causes and how to prevent phantom sensations can drastically improve physical and mental recovery of patients. Phantom sensations are more than often accompanied by intense pain. Understanding how to eliminate this feeling and pain could save amputees months, if not years, of recovery time.


Background Research

Phantom sensations, or phantom limbs, are he sensations that an amputated or missing limb is still attached to the body and is moving appropriately with other body parts. Phantom limbs can include internal as well as external organs. Approximately 60 to 80 percent of amputees experience phantom sensations in their amputated limb; the majority of which being painful. These sensations do not only occur in humans but animals as well. These phantom sensations are neurological disorders not psychological. They occur because of abnormalities or damage in the nerves of remaining limbs.

Phantom Sensations

Phantom Sensations
Phantom Sensations