Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Body (and pronunciation) ownership and the rubber hand technique

Clip art: Clker
A recent study using the "rubber hand illusion, " demonstrated that schizophrenics have a relatively low sense of "body ownership," that is the subjects with the condition had significantly more difficulty in distinguishing between their own hand and that of a rubber "decoy" in their  carefully partitioned visual field during the experiments. One of the conclusions of the study is worth noting: "These findings suggest that focused physical exercise which involves precise body control, such as yoga and dancing, could be a beneficial form of treatment for this disorder."

The concept of body ownership (or optimal body awareness) comes up in several forms in other disciplines as well, from sport  to drama to stress management. The brain of the classic "type A" personality, one prone to be driven and "stressed" easily, is often characterized as having little connection to the rest of the body. (Re-establishing that connection is often the key to stress management, etc.) In my earlier work with moderating the effects of fossilized pronunciation, I was often struck by how many of my clients appeared to have little body awareness. Biofeedback techniques were consistently helpful in establishing workable "felt sense" of both body and pronunciation from which to begin the process of change.

Failing that, I might first send a student to a stress therapist for a few sessions, just to get things loosened up.  I like the parallel of "focused, precise physical exercise" being instrumental in establishing enhanced body ownership. If you are "of two minds" about haptic-integrated clinical pronunciation work, just do a set of HICP or similar exercises consistently and it will soon enough own you--and your body!

1 comment:

Aileen Friedman said...

Hi Bill,
Looking for the exercise link but it's gone. Know only your vowel warmup, which is great.

Do you have links to others?

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