Brain adaptation to "novel sensory signals".

I had a discussion earlier this year about how after so many years of having sub-dermal magnetic sensory input - the most fascinating thing for me was how the brain adapted to having this extra sense. Any removal of this extra sense would be similar to the removal of the sense of smell. This sense should not be viewed as an addition to a person - but as much a part of the person as the senses that they were born with - that is how the brain treats them.

The Sept/Oct issue of Scientific American Mind has a short article on page 13 "Implants That Enhance Our Senses" (original title).
(complete text here:

from the article:
"The implications are tremendous: if the brain is so flexible it can
learn to process novel sensory signals, people could one day feel touch
through prosthetic limbs, see heat via infrared light or even develop a
sixth sense for magnetic north."
I'm still awaiting an opportunity to get the magnetic implants myself - but I presume that after I have them for a while I'll also rather lose phalanges than the implants.


  • Yes, from my own experience I'm still not feeling a lot (oldest magnet is about 2.5 months old now), but just the faint vibrations from some electronics and the ability to mess with laptop sensors (a lot of them use magnets to detect when the screen is closed, makes for some fun pranks and a little bit of usefulness) has very much endeared them to me. I told a friend, these are a new permanent part of me and if anything happens to one of them, I will feel a great sense of loss (and immediately replace it).
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