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6. Moving: Hacks 62–69 > 62. The Broken Escalator Phenomenon: When Autopilot Ta...

The Broken Escalator Phenomenon: When Autopilot Takes Over

Your conscious experience of the world and control over your body both feel instantaneous—but they’re not.

Lengthy delays in sensory feedback and in the commands that are sent to your muscles mean that what you see now happened a few moments ago and what you’re doing now you planned back then. To get around the problem caused by these delays in neural transmission, your brain is active and constructive in its interactions with the outside world, endlessly anticipating what’s going to happen next and planning movements to respond appropriately.

Most of the time this works well, but sometimes your brain can anticipate inappropriately, and the mismatch between what your brain thought was going to happen and what it actually encounters can lead to some strange sensations.


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