should regard someone who is exceptionally tall as abnormal, butmerely seen as part of the spectrum of human gender identity.
(b) Phantom sensations
The vivid sensation of still having a limb although it has been ampu-tated, a phantom limb (Ramachandran & Rogers-Ramachandran,1992; 1996) was first described by Weir Mitchell (1871) over a centuryago. Over the last 15 years there has been a tremendous resurgence of interest in phantom limbs as a tool for exploring the plasticity of the brainandtheextenttowhichaspectsofbodyimageareinnatelyspeci-fied. After amputation of an arm, the region of the Penfieldhomunculus that is deafferented is ‘taken over’ by afferents thatnormally innervate the adjacent face portion of the map (Pascual-Leone
., 1995; Ramachandran & Hirstein, 1998; Ramachandran& Blakeslee, 1999; Ramachandran & Rogers-Ramachandran, 2000).Consequently, touching the face evokes referred sensations in the phantom arm.Many phantoms are paralysed but can be visually ‘resurrected’ byusing a parasagittal mirror propped vertically on a table in front of the patient so that the reflection of the normal (say right) hand appearsoptically superimposed on the phantom, providing mirror visual feed- back (MVF) (Ramachandran, 1995
; Ramachandran & Rogers-Ramachandran, 1996; Ramachandran & Hirstein, 1998; Ramachan-dran & Blakeslee, 1999; Ramachandran & Rogers-Ramachandran,2000).Ifthepatientmoveshisrighthanditcreatestheillusionthattheleft phantom arm is moving and, remarkably, it is also felt to move. Inmany patients this procedure can cause the phantom arm to disappear (Ramachandran & Rogers-Ramachandran, 1996; Ramachandran &Hirstein, 1998; Ramachandran & Blakeslee, 1999; Ramachandran &Rogers-Ramachandran,2000),demonstratingthetremendousmallea- bility of body image. Ramachandran and Altschuler showed that themere use of visual feedback can accelerate the recovery of function instroke. They suggested that the procedure may be tapping into mirror neurons (Altschuler
, 1999). Yet despite this plasticity there mustalso be a hard-wired, innately specified scaffold for body image; indi-viduals with congenital absence of both arms also experience vivid phantoms (Ramachandran, 1993; Ramachandran & Hirstein, 1998;Saddah & Melzack, 1994). Phantom sensations offer a valuableopportunity to explore how nature and nurture interact to create bodyimage. The present study is concerned with the question: to whatextent is one’s gender-specific body image innately specified?
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