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The Woman Attacked by Goblins

Episode 3 of 5

Neuropsychologist Paul Broks continues his detective hunt for the self. In this episode, he considers sleep paralysis and other occasions when our sense of the body goes haywire.

Neuropsychologist Paul Broks continues his detective hunt for the self. Today he considers sleep paralysis and other occasions when our sense of the body goes haywire.

Sleep paralysis is common but extremely frightening. The firewall between fantasy and reality collapses and all hell breaks loose, with goblins, witches and other mythic creatures suddenly appearing threatening and real. The borderline between sleep and wakefulness is when we are often most unsure of the reality of our selves.

Normally we all have an intuition that we are an "embodied" self, that we have a body which we own and control, and which we are never separated from. But there are many kinds of body awareness dysfunctions, from phantom limb to Alice in Wonderland Syndrome, in which the patient has the illusion that they have shrunk or grown. Do people who suffer from these dysfunctions retain a sense of self, or feel that they are somehow degraded as persons?

Presenter: Paul Broks
Producer: Jolyon Jenkins.

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12 minutes