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Most people can’t tell their toes apart without looking. Some healthy people can 'lose' a toe if their eyes are closed.

© Piotr Marcinski - Shutterstock

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

While most of us would assume we’ve got a pretty good idea of where the various parts of our body are, research from Oxford University suggests we may have a problem telling our toes apart – with implications for the way our brains see our bodies.

A paper in the journal Perception reports an experiment in which people were asked to close their eyes. The testers then gently prodded each toe or each finger and asked the people to identify which digit was being stimulated.

Dr Nela Cicmil from Oxford’s Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics said: ‘The results confirmed some earlier research that suggested people could find it harder to distinguish between their toes than their fingers. People could correctly identify the finger being stimulated in 99 per cent of cases. For the big and little toes, that fell to 94 per cent. But for the middle toes, it was 57, 60 and 79 per cent.

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