Studies say out-of-body is not out-of-mind

September 28, 2007 at 3:50 pm (Uncategorized) ()

British and other European researchers have found a way to induce out-of-body experiences using virtual reality goggles. The researchers, who used the goggles to mix up sensory signals to the brain, said the studies suggest a scientific explanation for a phenomenon often thought to be a figment of the imagination, the American Association for the Advancement of Science said Friday in a release. The scientists said the sight of their bodies located somewhere else plus the feel of their real bodies being touched simultaneously made volunteers sense that they had moved outside of their physical bodies. The findings, published in the journal Science, suggest out-of-body experiences may be created by a disconnect between the brain circuits that process certain types of sensory information. In a study by Henrik Ehrsson of University College London and the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, volunteers viewed recorded images through their headsets. In the other study, by Olaf Blanke of the Ecole Polytechique Federale de Lausanne and University Hospital in Switzerland, volunteers saw images of their own bodies from the perspective of someone behind them. The studies said multi-sensory conflict is a key mechanism underlying out-of-body experiences.

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