out of body sensation

Discussion in 'Jokes' started by Sriniketan, Aug 25, 2007.

  1. Sriniketan

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    this article is from an e-magazine:Scientists Induce Out-Of-Body Sensationwww.nytimes.comUNITED STATES, August 23, 2007: (HPI note: What the researchers did not appear to investigate in this fascinating experiment is whether, during the induced out-of-body experience, it was possible for the person to see or hear something that he should not have been able to. The most compelling testimony in out-of-body experiences is the person in his astral body seeing or hearing something he could not have from the perspective or location of his physical body.) Using virtual reality goggles, a camera and a stick, scientists have induced out-of-body experiences--the sensation of drifting outside of one's own body--in healthy people, according to experiments being published in the journal Science. When people gaze at an illusory image of themselves through the goggles and are prodded in just the right way with the stick, they feel as if they have left their bodies. The research reveals that "the sense of having a body, of being in a bodily self," is actually constructed from multiple sensory streams, said Matthew Botvinick, an assistant professor of neuroscience at Princeton University, an expert on body and mind who was not involved in the experiments.Usually these sensory streams, which include vision touch, balance and the sense of where one's body is positioned in space, work together seamlessly, Prof. Botvinick said. But when the information coming from the sensory sources does not match up, when they are thrown out of synchrony, the sense of being embodied as a whole comes apart. The brain, which abhors ambiguity, then forces a decision that can, as the new experiments show, involve the sense of being in a different body.The research provides a physical explanation for phenomena usually ascribed to other-worldly influences, said Peter Brugger, a neurologist at University Hospital in Zurich, Switzerland. After severe and sudden injuries, people often report the sensation of floating over their body, looking down, hearing what is said, and then, just as suddenly, find themselves back inside their body. Out-of-body experiences have also been reported to occur during sleep paralysis, the exertion of extreme sports and intense meditation practices. The new research is a first step in figuring out exactly how the brain creates this sensation, he said. The out-of-body experiments were conducted by two research groups using slightly different methods intended to expand the so-called rubber hand illusion. In that illusion, people hide one hand in their lap and look at a rubber hand set on a table in front of them. As a researcher strokes the real hand and the rubber hand simultaneously with a stick, people have the vivid sense that the rubber hand is their own. When the rubber hand is whacked with a hammer, people wince and sometimes cry out. The illusion shows that body parts can be separated from the whole body by manipulating a mismatch between touch and vision. That is, when a person's brain sees the fake hand being stroked and feels the same sensation, the sense of being touched is misattributed to the fake. The new experiments were designed to create a whole body illusion with similar manipulations. For the full article click on URL above.Sriniketan

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