Saturday, May 29, 2010

Out-of-Body Experience? Your Brain Is to Blame

Scientists have gained new understanding of these odd bodily sensations as they have learned more about how the brain works, Dr. Blanke said.

SHOOT: Excellent article from the New York Times. Have a look, in particular, to page 2, and the work done on schizophrenics etc.
clipped from

There is nothing mystical about these ghostly experiences, said Peter Brugger, a neuroscientist at University Hospital in Zurich, who was not involved in the experiments but is an expert on phantom limbs, the sensation of still feeling a limb that has been amputated, and other mind-bending phenomena.

“The research shows that the self can be detached from the body and can live a phantom existence on its own, as in an out-of-body experience, or it can be felt outside of personal space, as in a sense of a presence,” Dr. Brugger said.

For example, researchers have discovered that some areas of the brain combine information from several senses. Vision, hearing and touch are initially processed in the primary sensory regions. But then they flow together, like tributaries into a river, to create the wholeness of a person’s perceptions. A dog is visually recognized far more quickly if it is simultaneously accompanied by the sound of its bark.
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