The Science on Out-of-Body Experiences

In “Awakening Mind” we always try to give you a balanced view, both from the spiritual and scientific perspective. Out-of-body experience is one of the most intriguing among “paranormal” phenomena, and it is also one of the most studied by the scientific community. The reason being its close association with near death experience (NDE). With new modern brain cooling and freezing techniques doctors are able to recover people who have been clinically dead for almost an hour. Many of these people report having an out-of-body experience when they were under. This article presents an explanation of OBE from the neuroscience perspective.     

People who describe having an “out-of-body” experience (OBE), usually say they left their body and found themselves floating above and looking down upon their human self. Often they attribute this experience to paranormal forces.

However there has been work in this area by neuroscientists recently who have found that an out-of-body experience can be triggered by stimulating a certain area of the brain called the angular gyrus with a mild electric current. One woman involved in this experiment was zapped in this region of the brain and the result was that she felt she was actually hanging down from the ceiling, looking at her body.  When another woman was similarly stimulated she experienced an uncanny sense that somebody was standing behind her with the intent of interfering with what she was doing.

At the time these two women were under evaluation for epilepsy surgery on their brains and the surgeons had implanted dozens of electrodes to pinpoint the exact brain tissue that was causing the seizures. They also needed to accurately identify nearby areas involved in hearing, language or other important functions that needed to be avoided during surgery. As the surgeons activated each electrode to stimulate a different area of brain tissue, the patient verbalized her experience.

The neurologist involved in these procedures, observed and reported that both women had normal psychiatric histories and were shocked by the bizarre outcome of the brain stimulation.

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