Out-of-body experiences on demand? Gizmag reveals:
New research demonstrates that triggering an out-of-body experience (OBE) could be as simple as getting a person to watch a video of themselves with their heartbeat projected onto it. According to the study, it’s easy to trick the mind into thinking it belongs to an external body and manipulate a person’s self-consciousness by externalizing the body’s internal rhythms. The findings could lead to new treatments for people with perceptual disorders such as anorexia.
Most of us don’t experience OBE’s because our brains are constantly filtering information from all our senses to help us identify what we are and what we aren’t. For instance we know that our reflection isn’t actually part of us. However the processes that give us the feeling of being in our bodies can be disrupted either naturally (seizures) or artificially (feeding the brain conflicting sensory inputs).
Dr. Jane Aspell and Phd Student Lukas Heydrich attached 17 participants to electrocardiogram sensors and had them view videos of their bodies through virtual reality goggles so that their body appeared to be two meters in front of them.
Participants saw their own heartbeats visually imposed on their virtual doubles in the form of a flashing outline around the body that pulsed in sync. After a couple of minutes, many of the participants reported sensations of being in an entirely different part of the room rather than their physical body and feeling that their “selves” were closer to their virtual doubles.