HarrisonIntro2010-Perception - Perception 1 Studies Report...

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1 Perception
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2 Studies Report Inducing Out-of-Body Experience By SANDRA BLAKESLEE Published: August 24, 2007 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 ordinary, healthy people, according to studies being published today in the journal Science. Skip to next paragraph Enlarge This Image Tej Tadi A representation of one of the scenarios that scientists used to study out-of-body experiences. When people gazed at an illusory image of themselves through the goggles and were prodded in just the right way with the stick, they felt as if they had 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 one expert on body and mind, Dr. Matthew M. Botvinick, an assistant professor of neuroscience at Princeton University . Usually these sensory streams, which include vision, touch, balance and the sense of where one’s body is positioned in space, work together seamlessly, Dr. Botvinick said. But when the information coming from the sensory sources does not match up, 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 otherworldly influences, said Peter Brugger, a neurologist at University Hospital in Zurich, who, like Dr. Botvinick, had no role in the experiments. In what is popularly referred to as near-death experience, people who have been in the throes of severe and sudden injury or illness often report the sensation of floating over their body, looking down, hearing what is said and then, just as suddenly, finding 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, Dr. Brugger 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
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This note was uploaded on 12/20/2011 for the course PSYC 2004 taught by Professor Dmharris during the Fall '06 term at Virginia Tech.

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HarrisonIntro2010-Perception - Perception 1 Studies Report...

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