A woman with a special skill is surprised that everyone doesn’t experience this.
After a class on out-of-body experiences, a psychology graduate student at the University of Ottawa came forward to researchers to say that she could have these voluntarily, usually before sleep. “She appeared surprised that not everyone could experience this,” wrote the scientists in a study describing the case, published in February in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.
An unusual find, wrote the scientists, University of Ottawa researchers Andra M. Smith and Claude Messier–this is the first person to be studied able to have this type of experience on demand, and without any brain abnormalities. Instead of an “out-of-body” experience, however, the researchers termed it a “extra-corporeal experience” (ECE), in part because it lacks the strong emotions that often go hand-in-hand (such as shock & awe, for example).
To better understand what was going on, the researchers conducted a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study of her brain. They found that it surprisingly involved a “strong deactivation of the visual cortex.” Instead, the experience “activated the left side of several areas associated with kinesthetic imagery,” such as mental representations of bodily movement.
An out-of-body experience (OBE) is when a person feels as if they have left the physical body and are observing one’s self and the world from outside one’s own body. This experience is generated in the brain. It is very interesting that science can study this woman and help us understand these experiences. They are NOT paranormal. This is further evidence of that.
For more on OBEs from a rational angle, check out Susan Blackmore’s book. Wonderful read. Apparently drugs can help with this experience.
Tip: David Gluck