Bye-bye Sweet Body

Ever had Extra Corporeal Experience (ECE), otherwise known as Out-of-Body Experience (OBE)? I haven’t. However, in recent study, researchers came to conclusion that OBE/ECE might be more common than previously thought: a ‘possibility that this phenomenon may have a significant incidence but [is] unreported because people do not think this is exceptional.’

Researchers came across a psychology graduate who admitted she could have voluntary out-of-body experiences before she fell asleep. The 24-year-old revealed she is able to see herself floating horizontally in the air above her body, rotating and can sometimes watch herself from above (illustrated)

Researchers came across a psychology graduate who admitted she could have voluntary out-of-body experiences before she fell asleep. The 24-year-old revealed she is able to see herself floating horizontally in the air above her body, rotating and can sometimes watch herself from above (illustrated)

An unnamed 24-year-old psychology graduate student admitted having it at will before falling asleep. She can elicit the experience of moving above her body and use this as a distraction anytime she felt like it. She thought nothing of it, really.  It serves her well. She could do it as a child, while pretending to nap during preschool sleep time. She thought every other bored kid is doing the same.  Again, she never thought she is any different  from anybody else.

It is a rarity to discover someone  without any brain abnormalities who can have ECEs on demand. And it is a strike of luck for researchers in the field of Human Neuroscience.  Andra M. Smith and Claude Messier (School of Psychology, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, Canada) conducted the study. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scanner was used to examine the subject’s brain.

The fMRI showed that during ECE   ‘strong deactivation of the visual cortex’ takes place, while at the same time the left side of several areas associated with kinesthetic imagery in the brain is activated. This activation, scientists claim, is what causes mental representations of bodily movement.

Figure 1. Rendered image of significantly activated regions of the brain while the participant was having extra-corporeal experiences. Most significantly activated regions are lateralized to the left side and include the supplementary motor area (F), the cerebellum (B,D,E), the supramarginal gyrus (D,F), the inferior temporal gyrus (B,D,F), the middle and superior orbitofrontal gyri (A,C,D,E). The p-value was set at 0.001 uncorrected for this image with the cluster threshold at 200 significant voxels.

Something like this…  Caption is taken from the article. For truly science-minded: read Voluntary out-of-body experience: an fMRI study in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.

Also, the scientists acknowledge that  ‘the ability might be present in infancy but is lost without regular practice.’
Child Floating in the air

Vox Populi from a commentary to the article where this study was a subject:

If you take some LSD (from a lab not the street) you too may experience something like this. But deep meditations and brain machines can also induce this (as well as some South American tribes with their natural hallucinogenics)…

WikiHow provides no less than 4 different methods of achieving OBE at will. Never tried any of them. 

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