Saturday, October 24, 2009

OBEs in the lab

Other 2007 work even made the headlines of the New York Times (23 August 2007). The NYT article reported upon the work of two separate groups.

Firstly, the work of Dr Olaf Blanke-a neuroscientist at Ecole Polytechnique Federale in Lausanne, Switzerland. Participants put on virtual reality goggles to view an image from a camera in the same empty room, which showed the person's back. The experimenter then stroked the participant's back with a stick, while at the same time projecting the stick's image on the illusory image of the participant's back. With synchronous strokes, participants felt their sens of self to be within the mannequin.

Secondly, the work of Dr Henrick Ehrsson, Assistant Professor, neuroscience, Karolinska Institute, Helsinki. Participants in goggles saw an image of the back of themselves from a perspective 6 feet behind them. One stick was used to stimulate the participant's chest, while another was placed under the camera's lens. Synchronous stroking produced a sense of being outside their body-located where the camera lenses were. (Ehrsson, H H. 2007. The experimental induction of out-of-body experiences. Science 317:1048.)

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