Out of Body Experiences: Real or Imagined?

Out of Body Experience

One in ten of us has had an
out of body experience at some point in our lives. This can take the form of
feeling like we have floated outside the confines of our bodies and are looking
down on ourselves. Understandably, rigorous scientific studies are few and far
between, but a few researchers have shown an interest in proving that the mind
is able to travel outside the body.
A couple of years ago there
was a proposal for a fascinating study to directly test whether people’s
consciousness can actually leave their bodies. Dr Peter Fenwick of the
Institute of Psychiatry wanted to attach a picture near the ceilings of 25
emergency rooms around the UK. Patients who had been near to death were to be
interviewed to find out if they had seen the picture.
Unfortunately I can’t find any
results for the study so perhaps it wasn’t carried out or didn’t produce
positive findings. If anyone knows better then drop me a line.
The interesting thing about
out of body experiences – which perhaps explains why there is such a
fascination with the subject – is their link to religion and spiritualism. If
the mind is able to float free from the body, then perhaps life after death is
Psychologist’s explanations of
out of body experiences tend to revolve around more prosaic theories. For
example these experiences may be the result of the brain’s reaction to trying
circumstances – such as high levels of stress. Out of body experiences have
even been induced in patients by stimulating part of the brain – namely the
right angular gyrus.
The University of Manchester
is currently examining how out of body experiences are related to bodily
self-perception. If you’re interested in taking part, the survey is available
the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD
is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from
University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about
scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book
“Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2003) and several ebooks:
Kayode Ojo
Kayode Emmanuel Ojo is the Co-Founder and Managing Director at SHEFFA Limited. He is presently studying Computer Science at the National Open University, Victoria Island, Lagos.