12 November 2007

Scientists Spot Brain Center for 'Out-of-Body' Experience

A team of Belgian scientists have linked the sense of disembodiment central to the experience -- the feeling of leaving one's body and then floating outside it -- to abnormal activity in a specific region of the brain.

This activity appears to short-circuit the processing of sensory information and the ability to locate oneself in time and space, the team said.

"Self-perception is nothing else but a creation of your brain," explained neurosurgeon Dr. Dirk De Ridder, of the neurosurgical department at Antwerp University. "We found a key spot in the brain in which different areas are normally activated whenever stimulus comes in, so you can relate that stimulus to yourself, which helps create a unified perception of ourselves."

"The 'total perception of self,' " he added, "is built out of different parts. And one of these parts is that your consciousness belongs within your body."


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