Out-of-Body and Near-Death Experiences

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Chapter 5 talks about topics relating to our consciousness. When looking through the chapter what I found most interesting was the section about Out-of-Body experiences because I have seen them in TV shows and movies but was curious to learn more about them.

An Out-of-Body experiences (OBE) is when one feels that their soul is leaving their body and watching themselves from above. "About 25 percent of college students and 10 percent of the general population report having experienced one or more of them (Alvarado, 2000)." This seems to be quite common however it is questionable whether or not the people are actually leaving their body or if their brains are tricking them. This claim however, is very hard to prove it is wrong because no one knows when they will have an OBE, therefore no one can document to phenomenon. However, H. Henrik Ehrsson used a visual sensory test to try and replicate what happens in OBE and found that when visual sensory is combined with physical sensations it is possible for a person to feel like they are out of their body when really they are not. This experiment suggests that OBE may not be real and it is just has to do with our brain and our situation.


OBEs are found to occur during near death experiences (NDEs). Which are cases when a person almost died or believed they almost did. The people experiencing this phenomenon say that they: were in a tunnel, saw a light, or talked to dead relatives before coming back to themselves. However, studies suggest that what one experiences during a NDE is based on the beliefs a person has on what happens after death. "People from christian and Buddhist cultures frequently report the sensation of moving through a tunnel, but native people in north America, the Pacific Islands and Australia rarely do (Kellehear, 1993)." This suggests that a person reacts to NDEs how they have been taught by their culture to act.

I found the subject of OBEs and NDEs interesting because as its been shown it is hard to prove whether or not these really occur. However, it would be interesting to hear first hand from an individual who "experienced" it because they will give a different view on the matter. They may believe that they really did leave their body and be convinced that scientists do not know what they are talking about. It would be interesting to hear their side of the story because the chapter really only talks about the science of OBEs and NDEs and what it suggests but it is not for sure one hundred percent correct.

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This page contains a single entry by neuma275 published on January 23, 2012 8:01 PM.

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