Out-of-body experience-- real or not real? (Make-up #1)

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I was surprised to that learn out-of-body experiences (OBEs) are not only a studied phenomenon in the field of Psychology but also reported to have occurred among ten percent of the general population. As a college student, I was even more shocked to find that twenty-five percent of my peers have reported experiencing this surreal scenario. An OBE is defined as an "extraordinary sense of our consciousness leaving our body." (p. 178) There are countless testimonies of OBEs found in books, on television, on the internet, etc. However, according to Chapter 5 of the textbook, there is no conclusive or replicated evidence demonstrating that all of these people could actually have been floating out of their bodies. How can this be? How can so many people come forward with a type of story that Psychological testing has actually falsified?

The answer, according to researchers on the subject, could potentially be that these experiences are actually a "scrambling of the senses" with a result of a disruption in our physical body that feels a lot like an out-of-body experience. (p. 179) All of these theories on OBEs as a misinterpretation are based on researchers' basic knowledge of the human brain. The brain is capable of integrating sensory information from different pathways into a unified experience. In other words, the brain is able to take various bits of visual sensory impressions and formulate all of these bits to feel like one fluid encounter. According to the textbook, these sensory impressions combined with physical sensations can work to fool us into an out-of-body experience. (p. 179)

7 Comments

I also was very interested in this topic while reading! I found it extremely contradictory that it falsifies itself, I also think something that might play a role in OBE's are dreams, stress, and tiredness. Not to make any claims or anything but someone may say they experienced it but really didn't experience the full thing, I definitely think they need more research in OBE's to fully claim what they really are/do.!

I really enjoyed reading this post about out-of-body experiences, a topic that I find especially interesting. I personally have not experienced an out-of-body experience, however I would believe that 25% of college students claim to have experienced something of the sort. I have also heard many stories regarding out-of-body experiences through the media. One of these stories described a mother whose child had somehow gotten trapped underneath a car, and she had miraculously been able to lift the vehicle enough for her child to escape. I think that the hypothesis that you described in this post could account for the unbelievable amount of strength displayed by this mother. Overall, I really enjoyed the topic and direction of this post.

The idea of an out-of-body experience actually occurring is somewhat difficult for me to comprehend, as I think it is for a lot of people. I think some people might say they experienced an OBE due to excitement, or a misinterpreted dream. Perhaps it was a trick of the mind, however there is really no way to test for this! I do like the hypothesis you came away with, however there needs to be more research to truly begin to understand this interesting phenomenon.

Having an out-of-body experience sounds crazy, and I wouldn't mind having one. However, the thought of it seems odd, along with the fact that 25% of college students have claimed to have one. This number seems high, and it may be other things besides OBE's that people are experiencing, but either way it would be interesting to find out what causes these things to happen.

The idea of out of body experiences, to me, seems a lot like the high number of alien experiences that people have reported. There isn't an easy way to disprove any of them, but at the same time, they can't exactly be proven, either. I think the part about the scrambling of senses really made the most sense for these alleged out of body experiences.

I think that having an out-of-body experience would be awesome! I have not a lot of people in my life say that they have had out-of-body experiences, so I am also shocked by the number of people reporting that they have had these experiences. Even though, it is hard to believe that such a phenomenon can occur and psychologists have been able to falsify it, I still think this is something that people can experience. How can psychologists or scientists really disprove something that they cannot truly measure?

Personally, I have never talked to anyone who described having an out-of-body experience, so I want to know where this twenty-five percent is hiding. It might just be that the participants in the survey wanted to match experimenter expectations and said what they thought researchers wanted to hear. It could also be that people are more comfortable admitting to experiencing a supernatural occurrence on an anonymous survey, but not in front of their friends or peers, where they may feel subject to judgment.

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This page contains a single entry by carda017 published on April 4, 2012 1:52 PM.

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