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Mystery of out of body experiences to be explained

Published: 6 September 2021 at 08:34


British Science Festival talk to discuss what happens to the brain during phenomenon

Do out of body experiences really exist? Can anyone have them? What makes them occur? These questions and many others will be explored at a free talk at the British Science Festival in Chelmsford this week (7-11 September).

Out of body experiences have fascinated people for millennia, and written accounts go back over two thousand years, but until recently there has been no scientific explanation for why this phenomenon occurs.

During the free talk on Tuesday, 7 September, neuroscientist Dr Jane Aspell will look at some of the recent scientific evidence behind the phenomenon and introduce case studies of people who have experienced profound changes to their sense of self, body and reality.

Dr Aspell will also present recent scientific studies that have investigated what happens in the brain during an out of body experience and in related conditions – autoscopic hallucinations and heautoscopy – in which people also see their own ‘body double’.

Dr Aspell, Associate Professor for Cognitive Neuroscience at Anglia Ruskin University, said:


“Most people have heard of out of body experiences in the context of near-death experiences, but they can also be triggered by a range of different medical conditions and situations, including epilepsy, brain tumours, migraine and traumatic incidents.

“Someone having an out of body experience describes how their self seems to be separate from their own body –floating above it, and they often also see their body lying beneath them.

“There is now strong evidence that out of body experiences and related experiences are caused by abnormal functioning in parts of the brain that process and combine multisensory signals from our bodies.

“This research on neurological patients sheds light on how the healthy brain generates the experience of one’s self, and what happens when that construction temporarily goes ‘wrong’.”


To book a place at this event, visit https://britishsciencefestival.seetickets.com/event/out-of-body-in-the-mind/dome-1/1985845