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Medicine

Synchronized Virtual Reality Heartbeat Triggers Out-of-Body Experiences 183

Posted by samzenpus
from the go-into-the-light dept.
Zothecula writes "New research demonstrates that triggering an out-of-body experience (OBE) could be as simple as getting a person to watch a video of themselves with their heartbeat projected onto it. According to the study, it's easy to trick the mind into thinking it belongs to an external body and manipulate a person's self-consciousness by externalizing the body's internal rhythms. The findings could lead to new treatments for people with perceptual disorders such as anorexia and could also help dieters too."
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Synchronized Virtual Reality Heartbeat Triggers Out-of-Body Experiences

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  • That's not an out-of-body experience.

    • by sl4shd0rk (755837)

      That's not an out-of-body experience.

      That's because Zothecula [google.com] seems to do a lot of contributing for gizmag.

    • That's not an out-of-body experience.

      True, not in the "classic" sense that you're thinking, but the VR manipulation described in TFA led to people reporting that their entire body as in a different part of the room. That certainly sounds like the same class of effect as the traditional OBE. It may be that the researchers have hit on the underlying mechanism that drives OBEs. Taken together, I don't find the title to be all that misleading.

    • That is unknown claim. We need a _valid_ frame of reference to compare against. It would be _very_ interesting to find out how this simulated one compares to the real thing by people who have had BOTH.

      I'm hoping they open their research up to the general public. I've had a few real OBE's and would love to have first-hand experience & knowledge of just how close it is to the real thing.

      • by ae1294 (1547521)

        Yeah same here I can have them via meditation but it takes about an hour for a 10% chance. This after a few minutes thing sounds interesting. I'm heading over to see what it says..... I sure would like a short cut like that... but real OBE are a lot more than just feeling alittle like your over there... mine are hard to tell from being in body...

        • Wow. 10% that high!? That is amazing! I'm _really_ curious to see what works for you. Have you tried:

          * Light & Sound Machines?
          * Binaural beats ?
          * Any of Robert Monroe's Hemi-Sync meditation music?
          * Which Lucid Dreaming techniques are you most successful with?
          * Is your meditation active or passive?
          * Are you familiar with any of Robert Bruce's work?
          * Any daily / nightly activities you do (or don't do) that tend to help?

          A favorite of mine is William Buhlman's "Adventure Beyond the Body" music.
          i.e. http:// [monroeinstitute.org]

          • A couple of milligrams of mescaline, or in a pinch, LSD and you're golden (or C# or slightly corrugated).

      • by Nethead (1563)

        What do you mean by "real thing?"

        There is nothing that goes out of the body during an OBE. It's just an incorrect positional assumption, which is what this causes.

        • that the experience is real. Doesn't mean that you are actually out of your body. (There's a similar effect with lucid dreaming -- the experience itself is very real, but it's a product of your brain.)

        • by narcc (412956)

          It's completely unrelated to oft-reported experience. It's as simple as that.

          It's no different than this click-bait article from 2007 [arstechnica.com] or, from your definition, spinning around real fast for a bit.

          There is nothing that goes out of the body during an OBE.

          That's not an assumption anyone is making here. Just you ... and the bottom 1% of the "skeptical" community to which the article was intended to appeal.

          Just for fun: You have no evidence to support your assertion. Your claim is based solely on an unfounded set of metaphysical assumptions. You're the skeptical eq

          • I'm not the parent but I agree with your analysis.

            Looks like this is just a "shadow" of the real OBE. :-(

            The word you are looking for is "pseudo-skeptic" -- someone whose mind is made up even though they have never experienced it. i.e. Randi.

            You'll probably enjoy this excellent essay:

            * Debunking PseudoSkeptical Arguments of Paranormal Debunkers, specifically section: Why Randi, Shermer and the CSICOPers are not Real Skeptics
            http://www.debunkingskeptics.com/Page30.htm#RealSkeptics [debunkingskeptics.com]

        • > There is nothing that goes out of the body during an OBE.
          Incorrect.

          > What do you mean by "real thing?"
          Unless you have actually had an OBE (or NDE) you don't have a frame of reference to understand the shift in consciousness.

          • by Nethead (1563)

            Oh, I have. Granted it was at a Dead concert and LSD was involved. But I distinctly recall thinking/feeling that I was floating above the crowd. My mind presented me with the POV of that position. It was fun. I'd love to do it again but Jerry's dead and I'm too old to drop again.

            But it's just all software running on meatware. Nothing has gone anywhere.

            • You don't need drugs to have an OBE; drugs are a crutch and frack up your etheric body.

              Drugs are only a last resort to prove to you that you _already_ have the ability. Why aren't you interested in learning how to have them naturally?

              • by Nethead (1563)

                This was the early 80s. Trust me, I've been drug free for a couple of decades now.

                And you lost me at "etheric body." What is one of them?

                • > And you lost me at "etheric body." What is one of them?

                  When your Higher Self "shouts" at you "Drugs fracture your Etheric body" I don't question the nature of reality.

                  I have been unable to personally confirm the Etheric layer it but here is a pic that I generally agree with to help put things into perspective:
                  http://www.positivehealth.com/img/phfiles/Issue_184_Articles/auriclayers.gif [positivehealth.com]

                  It definitely needs more study. Who knows maybe you'll be the first to properly document it?

                  • by Nethead (1563)

                    It definitely needs more study. Who knows maybe you'll be the first to properly document it?

                    Why don't you and get a million dollars [randi.org]?

                    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

                      by narcc (412956)

                      Because Randi's silly challenge is meaningless nonsense?

                      To clarify my point, I'll offer my own challenge: One Million Dollars to empirically show that it's possible for someone to dream while asleep.

                      I know that quite a few people claim to dream while they're asleep, but they're clearly either delusional or money-grubbing attention seekers. I mean, if people really could dream, it would be a cinch to win that million dollars, right? I'm not picky. I'll give you every fair advantage. I'll even work with yo

              • Drugs are only a last resort to prove to you that you _already_ have the ability. Why aren't you interested in learning how to have them naturally?

                Better living through chemistry.

            • by Jmc23 (2353706)
              and how do you know this for sure? One drug induced experience doesn't make you an expert and your belief that it does makes you even less credible of a source. One could think of a number of experiments to test this, none which rely on a singular drug induced episode in an ignorant individual.
              • Jmc23, go easy on him, please.

                > One could think of a number of experiments to test this
                Agreed.

                I can shed some light on this. I've had a number of OBEs naturally occurring from 2003 onwards. In 2008 I decided to do a personal experiment because I couldn't find an answer (from anyone I knew) to an important question (and it not like you can just ask anyone):

                Just _how_ close can one get to the proper natural Out-of-Body experience if they use drugs?

                After my first and last experiment in this

                • by Jmc23 (2353706)
                  As long as your nadis are clean doesn't matter whether the energy used for the leap is internal or external.

                  Shouldn't necessarily take years either if you have a structured approach. Logically, becoming familiar first with the disconnection of the mental system from the body during the hypnagogic phase of dreaming makes any further work infinitely easier.

        • There is nothing that goes out of the body during an OBE

          That we know of.

          This is the null hypothesis, and it is a reasonable assumption as there is no evidence (that I am aware of) to the contrary, .
          However, a true skeptic must always remember:absence of evidence does not constitute evidence of absense.

    • by Guignol (159087)
      No, but this is one:
      <body>I'm not here<body/>
      - experience -
  • by FrankSchwab (675585) on Monday August 26, 2013 @01:59PM (#44678459) Journal

    So, when does this technique get declared illegal, like all drug-based methods of altering mental states (other than alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine)?

    • You can't grow your own 3d video goggles, so even if you buy the (not entirely unreasonable) drug war conspiracy theory, big corporations can still make plenty of money on the treatment.

    • I suppose when there's a powerful interest in suppressing videos and enough material to convince the public it's something they need to be afraid of. I doubt it will happen. About nine people a day die as a result of cell phones and driving [cdc.gov], which is about nine more people a day than die from pot, yet we don't have a "war on cell phones." It's because the cell phone companies beat back the "WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN!" response, and no one really stands to make a ton of money from banning cell phones.

      I
    • by Trogre (513942)

      They're working on tobacco, though you left sucrose off the list.

  • The most realistic Sim experience ever!

  • it's easy to trick the mind into thinking it belongs to an external body

    I'll go ahead and read this as "consciousness is designed to remain functional with the associated body being arbitrary".

    Sounds like direct intentional design of a functional, physically-reassignable (hence "resurrectable") soul to me.

    Someone enlighten me on why this, being merely a "trick", would have evolutionary advantage such that all the neurological complexity required to remap perceptions to arbitrary point in space would
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Not every trait or implication of traits that we have is based on some evolutionary advantage. Some of it is simply accidental.

    • by Aguazul2 (2591049)

      it's easy to trick the mind into thinking it belongs to an external body
      I'll go ahead and read this as "consciousness is designed to remain functional with the associated body being arbitrary".
      Sounds like direct intentional design of a functional, physically-reassignable (hence "resurrectable") soul to me.
      Someone enlighten me on why this, being merely a "trick", would have evolutionary advantage such that all the neurological complexity required to remap perceptions to arbitrary point in space would naturally "emerge".

      Supposing that a soul-like thing exists and it is the seat of consciousness, then the evolutionary advantage is that you'd be lying down unconscious if you didn't have one. It's much too easy to get eaten that way. So evolution went with souls (or whatever we might call them, supposing they exist).

    • The brain has the ability to remap and reroute it's perception of itself. This is useful if you ever loose a leg or arm, your brain can think of your body differently to get past it. Sometimes this does not work correctly (phantom limb pain). There have also been some attempts in robotics to have the robot recalculate the best form of movement through simulation when one of its legs is damaged.

      Your brain also has the ability to imagine future scenarios, even impossible ones. Some people have had dre
    • by sjames (1099)

      More likely, body identity is a useful evolutionary trait while mis-identifying not-self as self is a disadvantage. Much like experiments with genetic algorithms, the problem was solved by drunkard's walk in an off beat (to us) manner curiously specific to the situation at hand.

      It just happens that we have found a flaw in the identification of self that can be exploited to create the sensation of floating outside of self. If this came uop often in our lives AND if it created an evolutionary disadvantage (se

    • by timeOday (582209)

      Someone enlighten me on why this, being merely a "trick", would have evolutionary advantage such that all the neurological complexity required to remap perceptions to arbitrary point in space would naturally "emerge".

      I think you have the question backwards. The "trick" is that billions of cells somehow perceive themselves as a unitary thing in the first place. Just as with vision, identifying optical illusions reveals the limitations of the trick, but subjecting us to conditions that were rare or unimpo

    • by skids (119237)

      An explanation is fairly easy: rapid recovery from brain damage and use of redundant signalling pathways during impairment.

      Not that I personally ascribe to the camp who considers an idea of a "soul" to be somehow unscientific, for some definitions of the term, but this is quite frameable as an evolutionary advantage. Also note that not all features of an evolved being necessarily have to be advantageous because random crap can persist in a genome for quite some time before a advantageous trait comes along

    • by Bongo (13261)

      A simpler question, if the brain is 100% responsible for all our actions, perceiving and responding to the environment, then why are we sentient? The brain can process the information that it is being chased by a bear, and process that moving the limbs to run and climb a tree is a strategy for survival. What advantage does experiencing any of this situation give? What's the point of sentience? Sentience is 100% redundant. Yet we are sentient. I have no idea why that is.

      • by Jmc23 (2353706)
        Someone has to figure how to work these computers and machines properly, i.e., direct the genetic algorithms, before they can take their place as caretakers of the earth.
    • You've got it backwards. The evolutionary advantage is that your brain recognizes it's own body's parts. That recognition uses consistent sensory feedback to figure out what's part of you. Then some scientists come along and screw with that feedback.

      Soul? Really? That's a bit of a leap, even compared to the other woo being slung all over these comments, no?

    • by hoggoth (414195)

      To deal with damaged and missing limbs, damaged and misconfigured perception systems, and misformed bodies.
      We aren't hard wired to have fingertips x centimeters away from the spine, etc. Our brains adapt to our physical circumstances. That permits us to 'hack' the system and have the brain perceive lots of different configurations. It will prove very useful in the future for technology enhanced perceptions.

      Doesn't prove a 'soul'.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I'm putting this out there:

    Tactile suit that stimulates you in various points, synchronised to the vision of someone else being stimulated in the same way.

    Who is that someone? Someone of the opposite gender? A furry animal? Who knows?

    Psychologist advised.

  • Any tennis or squash player knows that you treat the racquet as an extension of your body.  Likewise a musician treats the instrument as an extension of their body and that as an extension of their mind and emotions.  Feeling one with your instrument is of great benefit to playing, and it is a similar 'illusion'.

    A common misperception, according to what is taught in classical disciplines that involve serious mind training, like raja yoga or taiji, is that we are not our bodies, nor is our mind and consciousness really seated in our heads.  After significant self-development, that illusion eventually dissipates.

    What we perceive to be our body is that part of reality that appears to be strongly correlated to our minds.  Thus it is easy to mistake ourselves to be our bodies, and our minds for our brains.

    The problem with much of this research is that the researchers have not developed a detailed understanding of their own mind before trying to experimentally analyse someone else's.  This is akin to trying to study an advanced maths paper when you haven't learned maths past high school level: the result is naive researchers whose qualifications and professional position give an illusion of greater research competence than they have. 
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Jmc23 (2353706)
      Careful. What they actually teach is that the physical body is a 'projection'. You are not your body, nor your mind, but you create both in your interaction with 'reality'.

      Give the west a break, they're relatively new at this. It's fun to watch them name 'discoveries' after themselves and congratulate each other on their awesomeness when they're just rediscovering things from millenia ago.

      • by slew (2918)

        Give the west a break, they're relatively new at this...

        Or perhaps there is an alternate theory like there is no human understandable concept of self at all (similar to Plato's Republic** TMA which apparently nobody studies anymore)... If it requires a "third" person to distinguish between self and non-self, then it is perhaps the concept of self is contradictory, unless the concept of self exists beyond human comprehension...

        **It's a relatively new release, but sometimes the OTA update yields a better end-user experience...

        • by Jmc23 (2353706)
          You do know Plato didn't have a very good grasp of object oriented design a la CLOS. Nor did he understand that it is possible for an object to be complete and indivisible at a certain Level of Detail and yet easily viewed as divisible at other LOD's and that consistency of laws doesn't need to be mainted across LOD since they are relatively independent descriptions of reality.

          But the real flaw with his reasoning is being puzzled by encountering relativity paradoxes when reasoning about something with a r

          • by slew (2918)

            Although I don't have the energy to argue with this in detail, the general idea of there being multiple descriptions of reality and the illusion of self awareness yielding self control (yoga-style) is probably best an analogy for attempting to "root" your own body processes.

            Of course just because someone can hack parts of a system, it doesn't mean that person understands the system, perhaps that person is merely just a wet-ware script-kiddie, following someone else's accidental discovery of a few design pro

            • by Jmc23 (2353706)
              Shiva is an aspect of god that humanity is capable of attaining. The interesting thing about shiva is that pure awareness/consciousness has no ability to act.

              You can live your life playing in the darkness of shadows, or dance with the shadows coloured by the memory of reality when you paused to catch your breath.

              • by slew (2918)

                Shiva is an aspect of god that humanity is capable of attaining.

                AFAIK Parama-Shiva (or the highest or ultimate understanding of god) is considered in many writings to be beyond human capability of understanding.

                There are some that believe Vishnu is Shiva, there are some believe in the trinity. I'm not an expert in either of these belief systems, but my orginal assertion stands: humans have hubris about understanding in spades.

                • by Jmc23 (2353706)
                  Understanding something and attaining it are two different things. The gods are names given to sets of awareness that can be assembled or partaken in. Being Shiva is relatively easy compared to understanding Shiva.
              • "You can live your life playing in the darkness of shadows, or dance with the shadows coloured by the memory of reality when you paused to catch your breath."

                You know, your condescension is not invisible.
                • by Jmc23 (2353706)
                  Perhaps it only exists in the person that sees it?

                  What should I care which path or how far along some one is? All lead back to self.

    • by skids (119237)

      You had me at "Feeling one with your instrument".

    • by Ksevio (865461)
      Looks like you accidentally applied the teletext tag to your comment. Slashdot's comment system can be a bit complicated, but if you preview text looks all blocky in harder to read mono-space you know you've made a mistake.
  • by girlintraining (1395911) on Monday August 26, 2013 @02:08PM (#44678579)

    There's another application that is being overlooked: Porn videos. Now you can have an "in another body" experience. -_- And to think, we thought we'd have to wait for holodecks....

  • by wherrera (235520) on Monday August 26, 2013 @02:31PM (#44678825) Journal

    This news item and the gizmag.com link both confuse the study's method of tricking the body into being confused about where the body is and the near-death experience of being outside the body completely.

  • as simple as getting a person to watch a video of themselves with their heartbeat projected onto it.

    I want an app for that. Please get right on it.

    We have bluetooth heart-rate monitors, so it shouldn't be all that hard.

  • I'm wondering how this would work for agoraphobia -- the fear of going outside.

    Or what if someone with stage fright watched himself giving a speech to a crowd of people? Harder or easier? -shudders-

    Does anyone else already have 3rd person nightmares involving xenomorphs?

  • also help dieters too

    Get read for the "30lbs in 30 days... Don't just be out of your body... transform your body!"

  • What if they don't bother with the video of the person's back, and just flash the light in sync with the previously recorded heartbeats?

    It's not like flashing light by itself can't affect someone's brain.

    Besides, how familiar is anyone with what their own back looks like that it matters that the video is of them?

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