An out-of-body experience (OBE) can be defined as “an experience in which a person perceives the world from a location outside their physical body”. Previously, research has indicated that these experiences reflect a temporary breakdown in typically stable egocentric body-based processing, embodiment, and multi-sensory integration (Blanke et al., 2005) and can be associated with increased degrees of cortical hyperexcitability and temporal lobe dysfunction (Braithwaite et al., 2011; in press / 2012). Kindred hallucinations of self-reduplication, like “sensed-presence experiences” (SPE), are also thought to reflect a breakdown in self-processing, but in the absence of any compromise to the perceiving self and embodiment. We present preliminary findings from the first investigation of Electrodermal activity from hallucinating OBEers and those who report SPEs (and controls) during the induction of a rubber-hand illusion – a task which provides a useful and reliable measure of embodiment and multi-sensory integration. Preliminary evidence suggests a previously unreported psychophysiological component of the Electrodermal response underlying the induction of the rubber-hand illusion. Specifically, we show that (i) significant DC shifts emerge in the electrodermal activity that precedes the rubber-arm illusion; and (ii) this component is strongest for the OBE groups and those who report stronger and more convincing illusions.
Blanke, O., Mohr, C., Michel, C. M., Pascual-leone, A., Brugger, P., Seeck, M., et al. (2005). Linking out-of-body experience and self-processing to mental own-body imagery at the temporoparietal junction. . The Journal of Neuroscience, 19, 550-557.
Braithwaite, J.J., Broglia, E., Bagshaw, A.P, Wilkins, A.J. (in press / 2012) Evidence of elevated cortical hyperexcitability and its association with out-of-body experiences in the non-clinical population: New findings from a Pattern-Glare Task. Cortex.
Braithwaite, J.J., Hulleman, J., Samson, D. & Apperly, I. (2011) Cognitive correlates of the spontaneous out-of-body experience in the psychologically normal population: Evidence for a role of temporal-lobe disturbance, body-distortion processing, and impairments in own-body transformations. Cortex, 47, 839-853.
|Braithwaite, J. J., & Broglia, E. (2012). Autonomic emotional responses to the induction of the rubber-hand illusion in those that report out-of-body experiences and kindred hallucinations of the "self?. Evidence for psychophysiological components associated with illusory body representations. In D. George & C. Longmore (Eds.), Scientific meeting of the Experimental Psychology Society, Hull meeting (pp. 42-43). Hull, UK.|