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Scientists say they can give anyone an out-of-body experience

A reprensentation of one of the scenarios scientists used to study out-of-body experiences.Experts have found a way to trigger an out-of-body experience in volunteers.

The experiments, described in the Science journal, offer a scientific explanation for a phenomenon experienced by one in 10 people.

An "out-of-body" experience is the feeling of corporal detachment and of looking at your own body from some distance, and it may arise when various sensory systems or "modalities" -- vision, touch and the sense of being in your body, called proprioception -- become disconnected under stress.

Two teams used virtual reality goggles to con the brain into thinking the body was located elsewhere. The visual illusion plus the feel of their real bodies being touched made volunteers sense that they had moved outside of their physical bodies.

The researchers say their findings could have practical applications, such as helping take video games to the next level of virtuality so the players feel as if they are actually inside the game. Clinically, surgeons might also be able to perform operations on patients thousands of miles away by controlling a robotic virtual self.

Source: BBC & New York Times
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