Brief Communications

Nature 419, 269-270 (19 September 2002) | doi:10.1038/419269a

Neuropsychology: Stimulating illusory own-body perceptions

Olaf Blanke1,2, Stphanie Ortigue2, Theodor Landis2 & Margitta Seeck1

'Out-of-body' experiences (OBEs) are curious, usually brief sensations in which a person's consciousness seems to become detached from the body and take up a remote viewing position1, 2, 3. Here we describe the repeated induction of this experience by focal electrical stimulation of the brain's right angular gyrus in a patient who was undergoing evaluation for epilepsy treatment. Stimulation at this site also elicited illusory transformations of the patient's arm and legs (complex somatosensory responses) and whole-body displacements (vestibular responses), indicating that out-of-body experiences may reflect a failure by the brain to integrate complex somatosensory and vestibular information1, 2, 3.

  1. Laboratory of Presurgical Epilepsy Evaluation, Program of Functional Neurology and Neurosurgery, University Hospitals of Geneva and Lausanne, Geneva 1211 and Lausanne 1011, Switzerland
  2. Functional Brain Mapping Laboratory, Department of Neurology, Geneva University Hospital, 1211 Geneva, Switzerland

Correspondence to: Olaf Blanke1,2 e-mail: Email: olaf.blanke@hcuge.ch