Stimulating illusory own-body perceptions

Nature. 2002 Sep 19;419(6904):269-70. doi: 10.1038/419269a.


'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 position. 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 information.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Brain / physiopathology
  • Brain Mapping
  • Delusions / etiology
  • Delusions / physiopathology*
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Epilepsy / diagnosis
  • Epilepsy / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Seizures / diagnosis
  • Seizures / physiopathology