Visualizing out-of-body experience in the brain

N Engl J Med. 2007 Nov 1;357(18):1829-33. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa070010.


An out-of-body experience was repeatedly elicited during stimulation of the posterior part of the superior temporal gyrus on the right side in a patient in whom electrodes had been implanted to suppress tinnitus. Positron-emission tomographic scanning showed brain activation at the temporoparietal junction--more specifically, at the angular-supramarginal gyrus junction and the superior temporal gyrus-sulcus on the right side. Activation was also noted at the right precuneus and posterior thalamus, extending into the superior vermis. We suggest that activation of these regions is the neural correlate of the disembodiment that is part of the out-of-body experience.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Body Image*
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain / physiology
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Humans
  • Illusions / physiology
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Parietal Lobe / physiology*
  • Perceptual Distortion / physiology*
  • Positron-Emission Tomography
  • Temporal Lobe / physiology*
  • Tinnitus / therapy