A breakthrough study in Sweden has shown that out of body experiences are real.
Many people have claimed to have experienced the phenomenon when they come close to death or when undergoing surgery, for example, claiming that they can see everything that is going on around them from a different perspective while unconscious.
Medical experts have debated for some time whether it is real, but a breakthrough study has seemed to confirm the existence of the phenomenon.
Neuroscientists from Sweden's Karolinska Institutet created an out-of-body illusion when they placed study participants in a brain scanner, and used an illusion to ‘teleport’ the individuals to different locations in a room.
The 15 individuals involved wore head-mounted displays and viewed themselves and the brain scanner from another part of the room.
On the display, the individuals could see the body of a stranger in the foreground and themselves in the background, protruding from the brain scanner.
They scientists would then prod the participants with an object at the same time they saw the strangers body being prodded on the display.
Arvid Guterstam, lead author of the present study, said: "In a matter of seconds, the brain merges the sensation of touch and visual input from the new perspective, resulting in the illusion of owning the stranger's body and being located in that body's position in the room, outside the participant's physical body.”
The scientists then used pattern recognition techniques to monitor brain activity and found that “the perceived self-location can be decoded from activity patterns in specific areas in the temporal and parietal lobes,” according to a press release.
Mr Guterstam added: "The sense of being a body located somewhere in space is essential for our interactions with the outside world and constitutes a fundamental aspect of human self-consciousness.
"Our results are important because they represent the first characterisation of the brain areas that are involved in shaping the perceptual experience of the bodily self in space."