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I See Psychology… Everywhere

Brain Stimulation Creates Creepy Sensation

Interesting report on specific brain stimulation producing the sensation of being watched or followed.  Here’s an excerpt from the news release of the finding, reported in Nature:

When they electrically stimulated the left temporoparietal junction in her brain, which is linked to self-other distinction and self-processing, she thought someone was standing behind her.

If they repeated the stimulus while she leaned forward and grabbed her knees she had an unpleasant sensation that the shadowy figure was embracing her.

I wasn’t really familiar with the temporoparietal junction being associated with self-other distinctions, but there you go.  I’m curious to know what purpose this might serve evolutionarily, and why we may sometimes be accurate in those perceptions.  As they say, you’re not really paranoid if they really ARE out to get you.

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21 September 2006 - Posted by | Physiological, Sensation & Perception

1 Comment »

  1. This is a very interesting paper. I am REALLY curious whether this “temporoparietal junction” has anything to do with the area of the brain that Persinger MA’s group stimulates when they report the presence of a “spiritual being” in patients that recieve electromagnetic stimulation with weak (1 microT) pulsed magnetic fields…some of his papers are below…

    Int J Neurosci. 2006 Sep;116(9):1079-96. Links
    Experimental facilitation of the sensed presence is predicted by the specific patterns of the applied magnetic fields, not by suggestibility: re-analyses of 19 experiments.St-Pierre LS, Persinger MA.
    Behavioral Neuroscience Research Laboratory, Laurentian University, Sudbury, Ontario, Canada.

    If all experiences are generated by brain activity, then experiences of God and spirits should also be produced by the appropriate cerebral stimulation.

    During the last 15 years experiments have shown that the sensed presence of a “Sentient Being” can be reliably evoked by very specific temporal patterns of weak (

    Comment by paul nagourney | 30 December 2006 | Reply


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