Friday, October 13, 2006

Ghost in the room? It could all be in your brainwaves

NEUROSCIENTISTS investigating a young woman with epilepsy believe they have stumbled on an explanation why some people feel a ghostly presence nearby or develop paranoia.

The 22-year-old woman was being assessed for brain surgery for epilepsy but was otherwise psychologically healthy.

Part of the evaluation pinpointed the area for surgery, using thin electrodes implanted into a region of the brain.

Reporting the case in today's Nature, the weekly British science journal, the doctors say that when they sent a small current to the woman's left temporo-parietal junction, she said she had the impression there was somebody behind her.

The person was a "shadow," young and of indeterminate sex and did not speak, she said.

The doctors slightly increased the current and changed the woman's position from lying down to seated, and got her to hug her knees.

She then said she felt the creepy presence of man who was also sitting and who was clasping her unpleasantly in his arms.

The temporo-parietal junction is used for social reasoning - to assess oneself and distinguish oneself from others. - Sapa-AFP

original article