As a result of the research undertaken by the scientists from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, they were able to induce in people the feeling of a ghost presence, reports joinfo.ua with reference to the Current Biology issue.
While observing 12 patients who said they felt the presence of ghosts, the scientists noted that this is directly related to where the patient resides and in what position. That is, if a person is sitting, the ghost is sitting too and so on.
Tomograph examining shows that this effect is typical for disturbances in three areas of the cerebral cortex responsible for the understanding of the body position and consciousness – the temporo-parietal, fronto-parietal and insular (deep in the brain, where lateral sulcus invaginates in it, separating temporal lobe from the frontal and parietal ones) areas.
Next, the scientists artificially induced the effect of ghost presence in 48 healthy people-volunteers. Sitting on a chair in front of a particular device, a person pushed a specific button. A robot behind the person imitated finger movements of the volunteer, while touching his back.
With synchronized movements of finger and robot simulator, people did not feel anything unusual. But when the robot is touching their back with a delay of only half a second, a third of the participants felt that there was a ghost behind them. The illusion was so frightening that two volunteers gave up on the further experiments.
Scientists believe that ghost effect is nothing else but the brain dysfunction resulting in a human projecting the feeling of his body outside.
That is when we think that we and our body coincide in space, the brain can divide these feelings. As a result, there is an illusion that nearby there is a "ghost", imitating the movements of our body.
To test this hypothesis, the researchers plan to monitor the brain activity of healthy people in a moment when they are artificially stimulated by the machine on the "production" of ghosts.