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9. Remembering: Hacks 81–92 > 90. Have an Out-of-Body Experience

Have an Out-of-Body Experience

Our regular experience of the world is first person, but in some situations, we see ourselves from an external perspective. These out-of-body experiences may even have a neurological basis.

We are used to experiencing the world from a first-person perspective, looking out through our eyes with our bodies at the center of our consciousness. This is sometimes known as the Cartesian theater.

Some people, however, claim to have out-of-body experiences, in which their consciousness seems separated from their body, sometimes to the extent that people feel as if they are looking down on themselves from a third-person perspective, rather than looking out from the inside. These claims are not common, but most people can experience similar out-of-body phenomena, in the form of memories of past events. Furthermore, research has identified certain specific brain areas that may be involved in producing the egocentric, “looking out of our eyes” perspective and found that out-of-body experiences can be induced by unusual activity there.


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