Amazing fMRI “Study” Not What It Seems

The following was originally posted on MJC (February 2014), and I felt that it should probably survive the demise of that blog since it clears the air on a topic many find important.

Did you see headlines like this over the last few days?  “The Woman Who Can Will Herself Out Of Her Body” or “Scientists unlock mystery of out-of-body experiences (aka astral trips)”, or even “Out-of-body experiences are the result of unusual brain activity, study claims”?

If you just read the headline and not the linked articles, you might have gotten the wrong impression.  Actually, even if you did read the article you may still have gotten it mixed up, but that’s not really your fault.

All three of those headlines, and a host of others, refer to a “study” published 10 February, 2014 in the science magazine Frontiers, titled Voluntary out-of-body-experience, an fMRI study.[1]  The story broke via a Popular Science Magazine article by Douglas Main, titled The Woman Who Can Will Herself Out Of Her Body.

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Learned Associations Between Music and Emotion: A Theory?

music-notesIn this post, I’m going to tackle a topic for which I have little real knowledge, but a deep curiosity and one particular question for which I’m unable to find a satisfying answer.

I’ll begin by recounting the story of a conversation I had with a very close friend several months ago. Continue reading