Out of Body Experience

  • Created by: Ross Hill
  • Created on: 19-02-15 16:26

Out of Body Experience Types and Defintions

Out of Body Experience (OBE)--> a feeling of departing from one's physcial body and observing both one's self and the world from the outside OR sensation of being awake and seeing your own body from a location outside your physical body


  • Narurally Occuring --> experienced by subjects naturally without any stimulation
  • Artifically Induced --> OBE experienced as a result of being in a state of relaxation, hypnosed or induced via audio-visual stimulation
  • Parasomatic OBE --> the subject appears to himself to be located in a duplicate body, more or less resembling his physical body
  • Asomatic OBE --> subject does not appear to himself to be associated with a body, rather he or she is just a disembodied consciouseness 
1 of 8

Out of Body Experience Paranormal Explanation

Something beyond our current understanding is happening

The only possible way to explain how you can physically leave your body is by seperating your mind and body

2 of 8

Out of Body Experience- Biological Explanation

OBEs are related to sensory disturbance which is when all stimulation is cut off to the sensory receptors 

Normally we view the world as if we were from behind our own eyes

In situations where sensory input breaks down, the brain attempts to reconstruct what we are seeing using memory and imagination

Memory images are often birds eye view so the constructed image usually apears to view one's self from above

3 of 8

Out of Body Experience- Naturally Occurring OBEs

Green (1968):

  • Researched 400 Naturally occuring OBEs by contacting people through media appears 
  • Classification system was developed to organise the individual accounts
  • 20% of individuals experienced another body (Parasomatic)
  • In other accounts there was no sense of another body (Asomatic)
  • 25% of cases were associated with psychological stress and 12% during sleep
4 of 8

Out of Body Experience- Artificially Induced OBEs

Alavardo (1982);

  • Reviewed lab studies where OBE was artifically induced e.g. by relaxation and hypnosis
  • Participants were asked to identify objects that were out of sight
  • 1 participant was asked to identify objects that were out of a radomly selected 5 digit number which was in another room
  • Concluded that evidence was weak BUT there were some striking results
5 of 8

Out of Body Experience- AO2 Paranormal Explanation

The evidence does not support such explanations

Alvarado's Review;

  • Did not find evidence that the parasomatic body had physically moved out the physical body
  • He did acknowledge some exceptional cases but perhaps these can be explained in terms of suspect/bad methodology e.g. participants may have seen the object move prior to the test
6 of 8

Out of Body Experience- AO2 Biological Explanation

  • OBEs are related to sensory disturbance
  • Support for this from Blanke that involved the activation of the TP

Persinger 2001;

  • TP is the area of the brain that is involved in the construction of the sense of body in space


  • support for the link between sensory distrubance and OBEs
7 of 8

Out of Body Experience AO3

OBEs are reported more often by people who are paranormal believers

People who have OBEs are more fantasy prone, score higher on hypnostisability and on dissociation (ability to seperate different aspects of conscious activity)

Such characterisitcs go along way to explain why

BUT there is no evidence for this

8 of 8


No comments have yet been made

Similar Psychology resources:

See all Psychology resources »See all Anomalistic psychology resources »