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Current Out-of-Body Experience Research: where are we at?

Updated: 7 days ago

I was pleased to be interviewed by the Groupe des Expérienceurs de la Conscience (GEC) an institution dedicated to sharing scientific information and testimonies about Out-of-Body Experiences (OBEs) and their associated phenomena, such as non-ordinary states of consciousness.

For those of you who are not French speakers, this is the takeout:

  1. The study of parasomnias is important to differentiate OBEs from them (state differentiation), specifically because OBEs can be brought from sleep states (not parasomnia). Same for the study of the Vibrational State (VS).

  2. The current aims of my research are to study techniques claimed to induce OBEs or have been theoretically considered as doing so: for example, through the stimulation of the temporal-parietal junction. Verifying in such theories can really explain OBEs through comparative phenomenological analysis or evidential perceptions.

  3. At what stage is my current study of the VS? Current research on the VS, to be published this year, is on a 128-EEG. Subsequent research will be published with a 256 EEG. With Gamma Wave Technologies Ltd., we are also developing algorithms and protocols to train individuals to achieve VS by measuring their brain-wave.

  4. My neurophysiological research clearly indicates that the OBEs and the VS are not dissociative experiences, hallucinatory, and cannot be considered Lucid Dreaming experiences either.

  5. The VS is only one of the phenomena among many that are currently not looked at in OBE research. More so, such theories do not look in-depth at the phenomenology associated with OBEs. More so, current research is often geared towards studying the general population, unlike meditation research in meditation, where the participants are subjects with 15 years or more of experience. And as such, these lead to misunderstanding of the phenomena. We need neuroscientific experts in such research to guide us without preconceived ideas about the nature of the experience. If research continues to think these are a sort of hallucination, they are completely missing the point because OBEs with heightened levels of awareness are completely different to hallucinations.

  6. OBEs can be seen as evolutionary and biologically necessary because they provide us with new insight into the vision we have about ourselves, allowing us to transcend the boundaries of our Ego.

  7. OBEs are not necessarily spiritual and/or leading to spirituality. The occurrence is due to the individual's personality: their own life philosophy and belief systems. OBEs, in that sense, are neutral experiences. What is not is the perception that comes with such experiences and our beliefs about these. Out-of-body experiences, on the contrary, lead one to be more curious about the nature of things, scientifically speaking. We become explorers. More so, if science were more interested in such phenomena and explained them better, people would need less to associate their experiences with any mystical philosophy – or make interpretations of such experiences through these lenses.

  8. OBEs can be considered to be based on certain physiological mechanisms and, as such, can be considered simply natural. That these biological mechanisms can be controlled to induce OBEs.

  9. Can OBEs be therapeutic? Yes, we see that in some instances, specifically during the OBE onset, there are often conditions which lead one to have access to new ideas, making associations of ideas that were not envisioned before, leading to new insights into personality and otherwise. That condition is also associated with the fact that experiencers through OBE are led to a new perception of their Self, leading to a transformation of the person's perception of him or themselves.

  10. The objectives of the Sleep Consciousness Institute are to train individuals to have OBEs through a critical phenomenological approach based on the neuroscientific understanding we have of these experiences.

Rodrigo Montenegro

MSc. Neuroscience,

Sleep Consciousness Researcher,

PhD Candidate.

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