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Synchronized Virtual Reality Heartbeat Triggers Out-of-Body Experiences

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the go-into-the-light dept.

Medicine 183

Zothecula writes "New research demonstrates that triggering an out-of-body experience (OBE) could be as simple as getting a person to watch a video of themselves with their heartbeat projected onto it. According to the study, it's easy to trick the mind into thinking it belongs to an external body and manipulate a person's self-consciousness by externalizing the body's internal rhythms. The findings could lead to new treatments for people with perceptual disorders such as anorexia and could also help dieters too."

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Out-of-body (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44678391)

Even when out-of-body, you can't escape the machine!

Re:Out-of-body (2)

Spy Handler (822350) | about a year ago | (#44679401)

but the machine may lead to religious experimenting with grave consequences.

Suppose this VR apparatus is extensively tested, and some of the test subjects having out-of-body experiences see things that would be impossible to see from the (real) body's location. What then?

Like, the subject is lying down in the left side of the room, there is a divider in the middle, and through the VR goggles he is tricked into thinking his body is in the right side of the room. Now place an object in the right side of the room in such a way that it's impossible for the body lying down in the left side of the room to see it. Can the subject accurately describe the object? This is kind of perception is what US Army/SRI's remote viewing program claims they were able to achieve. However they didn't have these goggles and had no way to repeatably and reliably achieve an OOB state, it all depended on individual ability.

Currently all of science and medicine consider OOB and religious experiences to be hallucinations and that all perception and thought exist in the brain exclusively. If repeatable experiments prove this false, it would open the floodgates.

Re:Out-of-body (2)

maxwell demon (590494) | about a year ago | (#44679471)

Suppose this VR apparatus is extensively tested, and some of the test subjects having out-of-body experiences see things that would be impossible to see from the (real) body's location. What then?

Then we would have a repeatable phenomenon which we could investigate (assuming we can exclude plain fraud). However I'm willing to bet that this won't happen.

Re:Out-of-body (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#44679959)

If you could do that there is a nice man that will give you one million dollars.

I personally think the more likely outcome is that he gets to keep his money.

Are you kidding me? (1)

cookYourDog (3030961) | about a year ago | (#44678395)

How about a solution to the hassle of an "In-My-Body-Experience" (IMBE) ? Trick my mind into thinking I am not having a prostate exam - that's the kind of medical research I'm interested in.

Re:Are you kidding me? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44678435)

How about a solution to the hassle of an "In-My-Body-Experience" (IMBE) ? Trick my mind into thinking I am not having a prostate exam - that's the kind of medical research I'm interested in.

Next time, have the Dr buy you dinner first and you won't feel that morning after remorse.

Re:Are you kidding me? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44678783)

What I want is an (IYBE)! ;-)

Re:Are you kidding me? (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year ago | (#44679245)

I find a lot of liquor helps.

Re:Are you kidding me? (1)

Quasimodem (719423) | about a year ago | (#44679891)

Don't drink too much liquor, or it may have an out of body experience, too.

Misleading Headline (1, Funny)

narcc (412956) | about a year ago | (#44678399)

That's not an out-of-body experience.

Re:Misleading Headline (1)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | about a year ago | (#44678569)

That's not an out-of-body experience.

That's because Zothecula [google.com] seems to do a lot of contributing for gizmag.

Re:Misleading Headline (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44678591)

That's not an out-of-body experience.

Did you real the whole TFA? Because it is causing out-of-body experiences:

"Participants saw their own heartbeats visually imposed on their virtual doubles in the form of a flashing outline around the body that pulsed in sync.
-- After a couple of minutes, many of the participants reported sensations of being in an entirely different part of the room rather than their physical body --"

Re:Misleading Headline (1)

umafuckit (2980809) | about a year ago | (#44678675)

That's not an out-of-body experience.

True, not in the "classic" sense that you're thinking, but the VR manipulation described in TFA led to people reporting that their entire body as in a different part of the room. That certainly sounds like the same class of effect as the traditional OBE. It may be that the researchers have hit on the underlying mechanism that drives OBEs. Taken together, I don't find the title to be all that misleading.

Re:Misleading Headline (1)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about a year ago | (#44679357)

I didn't find this to be all that new either though; if you want an OBE, just hold someone's hand and feel their pulse. Then work with the other person to relax and synchronize your heartbeats. Works even better if they're both visualized for some visual feedback. Once your heart rates are in sync, you'll start feeling that out of body experience. You might feel like you're in their body, or might just feel "detached" -- results vary.

Re:Misleading Headline (3, Insightful)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about a year ago | (#44679435)

Oh, and as for this being an already known phenomenon -- what's really happening* is that your left cortex, which focuses on detail and anchors the "me" in the surge of signals your brain processes, gets overridden by the right cortex, which tends to ignore localities (like your body) and instead focus on piecing together the bigger picture. So if your right cortex takes over driving your consciousness, your body itself is no longer the predominant frame of reference, triggering OBE.

* best theory on what's really happening anyway -- one that's been posited and tested over the past decade by neuroscientists.

Re:Misleading Headline (1)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | about a year ago | (#44678683)

That is unknown claim. We need a _valid_ frame of reference to compare against. It would be _very_ interesting to find out how this simulated one compares to the real thing by people who have had BOTH.

I'm hoping they open their research up to the general public. I've had a few real OBE's and would love to have first-hand experience & knowledge of just how close it is to the real thing.

Re:Misleading Headline (1)

ae1294 (1547521) | about a year ago | (#44678851)

Yeah same here I can have them via meditation but it takes about an hour for a 10% chance. This after a few minutes thing sounds interesting. I'm heading over to see what it says..... I sure would like a short cut like that... but real OBE are a lot more than just feeling alittle like your over there... mine are hard to tell from being in body...

Re:Misleading Headline (1)

Nethead (1563) | about a year ago | (#44679173)

What do you mean by "real thing?"

There is nothing that goes out of the body during an OBE. It's just an incorrect positional assumption, which is what this causes.

I think he means... (1)

warrax_666 (144623) | about a year ago | (#44679285)

that the experience is real. Doesn't mean that you are actually out of your body. (There's a similar effect with lucid dreaming -- the experience itself is very real, but it's a product of your brain.)

Re:Misleading Headline (1)

narcc (412956) | about a year ago | (#44679363)

It's completely unrelated to oft-reported experience. It's as simple as that.

It's no different than this click-bait article from 2007 [arstechnica.com] or, from your definition, spinning around real fast for a bit.

There is nothing that goes out of the body during an OBE.

That's not an assumption anyone is making here. Just you ... and the bottom 1% of the "skeptical" community to which the article was intended to appeal.

Just for fun: You have no evidence to support your assertion. Your claim is based solely on an unfounded set of metaphysical assumptions. You're the skeptical equivalent of a creationist. (Skepticism needs to apply to everything, after all, not just what you already assume is nonsense. What good would it be otherwise?)

Re:Misleading Headline (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44679395)

What do you mean by "real thing?"

There is nothing that goes out of the body during an OBE. It's just an incorrect positional assumption, which is what this causes.

Sure there is! Just wait 10 minutes or so and I'll be out-of-body searching for you. You'll know I've found you when you feel my hands on your back.

first post expoerience? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44678405)

cant believe is

Videos become illegal.. (4, Interesting)

FrankSchwab (675585) | about a year ago | (#44678459)

So, when does this technique get declared illegal, like all drug-based methods of altering mental states (other than alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine)?

Re:Videos become illegal.. (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year ago | (#44678511)

You can't grow your own 3d video goggles, so even if you buy the (not entirely unreasonable) drug war conspiracy theory, big corporations can still make plenty of money on the treatment.

Re:Videos become illegal.. (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about a year ago | (#44679519)

I suppose when there's a powerful interest in suppressing videos and enough material to convince the public it's something they need to be afraid of. I doubt it will happen. About nine people a day die as a result of cell phones and driving [cdc.gov] , which is about nine more people a day than die from pot, yet we don't have a "war on cell phones." It's because the cell phone companies beat back the "WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN!" response, and no one really stands to make a ton of money from banning cell phones.

I don't think anyone stands to gain a bunch of money from banning videos. I think it's safe.

Announcing The Sims OR (1)

dywolf (2673597) | about a year ago | (#44678469)

The most realistic Sim experience ever!

And the survival-selection hypothesis would be...? (1, Troll)

Empiric (675968) | about a year ago | (#44678479)

it's easy to trick the mind into thinking it belongs to an external body

I'll go ahead and read this as "consciousness is designed to remain functional with the associated body being arbitrary".

Sounds like direct intentional design of a functional, physically-reassignable (hence "resurrectable") soul to me.

Someone enlighten me on why this, being merely a "trick", would have evolutionary advantage such that all the neurological complexity required to remap perceptions to arbitrary point in space would naturally "emerge".

Re:And the survival-selection hypothesis would be. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44678529)

Rhythmic group interaction.

Re:And the survival-selection hypothesis would be. (1)

Empiric (675968) | about a year ago | (#44678567)

Not certain your meaning here, but I'm not arguing there are no other ways to induce the phenomenon. I'm asking why the capacity for the phenomenon came to exist in the first place.

You're a few dozen gnomish-underpants class causal steps between group pastimes and the DNA creating brain structure, if that's what you intended to "explain".

Re:And the survival-selection hypothesis would be. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44678639)

I could say it's for attracting aliens for mating purposes and it would still be more realistic that your soul theory.

Re:And the survival-selection hypothesis would be. (1)

d33tah (2722297) | about a year ago | (#44678761)

Perhaps it was just easier for the nature to do it that way, instead of introducing the concept of identity integrated into the body? Also, notice that our bodies keep changing during the life. We get mature, then grow older, some of us get multilated or something. It could just be the simplest way to implement the tolerance for the changes. I see nothing spiritual there.

Re:And the survival-selection hypothesis would be. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44678779)

So a neurological mass can understand and interact with arbitrary physiology? That seems like a HUGE evolutionary advantage to me. I wouldn't be able to type on a keyboard if I couldn't form a link between language and key presses, which is about as arbitrary as it gets.

Re:And the survival-selection hypothesis would be. (1)

dmbasso (1052166) | about a year ago | (#44678739)

This is just like an optical illusion, just a consequence of how our 'hardware' processes information. One hypothesis of how our conscious minds emerge is based on the constance of our internal organs (proprioception), which perceptually change much less than our body's exterior (visual and somatosensory perception) while we age.

My take on this: when you sync your proprioception with your visual perception, you allow the exchange of properties (in this case location) between the two entities (self and external object). Just like it happens when you look at phantom limbs as reflections of real ones on a mirror, and you can actually feel the phantom.

For more on these, look for a TED talk by Dr. Antonio Damasio (about consciousness) and Dr. Ramachandran (phantom limbs).

Re:And the survival-selection hypothesis would be. (1)

Empiric (675968) | about a year ago | (#44678859)

You have a particular interpretation of the phenomenon, understood. You are still not specifying a rationale of how this would come to be, given your premises.

And, "emerge" is not a causal explanation, regardless of how frequently it used to handwave such without being such.

Re:And the survival-selection hypothesis would be. (1)

dmbasso (1052166) | about a year ago | (#44678991)

You are still not specifying a rationale of how this would come to be, given your premises.

It would take a lot of time to explain this, that's the reason I pointed you to the TED talks. But if you want I may give you the links, so you don't have to search for the videos.

And, "emerge" is not a causal explanation, regardless of how frequently it used to handwave such without being such.

That's something orthogonal to the discussion at hand. We don't need to know the causes of something to observe that it indeed happens.

Re:And the survival-selection hypothesis would be. (3, Informative)

Conspiracy_Of_Doves (236787) | about a year ago | (#44678593)

Not every trait or implication of traits that we have is based on some evolutionary advantage. Some of it is simply accidental.

Re:And the survival-selection hypothesis would be. (0)

Empiric (675968) | about a year ago | (#44678627)

And the idea that this would happen accidentally is absurd.

Perhaps you can whip up a quick program that will randomly overwrite bytes on your Windows OS such that it will interact with you as if it is the Commodore 64 sitting in the corner.

Re:And the survival-selection hypothesis would be. (1)

Conspiracy_Of_Doves (236787) | about a year ago | (#44678751)

We aren't talking about anything nearly that complex, and you know it.

In order to cause an OOBE, all it has to do is cause part of your brain to stop working properly, at least temporarily.

Re:And the survival-selection hypothesis would be. (0)

Empiric (675968) | about a year ago | (#44678795)

That this by happenstance would result in a particular, consistent, complex perceptual result is, again, absurd.

Try shorting out a half dozen PC's and see if they all spontaneously generate Doom 5 for you because of it.

Re:And the survival-selection hypothesis would be. (1)

Conspiracy_Of_Doves (236787) | about a year ago | (#44678985)

Stop trying to compare this with specific programs being generated randomly. The analogy is completely non-applicable.

Re:And the survival-selection hypothesis would be. (1)

Empiric (675968) | about a year ago | (#44679215)

Not at all. The same 3-dimensional, interactive, perceptually-complete experience is reported under vastly different circumstances of death, affecting the brain in literally random forms of damage. Cancers, car accidents, asphyxiation, you name it.

The odds, again, if you don't like the PC analogy, is the odds of this--this in its complexity, this in its specificity--occurring after killing random sections of the brain with radiation. It's implausible that this in particular, a phenomenon happening to correlate so uncomfortably for you with certain worldviews--would happen as it does without intentional design.

What one would expect during generic "brain failure", is a completely random set of sensations and cognitive inhibition--much like an LSD trip. That isn't what is reported, and quantified in peer-reviewed studies, such as The Lancet's.

Re:And the survival-selection hypothesis would be. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44679513)

We all know what you are getting at and any person with over room temperature IQ can figure out what is flawed with your reasoning (you too if you take a deep breath and think for one second)

1. This is so complex that someone had to have made it.
2. Who ever made this must be at least as complex than the thing it has made.
3. Goto 1

See, your line of reasoning behind intelligent design does not hold up. You could say that somethings might be intelligent design but not all things since that thing that started it all would have had to be random. Complexity is NOT a valid argument for intelligent design for any person that is willing to think for just one second.

If a person says that their god were created by random chance and that that god then made everything else, it is possible that this is so. But there is not proof of this or even an indication of this. It is supposed to be believed on blind faith... Trying to find proof or arguments to prove religious beliefs is just stupid. Belief is belief, trying to argue and "prove" that what is in the scriptures is true is just polishing a golden calf if you ask me.

Re:And the survival-selection hypothesis would be. (1)

Empiric (675968) | about a year ago | (#44679765)

No, there is simply no reason to say that because complex physical things tend to be made by complex beings, that the complex beings must themselves be made by likewise complex beings.

In fact, you deny that right now, with regard to human beings.

Aside from that, saying the universe -logically must- be created by a complex being, is something you are saying, and are the only one here saying it.

Let me make my own arguments, rather than you making them up for me, please. Otherwise you are straw-manning me.

I am saying that it is a plausible conclusion regarding the complexity. And like you yourself would say "things humans make are designed, humans themselves are not", there is no reason to conclude that because one entity has the attribute attribute of being designed, all entities therefore must.

Re:And the survival-selection hypothesis would be. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44679165)

And the idea that this would happen accidentally is absurd.

...

In order to make that statement you'd have to know exactly how the phenomenom works.

Do you?

Re:And the survival-selection hypothesis would be. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44678597)

Perhaps because the easiest way to have accurate perceptions using a relatively common set of software for all sorts of bodies (including the varying one I carry with me) is to have it so flexible as to remap arbitrarilyish.

And because it doesn't happen in normal existence, it isn't a flaw?

Re:And the survival-selection hypothesis would be. (1)

Empiric (675968) | about a year ago | (#44678693)

Easiest way were it designed, yes.

Definitely not likely as an adaptive selected trait where the situation literally never comes up in a biology-only context.

(Slashdot's new allowed-posts-per-time-unit is ludicrous. It is now directly impossible to have a meaningful thread discussion. Since I can't continue, I won't.)

Re:And the survival-selection hypothesis would be. (1)

AvitarX (172628) | about a year ago | (#44679005)

I'm the AC GP here.

I would think that a flexible self tuning system is more likely to result from natural selection than a perfectly programmed system to match the actual body rigidly.

I think AI and robotics research goes in that direction for the same reason. There's no reason that this "bug" as a side-effect would be problematic, so the more rigid (and therefore complex system, with extra rules to how it operates) is not selected for.

Re:And the survival-selection hypothesis would be. (1)

perceptual.cyclotron (2561509) | about a year ago | (#44680065)

Well, considering that most organisms do in fact change shape throughout the lifespan, whether from development, diet, exercise, or injury, it's both adaptive and pragmatic to simply map your sense of agency to objects whose observable properties correlate with your sensations, or with your intended actions. This is how children learn to pick things up, to walk, and to talk. It's also the mechanism that subserves the extension of receptive fields during tool-use. This is just an elaborated instance of the practically-ancient rubber arm illusion (show someone a rubber arm, and hide their real arm. simultaneously stroke the fake and the real arm for a little while, and the person will come to view it as their own. hit the rubber hand with a hammer, and the person will get a gsr response greater than that for observing the same action without entrainment). Nothing new here.

Re:And the survival-selection hypothesis would be. (1)

Aguazul2 (2591049) | about a year ago | (#44678633)

it's easy to trick the mind into thinking it belongs to an external body
I'll go ahead and read this as "consciousness is designed to remain functional with the associated body being arbitrary".
Sounds like direct intentional design of a functional, physically-reassignable (hence "resurrectable") soul to me.
Someone enlighten me on why this, being merely a "trick", would have evolutionary advantage such that all the neurological complexity required to remap perceptions to arbitrary point in space would naturally "emerge".

Supposing that a soul-like thing exists and it is the seat of consciousness, then the evolutionary advantage is that you'd be lying down unconscious if you didn't have one. It's much too easy to get eaten that way. So evolution went with souls (or whatever we might call them, supposing they exist).

Re:And the survival-selection hypothesis would be. (2)

stewsters (1406737) | about a year ago | (#44678665)

The brain has the ability to remap and reroute it's perception of itself. This is useful if you ever loose a leg or arm, your brain can think of your body differently to get past it. Sometimes this does not work correctly (phantom limb pain). There have also been some attempts in robotics to have the robot recalculate the best form of movement through simulation when one of its legs is damaged.

Your brain also has the ability to imagine future scenarios, even impossible ones. Some people have had dreams where they were flying of their own power. There is not really any biological cause that I know of that could cause you to fly, sometimes the brain just has a good imagination.

Re:And the survival-selection hypothesis would be. (3, Insightful)

sjames (1099) | about a year ago | (#44678957)

More fundamentally, the process of growing up is a constant adjustment for changing anatomy. Not being able to make that adjustment would result in an incredibly clumsy adult.

Re:And the survival-selection hypothesis would be. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44679231)

There is not really any biological cause that I know of that could cause you to fly, sometimes the brain just has a good imagination.

Brains process information. Minds imagine and create ideas.

Re:And the survival-selection hypothesis would be. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44678731)

I'll go ahead and read this as "consciousness is designed to remain functional with the associated body being arbitrary".

i'll go ahead and read this as "i'm desperately seeking any evidence that the man in the sky isn't a fairy tale."

Re:And the survival-selection hypothesis would be. (1)

Empiric (675968) | about a year ago | (#44678997)

Feel free. But as you're lying to yourself, do note that I have nowhere stated this is my only argument or experience on the matter--and it isn't.

Re:And the survival-selection hypothesis would be. (1)

FalcDot (1224920) | about a year ago | (#44678787)

You're coming at this from the wrong side. You're assuming this exists to allow a consciousness to be detached from a physical body. I'd say it's more likely that this allows a consciousness to form, to emerge, from any and all 'proper' physical bodies.

In other words, the development of a foetus just needs to create the physical neurons in the brain. Conscience will then emerge from the firing neurons on its own. And because it wasn't tied down to the actual physical body to begin with, some leeway remains to project it outside.

You're asking how we evolved from a consciousness tied to a body to one that isn't. What proof do you have that consciousness was ever tied to a body to start with?

Re:And the survival-selection hypothesis would be. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44678837)

As you grow your body changes, in some species drastically. If the "consciousness" were to freak out and stop functioning when this happened you would most probably die (or be eaten (which ever comes first)) so the mind evolves to cope and the organism lives on. No big mystery really (well... all life is, but you know what I mean).

Re:And the survival-selection hypothesis would be. (1)

dmbasso (1052166) | about a year ago | (#44678875)

I replied to the wrong post, this should be a reply to you [slashdot.org] .

But I'll add to it.

Sounds like direct intentional design of a functional, physically-reassignable (hence "resurrectable") soul to me.

It would be nice if that was true, but actually all the evidence we have so far is to the opposite of that. Brain disorders such as Alzheimer's (and dementia in general), Parkinson's, as well as injuries leading to comas, locked-in syndrome, etc., all show that our consciousness depends directly on our body. Supposing you had something that was not body-bound, you would expect that knowledge (memories) could be rerouted, but that doesn't happen. When you injure one part of your brain, that information is forever lost.

Re:And the survival-selection hypothesis would be. (1)

Empiric (675968) | about a year ago | (#44678947)

You assume it is forever lost, that is. In fact information is never destroyed (well, there's a debate regarding black holes...).

I see no reason not to suppose that like you "could" throw a fastball but cannot because your arm is broken, you "could" think with your highest level capacity, but cannot because of your neurons.

I see no real barrier to why the consciousness, running on "new hardware", could not be reconstructed in full. If there is data redundancy, or the equivalent of "metaphysical backups" (something of an assumed stipulation given my argument), it seems little different from standard means of data recovery.

Re:And the survival-selection hypothesis would be. (1)

dmbasso (1052166) | about a year ago | (#44679157)

Suppose you have a file "X" in a hard disk, then you ''cat /dev/random >X; rm -f X', then you hammer the disk, and throw it into a volcano. I guess you will not be able to retrieve the information from that hard disk anymore.

But you say that is not the case for the mind, because supposedly we have this "metaphysical backup", which you call soul, that keeps all the information, even if the medium (body) is damaged. If that was the case, you would be able to consciously reroute information through other ways. For instance, if you get a brain damage specifically and only on the naming areas, that shouldn't be a problem, right? You still have that information on your "meta-backup"! You should still be able to route that information to your motor areas, to vocalize it or write it down.

Only problem is it never happened. Or perhaps I'm just not aware of it, could you point me to a credible instance of that happening?

Re:And the survival-selection hypothesis would be. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44679203)

"In fact information is never destroyed"
You are thinking about energy, energy is never lost just changed. Sure information is stored in energy but that energy changes and so does the information that is stored in it... It turns to crap or as we physicist like to call it heat.

Re:And the survival-selection hypothesis would be. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44679281)

Information is never destroyed? How can you type this matter-of-fact statement with no supporting evidence whatsoever?

Let's just assume that what you've said is true, even though I think it's an obvious load of horse shit.

A building is constructed. The only existing plans for the building are stored inside the building itself. The only people who knew how to make the building live and work and spend all day inside the building.

Now, I'm not sure what arbitrary definition of "information" you're using to make your assumption that it can't be destroyed seem reasonable, but I'm just going to state that the building itself is an embodiment of information.

An earthquake swallows the entire building, followed by a gigantic meteorite crashing into what is left of the original site, followed by a flood, followed by a volcano that incinerates what pieces of left.

Nobody survived. Not a single shred of the building survived. The plans to construct it were also lost. The race of sentient beings who built it were all killed.

Are you seriously arguing that no information was destroyed? In the sense that a building could be reconstructed after knowledge of how to construct it was regained by some species capable of learning and building, then yes, no "information" is destroyed, but at that point you've defined "information" as something so general that it's useless to describe anything. You might as well have just gone to the "goddidit" argument immediately and credit it with the creation of all that is, will, or could ever be.

Re:And the survival-selection hypothesis would be. (1)

Empiric (675968) | about a year ago | (#44679625)

On information never being destroyed (with one possible known exception). [wikipedia.org]

Your example is quite appropriate regarding human reconstructability of information--it can be thought of as "lost" if we ourselves as a practical matter can't recover it.

I am using it in the stricter sense of the link above:

This is controversial because it violates a commonly assumed tenet of science--that in principle complete information about a physical system at one point in time should determine its state at any other time.

That is to say, the information is your example isn't -lost-, it's just -lost to us-. Given complete information about the state of all matter in your post-disaster scenario, every minute detail about the original building, is, in theory, recoverable.

I would, naturally, be arguing a scenario in which an entity exists that has that complete information, and can "roll the clock back" therefore to any arbitrary point in time before that.

Re:And the survival-selection hypothesis would be. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44679381)

It would be nice if that was true, but actually all the evidence we have so far is to the opposite of that. Brain disorders such as Alzheimer's (and dementia in general), Parkinson's, as well as injuries leading to comas, locked-in syndrome, etc., all show that our consciousness depends directly on our body.

This isn't actually true either. All the evidence we have (all the examples you gave) show that our body depends directly on our consciousness. There is no evidence to suggest that the opposite is true. As is so often said here, correlation does not imply causation. Unfortunately for you, there is no way to measure whether or not consciousness really is non-physical because we can only measure physical things. Therefore, the only correct answer is we can't -know- so stop acting like you do.

Re:And the survival-selection hypothesis would be. (1)

sjames (1099) | about a year ago | (#44678911)

More likely, body identity is a useful evolutionary trait while mis-identifying not-self as self is a disadvantage. Much like experiments with genetic algorithms, the problem was solved by drunkard's walk in an off beat (to us) manner curiously specific to the situation at hand.

It just happens that we have found a flaw in the identification of self that can be exploited to create the sensation of floating outside of self. If this came uop often in our lives AND if it created an evolutionary disadvantage (seems unlikely), we would eventually evolve to not be fooled.

Re:And the survival-selection hypothesis would be. (1)

timeOday (582209) | about a year ago | (#44678963)

Someone enlighten me on why this, being merely a "trick", would have evolutionary advantage such that all the neurological complexity required to remap perceptions to arbitrary point in space would naturally "emerge".

I think you have the question backwards. The "trick" is that billions of cells somehow perceive themselves as a unitary thing in the first place. Just as with vision, identifying optical illusions reveals the limitations of the trick, but subjecting us to conditions that were rare or unimportant to survival in a natural environment.

Re:And the survival-selection hypothesis would be. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44679343)

here is a nice Youtube like for your viewing pleasure. [youtube.com]

Makes me think of the first "the Thing" movie.

Re:And the survival-selection hypothesis would be. (1)

skids (119237) | about a year ago | (#44679167)

An explanation is fairly easy: rapid recovery from brain damage and use of redundant signalling pathways during impairment.

Not that I personally ascribe to the camp who considers an idea of a "soul" to be somehow unscientific, for some definitions of the term, but this is quite frameable as an evolutionary advantage. Also note that not all features of an evolved being necessarily have to be advantageous because random crap can persist in a genome for quite some time before a advantageous trait comes along that needs that particular peice of genomic real-estate.

Re:And the survival-selection hypothesis would be. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44679283)

If you look at a mirror you know it's you because it reacts in the same way as you do when you move. This sounds nothing more than an advanced mirror. It seems the body on a subconscious level notices the reflection's heart beat and that's one way you brain thinks it's you. Neat. I'm really going to hate when advertisers start using this. It isn't hard to detect heat beats using a standard web cam.

Re:And the survival-selection hypothesis would be. (1)

Bongo (13261) | about a year ago | (#44679329)

A simpler question, if the brain is 100% responsible for all our actions, perceiving and responding to the environment, then why are we sentient? The brain can process the information that it is being chased by a bear, and process that moving the limbs to run and climb a tree is a strategy for survival. What advantage does experiencing any of this situation give? What's the point of sentience? Sentience is 100% redundant. Yet we are sentient. I have no idea why that is.

Re:And the survival-selection hypothesis would be. (1)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | about a year ago | (#44679349)

I'll go ahead and read this as "consciousness is designed to remain functional with the associated body being arbitrary".

Then you're reading it wrong.

Re:And the survival-selection hypothesis would be. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44679521)

Imagine a beach full of pebbles. Each about the same size... except for the few oddballs. Are all the pebbles ``designed'' to be the same size?

Perhaps the simplest way to get intelligence/life is to have all the minds function in exactly the same way with exactly the same bootstrap process during childhood (e.g. we all learn to speak a language in more or less the same way at more or less the same age). There's evolutionary pressure for this. Imagine the chaos if everyone's brain developed differently from everyone else... half the people wouldn't be able to speak, see, talk, communicate, etc., they'd be complete outcasts as far as evolution of societies are concerned.

Freaky Mind Porn (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44678513)

I'm putting this out there:

Tactile suit that stimulates you in various points, synchronised to the vision of someone else being stimulated in the same way.

Who is that someone? Someone of the opposite gender? A furry animal? Who knows?

Psychologist advised.

Project Spoon. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44678527)

I see discoveries about how easy the mind is susceptible to manipulation as useful to certain three-letter government agencies.

Video isn't a true OBE (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44678533)

For a real OBE we have Lysergic acid diethylamide.

Evidence that body-identification is illusion (4, Insightful)

John Allsup (987) | about a year ago | (#44678551)

Any tennis or squash player knows that you treat the racquet as an extension of your body.  Likewise a musician treats the instrument as an extension of their body and that as an extension of their mind and emotions.  Feeling one with your instrument is of great benefit to playing, and it is a similar 'illusion'.

A common misperception, according to what is taught in classical disciplines that involve serious mind training, like raja yoga or taiji, is that we are not our bodies, nor is our mind and consciousness really seated in our heads.  After significant self-development, that illusion eventually dissipates.

What we perceive to be our body is that part of reality that appears to be strongly correlated to our minds.  Thus it is easy to mistake ourselves to be our bodies, and our minds for our brains.

The problem with much of this research is that the researchers have not developed a detailed understanding of their own mind before trying to experimentally analyse someone else's.  This is akin to trying to study an advanced maths paper when you haven't learned maths past high school level: the result is naive researchers whose qualifications and professional position give an illusion of greater research competence than they have. 

Re:Evidence that body-identification is illusion (2, Interesting)

Jmc23 (2353706) | about a year ago | (#44678817)

Careful. What they actually teach is that the physical body is a 'projection'. You are not your body, nor your mind, but you create both in your interaction with 'reality'.

Give the west a break, they're relatively new at this. It's fun to watch them name 'discoveries' after themselves and congratulate each other on their awesomeness when they're just rediscovering things from millenia ago.

Re:Evidence that body-identification is illusion (1)

znrt (2424692) | about a year ago | (#44679499)

well, seems science is converging with intuition. that's good news, we need both.

Re:Evidence that body-identification is illusion (1)

Jmc23 (2353706) | about a year ago | (#44679671)

Good news indeed, we do have two hemispheres after all!

or not (1)

slew (2918) | about a year ago | (#44679565)

Give the west a break, they're relatively new at this...

Or perhaps there is an alternate theory like there is no human understandable concept of self at all (similar to Plato's Republic** TMA which apparently nobody studies anymore)... If it requires a "third" person to distinguish between self and non-self, then it is perhaps the concept of self is contradictory, unless the concept of self exists beyond human comprehension...

**It's a relatively new release, but sometimes the OTA update yields a better end-user experience...

Re:or not (1)

Jmc23 (2353706) | about a year ago | (#44679901)

You do know Plato didn't have a very good grasp of object oriented design a la CLOS. Nor did he understand that it is possible for an object to be complete and indivisible at a certain Level of Detail and yet easily viewed as divisible at other LOD's and that consistency of laws doesn't need to be mainted across LOD since they are relatively independent descriptions of reality.

But the real flaw with his reasoning is being puzzled by encountering relativity paradoxes when reasoning about something with a relative instrument, I mean, duh! Science, for all of it's claims of objectivity, comes about through examining relative differences. Yoga, while a subjective science, comes about through examing absolutes and truth.

As man grows in his internal awarenes of self, he does not need external observers to verify his form, his control of the form, and thereby his ability to manipulate and change it's formness to greater approximation of the archetypal form, is all that is needed.

Not really you misunderstand why science is great (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44679757)

There is a lot of stuff which pass for "great idea" but in reality turn out to be balloney. Science reject the empty idea and accept the one which works. Without science you are left with a collection of things, some dumb some good but you have no way to know which works. Common sense is not good at deciding what is good for us or not.

Re:Evidence that body-identification is illusion (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44680071)

Last time I checked (using my own mind), the mind is a "projection" of the brain and the peripheral nervous system, and the brain is just part of the body. Subtly alter the brain or the body, and you alter the mind. Phineas Gage 2013. It's "fun" to watch a machine apply mystique to machines, and congratulate other machines on being part of the super secret enlightened Eastern meditation club.

I don't despise you two or anything. I just want to see convincing arguments for your position, and I'm not holding my breath.

Re:Evidence that body-identification is illusion (1)

skids (119237) | about a year ago | (#44679195)

You had me at "Feeling one with your instrument".

Re:Evidence that body-identification is illusion (2)

Ksevio (865461) | about a year ago | (#44679449)

Looks like you accidentally applied the teletext tag to your comment. Slashdot's comment system can be a bit complicated, but if you preview text looks all blocky in harder to read mono-space you know you've made a mistake.

Re:Evidence that body-identification is illusion (1)

shrikel (535309) | about a year ago | (#44679783)

Given he has a 3-digit UID, he might already know that. Or maybe not. ;)

Re:Evidence that body-identification is illusion (1)

Ksevio (865461) | about a year ago | (#44679883)

Slashdot's gone through quite a few changes - sometimes the new versions take a little while to get used to

Re:Evidence that body-identification is illusion (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44679905)

You make the false assumption that our consciousness does not reside in our brain.

It has been experimentally verified throughout history that if you damage/chemically-modify/alter the brain, the same happens to the mind. There simply is too much causal evidence that this is actually so. Consciousness is not some scientifically impossible "thing" that can only be explained by the supernatural, it is an emergent property of the brain.

Just because we can trick our minds into thinking that our consciousness is now residing in an external body does not mean that it actually is residing in an external body.

Re:Evidence that body-identification is illusion (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44680133)

Totally agree. I would go as far as say that any researchers who have not investigated and realized the limitations of their own minds, are probably making big mistakes and assumptions that miss the more subtler aspects of our reality, and thus fails to grok unfamiliar paradigms. The kind of people who are out to prove someone wrong, is usually not right, because they glaringly miss the acorn of truth within everyone and everything. Such efforts are vain, futile and a big waste of time overall. It's the big reason the older generation has to die for discoveries, inventions and real change to happen.

I would also go as far as to say there is absolutely no contradiction between science and such self-realization/self-investigation, or spirituality if you will, or just being a humanitarian (yes, atheist even). It all converges toward some ideal, for which different people have different affinities at different times. It's basically ALL OK, even the "bad stuff". Basically, how can any theory be known to be correct to any degree, unless validated through a mind which knows itself, to some extent? Only to that extend, through the clarity of the first and obligatory filter, our minds, can anything truly be understood.

Now having said that, and having experienced what I would term a "real OBE", I'd say this is yet another case where clueless researchers have just gone and hijacked a term they don't understand or have properly investigated themselves. Looking at a screen, you still use your eyes. Not so during a "real OBE" (I won't claim to know what others have experienced, but I certainly know what I have experienced first hand, consciously, and no, it was not a lucid dream - I know the difference).

OBE is not "misidentification", which is just a state of mind, deeply resembling "Depersonalization disorder" or a "Delusional misidentification syndrome".

OBE is a class of experiences which is unexplainable by the present-day physics theories, however not unheard of in most cultures. The experiences share a common thread throughout all times and all people, however, is experienced through "a mind", so will also be filtered by the dogmas and beliefs of that mind - unless and until that mind has self-investigated enough to see through the illusions, wishful, hateful and fearful thinking. OBE does not need to become the center of one's life, but having experienced it, most people lose fear of death and may even make some different and more bold decisions in their life.

If you want to be a researcher, clean your mind first!

'nuff said. I'll just get grumpy if I try to explain more of this. Good post anyhow!

Freaky mind porn (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44678553)

Just putting this out there:

Wearing a tactile suit that stimulates you in certain points. Watching with VR goggles someone else being stimulated in exactly the same way.

Who is that someone? Someone of the opposite gender? A furry animal? Who knows? You can now feel exactly how you imagine it is felt for someone else.

Psychologist advised.

Re:Freaky mind porn (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year ago | (#44678667)

You posted this twice -- once with each body?

Re:Freaky mind porn (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44679009)

That's funny.. I wasn't sure if it was posted, and refreshed 10 times to check, but it didn't show up. Seems like a delay.

Teledildonics (2)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year ago | (#44678579)

There's another application that is being overlooked: Porn videos. Now you can have an "in another body" experience. -_- And to think, we thought we'd have to wait for holodecks....

Out-of-body is not near-death (2)

wherrera (235520) | about a year ago | (#44678825)

This news item and the gizmag.com link both confuse the study's method of tricking the body into being confused about where the body is and the near-death experience of being outside the body completely.

Control? Publication? (1)

EGenius007 (1125395) | about a year ago | (#44678873)

I'm unclear from the article whether there was a control group that was exposed to the same VR environment without a projected heart beat indicator and/or whether the researchers tried projecting the heart beat indicator on one or more images that were not the user's own image.

I also didn't see any indication this was related to an article being published in a pier review journal, which essentially just makes it complete hearsay. On the way home I think I'll ask the sasquatch who lives next to the bike trail whether he thinks claims like this deserve journalistic coverage.

yuo faiL it (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44678979)

Wait (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year ago | (#44679013)

You mean we are just avatars, and we're stuck inside until it dies?

get to work, developers (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about a year ago | (#44679113)

as simple as getting a person to watch a video of themselves with their heartbeat projected onto it.

I want an app for that. Please get right on it.

We have bluetooth heart-rate monitors, so it shouldn't be all that hard.

might be bad for other conditions (1)

hort_wort (1401963) | about a year ago | (#44679451)

I'm wondering how this would work for agoraphobia -- the fear of going outside.

Or what if someone with stage fright watched himself giving a speech to a crowd of people? Harder or easier? -shudders-

Does anyone else already have 3rd person nightmares involving xenomorphs?

The Self That IS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44679563)

The self that is conscious of a self is not the self that is attached to a body: Therefore a posited self attached to a body is a conceptual projection of a subconscious or preconscious (post conscious, anyone?) state.

Of course, this will only be used for good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44680023)

Never for, say, making an army of zombie slaves...

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