Lesson objectives ALL MUST: (D-E) Outline research into Out of Body Experience (OBE), including different types of OBE MOST SHOULD: (C-B) Describe research into Out of Body Experience (OBE), including different types of OBE SOME COULD: (A-A*) Evaluate research into Out of Body Experience (OBE)
OUT OF BODY EXPERIENCEAn Out of Body Experience (OBE) is characterised by a feeling of departing from one’s physical body and observing both one’s self and the world from outside one’s body. OROut-of-body experience refers to the sensation of being awake and seeing your own body from a location outside your physical body.
NATURALLY OCCURIING & ARTIFICIALLY INDUCED OBE’SNaturally-occurring = These are experienced by subjects naturally without any stimulation.Artificially induced = OBE experienced as result of being in a state of relaxation, hypnotised or induced via audio-visual stimulation.
NATURALLY-OCCURRING OBE’SParasomatic OBE = The parasomatic Asomatic OBE = the subject doestype of experience is that in which not appear to himself to bethe subject appears to himself to be associated with a body, rather he orlocated in a duplicate body, more or she is just a disembodiedless resembling his physical body. consciousness.
NATURALLY OCCURIING OBE’SGreen (1968) researched 400 naturally occurring OBE’s by contacting people through media appeals. A classification system was developed to organise the individuals 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% occurred during sleep.
ARTIFICIALLY INDUCED OBE’SAlavardo (1982) reviewed laboratory studies where OBE’s were artificially induced (e.g. induced by relaxation or hypnosis). Participants were asked to identify objects that were out of sight. One participant, a Miss Z was able to read out a randomly selected 5 digit number which was in another room. Alvardo concluded the evidence was weak, though there were some striking results.
Quiz time – Naturally occurring OBE’s1. Black was the name of the researcher that reviewed 400 naturally occurring OBE’s.FALSE it was Green2. A parasomatic (another body OBE) was found in 20% of cases.TRUE3. 29% of cases were associated with psychological stress and 10% occurred during sleep.FALSE 25% & 12%4. In some cases there was no sense of another body (asomatic).TRUE
Quiz time – Artificially induced OBE’s5. Alavardo reviewed case studies of OBE.FALSE, laboratory studies.6. One way OBE’s were induced in these studies was via electrocution.FALSE, by relaxation or hypnosis7. Participants were encouraged to report what things were out of sight to them, an example being Miss Z.TRUE8. Miss Z got a 3 digit number correct.FALSE, it was a 5 digit number.9. Alvardo concluded the evidence was weak, though there were some striking results.TRUE
ExplanationsParanormal explanation: This suggests that something beyond our current understanding is happening. The only possible way to explain how you can physically leave your body is by separating mind and body.Biological explanation: This suggests that OOBEs are related to sensory disturbance (when all stimulation is cut off from the sensory receptors). For example, Blackmore (1982) suggests that normally we view the world as if we were behind our 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 bird’s-eye views so the constructed image usually appears be to viewing oneself from above.
Explanations AO2Paranormal explanation – The evidence does not support such explanations. For example, Alvarado’s review did not find evidence that the parasomatic body had physically moved out of the physical body. He did acknowledge some exceptional cases but perhaps these can be explained in terms of suspect methodology, for example the participant might have had the opportunity to see the target object prior to the test.Biological explanation - This suggests the OOBEs are related to sensory disturbance. There is support for this from Blanke that involved activation of the TPJ. Other research shows that this area of the brain is involved in the construction of the sense of body in space (Persinger, 2001). Ehrsson’s research also provided support for the link between sensory disturbance and OOBEs.
Individual DifferencesOOBEs are reported more often by individuals who are paranormal believers (Irwin, 1985). People who have OOBEs are also more fantasy prone, score higher on hypnotisability and on dissociation (ability to separate different aspects of conscious activity). Such characteristics go some way to explaining why such individuals have OOBEs. However, there is no evidence to suggest people with OOBEs are mentally ill, although the experience may make people feel they are losing their mind.
OUTLINE RESEARCH INTO OBE (4MARKS) WHAT MARK OUT OF 4? 1 STAR? 1 WISH ?OBE’s were analysed by contacting people through media appeals. Some individuals experienced another body OBE. In otheraccounts there was no sense of another body. 25% of cases were associated with psychological stress and 12% occurredduring sleep. Laboratory studies are where OBE’s are artificially induced. A Miss Z was able to read out a randomly selected 5 digit number which was in another room.
MARK SCHEME OUTLINE (4 MARKS)Mark Knowledge & understanding Range of Breadth & Organisation relevant depth & structure material4 Accurate & well detailed Selected Substantial Coherent evidence3 Generally accurate & well detailed Some evidence Some evidence Reasonably coherent2-1 Basic/superficial Limited Limited Basic0 No creditworthy material
4/4 Model answerGreen (1968) researched 400 naturally occurring OBE’s by contacting people through media appeals. A classification system was developed to organise the individuals 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% occurred during sleep.
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