Out-of-body experiences linked to brain glitch

London: Out-of-body experiences are often linked to mental or physical illness. Now, a new study has found that such events are nothing more than vivid hallucinations — and some of us are predisposed to them.

Researchers at the University of Birmingham found that such out-of-body experiences (OBEs) occur when "instabilities in the brain" cause people to become disorientated and lose all sense of where their body is far from being "funky, hippie, spiritual" events, they are "real neurophysiological occurrences", they said.

Their study claimed that people with irregularities in the temporal lobes — which control memory and object recognition — are much more likely to"transform their own body position", the Daily Mail reported.

Dr Jason Braithwaite, who led the latest study, said: "We studied 65 psychology students and we found OBEs had biases in body distortion and transformation."

Volunteers who frequently experienced "deja vu", felt a limb did not belong to them or sometimes felt their body move while they were still much more likely to feel out of body experiences. Previous research has also pointed to practical causes.

In April, Kevin Nelson, Professor of Neurology at the University of Kentucky, argued that the condition could be attributed to disturbed dreams.

He found that those who had OBEs were more prone to suffering rapid eye movement (REM) intrusion, where people become paralysed before they are fully asleep.

The new study is published in this month`s issue of Elsevier`s Cortex journal.