This article is part of the Research Topic What can neuroscience learn from contemplative practices?

Original Research ARTICLE

Front. Psychol., 20 November 2013 | doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00834

Electrocortical activity associated with subjective communication with the deceased

Arnaud Delorme1,2*, Julie Beischel3, Leena Michel1, Mark Boccuzzi3, Dean Radin1 and Paul J. Mills4
  • 1Institute of Noetic Sciences, Petaluma, CA, USA
  • 2Institute of Neural Computation, SCCN, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA, USA
  • 3Windbridge Institute, Tucson, AZ, USA
  • 4Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA, USA

During advanced meditative practices, unusual perceptions can arise including the sense of receiving information about unknown people who are deceased. As with meditation, this mental state of communication with the deceased involves calming mental chatter and becoming receptive to subtle feelings and sensations. Psychometric and brain electrophysiology data were collected from six individuals who had previously reported accurate information about deceased individuals under double-blind conditions. Each experimental participant performed two tasks with eyes closed. In the first task, the participant was given only the first name of a deceased person and asked 25 questions. After each question, the participant was asked to silently perceive information relevant to the question for 20 s and then respond verbally. Responses were transcribed and then scored for accuracy by individuals who knew the deceased persons. Of the four mediums whose accuracy could be evaluated, three scored significantly above chance (p < 0.03). The correlation between accuracy and brain activity during the 20 s of silent mediumship communication was significant in frontal theta for one participant (p < 0.01). In the second task, participants were asked to experience four mental states for 1 min each: (1) thinking about a known living person, (2) listening to a biography, (3) thinking about an imaginary person, and (4) interacting mentally with a known deceased person. Each mental state was repeated three times. Statistically significant differences at p < 0.01 after correction for multiple comparisons in electrocortical activity among the four conditions were obtained in all six participants, primarily in the gamma band (which might be due to muscular activity). These differences suggest that the impression of communicating with the deceased may be a distinct mental state distinct from ordinary thinking or imagination.

Keywords: mediums, EEG, intuition, mental states, transcendence

Citation: Delorme A, Beischel J, Michel L, Boccuzzi M, Radin D and Mills PJ (2013) Electrocortical activity associated with subjective communication with the deceased. Front. Psychol. 4:834. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00834

Received: 02 September 2013; Accepted: 21 October 2013;
Published online: 20 November 2013.

Edited by:

Zoran Josipovic, New York University, USA

Reviewed by:

Zoran Josipovic, New York University, USA
Edward J. Modestino, Boston University, USA

Copyright © 2013 Delorme, Beischel, Michel, Boccuzzi, Radin and Mills. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

*Correspondence: Arnaud Delorme, SCCN, INC 0559, La Jolla, CA 92093-0559, USA e-mail: arno@ucsd.edu

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