Brain stimulation creates shadow person

Sep 20, 2006

Swiss scientists say they've found electrical stimulation of the brain can create the sensation of a "shadow person" mimicking one's bodily movements.

Olaf Blanke and colleagues at the Federal Polytechnic School of Lausanne say their discovery might help shed light on brain processes that contribute to the symptoms of schizophrenia, which can include the sensation that one's own actions are being performed by someone else.

Doctors evaluating a woman with no history of psychiatric problems found stimulation of an area of her brain called the left temporoparietal junction caused her to believe a person was standing behind her.

The patient reported that "person" adopted the same bodily positions as her, although she didn't recognize the effect as an illusion. At one point in the investigation, the patient was asked to lean forward and clasp her knees: this led to a sensation that the shadow figure was embracing her, which she described as unpleasant.

The finding could be a step towards understanding psychiatric affects such as feelings of paranoia, persecution and alien control, say neuroscientists.

The discovery is reported in a Brief Communication in this week's issue of the journal Nature.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: Mutant protein in muscle linked to neuromuscular disorder

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Explainer: What is big data?

Jan 27, 2014

Big Data, as the name implies, relates to very large sets of data collected through free or commercial services on the internet.

Vest to prevent balance disorder patients falling

Apr 06, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- A vest being developed by scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) could help people with balance disorders to regain their balance. This could cut short the rehabilitation ...

Robotic Hand That Senses Touch (w/ Video)

Oct 21, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Developed by researchers at Lund University in Sweden and Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna in Italy, the Smart Hand project has given patient, Robin af Ekenstam (see video) the sense of touch in ...

Recommended for you

Gate for bacterial toxins found

8 hours ago

Prof. Dr. Dr. Klaus Aktories and Dr. Panagiotis Papatheodorou from the Institute of Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology of the University of Freiburg have discovered the receptor responsible ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Down's chromosome cause genome-wide disruption

The extra copy of Chromosome 21 that causes Down's syndrome throws a spanner into the workings of all the other chromosomes as well, said a study published Wednesday that surprised its authors.

How kids' brain structures grow as memory develops

Our ability to store memories improves during childhood, associated with structural changes in the hippocampus and its connections with prefrontal and parietal cortices. New research from UC Davis is exploring ...

Progress in the fight against quantum dissipation

(Phys.org) —Scientists at Yale have confirmed a 50-year-old, previously untested theoretical prediction in physics and improved the energy storage time of a quantum switch by several orders of magnitude. ...

Meteorites yield clues to Martian early atmosphere

(Phys.org) —Geologists who analyzed 40 meteorites that fell to Earth from Mars unlocked secrets of the Martian atmosphere hidden in the chemical signatures of these ancient rocks. Their study, published ...