Robot makes people feel like a ghost is nearby

November 6, 2014 5:13 PM

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Robot makes people feel like a ghost is nearby

In 2006, cognitive neuroscientist Olaf Blanke of the University of Geneva in Switzerland was testing a patient’s brain functions before her epilepsy surgery when he noticed something strange. Every time he electrically stimulated the region of her brain responsible for integrating different sensory signals from the body, the patient would look back behind her back as if a person was there, even when she knew full well that no one was actually present.

Now, with the help of robots, Blanke and colleagues have not only found a neurological explanation for this illusion, but also tricked healthy people into sensing “ghosts,” they report online today in Current Biology. The study could help explain why schizophrenia patients sometimes hallucinate that...

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