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Psychiatry Res. 2011 Nov 30;194(2):105-10. doi: 10.1016/j.pscychresns.2011.05.002. Epub 2011 Sep 15.

Neuroimaging and EEG-based explorations of cerebral substrates for suprapentasensory perception: a critical appraisal of recent experimental literature.

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Department of Molecular and Medical Pharmacology, University of California, Los Angeles, CA, USA.


Many people have reported experiencing on at least one occasion what are often labeled "paranormal phenomena," and some people report having such experiences frequently. From a neuroscience perspective, this begs the question of whether and how information emanating from outside of our bodies may be received by the human brain in a manner capable of influencing our conscious perceptions, other than through the conventionally accepted routes of our sensory organs for sight, sound, touch, taste and smell-i.e., exploring the existence, nature, and basis of presumed suprapentasensory (SPS) perception. The present review article, in an examination of investigations aimed at identifying SPS-associated neurologic substrates, critically reviews recently published literature covering EEG studies of reported perceptions of "sensed presence" and ganzfeld-induced imagery, neuronuclear imaging studies of experimentally induced experiences considered to be explicitly "religious" or "spiritual," and brain imaging studies that seek to understand neurologic correlates of individuals' proneness to reporting such experiences. The limitations of present studies (as well as of the conclusions that can be drawn from them), and potential avenues for addressing those limitations in future studies, are also considered.

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