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Metaphysics & Psychology

Your Self Is Located in Your Chest, Says New Study

Your Self Is Located in Your Chest, Says New Study 88

Philosophers and psychologists have long puzzled over our conception of the self and whether we believe it to have physical correlates in the body. It’s hard to get empirical data on a concept as subjective as the location of the self—if the self can be pinpointed at all—but one new study in the journal Consciousness and Cognition suggests we conceive of the self as located in the upper chest. Psychologists Adrian Alsmith of the University of Copenhagen and Matthew Longo of the University of London had ten adults stand in front of a movable metal pointer. In one round of experiments, participants were blindfolded and had to use the pointer to indicate “themselves.” In the next round, volunteers watched as the researchers moved the pointer and told them to stop when it pointed at “themselves.”

To analyze the results, the experimenters divided the body into five regions: lower torso, upper torso, neck, lower face, upper face. In both rounds, responses clustered in the upper torso. “In the morphological structure of the body,” posited Alsmith and Longo, by way of explanation, “The torso is, so to speak, the great continent of the body, relative to which all other body parts are mere peninsulas. Where the torso goes, the body follows.”

Of course, Alsmith and Longo’s sample size is small, and their study is hardly conclusive. Here are some other contenders for the site of the self.

The eyes

For a 2012 paper in the journal Cognition, Yale psychologists Christina Starmans and Paul Bloom devised three experiments to explore children and adults’ beliefs about the location of the self. “To access people’s intuitive sense of the self, we developed an implicit method that asks when an object is closest to a person,” they wrote. “If children and adults consider the self to be equally distributed across the body, or if they think the self has no spatial location, then they should judge that an object is equally close to a person regardless of where on her body it is positioned. However, if people have an intuition that the self is located in a particular part of the body, then they should judge that objects nearer to that part of the body are closest to the person.”

In the first experiment, 50 pre-school children and 52 adults were shown cartoons of a girl named Mary with a fly buzzing around different parts of her body. Participants had to indicate in which pictures the fly was closest to Mary. Bloom and Starmans found that both adults and children tended to say the fly was closest to Mary as it approached her head, and especially her eyes. The effect was particularly strong for children—possibly indicating that this sense of self is innate.

Next, Bloom and Starmans repeated the experiment but replaced the girl with an alien whose face was situated on its chest. Once again, both children and adults said the fly was closer to the alien when it flew nearer to its eyes. Finally, the researchers found the same effect when they asked participants to look at different images of a girl in a snowstorm and indicate when a particular snowflake was closest to her. “Together, these studies provide converging evidence that children and adults intuitively think of the self as occupying a physical location within the body, close to the eyes.”

Your Self Is Located in Your Chest, Says New Study 89

Christina Starmans and Paul Bloom/Cognition

The pineal gland

Descartes’ personal belief was that the self was located in the pineal gland. You didn’t need a lot of empirical data to theorize in the seventeenth century.

The head

For a 2011 paper in Psychology, German psychologists Jakub Limanowski and Heiko Hecht had 87 adults look at sketches of human or non-human silhouettes and place crosshairs on whatever they judged to be “the subjective location of the self”—the “I” that perceives, the center of phenomenological experience. The non-human figures consisted of a rectangular “body” with humanoid features such as eyes, ears, heart and brain, with the locations of these organs varying from rectangle to rectangle. For both the abstract shapes and the human outlines, the most popular choice was the brain.

The heart

Aristotle believed the heart was the center of the emotional, physical and rational being. Sounds like a Self.

Nowhere

Philosophers have long questioned whether the concept of “self” is even useful. Back in the eighteenth century, David Hume was one of the first to question the notion we have some kind of individual substance that remains constant throughout our lives. He wrote in his Treatise of Human Nature: “If any impression gives rise to the idea of self, that impression must continue invariably the same, through the whole course of our lives’ since self is supposed to exist after that manner. But there is no impression constant and invariable.”

Contemporary philosophers remain skeptical. Daniel Dennett, for instance, ridicules the idea of the search for a physical self: “You enter the brain through the eye, march up the optic nerve, round and round in the cortex, looking behind every neuron, and then, before you know it, you emerge into daylight on the spike of a motor nerve impulse, scratching your head and wondering where the self is.”

Philosophers may have discarded the idea of a physical self, but psychologists have shown that lay people haven’t. When Limanowski and Hecht asked 87 people whether “the self” existed at a single point, 72 percent said it did.

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Metaphysics & Psychology

Research confirms that “near death experience” is not an illusion

Research confirms that "near death experience" is not an illusion 102

Dr. Alexander Batthyany, a professor of psychology at the University of Vienna, has studied thousands of cases of near-death experiences. Human thinking ability has nothing to do with the brain.

Near death experience case study

Dr. Batthyany and others collected thousands of complete cases describing near-death experiences , and recorded in detail the content of the near-death’s private prosecution and doctor’s consultation.

Doctors ask dozens of questions about what the patient sees (visual), what he hears (hearing), what he thinks (consciousness and thinking), life background (such as religious beliefs, life experience), etc., such as “Have this experience before Do you?”, “Do you see the light?”, “Who do you talk about your death experience?”, “Do you believe in your death experience?”, etc., to judge and evaluate the credibility of the patient’s narration of the near death experience Degree and the patient’s mental state after death (whether normal, etc.).

Dr. Batthyany said that the results of the study are reliable and fully confirm that the near-death experience is a real mental activity rather than an illusion. He also said that research methods have certain limitations, which will lead to underestimation of the proportion of near-death experiences.

Extremely credible near-death experiences

Dr. Batthyany explained that due to the limitations of the method, cases are likely to be missed, so the actual rate of near death experience should be higher.

Dr. Batthyany explained how he and his colleagues analyzed thousands of cases by compiling and integrating medical records into a resource library (such as the NDERF website), and then using search terms related to vision (vision) or cognition (such as “See” (saw) or “thought”> search for related medical records and score them according to visual or cognitive content, and then further narrow the scope of the study, such as selecting near-death experience cases with detailed medical records. This screening method based only on search terms is likely to miss cases where there is no such vocabulary in the expression.

Dr. Batthyany said that the near-death experience cases are highly credible. They considered that thousands of cases with near-death experiences are likely to have false reports, but in the process of sorting and analyzing, they noticed that only 1% of near-death cases were deleted due to validity.

Therefore, Dr. Batthyany believes that even if there are still false cases, the number is not enough to affect the overall conclusion.

Evidence of the phenomenon

In addition to these near-death experience studies, Dr. Batthyany also pointed out that the phenomenon of back light also shows that the phenomenon of thinking consciousness is extremely complex, even in the case of severe deterioration of brain function, there can be active thinking.

Dr. Batthyany studies the back-to-light phenomenon in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Among patients with Alzheimer’s disease (ie, Alzheimer’s disease), some people have been completely incoherent for many years, but suddenly showed a marked improvement or normal thinking shortly before their death. This is what is commonly referred to as “return to light”.

According to the current neurological concept, as the brain function of Alzheimer’s patients gets worse and worse, their thinking performance should be that their memory and various thoughts and feelings are becoming more and more lost, and there is even no human thinking at all.

However, the actual situation is just the opposite. The whole state of mind of Alzheimer’s patients may suddenly become intact like a spark burst.

“Psychological Vision” of the Blind

In fact, there is also a phenomenon of “mindsight” or “mind intuition” which also illustrates the independence of thinking. “Psychovision” refers to the sight of a blind person who reports during a near-death experience.

Kenneth Ring of the University of Connecticut found that among 21 blind cases who reported near-death experiences, 15 blind people described seeing the scene and had vision.

Dr. Batthyany pointed out that some scientists believe that near-death experiences are hallucinations produced by human neurophysiological processes. However, “in this study, the results of near-death experience, rebirth, and psycho-visual phenomena suggest that patients experience near-death experiences when their condition deteriorates, die, or have no neurological activity, and it is common.”

Therefore, Dr. Batthyany concluded that even when the brain function changes or even the electrical activity of the brain stops (the EEG is flat), there is still a clear sense of self, complex visual images, and clear mental activities. And other thinking phenomena.

Even though back-lighting and psychological vision are very rare phenomena, the countless examples of near-death experiences are enough to illustrate the problem.

Dr. Batthyany wrote:

“Our research results show that the visual scene, mental state and self-awareness that people continue to appear in the near-death experience are a rule rather than an exception.”

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Metaphysics & Psychology

What people see after clinical death: Stories from survivors that they would rather forget

What people see after clinical death: Stories from survivors that they would rather forget 103

Humanity still does not know much about death. Of course, it’s easy to write it off as “nothingness,” but what if in reality everything is a little more complicated? In the selection below – ten creepy stories “from the other world” from people who survived clinical death.

Recently, the user Aidanmartin3 asked near-death survivors on Reddit to describe what it was like. The post quickly went viral, with hundreds of people sharing their stories in the comments.

I was about fifteen years old. Climbed onto the kitchen counter to grab something from the top cabinet, but slipped and fell headlong onto the marble floor. The next thing I remember is walking barefoot on water. Then I look to the right, I see a very bright light and a hand, as if calling me. I go to her and suddenly realize how peaceful and relaxed I am. Like the best deep sleep ever. Then I said to myself: “Dude, this is so cool, I would never wake up.” And then all of a sudden everything disappears, and I wake up because of my mother, who is crying over me.By that time, I was already numb, cold, pulseless and even managed to urinate in my pants. As an atheist who does not believe in all this, I often think about that case.

Cule4444

My father died for a short while and then said that at that time he was walking along a long corridor to the door. But when he was about to open it, his father felt himself being “sucked” into his own body

Whiskeynostalgic
What people see after clinical death: Stories from survivors that they would rather forget 104

GIF © Giphy

He died of an overdose for several minutes.In reality, there was nothing. It’s just darkness and an incomprehensible period of time. It was almost like waking up after hanging out all night and feeling like a horse kicked in the chest.

Th30xygen

It seemed to me that I was kind of floating in a long tunnel and I felt very tired. I remember how I fell asleep then and had a dream that I was in the kitchen of my childhood home, and dad was preparing breakfast. I heard turmoil and chaos at one end, and at the other, there was a warm light that seemed soothing. But then all of a sudden I ended up in the chaos of the emergency room.

Free_Hat_McCullough

The story of my ex-girlfriend’s mom. Her heart stopped for 28 minutes. The doctors had already told the family that she had left, and even brought in a priest to bless the room. But in the end she returned. She said that she recalls running around the field with a little girl, who, according to the woman, was her niece, in the dress in which she was buried.

CastingPouch
What people see after clinical death: Stories from survivors that they would rather forget 105

GIF © Giphy

I heard a loud, high-pitched noise telling me that I am still too young to die. Then he got even higher, and I saw a bright light and woke up. The ambulance driver was shining a flashlight in my eyes

Workerhard62

Anaphylactic reaction to the deadly sting of the Irukandji jellyfish. I saw this white glow and how I soared up, then my family and the doctors and nurses who were saving me. Came back and felt a lot of pain

Georgestarr

It felt as if my body was being filmed on a CCTV camera from a third person. Then the camera gradually moved away and rose. I became very cold and began to hear loud clanking sounds. Woke up in an ambulance to the sound of a gurney bouncing on a rough road. It was so surreal. Since then I have not been afraid of death, to be honest. It was almost six years ago, but I still think about that case several times a month.

Hemptations
What people see after clinical death: Stories from survivors that they would rather forget 106

GIF © Giphy

I was hit by a car. I could see everything, blood had not yet got into my eyes. I heard all the commotion. I felt myself being pushed in the back, and then doing artificial respiration … After that I felt only the first beats of the heart and how the blood flowed through my body. The pain began to build up with renewed vigor, and then everything went black

Outsider531

I was pronounced dead three times. But “after death” I have never seen anything. At least i don’t remember

Amihuman159

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Metaphysics & Psychology

Psilocybin mushrooms sprout in the blood of an ‘experimental’ patient

Psilocybin mushrooms sprout in the blood of an 'experimental' patient 107
Image: Giphy.com

US doctors described the story of a man who tried to relieve depression with psilocybin mushrooms in an unconventional way. He injected an intravenous infusion of mushrooms, causing the mushrooms to continue to multiply in his blood and cause multiple organ failure. The case was reported in the Journal of the Academy of Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry.

Many drugs that people traditionally use as psychedelics are increasingly becoming the focus of medical attention. Some of them have already been repurposed and started clinical trials: for example, micro-doses of LSD have proven to be at least safe in the case of Alzheimer’s disease, and psilocybin has helped patients with  migraines and  depression. Often in such experiments we are talking about microdosing – that is, the mass of the substance is not enough for a psychoactive effect.

The story of an American who decided to experiment on his own was described by doctors led by Curtis McKnight of Creighton University School of Medicine. According to relatives, the 30-year-old American suffered from bipolar disorder, but shortly before the incident stopped taking his prescribed medications and suffered from alternating states of mania and depression.

When he stumbled upon research on the potential benefits of psychedelics, he boiled psilocybin mushrooms and injected the filtered solution into his vein. A few days after this experiment, relatives found him in a lethargic state with jaundice, diarrhea and bloody vomiting and took him to the hospital.

Doctors discovered the patient had a problem with multiple organs at once: acute renal failure, liver damage, tachycardia, and low blood saturation and ionic imbalance. He was prescribed droppers to normalize the composition of the blood, vasoconstrictors to raise blood pressure, antibiotics and antifungal drugs. Despite this, he developed septic shock and DIC (excessive blood clotting) and needed plasmapheresis. Only eight days later he was discharged from the intensive care unit, and at the time of publication of the article he had already been in the hospital for 22 days.

In the patient’s blood tests, in addition to the Brevibacillus bacteria , there were also Psilocybe cubensis fungi  – the same ones from which he injected himself intravenously. Apparently, due to insufficient filtration of the solution, the fungi entered the bloodstream and multiplied there, causing intoxication and multiple organ failure.

Psilocybin mushrooms sprout in the blood of an 'experimental' patient 108

The authors of the work note that this is not the first such case – at least in the 80s of the 20th century, doctors already described a patient with similar symptoms after an intravenous injection. Therefore, McKnight and coauthors warn their colleagues: since psychedelics are increasingly used as a medicine (at the end of 2020, they began to legalize it in the United States), it is important to remind patients of the inadmissibility of self-therapy. Intravenous administration can be dangerous – doctors still do not know if it has the same psychoactive effect as the classical methods of administration.

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