The mind/body relationship, a classic philosophical conundrum, was recently the subject of a study that shows that virtual representations of human organs have the ability to cause out-of-body experiences. Two researchers came to this conclusion after connecting subjects to virtual reality representations of themselves. The catalyst for the discovery was the human heart’s natural rhythm, which was externally represented by a flashing outline around the virtual ‘self.’ The participants claimed to be closer to their virtual doubles, and several described feeling of being in another part of the room.
Anorexia and ‘yo-yo’ dieting are two trends that will hopefully benefit from the research. “Patients with anorexia seem to identify with a body which is larger than their physical body,” said Dr. Jane Aspell, Senior Lecturer in Psychology at Anglia Ruskin University, UK, who co-authored the study. Using this technique, doctors could help those suffering with body dysmorphia see the “real me” that everyone else sees when looking at them.