Putting magnetism in its place:a critical examination of the weak-intensity magnetic field account for anomalous haunt-type experiences

Braithwaite, Jason J (2008) Putting magnetism in its place:a critical examination of the weak-intensity magnetic field account for anomalous haunt-type experiences. Journal of the Society for Psychical Research. ISSN 0037-9751

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Abstract

A growing number of laboratory studies have shown that anomalous haunt-type experiences can be artificially induced by applying temporally complex, weak-intensity magnetic fields to the outer cortex of the brain. Although this neuromagnetic field theory has merit, it is important to place the account in an appropriate context based on the best available evidence. The present paper discusses the magnetic field account, its biophysical plausibility and its limitations. Important findings from high-intensity and mid-intensity magnetic field studies, as well as weak-intensity magnetic field studies, are reviewed. A discussion of a recent failure to replicate the effects of weak magnetic fields on consciousness is also provided. It is argued that future research should concentrate on independent double-blind laboratory-based replications of the effects and on producing more explicit biophysical mechanisms for an interaction between weak magnetic fields and the human brain. Some novel speculations on potential mechanisms of interactions between weak magnetic fields and the brain are also suggested. It is concluded that, although the magnetic field account has much to commend it, it is important to acknowledge that it is neither uncontroversial nor comprehensive in its current form.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Journal of the Society for Psychical Research
ID Code:
81725
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
23 Sep 2016 13:12
Refereed?:
No
Published?:
Published
Last Modified:
20 Mar 2020 04:55