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Neural Correlates of Transmitted Light Experience during Meditation: A Pilot Hyperscanning Study

Fenwick, Peter; Di Bernardi Luft, Caroline; Ioannides, Andreas and Bhattacharya, Joydeep. 2019. Neural Correlates of Transmitted Light Experience during Meditation: A Pilot Hyperscanning Study. NeuroQuantology, 17(1), pp. 31-41. [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Certain individuals during deep meditative states can transmitt and give out an aura or ‘light, which is perceived by others through some unknown connections, visual, telepathic or other. Despite various anecdotal, historical accounts of such induced light experience (ILE), its underlying neural mechanism is not known. In this pilot study, we investigated the neural correlates of ILE by simultaneously recording the EEGs of an expert Teacher, who is claimed to elicit ILE, and his Pupil (N=2) during joint sessions under various instructions, given separately to the Teacher (transmit/ do not transmit) and to the Pupil (receive/ do not receive). In a further condition both teacher and pupil wear opaque goggles during transmit/receive instruction, limiting the visual/outputinput. We observed a robust increase in the high frequency beta (12-30 Hz) and gamma oscillations (30-70 Hz) in the Teacher’s brain whenever he was instructed to transmit. Electric field tomography analysis localized these effects over several brain regions including the fusiform gyrus, angular gyrus and the cerebellum. Finally, we found that the Teacher’s and Pupil’s brain responses were synchronized, especially in the alpha band (8-12 Hz) during transmit/receive condition, and the information flow was directional, i.e. from the Teacher to the Pupil; interestingly, this enhanced interbrain synchrony disappeared with opaque goggles. These results were interpreted in terms of heightened internally selective attention as manifested by high frequency beta-gamma oscillations and of joint attention as manifested by interbrain alpha synchrony. Altogether, our results provide the first neuroscientific evidence underlying the phenomenological experience of induced light.

Item Type:

Article

Identification Number (DOI):

https://doi.org/10.14704/nq.2019.17.1.1318

Related URLs:

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Psychology

Dates:

DateEvent
20 September 2018Accepted
21 January 2019Published

Item ID:

25950

Date Deposited:

06 Mar 2019 10:16

Last Modified:

06 Mar 2019 10:16

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.

URI:

http://research.gold.ac.uk/id/eprint/25950

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