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Paranormal beliefs linked to brain chemistry?

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posted on Apr, 19 2007 @ 07:41 PM
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It doesnt matter if you believe in the paranormal. It may depend completely on your brain chemistry. People with high levels of dopamine are more likely to find significance in coincidences, and pick out meaning and patterns where there are none.
Peter Brugger, a neurologist from the University Hospital in Zurich, Switzerland, suggested before that people who believe in the paranormal often seem to be more willing to see patterns or relationships between events where sceptics perceive nothing. Which is what was suggested by Mr. Brugger.

www.artbrain.org...

To find out what could be triggering these thoughts, Brugger persuaded 20 self-confessed believers and 20 sceptics to take part in an experiment. Brugger and his colleagues asked the two groups to distinguish real faces from scrambled faces as the images were flashed up briefly on a screen. The volunteers then did a similar task, this time identifying real words from made-up ones.


Seeing and believing
Believers were much more likely than sceptics to see a word or face when there was not one, Brugger revealed last week at a meeting of the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies in Paris. However, sceptics were more likely to miss real faces and words when they appeared on the screen.

The researchers then gave the volunteers a drug called L-dopa, which is usually used to relieve the symptoms of Parkinson's disease by increasing levels of dopamine in the brain.

Both groups made more mistakes under the influence of the drug, but the sceptics became more likely to interpret scrambled words or faces as the real thing.

That suggests that paranormal thoughts are associated with high levels of dopamine in the brain, and the L-dopa makes sceptics less sceptical. Dopamine would seem to help people see patterns.

Plateau effect
However, the single dose of the drug did not seem to increase the tendency of believers to see coincidences or relationships between the words and images.

That could mean that there is a plateau effect for them, with more dopamine having relatively little effect above a certain threshold, says Peter Krummenacher, one of Brugger's colleagues.

Dopamine is an important chemical involved in the brain's reward and motivation system, and in addiction. Its role in the reward system may be to help us decide whether information is relevant or irrelevant, says Françoise Schenk from the University of Lausanne in Switzerland.

So the question here would be, does this sound relevant to help us understand the paranormal? My own personal feelings may vary, this is the subject manner in which I have been thinking about alot lately and want to understand.

[edit on 19-4-2007 by zysin5]



posted on Apr, 20 2007 @ 05:20 AM
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You know.....
I think there is a burning question that i believe you could benefit from meditating on (in direct relation to your current post)....

And that is:
"Which came first, the chicken or the egg?"

No, im not joking..... meditate on it and you may slip sideways into a greater understanding in relation to the question you pose in you post.....



posted on Apr, 20 2007 @ 07:56 AM
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complete dribble. and i dont mean you i mean these so called 'facts' funny how everything they want to be proven is fact so easily but anything they dont believe in is always debated no matter what tests show. maybe a better study for certain scientists is how much ignorance a mind has when the ego is too large for its own good?



posted on Apr, 20 2007 @ 08:40 AM
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Originally posted by HuntaXX
complete dribble. and i dont mean you i mean these so called 'facts' funny how everything they want to be proven is fact so easily but anything they dont believe in is always debated no matter what tests show. maybe a better study for certain scientists is how much ignorance a mind has when the ego is too large for its own good?


What's wrong with trying to study something? These researchers are just conducting an experiment instead of sitting around doing absolutely nothing. Their results, whether ultimately true or false, are interesting.

Besides you're lack of punctuation, you're not trying to read and understand a simple theory. It's not fact, it's not the cool new thing everyone has to do, it's just a proposal.

From what I understood of your "dribble", you argue that these scientists only believe in what they see as fact, stating that they debate in whatever they don't believe in. So... what are you doing in that paragraph? You don't believe the results to be fact, so you started debating, even with test results in front of your computer screen.

You're just the same.



posted on Apr, 20 2007 @ 08:58 AM
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Posted by Sysin5:

So the question here would be, does this sound relevant to help us understand the paranormal?


Well, there IS this to be considered:

The researchers then gave the volunteers a drug called L-dopa, which is usually used to relieve the symptoms of Parkinson's disease by increasing levels of dopamine in the brain.

Both groups made more mistakes under the influence of the drug, but the sceptics became more likely to interpret scrambled words or faces as the real thing.


40 individuals is a small sample. And they were separated into 'believer' and 'sceptic' groupings, which in itself introduces 'self fulfilling prophecy'. Bit difficult for a self-described sceptic to suddenly step 'out of character' during the experiment. They had their pride and previously-announced convictions (scepticism) to uphold.

Similarly, the 'believer' group would also have wished, consciously or otherwise, to live up to their 'believer' mantle.

So there were two groups of 20, each group virtually committed to confirming their previously-announced beliefs, re: the paranormal. Not much of value could come from an experiment of the nature described in the OP. Can see it now: the 'believers' desperately 'finding faces' at all costs and the 'sceptics' dismissing anything with any resemblance to a face (even if it was staring them in the face) as a matter of principle, lol.


The L-dopa element is interesting though, don't you think?

It didn't alter the 'believer' group. Yet it did alter the perceptions of the staunch 'non believers'. So, interesting in more ways than one.

Interesting too that researcher Peter Krummenacher theorised (stated as his opinion):

could mean that there is a plateau effect for them (the believers) with more dopamine having relatively little effect above a certain threshold


Unsaid, of course, is the fact the experiment may have unintentionally confirmed that the believers have been 'seeing true' all along and when the non-believers were administered L-dopa ---- they were able to 'see true' as well !

For the experiment showed that the believers remained consistent both before and after the L-dopa !

In other words, the 'believers' are clearly more stable and to-be-relied upon than the non-believers !

The 'believers' were UN-affected by the drug.

Instead of acknowledging this however, the researchers chose to interpret the findings in a way that minimised and dismissed this revelation, by stating that 'belief in the paranormal may depend completely on your brain chemistry'.

Which conflicts with the researchers' own findings !!!!!!

Because the 'believer' group was NOT affected by the brain-chemistry modifying L-dopa ! The 'believer' group remained constant.

It was the sceptics who flip-flopped -- who see-sawed, after L-dopa ! It was the brain chemistry of the sceptics which altered --- turning them, in effect, into members of the 'believer' group !

From the way in which the results of the experiments were portrayed BY the researchers --- no prizes for guessing the slant of their bias !

Now --- where are the scientists who'll conduct research into paranormal experience, rather than mere 'belief in the paranormal' ?

There are a hell of a lot of experiencers out there, just waiting for the call.



posted on Apr, 20 2007 @ 09:29 AM
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Im pointing out how they presented the original article. how they take it so seriously but so many other 'tests' are treated as jokes from the get go



posted on Apr, 20 2007 @ 02:43 PM
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Originally posted by morphonius821
You know.....
I think there is a burning question that i believe you could benefit from meditating on (in direct relation to your current post)....

And that is:
"Which came first, the chicken or the egg?"

No, im not joking..... meditate on it and you may slip sideways into a greater understanding in relation to the question you pose in you post.....


Im sure your not joking, meditation is a great key to understanding not only about this subject, but about yourself, and your ying and yang energy. I am all for sensing, and meditation.. using your 3rd eye to see things our visual eyes can not see.
I pick my words carefully here on this post.. You notice how I use, "may"
often.. As this is just a way to test this theory.
I have felt things, sensed things, and seen things with my own eyes.. Yet none of these things can be proven... Then only method I have right now is the chemicals in my brain, to test what I am sensing and feeling is real.
Ive seen to many hoaxes, and been lied to far to much about paranormal subject manner to just take some sages word for it.. Its just another guy saying what he belives to be true.. These tests are tangle subject manner that can be tested and broken down into viewable numbers.. Which I know, I know there is more to it than numbers and testable subjects. I just use knowledge as a way to get threw to people who absolutely dont belive in paranormal at all.. I feel I need to cater to the needs of those minds who see data like this as a doorway to something bigger.. As the paranormal world, when the door opens you will see much more than data and test subjects. You will find a world of matter and energy that we only see with our eyes such a little bit of the spectrum...
And like Dock6 said


There are a hell of a lot of experiencers out there, just waiting for the call.



posted on Apr, 20 2007 @ 07:05 PM
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It is funny the things scientists will investigate. Of course belief or scepticism is down to brain chemistry. Everything is down to brain chemistry, ultimately. And the single most interesting neuro-transmitter is '___', which we make in the pineal gland, the 3rd eye. But it is also on the US and UK lists of proscribed drugs. Its exactly the same chemical, n.n.dimethyltryptamine. Class A, Schedule 1, and we are all guilty of possession. Hence research is restricted with the result that '___' has only been studied on Human subjects once since 1960. 62% of subjects reported communicating with some kind of external intelligence during the study.

here: www.rickstrassman.com...



posted on Apr, 21 2007 @ 12:20 AM
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It just annoys me that the people in the greatest position to make make 'magic' as its known here a common everyday positive practice do the most harm to its credability. the power of the spirit is accepted and well known in the east and seen as a positive practice about being more moral helping others and becoming enlightened. over here its seen as dark evil demon worshipping arts used only to gain power and dominate others. the sad thing is all magic comes from the same source and is neither good or evil only used for good or evil and most of the spells/rituals/summoning/pacts are just a way to convince the mind theres a logical reason for it to work. its time these scientists just admit they wil never fully understand it and start using its power to help the western world



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