Out-of-Body-Experiences: A Phenomenological Comparison of Different Causes

12 Pages Posted: 24 Jan 2017 Last revised: 27 Jan 2021

Date Written: January 23, 2020


In out-of-body experiences (OBEs) the typifying phenomenal experience is the continuity/existence of the self, outside the boundaries of the physical body. In this work several characteristics of these experiences were investigated using the accounts of participants who underwent them via three forms of induction:

(a) by way of hypnotic induction;

(b) after traumatic physical experiences that can be defined as near-death experiences (NDEs);

(c) and via non-traumatic experiences, such as meditation.

In each group, these experiences were described generally as positive and entail a state of greater phenomenal clarity compared to ordinary consciousness. Furthermore, a decrease in perception of time and one’s personal boundaries were reported. The lack of substantial differences across groups suggests that all OBEs shares similar characteristics which are not necessarily modulated by induction type. Nonetheless, there were some differences across groups which were noteworthy; namely, hypnotically-induced OBEs resembled more closely a phenomenology of NDEs than that of typical spontaneous accounts.

Keywords: near-death-experience, out-of-body experience, phenomenology, self, first-person perspective, body transfer illusion

Suggested Citation

De Foe, Alexander and Al Khafaji, Benedikt Emanuel and Pederzoli, Luciano and Prati, Elena and Tressoldi, Patrizio E., Out-of-Body-Experiences: A Phenomenological Comparison of Different Causes (January 23, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2903827 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2903827

Alexander De Foe

RMIT University ( email )

124 La Trobe Street
Melbourne, 3000

Benedikt Emanuel Al Khafaji

University of Padua ( email )

Via 8 Febbraio
Padova, Vicenza 2-35122

Luciano Pederzoli

EvanLab ( email )

Via dei Ricci, 22
Impruneta, Firenze 50023

Elena Prati

EvanLab ( email )


Patrizio E. Tressoldi (Contact Author)

Università di Padova ( email )

via Venezia 8
Padova, 35131

HOME PAGE: http://www.patriziotressoldi.it

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