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"And the stars are projectors, yeah, projecting our lives down to this planet Earth." - Modest Mouse


7.01.2004

Perception Of The Paranormal 

Swiss neurologist Peter Brugger has submitted evidence that individuals with higher levels of neuronal dopamine are more inclined to find meaning in abstract patterns and more likely to see meaning in coincidence. The inference is that higher levels of dopamine may be associated with tendencies to believe in the paranormal.
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 seems to help people see patterns," says Brugger.
Now I don't buy that this is all that's happening in perception of the paranormal but it's interesting to see correlates with neurochemistry. Note that schizophrenia is characterized by an excess of dopamine. As I've said in the past, magick is a form of controlled madness.

Comments:
I would liken this to the experiment where they gave pilots marijuana and put them in a flight simulator. Of course they were going to miss the runway if they'd never smoked it before and were stoned out of their gourds. Let the subjects live with heightened dopamine levels and normalize their behaviour over a period of time. Then do more tests.
 
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