Functional and Neural Mechanisms of Out-of-Body Experiences: Importance of Retinogeniculo-Cortical Oscillations

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Current research on the various forms of autoscopic phenomena addresses the clinical and neurological correlates of out-of-body experiences, autoscopic hallucinations,and heautoscopy. Yet most of this research is based on functional magnetic resonance imaging results and focuses predominantly on abnormal cortical activity. Previously we proposed that visual consciousness resulted from the dynamic retinogeniculo-cortical oscillations, such that the photoreceptors dynamically integrated with visual and other vision-associated cortices, and was theorized to be mapped out by photoreceptor discs and rich retinal networks which synchronized with the retinotopic mapping and the associated cortex. The feedback from neural input that is received from the thalamus and cortex via retinogeniculo-cortical oscillations and sent to the retina is multifold higher than feed-forward input to the cortex. This can effectively translate into out-of-body experiences projected onto the screen formed by the retina as it is perceived via feedback and feed-forward oscillations from the reticular thalamic nucleus, or “internal searchlight”. This article explores the role of the reticular thalamic nucleus and the retinogeniculo-cortical oscillations as pivotal internal components in vision and various autoscopic phenomena.
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Brain Dynamics Underlying the Nonlinear Threshold for Access to Consciousness.Del Cul, Antoine; Baillet, Sylvain & Dehaene, Stanislas

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