God Helmet results replicated

#3
It's really a shame that I always hear skeptics bringing the God Helmet in to an argument to cement their stance that it's entirely in the brain when all Persinger wants, or so it seems, is to just ask questions.
 
#4
I was unable to read the paper... (Needed to download some app). Although I got the impression that there were only 20 participants...

Although I'm happy that weak slowly varying magnetic fields can be transduced by the brain, and I certainly believe they maybe the cause of classic veridical hospital NDE OBE's during cardiac arrest, I've been unsure about Persingers work as it failed replication else where. Although Persinger came up with a Plausible reason for that. I've not actually read any of Persingers papers properly before, so can't really comment.

It seems from the article that although the fields created in Persingers work did use complex patterns, just 4 coils on each side of the head does seem somewhat blunt to me. I sort of wondered whether 8 coils would be sufficient to elicit a genuine perceived effect, or whether the peculiar isolated nature of Persingers test chamber contributed to his results.

There are other conflicting environmental studies investigating EM fields effect on humans and animals. Some showing effects, others not. But generally the ones showing effects do tend to use use complex patterned EM fields, as opposed to simple or blunt fields. The idea being that simple blunt fields of this type don't produce any perceived effect, even though we can see a physiological response to them within the brain.

I also suspect the results from Borgijin's rat study could due to weak magnetic fields - I can't think of any other reason why dying rats should suddenly become more conscious, with EEG measurements that are very similar to a wakeful human.

Would be great if we could get a reliable replication of Persingers work though. I should really read a couple of his papers.
 
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#5
It's really a shame that I always hear skeptics bringing the God Helmet in to an argument to cement their stance that it's entirely in the brain when all Persinger wants, or so it seems, is to just ask questions.
Which is ironic because when brain scans are performed on atheists, the same part of the brain lights up that is supposed to cause/correlate with religious beliefs. (appalling lack of scientific terminology in my part)

Correction; they are on a continuum of belief

original paper

http://dominicdpjohnson.com/publications/pdf/2012JohnsonWhatAreAtheistsFor.pdf
 
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#6
I read the article. The experiment does not appear to have proper controls.

As a side point, it is worth noting that fields "generated by the brain," already extremely weak, are functionally cut back to zero by the skull and asssociated tissues and do not "affect" things at distance from the person. Hence an EEG operates by contact with the skull, and even then is far from ideal.
 
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#7
I read the article. The experiment does not appear to have proper controls.

As a side point, it is worth noting that fields "generated by the brain," already extremely weak, are functionally cut back to zero by the skull and asssociated tissues and do not "affect" things at distance from the person. Hence an EEG operates by contact with the skull, and even then is far from ideal.
Unfortunately fields from firing neurons are not cut back to zero by the scull and tissue.
 
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Ian Gordon

Ninshub
Member
#8
Here is an interesting video that includes 'The God Helmet' and the NDE'r that tries it on.

Forgive the OT comment - but thanks for the video Steve. Just regarding this guy's NDE, which I really liked, this reminds me of powerful aspects of NDEs like this one, to me personally "evidential", where there's a strange "otherness" to what the person experiences (often, like this one, in terms of deep, felt, experiential connectedness to everything) that does not fit the person's expectations and beliefs, leaves him radically shattered in his reality paradigm afterwards, and you've got him receiving the information he's had a heart attack and a has a choice to come back or not when he had no knowledge of dying or having a heart attack.
 
#9
#10
Unfortunately fields from firing neurons are not cut back to zero by the scull and tissue.
Not COMPLETELY to zero, that is true. Just close enough to zero for all practical purposes of external influence beyond a few milimeters outside the skull...maybe even a centimeter or two if you arranged to have someone's skull removed.
 
#11
Not COMPLETELY to zero, that is true. Just close enough to zero for all practical purposes of external influence beyond a few milimeters outside the skull...maybe even a centimeter or two if you arranged to have someone's skull removed.
Nope, that's just wrong. There is absolutely no reason in principle why we can't usefully measure EM fields beyond the surface of the scalp. It's just that there is little motivation to invest the cash and time to develop a solution to do so, when for example, the latest dry contact sensors for EEG can do just about everything we need for a lot less effort.

What's the point of investing all that cash to develop non-contact EEG sensors that can deal with the increased noise issues caused by the greater movement of a sensor that sits on the surface of your hair, when a modern dry sensor in contact with the scalp fulfills most requirements. What's the market, how are you gonna get your money back?

Despite that, quite simple non-contact EEG sensors have already been developed with very little funding, and used in pilot studies. A new integrated non-contact EEG sensor was recently used to aquire visual evoked potentials (SSVEP) right through the hair, and successfully used by subjects to dial numbers from a visual keypad on a Nokia mobile phone using a simple Brain Computer Interface (BCI).

So it's simply not true to suggest that EEG is not possible without scalp contact, it's just that nobody sees much point in developing a commercial non-contact sensor to do it, it's much much harder. Why bother, when the scalp surface is always readily available.

As regards magnetic fields, the scull and tissue have absolutely no limiting effect whatsoever on the magnetic component of the EM field. It goes straight through them as if they weren't there. We've been using SQUIDS to measure magnetic fields from neuron firing beyond the surface of the scalp for yonks - known as Magnetoencephalography (MEG). Huge supercooled devices in shielded rooms at present, but that's set to change with a tiny new mobile sensor which IIRC, uses rubidium atoms, allowing mobile MEG at last.

Even 10 years ago we were using MEG to diagnose brain function problems in the developing fetus, by measuring it's visual evoked potentials to a bright light, all from outside the mother. That's way, way beyond direct contact with the scalp limitation you suggested.
 
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#12
So if the God helmet can induce certain perceptions and that means then that any perceptions of a God then are only caused by the brain and have no external reality, does that also mean if I stimulate the visual cortex and the subject sees things that then there is no external reality to any visual perceptions?
 

Ian Gordon

Ninshub
Member
#13
(...) and that means then that any perceptions of a God then are only caused by the brain and have no external reality (...)
IF true (as Kai said, and Trancestate pointed out to me, there are no controls in this study), the results can fit into the brain filter hypothesis. Playing with, or disturbing, the filter leads to opening into expanded consciousness/reality.
 
#14
Nope, that's just wrong. There is absolutely no reason in principle why we can't usefully measure EM fields beyond the surface of the scalp. It's just that there is little motivation to invest the cash and time to develop a solution to do so, when for example, the latest dry contact sensors for EEG can do just about everything we need for a lot less effort.
Well, there's a lot of reasons actually Max. The pointlessness of doing so because they are too weak and incapable of doing anything (when you can just measure them by attaching electrodes to the skull) being highest among them.

Despite that, quite simple non-contact EEG sensors have already been developed with very little funding, and used in pilot studies. A new integrated non-contact EEG sensor was recently used to aquire visual evoked potentials (SSVEP) right through the hair, and successfully used by subjects to dial numbers from a visual keypad on a Nokia mobile phone using a simple Brain Computer Interface (BCI).
Yes, all of which is worlds and worlds away from a claim that the EM fields of one person's brain are capable of influencing another person's brain, or capable of doing pretty much anything at all outside of the skullcap. It remains to be seen whether even non-contact EEG will be useful enough to be taken up by hospitals in general.

So it's simply not true to suggest that EEG is not possible without scalp contact, it's just that nobody sees much point in developing a commercial non-contact sensor to do it, it's much much harder. Why bother, when the scalp surface is always readily available.
I didn't say it was impossible. I said it was usefully cut back almost to zero.

As regards magnetic fields, the scull and tissue have absolutely no limiting effect whatsoever on the magnetic component of the EM field. It goes straight through them as if they weren't there. We've been using SQUIDS to measure magnetic fields from neuron firing beyond the surface of the scalp for yonks - known as Magnetoencephalography (MEG). Huge supercooled devices in shielded rooms at present, but that's set to change with a tiny new mobile sensor which IIRC, uses rubidium atoms, allowing mobile MEG at last.
Again, any fields issued from the living brain are so weak to have no demonstrable, practical application.
 
#15
Well, there's a lot of reasons actually Max. The pointlessness of doing so because they are too weak and incapable of doing anything (when you can just measure them by attaching electrodes to the skull) being highest among them.



Yes, all of which is worlds and worlds away from a claim that the EM fields of one person's brain are capable of influencing another person's brain, or capable of doing pretty much anything at all outside of the skullcap. It remains to be seen whether even non-contact EEG will be useful enough to be taken up by hospitals in general.



I didn't say it was impossible. I said it was usefully cut back almost to zero.



Again, any fields issued from the living brain are so weak to have no demonstrable, practical application.
I just wanted to correct the errors in your original claims.
 
#17
Cutting to the chase would be experimenting some veridical under the influence of this helmet. Try and build up a trial where the subject, while helmeted, would have to see through walls, boxes or guess out numbers written on hidden cards.
 
#18
Cutting to the chase would be experimenting some veridical under the influence of this helmet. Try and build up a trial where the subject, while helmeted, would have to see through walls, boxes or guess out numbers written on hidden cards.
Well that ain't going to work is it...
 
#19
Cutting to the chase would be experimenting some veridical under the influence of this helmet. Try and build up a trial where the subject, while helmeted, would have to see through walls, boxes or guess out numbers written on hidden cards.
They'd probably have better chance of results if they just noted his thoughts while on a powerful mind-altering psychedeic (take your pick).
 
#20
Or your own misreadings of those "claims" Max?
Nope, I haven't misread your claim, you said...

"...fields "generated by the brain," already extremely weak, are functionally cut back to zero by the skull and asssociated tissues..."

and as I've pointed out, your claim is incorrect. The magnetic component of the EM field isn't "...cut back to zero...", neither is it reduced, or affected in any way "...by the skull and associated tissues...".
 
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