temporal lobe lability
Temporal lobe lability is the amount of spontaneous electrical activity taking place in the temporal lobes of the brain (located behind the ears). According to some researchers, such as neuroscientist Michael Persinger at Laurentian University, it may play a significant role in the phenomenon of alien abduction. Temporal lobe lability is known to vary widely between individuals. In the most extreme cases, violent, synchronized electrical storms flair up in the temporal lobes and caused epileptic fits. Immediately before a seizure, epilepsy sufferers sometimes report strange feelings such as dejá vu or a mystical oneness with their surroundings.1 Other people who are not epileptic but who nevertheless have a high lability as measured by an electroencephalograph tend on the whole to be unusually artistic and imaginative. They are also more prone than normal to having out-of-the-body experiences and other such dramatic psychotic episodes. Research by Persinger suggests that these effects can be induced in anyone by artificially stimulating the temporal lobes. At Laurentian, Persinger has set up an isolation chamber in an effort to simulate such experiences. Subjects relax in the darkened room while wearing a helmet in which three solenoids are used to produce a pulsating electromagnetic field. Although effects vary from one person to the next, frequently reported sensations include the feeling that others are present, of being pulled by someone or something, and of sudden, powerful bursts of emotion – fear or anger – over which the individual has no control. Persinger believes that in people who have a naturally high temporal lobe lability, such strong sensations if experienced at home, alone, and in the middle of the night could be enough to explain many abduction accounts.2, 3, 4 This hypothesis becomes especially compelling when considered together with the possibility of false memory syndrome.
1. Skirda, R. J., and Persinger, M. A. "Positive Associations Between
Dichotic Listening Errors, Complex Partial Epileptic-like Signs and
Paranormal Beliefs," Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 181,
2. Persinger, M. A. "Vectorial Cerebral Hemisphericity as Differential Sources for the Sensed Presence, Mystical Experiences and eligious Conversion," Psychological Reports, 76, 915 (1993).
3. Persinger, M. A., Bureau, Y. R. J., Peredery, O. P., and Richards, P. M. "The Sensed Presence as Right Hemisphere In Intrusions in the Left Hemisphere Awareness of Self: An Illustrative Case," Perceptual and Motor Skills, 78, 999 (1994).
4. Richards, P., Persinger, M. A., and Koren, S. A. "Modification of Activation and Evaluation Properties of Narratives by Weak Complex Magnetic Field Patterns that Simulate Limbic Burst Firing," International Journal of Neuroscience, 71, 71 (1993).