On the Edge of the Anomalous Experience: out of Body Experiences, Transliminality and “Thin” Boundaries

Alejandro Parra


An out-of-body experience (OBE) is an experience in which the モselfヤ, or center of awareness, seems to the person having the OBE to temporarily occupy a position spatially remote from the body. Another drawback of assessing perceptual anomalies by extrapolating exclusively from the context of clinical psychiatry is the overreliance on hallucinatory phenomena. Transliminality hypothesis suggests that the immediate source of our perceptions is not our eyes or our ears, but rather the subliminal consciousness: percepts are first processed at an unconscious level and then, usually speedily, they are presented across the threshold to consciousness. The boundary construct is highly valuable in terms of understanding the factors which underpin the varieties of exceptional experiences, such as out of body experiences. Three specific hypotheses are tested here: People who report OBEs (experients) have a higher capacity for cognitive anomalous experiences (2) higher transliminality, (3) and thinner boundaries who score differently than control (non-experients). Participants who experienced OBEs (n=100, 47%) were matched with participants who do not report OBEs (non experient, n=111, 53%), ages ranged from 18 to 83 years old (M=44.92; SD=13.29). OBErs scored higher on anomalous experiences, higher on モthinヤ boundaries, high transliminality than for non OBErs, which supported the three hypothesis. People who scored thinner boundaries also tended to score higher on spirituality, Emotional impact, transliminality, and anomalous experiences. The paper discuss OBE phenomena as an experient's sensitivity due to permeable ego boundaries. This sensitivity, may be related to some physiological differences in perceptual processing may also underly it.


Out-of-body experience; Perceptual anomalies; Hallucination; Transliminality; Thinner boundaries

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