Controversy has erupted over Michael Persinger’s findings that applying weak complex magnetic fields over the temporal lobes can induce unusual experiences, particularly the experience ‘sensing a presence’ in the room, which Persinger has linked to religious belief and spiritual experience.
This work was part of a larger project in which Persinger and his colleagues have reported strong links between temporal lobe disturbance and anomalous beliefs and experiences throughout the population.
However, a group of Swedish neuroscientists led by Pehr Granqvist have reported that they’ve failed to replicate Persinger’s results with magnetic stimulation when they used a double blind approach to running their experiments (where neither the experimentor nor the participant knows whether they are getting magnetic stimulation).
Persinger has replied by stating that the Swedish study was not an accurate replication.
Link to story on nature.com