Can humans really have a link to a sixth sense? And no, we’re not talking […]
The post Magnets Linked to Sixth Sense? appeared first on Argus International.
Can humans really have a link to a sixth sense? And no, we’re not talking about the creepy Bruce Willis movie – scientist Joe Kirschvink is making it his mission to find out if it’s possible. So what are we talking about here? Magnetoreception, a sense of the Earth’s magnetic field that animals and insects use daily. Kirschvink, a geophysicist from the California Institute of Technology, has been testing people to determine if we are capable of tapping into this subconscious sense.
Magnetoreception and animals
While most researchers have discounted magnetoreception for humans, they have very much agreed that various other animals use this sense all the time, like birds, fish, and other animals that migrate, which makes sense because they need this internal compass in order to survive. Other creatures such as frogs, lobsters, bees, worms, mice, rats, and cattle, to name a few, have also been found to possess this important sense. So why not humans? Did we lose our evolutionary need for it? Did we ever have it at all? Can we get it back?
In a two-level underground lab at the university, Kirschvink works and tests subjects in clean rooms that are magnetically shielded. With liquid helium cooling his superconducting instrument used to measure minute magnetic fields, his test subject gets injected with electrolyte gel into the scalp via an electrodes cap. Now Kirschvink can measure brain waves while the subject is exposed to magnetic fields generated by electric coils.
With many skeptics against his work, Kirschvink prevails, and a $900,000 grant from the Human Frontier Science Program helps to make it possible. In a way, he’s carrying on the work of biologist Robin Baker who tested magnetic capabilities on British students at the University of Manchester in the late 70’s. His studies, that blindfolded students after a long, windy drive in the countryside, found that students could almost always find their way back in the direction of home.
Now, Kirschvink uses the setup pictured below in order to test for human subconscious magnetic sense, by putting them in a metal box and applying custom magnetic fields. The cage is lined with wire coils that runs magnetic fields through them. By rotating the magnetic field to mimic Earth’s, Kirschvink and his team can check the EEG records to see if the brain is responsive. In his small study of 24 human subjects, his tests proved consisted and repeatable, as colleagues across the globe have tested and repeated his experiment.
As Brain & Behavior, Engineering, Technology reported, “he relishes the thought of showing, once and for all, that there is something that connects the iPhone in his pocket—the electromagnetic laws that drive devices and define modernity—to something deep inside him, and the tree of life. “It’s part of our evolutionary history. Magnetoreception may be the primal sense.”