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Science & Technology

The human body may have a magnetic sense

March 18, 2019 | Comment icon 4 comments



Humans appear to possess some level of magnetoreception. Image Credit: NASA / Peter Reid
Scientists now believe that humans, like birds, may be able to sense the Earth's magnetic field.
It might sound like something out of a comic book, but according to a team of researchers from the US and Japan, there are indications that humans possess a rudimentary form of magnetoreception.

In a recent experiment, a number of volunteers were sat inside a six-sided cage with walls made from aluminium to shield the setup from electromagnetic interference.

Special coils were built in to the cage that could be used to produce magnetic fields.
Each participant was exposed to various strengths and orientations of magnetic field while their brain waves were measured using an electroencephalogram (EEG).

The researchers ultimately detected an intriguing drop in alpha brain waves under certain conditions that seemed to indicate that the participants were able to detect the changes in magnetism.

While it is unclear exactly what mechanism might enable a human to perceive a magnetic field, it does appear as though we possess at least some level of magnetic awareness.

"Given that a number of other animals can sense Earth's magnetic field, it is certainly within the realm of possibility that humans can as well," said magnetoreception expert Prof Kenneth Lohmann.



Source: The Guardian | Comments (4)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Dark_Grey 3 years ago
I bet most animals evolved with some ability to sense electro magnetic fields. I wish I understood enough to know how different wireless bands affects that ability, if at all.
Comment icon #2 Posted by Not A Rockstar 3 years ago
I remember an article I read decades ago about the direction you sleep in and how it supposedly could disturb your sleep for a few days if you changed it dramatically, such as if your bed ran N/S and you moved your room around and placed it E/W . They asserted it was due to the magnetic directions and flow. Always wondered if that was true, but, can't say I ever noted it affecting me - when I am tired I can sleep anywhere :). †
Comment icon #3 Posted by cyclopes500 3 years ago
I'm wondering if cars going past people are acting like the signal directors on television ariels. As they line up the magnetic field lines are straightened and amplified. A person standing at a bus stop would be subjected to numerous bursts of amplified magnetism, include the fact that water is repelled by a magnetic field (paramagnetic), and I guess the human body becomes a dipole resonating to a frequency related to their height. I also read somewhere that on a graph the human depression rate curve is the same as the number of street light one. Toss in the cars going past underneath and a p... [More]
Comment icon #4 Posted by Big Jim 3 years ago
We sense our environment in other ways, so why not magnetically as well?† I have always had an uncanny sense of direction.† When I was younger my friends and I would all pile in a car and go on long rides in the country, getting more lost at every turn.† When it was time to go back they would say "ok, Jim, get us home" and I could pick out the most direct return route.† Just like some people have perfect vision and others have keen hearing, I seem to have an acute sense in this regard. † I've often wondered how we can keep so many maps in our head.† Maybe it's this magnetic sense that augments... [More]


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