This book follows a psychologist's quest to understand one of the most curious experiences known to humankind: the universal, disturbing feeling that someone or something is there when we are alone. What does this feeling mean and where does it come from? When and why do presences emerge? And how can we begin to understand a phenomenon that can be transformative for those who experience it and yet almost impossible to put into words? The answers to these questions lie in this tour-de-force through contemporary psychology, psychiatry, neuroscience and philosophy. Presence follows Ben Alderson-Day's attempts to understand how this experience is possible. The journey takes us to meet explorers, mediums and robots, and step through real, imagined and virtual worlds. Presence is the story of whom we carry with us, at all times, as parts of ourselves.
scientists think we already can. In 2006, a team of neurologists led by
Shahar Arzy and Olaf Blanke reported on an unusual case of felt presence. A
twenty-two-year-old woman was having a presurgical evaluation for epilepsy treatment, and
she had given consent to have her brain stimulated with electrical
current, just like Wilder Penfield’s patients many years before. Among the sites
stimulated was the left temporoparietaljunction (TPJ), an area of the brain behind
and above the ear where the back of the temporal lobe