[Portrait order] – Vartan Ghazarian

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Portrait on full height of a man with startled glance. One hand he take white glove and covers with her his penis. Behind his back stands three outlines of ghosts. One of them touch hero with his white hand on belt.


Dimensions:60 × 3 × 90 cm
SKU: VG046 Category: Tags: ,


Ever felt a ghostly presence? Now we know why

Ghostly presences – the feeling of someone near you when there’s no one there – could be down to your brain trying to make sense of conflicting information. For the first time, the brain regions involved in such hallucinations have been identified – and a ghost presence induced in healthy people.

The work sheds light on why some people with conditions such as schizophrenia and epilepsy feel an alien presence nearby, and may also explain why mountain climbers often report being accompanied by the presence of what’s called “the third man”.

In 1933, when British explorer Frank Smythe came close to conquering Mount Everest all by himself, he couldn’t shake off the feeling that someone else was climbing with him. But he was alone, having left his team far behind. Smythe was hallucinating. He even broke off a piece of cake and offered it to his invisible climbing partner.

This condition, called feeling of presence (FoP), is different from other bodily hallucinations, such as out-of-body experiences, in which you feel you are outside your body looking at it, or the doppelgänger effect, in which you see and interact with your double. Such hallucinations have a visual component.

Mystical presence

That’s not the case with FoP. “[It’s] more mystical,” says neurologist Olaf Blanke of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne. “You are convinced that there is something, but you don’t see anything, you don’t hear anything.”

To identify the potential neural mechanisms behind FoP, Blanke’s team first studied 12 people with epilepsy and other sensory-motor problems, all of whom had reported feeling a presence nearby. Their analysis pointed to damage in three brain regions: the temporoparietal junction (TPJ), the insula and the frontal-parietal cortex.

In previous studies, Blanke’s team had linked the TPJ with out-of-body experiences and the insula with the doppelgänger hallucination. Normally, these brain regions integrate sensory signals from outside and inside the body, to create the sense of an embodied self. In out-of-body experiences and other such conditions, the integration of these multisensory signals is compromised, leading to hallucinations.

The new study shows that FoP involves disruptions not just in the integration of external and internal sensations in the TPJ and insula, but also signals related to movement (which are processed in the frontal-parietal cortex).

Armed with this knowledge, Blanke’s team turned to a robot to see if they could use it to disrupt the normal brain processes and induce a feeling of presence.

(read more in source)

Additional information

Weight3 kg
Dimensions60 × 3 × 90 cm

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