Many species, such as migratory birds, have a geomagnetic sense that helps them navigate the world, but the same sense has never been reliably demonstrated in humans. Now, as study in eNeuro suggests that the human brain is also sensitive to Earth’s magnetic field. Researchers used EEG to monitor the brain activity of 34 healthy adult participants in California as they sat inside a chamber in which the direction of the magnetic field around them was manipulated. The researchers found that the brain activity in many of the participants showed sensitivity to changes in the horizontal direction of the magnetic field–but only when the vertical component of the field pointed downward, as it does in the Northern Hemisphere, where the participants resided. The researchers say that this indicates that the brain is attuned to Earth’s local magnetic field. They further suggest that replicating the study in the Southern Hemisphere, where the vertical component points upward, would strengthen this conclusion. (Monitor on Psychology)
The human brain may be sensitive to variations in Earth’s magnetic field.
Susie Bean Gives