The Effects of Static Magnetic Fields on Directionality in Humans
Type of DegreeDissertation
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Earth produces a dipole static magnetic field that is sufficiently stable to allow derivation of directional cues in a variety of species. This ability, known as magnetoreception, has been studied primarily in birds and reptiles, but some research has suggested that the ability exists in mammals. The present set of experiments was designed to investigate magnetoreception in human. Three experiments are discussed in which participants were exposed to static magnetic field anomalies in a variety of contexts. In Experiment 1, participants were taken to test locations and asked to indicate the location of a target. In Experiment 2, participants were required to guess which cardinal direction they faced while being rotated in a chair. In experiment 3, participants were required to discriminate between the presence and absence of a static magnetic field anomaly. While results were mixed, Experiment 3 suggests that an ability to discriminate between the presence and absence of a magnetic field anomaly can be acquired over time. Theoretical implications and suggestions for further research are discussed.