Is There a Physical Explanation for the ‘Vibes’ You Get Off People?

May 10, 2014 Updated: May 10, 2014

We’re surrounded by electromagnetic waves and other forms of energy that we can’t consciously detect. For example, we only know Wi-Fi is present in our environment because we see our devices connect to it, not because we can physically sense it.

Without realizing it, we may be sensing a type of energy related to people’s thoughts and emotions, says psychiatrist Dr. Bernard Beitman. Our bodies may have receptors to pick up on this energy, he says. He looks at studies of the brain and of energy emitted by living beings to hypothesize about the physical nature of “vibes.”

Beitman is a visiting professor at the University of Virginia and former chair of the department of psychiatry at the University of Missouri-Columbia. He attended Yale Medical School and completed his psychiatric residency at Stanford. He has felt at times that he is able to sense his patients’ states of mind with an accuracy beyond what his conscious observations could tell him. He has wondered about the nature of these vibes.

It’s an experience many people can relate to. Have you ever sensed a vibe off someone you’ve just met that doesn’t seem to fit with the impression you should have based on that person’s appearance, demeanor, and actions?

Is it that something in the person’s manner or gestures is perceptible only on a subconscious level? Or is it that the person is emitting an energy you can sense, similar to the way your nose would sense a smell in the air? Can you sniff out a person’s personality?


Observations in Nature to Support the Vibe-Sensing Theory

Migratory Bird
A whiskered tern, a migratory bird. (Shutterstock)

Single-celled organisms “respond to chemical, light, and electromagnetic radiation in order to maintain optimal states,” writes Dr. Beitman in a paper he has not yet published, but which he sent to Epoch Times. Similarly, he added, “our skin may contain sensors for subtle forms of energy and information.”

Plants and animals are thought to emit and perceive energy we cannot.

Sharks have sensors in their skin that detect slight electromagnetic changes in the water. Birds may be able to sense the Earth’s electromagnetic field to help them navigate. The electromagnetic explanation of a bird’s navigation has not been definitively verified; another theory holds that migratory birds use a complex sense of smell to catch the faint scent of home.

A study on biophoton emissions or “auras” has shown that plants seem to emit and perceive energy from each other—and it is possible that they communicate via this emitted energy.


Auras: A Kind of Energy We Emit?

A real picture taken of the aura of a person’s finger using the kirlian method. (Shutterstock)

Dr. Gary Schwartz and Dr. Katherine Creath published a study in the Journal of Alternative & Complementary Medicine in 2006 titled: “Imaging ‘Auras’ Around and Between Plants: A New Application of Biophoton Imaging.” The topic of auras has been a controversial one, especially when auras are said to be physical evidence of the human soul.

Dr. Schwartz received his doctorate from Harvard, taught psychiatry and psychology at Yale, and is now a professor at the University of Arizona. Dr. Creath is an adjunct professor of optical sciences at the University of Arizona.

Schwartz and Creath write: “As we studied the thousands of images we recorded over the past two years, we began to observe there were also patterns in the ‘noise’ surrounding the plant parts. It appeared that not only did the biophoton patterns extend beyond the plants but also that patterns were strengthened between plants when they were in close proximity. Could these patterns represent ‘auras’ surrounding plant parts, and were the plants expressing some kind of communication or resonance?”

They later answer in the affirmative: “The complexity of [biophoton] patterns imaged between the plant parts suggests that there is potential ‘resonance’ if not ‘communication’ between the plants, as predicted by contemporary biophoton theory.”

Kirlian image of a plant’s aura from the portfolio “Vita occulta plantarum” (“The Secret life of Plants”) by Mark D. Roberts. (Mark D. Roberts via Wikimedia Commons)

Beitman encourages further investigation into the possibility that humans similarly communicate via energy. He knows there could be some hesitancy in the scientific community to conduct such studies: “In our current world, it must be measurable before it is becomes ‘real’ or accepted.” And it may be difficult to measure this energy.


Can We Intentionally Heighten This Sense?

Observing his patients, he has realized that their attitudes toward the medications he prescribes seem to influence how the receptors in their brains receive the molecules of the medication.

“How each of us thinks about the medication seems to influence how our receptors function,” he writes. “Perhaps our intentions and expectations can also mold new receptors or change the sensitivity of existing ones.”


*Image of businessmen meeting via Shutterstock