Can Humans Sense Magnetic Fields?

  • Published on Mar 18, 2019
  • Research has found some human brains can pick up on rotations of geomagnetic-strength fields as evidenced by drops in alpha wave power following stimulus. For more, see
    Huge thanks to:
    Prof. Shinsuke Shimojo, Connie Wang, and Isaac Hilburn, plus Prof. Joe Kirschvink. Their lab:
    Special thanks to Patreon supporters:
    Donal Botkin, James M Nicholson, Michael Krugman, Nathan Hansen, Ron Neal, Stan Presolski, Terrance Shepherd
    Additional filming by Whitney Clavin

Comments • 4 703

  • Atrujano10
    Atrujano10 3 hours ago

    Trying to discard the second explanation from Prof Shimojo would help testing magnetic fields on newborn pigeons and see if their magnetic field sense goes off through its life.

  • Scott Laffin
    Scott Laffin 2 days ago

    This is a very interesting experiment they are doing. When I was young I got a rare eye disease and lost vision in one eye. Due to the lack of depth perception, I have developed some other ways to perceive visual depth. I believe that I can sense the earth's magnetic fields, but have always wondered if it is actually sensing it or just using peripheral stimuli to "sense" the field.

  • Albertus Magnus
    Albertus Magnus 2 days ago

    Hope u become a millionaire 😁 love your work..putting a snip of scanners would be funny...I could star for that..your increasing my intelligence..

  • Albertus Magnus
    Albertus Magnus 2 days ago

    What's he's trying to tell you is you will die of natural causes if you try to sue him 😀...I practice comedy from translating info...

  • ALPHA_sh
    ALPHA_sh 4 days ago

    i wonder what would happen in response to much stronger magnetic fields that couldnt normally be washed out by our surroundings=

  • Andrew Vanderschaaf
    Andrew Vanderschaaf 4 days ago

    This is cool.

  • Lausy Maus
    Lausy Maus 4 days ago

    This video was the sketchiest veritasium video ever!!!

  • Bill Diffenbaugh
    Bill Diffenbaugh 4 days ago

    I wish I would have known about the whole Grant scheme when I was younger...most scientists such a joke all scams just to get all that grant money

  • John Sikes
    John Sikes 5 days ago

    My son can, he implanted a very tiny magnet under his skin to do just that, AND stupid human tricks. Weird, but true.

    • John Sikes
      John Sikes 2 days ago

      @LarryM He found someone to do the first one, who was pretty reluctant to do it, but he did a second one himself. Evidently, as you found, the large needle size required puts some kind of legal limitations on the piercer, or something like that. I'm remembering what he told me a long time ago (it may have been the RFID pet chip he had done that he was talking about) as I'm not actually sure the size of the magnet he implanted, but pretty sure it was very tiny.

      He programmed the pet chips up and worked up Raspberry Pi (I think) design so he can unlock the door to his house and the lab with the back of one hand, and lock it on the way out with the other. Make sure the magnet you inject has a surface that won't react (is inert) in the body. He also modded the coke machine at the lab so he (or anyone else) with a properly programmed chip can buy a coke with a hand swipe that pings their credit card for the sale. Silly, but fun, I guess.

      He said he was in a bar and demonstrated that he could pick up a bottle top with his finger. They asked how, and he told them you have to drink lots of mercury. I told him that might not be such a great idea, given the intelligence of the average American, they might go home and actually try it.

    • LarryM
      LarryM 3 days ago

      Did he do it himself or find someone to do it? I can't find a piercer in my area that will do it.

  • Chandrabhan Bind
    Chandrabhan Bind 5 days ago

    Awesome video

  • Kasper de Vries
    Kasper de Vries 6 days ago

    im curious if there is any difference between men and women since i've heard this rumour that man can better navigate their way back home from somewhere than women

  • Noside Noside
    Noside Noside 6 days ago

    i wonder if somebody could strengthen this ability for pilots to always know which way is down, without instruments. it'd be pretty cool

  • z420able
    z420able 6 days ago

    Does the hair on the top back part of your head rotate clockwise or counterclockwise?

  • Joe
    Joe 8 days ago

    I bet the drop of subconscious power goes to the conscious to help detect a threat. you know when you get that urge to turn around because something is behind you, i think its for that.

  • Danimal 86
    Danimal 86 8 days ago +1

    I personally prefer facing east when poopin in my backyard

  • Ari The Dota Newb
    Ari The Dota Newb 10 days ago

    It would be interesting to see the results from an aboriginal from Australia, since their language does use geographic association for objects.

    ŻïGGŸ ŹËË 10 days ago

    It's 4am and I have not taken a shower when I first said I was going to around 8pm yesterday.... Smh all because of this veritasium disease I have smh

  • Brett Beamish
    Brett Beamish 11 days ago

    I wish I could participate. always felt like i have a sense of direction but that may be a subconscious way of my brain thinking. if disoriented maybe and most likely I would have no clue. one way to find out though!

  • Jeroy Lenkins
    Jeroy Lenkins 11 days ago

    7:00 It's not >just< to make you look stupid

  • Vossi
    Vossi 11 days ago

    I really like your videos. Thanks for making them. I have been reading up on magnetoreception after I saw some baby turtles hatch at the beach and I was wondering how in the world they know where to go.
    There seems to be no consensus about what allows animals to sense magnetic fields on a cellular level. Do you know more about that?

  • Jerry Serrato
    Jerry Serrato 12 days ago

    Can't they just spin you ?

  • 吴文宇
    吴文宇 12 days ago

    Why is that dog pooping?

  • Edward Martens
    Edward Martens 13 days ago

    I always used navigation systems since the moment they came on the market and I use them less the last months since decades and I have still more difficulty orienting myself although slowly getting better.
    Just wanted to mention it.
    Love your videos.

  • Karl Obayi
    Karl Obayi 14 days ago

    I believe we lost the ability to consciously deploy the use of our interaction with magnetic fields because we have not consciously deployed the neural pathways necessary to maintain the required connectivity. I blame Google and the GPS :). No myelin wrapper to cement the neural routes, No conscious sensitivity to magnetic fields. Our interaction will remain in the subconscious for now, except we deliberately learn to bridge the subconscious with the conscious state. I believe that is called - Meditation.

    Our ancestors out of share necessity to survive had to develop the brain faculties to sense magnetic fields and other survivals skills, too. Now we have google maps, GPS and satellite devices. I have difficulty convincing my son he needs to learn to develop his subconscious skills. I will keep trying.

    Great episode, loved it. We need to get you an assistant to hold the camera. I like to see you present without worrying about holding the camera at the right angle. Great job.

  • sridhar R
    sridhar R 14 days ago

    My elders can do, unfortunately I cannot. I always get into confusion when I ask for direction in a village. In my native language we use north, south , east and west for direction. I always thought that they have the sense of time and position of sun to sense the direction and not sure though.

  • Amin
    Amin 16 days ago

    I would have fell asleep during that experiment

  • Ellen h
    Ellen h 17 days ago +1

    So I've always had a good sense of direction. Intuitively. While I was in Australia I was so turned around all the time. At first I thought it was just the jet lag, new culture etc. Then I realized that I was always going exactly the opposite of where I was supposed to be going. It finally dawned on me that I must be sensing the opposite pole and my brain was still saying, "That's north." So when turned around, I'd just stop, listen to my intuition, and go exactly opposite. Worked a treat.

  • bllourias
    bllourias 18 days ago +1

    I have a friend who in her words, "directionally challanged." You really should compare her to your "average". I venture she has none of the magnetic crystals in her brain.

  • George Reynolds
    George Reynolds 18 days ago +1

    If you have an MRI scan you will be placed in a 1.5 Tesla magnet (some even more powerful than that). I asked the radiographer in our local hospital if anyone ever sensed the magnetic field but she said no. The Earth;s field is only 65 micro-teslas at most, so can anyone really detect that?

  • Maddie Brodbeck
    Maddie Brodbeck 18 days ago

    Thanks for adding the publication man, you're helping me with my comprehensive exams and you don't even know it :).

  • AxeMastersINC
    AxeMastersINC 18 days ago


  • Adranir Doradrië
    Adranir Doradrië 21 day ago

    Have you heard about magnet implants ?

  • Haykey
    Haykey 21 day ago

    I can detect N from S on a magnet. I use magnets for releasing muscle tension. Rotating N pole against a muscle which has tension.

  • Memes n Shet
    Memes n Shet 21 day ago

    Or they just checked the sunrise and sunset

  • Bam Bhole
    Bam Bhole 21 day ago

    Loved this video. Great work.

  • Cats
    Cats 22 days ago

    What about experience meditators?

  • Leo Schultz
    Leo Schultz 22 days ago

    Wait, wait, wait. Dogs poop north south?? Aren't we burying the lead here? Why did we even bother inventing the compass then?

    • George Reynolds
      George Reynolds 18 days ago

      Easily disproved!! This "research" was actually published by a German university. A colleague who has a dog and a compass thought I was kidding him until I showed him the publication. So he spent the best part of a year recording the orientation of his dog which poops on every walk and plotted the results, a random set of orientations. The journals and scientists must be desperate for publications, I guess.

  • Joelity
    Joelity 22 days ago

    Appreciated the works. But I still prefer using my little compass.

  • gmanhero
    gmanhero 24 days ago

    is the military they use cardinal direction when sending feed back via radio, like, ''Target is to the North '' or ''Civilians on my East'' and is sometimes used rather than Clock position.

  • Da A
    Da A 24 days ago

    Too bad we can’t send you for a stroll next to a magnetar, not that you’d survive but it certainly would be fascinating to watch.

  • Martine Simmonds
    Martine Simmonds 25 days ago

    It would be important to have a colour blindness test in this particular set up. It is a hypothesis put forward that pigeons take directional cues from red and blue light shift, within there visual field.

  • Science Kitty
    Science Kitty 26 days ago

    My butt faces south when I poo!

  • Science Kitty
    Science Kitty 26 days ago

    Whenever I tried to find the directions north south east and west it was flipped. North was south and east was west.🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

  • Eleeth Tahgra
    Eleeth Tahgra 27 days ago

    0:27 I gonna keep mu head perfectly facing forward...immediatly turn to the right.

  • Aaron Meighoo
    Aaron Meighoo 27 days ago

    Many of you have questions that I wonder were tested or considered by the researchers. How cool would it be to have them take a look at those ideas, huh?

  • Kay Ackermann
    Kay Ackermann 28 days ago

    But how do you know that the change in brain is coming from the magnetic field and not from just normal activity?

  • BlueRL
    BlueRL 29 days ago

    I literally feel like I hear magnetic waves sometimes.

  • Joel Nikula
    Joel Nikula 29 days ago

    This is interesting cuz I've always been able to guess pretty well where north is regardless of where I was or how I got there and I'm just guessing but I'm probably highly suspectible to these magnetic fields and subconciosly keeping track of them.

  • lauralouwho
    lauralouwho Month ago

    I wonder if people who get motion sickness or elevation sicknesses would notice this more or less then. Or if people have gotten sick while on this experiment?

  • venkatesh kareti
    venkatesh kareti Month ago

    Best part about this video: People crouching and excitedly talking just like in childhood.

  • skog mose
    skog mose Month ago

    4:05 she has big pussy small head kek

  • shiny x
    shiny x Month ago

    It seems like a similar test would be a useful way to test a lot of different extra-sensory phenomenon.

  • wolfedog99
    wolfedog99 Month ago

    I've heard of studies that show much higher mental mapping and sense of direction in people who spent substantial time in the rural outdoors as very young children.

  • The Quintessential Gamer

    2 dogs, 1 cup

  • Glenn Krieger
    Glenn Krieger Month ago

    Well, I was eating breakfast when that north facing dog...

    Of some real world interest would be (and at the risk of being sexist here) to compare males and females. Just for kicks. Or, maybe not.

  • Kason Tucker
    Kason Tucker Month ago

    Say you were lost in the woods and your brain can detect magnetic fields to tell direction what if your “gut” is telling the way to go

  • Aaa Aaa
    Aaa Aaa Month ago

    If I am a jedi warrior, i will tell you; "The force may be with you"

  • Aaa Aaa
    Aaa Aaa Month ago +2

    What if we test those people who have telekinetic abilities to see if their is a geomagnetic sensory response to the magnetic field and can the also the key to unlock the secrets of telekinesis and practice it naturally. Let's understand it

  • Scrandryle
    Scrandryle Month ago


  • Shable
    Shable Month ago

    I feel incredibly stupid

  • ronaldo grayman
    ronaldo grayman Month ago

    Watch Your Weight !

  • Trailspike
    Trailspike Month ago

    You couldn't just tell us that dogs pooped south to north. You had to show us.

  • El Capitán
    El Capitán Month ago

    I;ve practiced teaching myself, even before I watched this, to sense north in my head. I wonder what my brain would look like in this?

  • Allen Dunn
    Allen Dunn Month ago

    Be interesting to see if brain response to magnetic fields included potentiation of other sensory heightened vestibular, visual, kinesthetic sensitivities

  • Justin Huang
    Justin Huang Month ago +1

    i suppose this gives some credence to people who claim to have EHS (Electromagnetic hypersensitivity)

    • Haykey
      Haykey 21 day ago

      I have EHS, I also have heavy metal poisoning from mercury fillings and electronics solder. Too much metals in my body makes me sense EMF.
      I can dowse and recently found out that I can sense the right polarity on a small magnet.

  • Carlos Paroli
    Carlos Paroli Month ago

    In the documentary "lo and behold" they talk about people that had to live in a Faraday cage. This has something to do with those people?

    INDUSTRAILIST Month ago +2

    I use to have a piece of steel in my left hand...I magnetized it! Being a machinist it was very handy in determining non-ferrous and ferrous metals apart :D
    Sadly I lost my gift a year ago after having it for 7years :'(

  • Solo
    Solo Month ago

    do these smart people know what doors are?

  • Debbie Debbie
    Debbie Debbie Month ago +1

    I see colours while touching sockets sometimes, am told this is an magnetic field is this correct ?

  • Itay Saadon
    Itay Saadon Month ago

    That's interesting. I have always had a "sense" where the north is, I even used a few times to navigate with a map and I always got where I wanted to go without problems and sometimes my friends told to close my eyes and they would spin me around and then asked where the north is and I got it right every time

  • Amadour Lopez
    Amadour Lopez Month ago

    Humans can only sense the diarrhea floating in their prefrontal laps and sometimes spilling out the mouth..

  • Wikickid
    Wikickid Month ago

    I knew that humans have magnetic senses, and we can use it consciously. My grandfather was a diver, he was also born blind. It's always confusing to hear that and know that he regularly dived about every other week. I guess he just liked to swim.

  • Stephen Kersten
    Stephen Kersten Month ago +1

    CCW vs CW sensitivity: is there a correlation with handedness?

  • My Name
    My Name Month ago

    The disclaimer at the end was... Hilarious. And sad. "No, this isn't magic you lunatic."

  • Rocker Baby
    Rocker Baby Month ago

    I'll be honest. I have absolutely no idea what any of these graphs indicate.