EEG alpha waves show that human brains respond to Earth-strength magnetic stimuli, possibly through mechanisms involving biogenic magnetite.

Although many migrating and homing animals are sensitive to Earth’s magnetic field, most humans are not consciously aware of the geomagnetic stimuli that we encounter in everyday life.  Either we have lost a shared, ancestral magneto sensory system, or the system lacks a conscious component with detectable neural activity but no apparent perceptual awareness by us.

Visual Abstract Human Magnetic Reception Experiment

We found two classes of ecologically-relevant rotations of Earth-strength magnetic fields that produce strong, specific and repeatable effects on human brainwave activity in the EEG alpha band (8-13 Hz); EEG discriminates in response to different geomagnetic field stimuli.

Biophysical tests rule out all except the presence of a ferromagnetic transduction element, such as biologically-precipitated crystals of magnetite (Fe3O4).