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C. Agrillo, Near-death experience: Out-of-body and out-of-brain?,
Review Of General Psychology, 15 (2011), pp. 1-10.
During the last decades, several clinical cases have been reported
where patients described profound subjective experiences when near-death, a
phenomenon called ``near-death experience'' (NDE). Recurring features in the
accounts involving bright lights and tunnels have sometimes been interpreted
as evidence of a new life after death; however the origin of such experiences
is largely unknown, and both biological and psychological interpretations
have been suggested. The study of NDEs represents one of the most important
topics of cognitive neuroscience. In the present paper the current state of
knowledge has been reviewed, with particular regard to the main features of
NDE, scientific explanations and the theoretical debate surrounding this
E. Alexander, Things I Learned from my Near-Death Experience, (2012),
A. J. Ayer, What I Saw When I Was Dead, Unpublished ms, (2009),
My first attack of pneumonia occurred in the United States. I was in
hospital for ten days in New York, after which the doctors said that I was well
enough to leave. A final X-ray, however, which I underwent on the last morning,
revealed that one of my lungs was not yet free from infection. This caused the
most sympathetic of my doctors to suggest that it would be good for me to spend
a few more days in hospital. I respected his opinion but since I was already
dressed and psychologically disposed to put my illness behind me, I decided to
take the risk. I spent the next few days in my stepdaughter's apartment, and
then made arrangements to fly back to England., (Web,
S. Betty, The Near Death Experience as Evidence for Life After Death,
Philosophy Now, (2012), pp. 1-4.
From time to time I ask my students how they feel about life after death. A
solid majority say they believe in it, in keeping with most Americans (82% in a
recent Gallup poll). I then ask them to imagine how they would feel if I could
prove it didn't exist. ``But you couldn't,'' some insist. ``I know,'' I say,
``but I want you to imagine I could and did. In other words, you actually feel
compelled by logic and evidence to stop believing in it. How would you feel
then?'' Quite a few say they would live life differently, that it's the reward
or punishment of an afterlife which keeps them from being complete animals.
Others admit they would live the same way, ``but without much joy.'' They add,
``I mean, if God doesn't love us enough to keep us in existence beyond one
measly life, He doesn't love us enough. Would you let your child be snuffed out
forever if you could stop it?'' (Good question!) At this point in the
conversation, someone - we'll call him an existentialist (he's almost always a
male) - usually says life is all the more meaningful and happy because death
snuffs us out forever: ``If life just keeps going on forever and ever, then it's
not that special. It's because it's so fragile and brief that it's so
precious.'' ``But wouldn't you rather live on after death if given a choice?''
someone usually challenges. ``Not really,'' is often the reply. ``You mean you
really don't care whether you're immortal or not?'' This rebuttal is usually met
with a complacent shrug of the shoulders., (pdf).
J. J. Braithwaite, D. Samson, I. Apperly, E. Broglia, and J. Hulleman, Cognitive correlates of the spontaneous out-of-body experience (OBE) in the
psychologically normal population: Evidence for an increased role of
temporal-lobe instability, body-distortion processing, and impairments in
own-body transformations, Cortex, 47 (2011), pp. 839-853.
Recent findings from studies of epileptic patients and schizotypes
have suggested that disruptions in multi-sensory integration processes may
underlie a predisposition to report out-of-body experiences (OBEs: Blanke et
al., 2004; Mohr et al., 2006). It has been argued that these disruptions lead
to a breakdown in own-body processing and embodiment. Here we present two
studies which provide the first investigation of predisposition to OBEs in
the normal population as measured primarily by the recently devised Cardiff
anomalous perception scale (CAPS; Bell et al., 2006). The LaunayeSlade
Hallucination scale (LSHS) was also employed to provide a measure of general
hallucination proneness. In Study 1, 63 University students participated in
the study, 17 of whom (26%) claimed to have experienced at least one OBE in
their lifetime. OBEers reported significantly more perceptually anomalies
(elevated CAPS scores) but these were primarily associated with specific
measures of temporal-lobe instability and body-distortion processing. Study 2
demonstrated that OBEers and those scoring high on measures of temporal-lobe
instability/body- distortion processing were significantly impaired, relative
to controls, at a task requiring mental own-body transformations (OBTs)
(Blanke et al., 2005). These results extend the findings from epileptic
patient studies to the psychologically normal population and are consistent
with there being a disruption in temporal-lobe and body-based processing
underlying OBE-type experiences., (Web, pdf).
P. Calvi-Parisetti, 21 Days into the Afterlife, Open Mind, Sept. 2010.
C. Q. Choi, Peace of Mind: Near-Death Experiences Now Found to Have
Scientific Explanations, Scientific American, (2011), pp. 1-2.
Near-death experiences are often thought of as mystical phenomena, but
research is now revealing scientific explanations for virtually all of their
common features. The details of what happens in near-death experiences are now
known widely--a sense of being dead, a feeling that one's "soul" has left the
body, a voyage toward a bright light, and a departure to another reality where
love and bliss are all-encompassing., (pdf).
E. W. Cook, B. Greyson, and I. Stevenson, Do any near-death experiences
provide evidence for the survival of human personality after death? Relevant
features and illustrative case reports, Journal of Scientific Exploration,
12 (1998), pp. 377-406.
One of the main reasons that near-death experiences have generated so
much interest in recent years among the general public is because they seem
to provide evidence that consciousness survives the death of the physical
body. It is puzzling, therefore, that most researchers - both those
interested in NDEs and those interested in survival research - have neglected
to address the question of whether NDEs do provide evidence for survival. We
describe three features of NDEs - enhanced mentation, the experience of
seeing the physical body from a different position in space, and paranormal
perceptions - that we believe might provide convergent evidence supporting
the survival hypothesis. We then describe 7 published cases and 7 cases from
our own collection that contain all three features. These cases are all -
with one possible exception - somewhat deficient with regard to their
recording and investigation, but they exemplify the type of case that should
be identified earlier and investigated more thoroughly than these have been,
and that may then help us decide the extent to which NDEs can contribute to
the evidence for survival of consciousness after death., (Web, pdf).
F. Dommeyer, Body, mind, and death, World Futures, 3 (1965),
At the outset, it is useful to say what this monograph is designed to do.
It is limited to a scholarly consideration of the problem of discarnate survival
after bodily death. "Discarnate survival" means that a human being's "soul,"
"spirit," or "mind," or some part of it, will continue to exist either quite
apart from its former body or any other physical body. As used here, the words
"soul," "spirit" and "mind" are synonymous, though the latter term is preferred
because it has less association with the supernaturalistic and religious. The
human mind does exist; that is an empirical fact. The question is: can the human
mind or some elements of it exist without a physical body? This question is
pertinent because it is an obvious fact that the human body does not last very
long after burial despite embalmment. If the mind is to survive death, it must
therefore do so without its former body. To "live on" without its former body
entails either one or another of two things: (1) the surviving mind must
continue to exist solely as mind, or (2) the surviving mind must enter another
body. (Paul's view of a "spiritual body," transmigration or reincarnation., (Web, pdf).
E. Facco and C. Agrillo, Near-death experiences between science and
prejudice, Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 6 (2012), pp. 1-7.
Science exists to refute dogmas; nevertheless, dogmas may be
introduced when undemonstrated scientific axioms lead us to reject facts
incompatible with them. Several studies have proposed psychobiological
interpretations of near-death experiences (NDEs), claiming that NDEs are a
mere byproduct of brain functions gone awry; however, relevant facts
incompatible with the ruling physicalist and reductionist stance have been
often neglected. The awkward transcendent look of NDEs has deep
epistemological implications, which call for: (a) keeping a rigorously
neutral position, neither accepting nor refusing anything a priori; and (b)
distinguishing facts from speculations and fallacies. Most available
psychobiological interpretations remain so far speculations to be
demonstrated, while brain disorders and/or drug administration in critical
patients yield a well-known delirium in intensive care and anesthesia, the
phenomenology of which is different from NDEs. Facts can be only true or
false, never paranormal. In this sense, they cannot be refused a priori even
when they appear implausible with respect to our current knowledge: any other
stance implies the risk of turning knowledge into dogma and the adopted paradigm
into a sort of theology., (pdf).
P. Fenwick, Can Near Death Experiences Contribute to the Debate on
Consciousness?, Exploring Frontiers of the Mind-Brain Relationship
Mindfulness in Behavioral Health, (2012), pp. 143-163.
The near death experiences (NDEs) is an altered state of consciousness,
which has stereotyped content and emotional experience. Some features of the
experience are trans-cultural and suggest either a similar brain mechanism or
access to a transcendent reality. Individual features of the experience point
more persuasively to transcendence than to simple limited brain mechanisms.
Moreover there are, so far, no reductionist explanations which can account
satisfactorily for some of the features of the NDE; the apparent ``sightedness''
in the blind during an NDE, the apparent acquisition after an NDE of psychic and
spiritual gifts, together with accounts of healing occurring during an NDE, and
the accounts of veridical experience during the resuscitation after a cardiac
arrest. Although nonlocal mind would explain many of the NDE features,
nonlocality is not yet accepted by mainstream neuroscience so there is a clear
explanatory gap between reductionist materialistic explanations and those
theories based on a wider understanding of mind suggested by the subjective
experience of the NDEr. Only wider theories of mind would be likely candidates
to bridge this gap., (Web,
D. Gibson, Near-death experiences get treatment from a Mormon
perspective, The Political Surf, (2013), pp. 1-2.
I'm fascinated by the pop science/theology behind near-death experiences.
I've read the ``Life After Life'' books by Raymond Moody and several similar
books. It was interesting to discover a new book, ``Glimpses Beyond Death's
Door,'' (here) by Brent L.and Wendy C.Top, from the publisher Covenant
Communications, which strictly follows LDS theology and authority. One can
assume that ``Glimpses ...'' has been thoroughly vetted by LDS leaders., (Web,
B. Greyson, Commentary on ''Psychophysiological and Cultural Correlates
Undermining a Survivalist Interpretation of Near-Death Experiences'',
Journal of Near-Death Studies.
Keith Augustine has provided a legitimate and cogent critique of a
transcendental interpretation of near-death experiences, exposing weaknesses in
the research methodology, paucity of the data, and gaps in the arguments. He
offers evidence from psychophysiological and cultural correlates of NDEs that he
interprets as favoring a hallucinatory understanding of these phenomena.
However, his analysis relies on idiosyncratic definitions of psychological
concepts, reads unidirectional causality into bivariate correlations, and
underestimates the empirical predictions of the separation hypothesis. Despite
less than compelling evidence for the transcendental hypothesis, it accounts for
NDE phenomenology better than the materialist model., (Web, pdf).
B. Greyson, The near-death experience scale. Construction, reliability,
and validity., The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 171
(1983), pp. 369-375.
Near-death experiences (NDEs) have been described consistently since
antiquity and more rigorously in recent years. Investigation into their
mechanisms and effects has been impeded by the lack of quantitative measures of
the NDE and its components. From an initial pool of 80 manifestations
characteristic of NDEs, a 33-item scaled-response preliminary questionnaire was
developed, which was completed by knowledgeable subjects describing their 74
NDEs. Items with significant item-total score correlations that could be grouped
into clinically meaningful clusters constituted the final 16-item NDE Scale. The
scale was found to have high internal consistency, split-half reliability, and
test-retest reliability; was highly correlated with Ring's Weighted Core
Experience Index; and differentiated those who unequivocally claimed to have had
NDEs from those with qualified or questionable claims. This reliable, valid, and
easily administered scale is clinically useful in differentiating NDEs from
organic brain syndromes and nonspecific stress responses, and can standardize
further research into mechanisms and effects of NDEs., (Web, pdf).
B. Greyson, Near-death encounters with and without near-death
experiences: comparative NDE Scale profiles, Journal of Near-Death Studies,
8 (1990), pp. 151-161.
In a retrospective study contrasting the near-death encounters of 183
persons who reported near-death experiences and 63 persons who re-ported no
near-death experience, the two groups did not differ in age, gender, or time
elapsed since the near-death encounter. Near-death experiencers reported all 16
items of the NDE Scale significantly more often than did nonexperiencers., (Web, pdf).
B. Greyson, Near-death experiences precipitated by suicide attempt: Lack
of influence of psychopathology, religion, and expectations, Journal of
Near-Death Studies, 9 (1991), pp. 183-188.
Near-death experiences (NDEs), transcendental or mystical events
experienced on the threshold of death, have been speculated to arise from
psychopathology or from pre-existing expectations of the dying process, although
such speculations have never been tested. Sixty-one consecutive suicide
attempters were interviewed in this empirical study of persons who would be
expected to have a high rate of both psychopathology and coming close to death;
16 (26%) reported near-death experiences (NDEs) as a result of the attempt. The
group reporting NDEs and the group not reporting NDEs did not differ from each
other in any parameters measuring psychopathology, religious background, or
expectations of death and dying., (Web, pdf).
B. Greyson, Near-death experiences and the physio-kundalini syndrome,
Journal of Religion and Health, 25 (1993), pp. 43-58.
Near-death experiences (NDEs), transcendental experiences on the threshold
of death with profound implications for both patient care and religious belief,
have been hypothesized to be related to the awakening of a biological process
known in Eastern traditions as kundalini. In a test of this proposed association
between kundalini and NDEs, a sample of near-death experiencers acknowledged
significantly more symptoms of a physio-kundalini syndrome than did control
subjects., (Web, pdf).
B. Greyson, The incidence of near-death experiences, Med Psychiatry,
1 (1998), pp. 92-99.
B. Greyson, Near-źDeath Experiences And Spirituality, Zygon,
41 (2006), pp. 393-414.
Some individuals when they come close to death report having experiences
that they interpret as spiritual or religious. These so-called near-death
experiences (NDEs) often include a sense of separation from the physical body
and encounters with religious figures and a mystical or divine presence. They
share with mystical experiences a sense of cosmic unity or oneness,
transcendence of time and space, deeply felt positive mood, sense of sacredness,
noetic quality or intuitive illumination, paradoxicality, ineffability,
transiency, and persistent positive aftereffects. Although there is no
relationship between NDEs and religious belief prior to the experience, there
are strong associations between depth of NDE and religious change after the
experience. NDEs often change experiencers' values, decreasing their fear of
death and giving their lives new meaning. NDEs lead to a shift from ego-centered
to other-centered consciousness, disposition to love unconditionally, heightened
empathy, decreased interest in status symbols and material possessions, reduced
fear of death, and deepened spiritual consciousness. Many experiencers become
more empathic and spiritually oriented and express the beliefs that death is not
fearsome, that life continues beyond, that love is more important than material
possessions, and that everything happens for a reason. These changes meet the
definition of spiritual transformation as ``a dramatic change in religious
belief, attitude, and behav- ior that occurs over a relatively short period of
time.'' NDEs do not necessarily promote any one particular religious or
spiritual tradition over others, but they do foster general spiritual growth
both in the experiencers themselves and in human society at large., (Web, pdf).
B. Greyson, Comments on ``Does Paranormal Perception Occur in Near-Death
Experiences?'', Journal of Near-Death Studies, 25 (2007),
Keith Augustine's critique of studies of veridical perception in near-death
experiences is based on unsubstantiated speculation from the popular media,
rather than on supportive data or peer-reviewed literature. Nevertheless,
addressing the issues he raises would improve the methodology of near-death
research and strengthen the evidential database for veridical perception., (Web, pdf).
B. Greyson, Consistency of near-death experience accounts over two
decades: Are reports embellished over time?, Resuscitation, 73
(2007), pp. 407-411.
im: ``Near-death experiences,'' commonly reported after clinical death and
resus- citation, may require intervention and, if reliable, may elucidate
altered brain functioning under extreme stress. It has been speculated that
accounts of near- death experiences are exaggerated over the years. The
objective of this study was to test the reliability over two decades of accounts
of near-death experiences. Methods: Seventy-two patients with near-death
experience who had completed the NDE scale in the 1980s (63% of the original
cohort still alive) completed the scale a second time, without reference to the
original scale administration. The primary outcome was differences in NDE scale
scores on the two administrations. The sec- ondary outcome was the statistical
association between differences in scores and years elapsed between the two
administrations. Results: Mean scores did not change significantly on the total
NDE scale, its 4 factors, or its 16 items. Correlation coefficients between
scores on the two administrations were significant at P < 0.001 for the total
NDE scale, for its 4 factors, and for its 16 items. Correlation coefficients
between score changes and time elapsed between the two administrations were not
significant for the total NDE scale, for its 4 factors, or for its 16 items.
Conclusion: Contrary to expectation, accounts of near-death experiences, and
par- ticularly reports of their positive affect, were not embellished over a
period of almost two decades. These data support the reliability of near-death
experience accounts., (Web, pdf).
B. Greyson, Near-death experience: clinical implications, Revista de
Psiquiatria Clínica, 34 (2007), pp. 116-125.
Background: When some people come close to death, they report a profound
experience of transcending the physical world that often leads to spiritual
transformation. These ``near-death experiences'' (NDEs) are relevant to
clinicians because they lead to changes in beliefs, attitudes, and values; they
may be mistaken for psychopathological states, although pro- ducing different
sequelae requiring different therapeutic approaches; and because they may
enhance our understanding of consciousness. Objectives: This literature review
examined the evidences regarding explanations proposed to explain NDEs,
including expectation, birth memories, altered blood gases, toxic or metabolic
hallucinations, and neurochemical and neuroanatomical models. Methods: The
literature on NDEs of the past 30 years was examined comprehensively, including
medical, nursing, psychological, and sociological databases. Results: NDEs
typically produce positive changes in attitudes, beliefs, and values, but may
also lead to interpersonal and intrapsychic problems. These problems have been
compared to various mental disorders, but are distinguishable from them. Various
therapeutic strategies have been proposed to help experiencers with problematic
aftereffects, but have not been tested yet. Conclusions: The mystical
consciousness and higher mental activity during NDEs, when the brain is severely
impaired, challenge current models of brain/mind interaction and may
occasionally lead to more complete models for the understanding of
consciousness., (Web, pdf).
B. Greyson, The Mystical Impact of Near-Death Experiences, The
Frontiers Of Consciousness, (2007).
Once regarded as meaningless hallucinations, near-death experiences (NDEs)
have become the subject of serious study by medical and various other
researchers in recent years. Descriptions of near-death experiences can be found
in the folklore and writings of European, Middle Eastern,African, Indian, East
Asian, Pacific, and Native American cultures. In 1892, geologist Albert von St.
Gallen Heim published a collection of personal NDE testimonies from mountain
climbers who had fallen in the Alps (as he himself had), sol- diers wounded in
war, workers who had fallen from scaf- folds, and those who had nearly died in
drownings and other accidents. NDEs continue to be reported by individuals who
were pronounced clinically dead but then were resuscitated, by people who in the
course of accidents or illnesses feared that they were near death, and by some
who actually died but were able to describe their experiences in their final
moments (``deathbed visions'')., (Web, pdf).
B. Greyson, Four Errors Commonly Made by Professional Debunkers,
Journal of Near-Death Studies 26 (2008), pp. 231-238.
In an editorial previously published in this Journal (Grossman, 2002), I
coined the term ``fundamaterialist'' to characterize a person whose attitude
towards materialism is the same as the fundamentalist's attitude towards his or
her religion. In each case, the attitude is one of unwavering certainty towards
the chosen ideology. For fundamaterialists, materialism does not appear to be an
empirical hypothesis about the real world; it appears to be a given, an article
of faith, the central tenet of his web of belief, around which everything else
must conform., (pdf).
B. Greyson, Hypercapnia and hypokalemia in near-death experiences,
Critical Care, 14 (2010), p. 420.
Klemenc-Ketis and colleagues' novel report of hypercapnia and hypokalemia
associated with near-death experiences (NDEs)  was somewhat surprising, as
Sabom  had previously reported lower than normal carbon dioxide levels
measured at the time of a patient's NDE, and Parnia and colleagues, in a
prospective study of 63 cardiac arrest survivors, had found no significant
association of either potassium or carbon dioxide with NDEs . Klemenc-Ketis
and colleagues' conclusion that hypercapnia plays a role in provoking NDEs is
one possible interpretation of the correlation they found. It is also plausible
that hypercapnia is simply an indicator of another factor that may be linked
causally to NDE reports. For example, the authors noted that hypercapnia
indicates better cardiac output and perfusion pressure, which would reduce the
amnesia that is usually seen in cardiac arrest, so that patients would be more
likely to remember what happened during the arrest. The association between NDEs
and hypercapnia may thus indicate simply that patients who are able to recall
more of their cardiac arrest also report more NDEs. Gliksman and Kellehear
reviewed studies showing that levels of carbon dioxide in the blood are not
necessarily accurate estimates of levels in the brain , which further
complicates the interpretation of the current findings. The small sample size of
this study, the contradictory evidence from other studies, and the unclear
association between levels of carbon dioxide in the blood and in the brain
suggest caution in interpreting the findings and suggest the need for further
research., (Web, pdf).
B. Greyson, Implications of near-death experiences for a postmaterialist
psychology., Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, 2 (2010),
Classical physics, anchored in materialist reductionism, offered adequate
descriptions of everyday mechanics but ultimately proved insufficient for
describing the mechanics of extremely high speeds or small sizes, and was
supplemented nearly a century ago by quantum physics, which includes
consciousness in its formulation. Materialist psychology, modeled on the
reductionism of classical physics, likewise offered adequate descriptions of
everyday mental functioning but ultimately proved insufficient for describing
mentation under extreme conditions, such as the continuation of mental function
when the brain is inactive or impaired, such as occurs near death. ``Near-death
experiences'' include phenomena that challenge materialist reductionism, such as
enhanced mentation and memory during cerebral impairment, accurate perceptions
from a perspective outside the body, and reported visions of deceased persons,
including those not previously known to be deceased. Complex consciousness,
including cognition, perception, and memory, under conditions such as cardiac
arrest and general anesthesia, when it cannot be associated with normal brain
function, require a revised psychology anchored not in 19th-century classical
physics but rather in 21st-century quantum physics that includes consciousness
in its conceptual formulation., (Web, pdf).
B. Greyson, Seeing Dead People Not Known to Have Died: ``Peak in Darien''
Experiences, Anthropology and Humanism, 35 (2010), pp. 159-171.
The ubiquitous belief that, after death, our consciousness might persist in
some discarnate form is fueled in part by phenomena like near-death experiences
(NDEs) and deathbed visions, mystical experiences reported on the threshold of
death. Some NDEs, called ``Peak in Darien'' experiences, include visions of
deceased people who are not known at the time to be dead. Cases of this kind
provide some of the most persuasive evidence for the survival of consciousness
after bodily death., (Web, pdf).
B. Greyson, Cosmological implications of near-death experiences,
Journal of Cosmology, 14 (2011), pp. 4684-4696.
"Near-death experiences" include phenomena that challenge materialist
reductionism, such as enhanced mentation and memory during cerebral impairment,
accurate perceptions from a perspective outside the body, and reported visions
of deceased persons, including those not previously known to be deceased.
Complex consciousness, including cognition, perception, and memory, under
conditions such as cardiac arrest and general anesthesia, when it cannot be
associated with normal brain function, requires a revised cosmology anchored not
in 19th-century classical physics but rather in 21st-century quantum physics
that includes consciousness in its conceptual formulation. Classical physics,
anchored in materialist reductionism, offered adequate descriptions of everyday
mechanics but ultimately proved insufficient for describing the mechanics of
extremely high speeds or small sizes, and was supplemented a century ago by
quantum physics. Materialist psychology, modeled on the reductionism of
classical physics, likewise offered adequate descriptions of everyday mental
functioning but ultimately proved insufficient for describing mentation under
extreme conditions, such as the continuation of mental function when the brain
is inactive or impaired, such as occurs near death., (Web, pdf).
B. Greyson, Meaningful Coincidences and Near-Death Experiences,
Psychiatric Annals, (2011).
Attribution of meaning to coincidences is problematic because in a
sufficiently large population, even low-probability events are likely to
happen by chance; exposure to common information sources increases the
likelihood of people having similar thoughts; and a person's history,
cognitive style, and emotional state strongly influence whether a coincidence
is considered meaningful,
B. Greyson and N. E. Bush, Distressing near-death experiences.,
Psychiatry, 55 (1992), pp. 95-110.
Most reported near-death experiences include profound feelings of peace,
joy, and cosmic unity. Less familiar are the reports following close brushes
with death of experiences that are partially or entirely unpleasant,
frightening, or frankly hellish. While little is known about the antecedents or
aftereffects of these distressing experiences, there appear to be three distinct
types, involving (1) phenomenology similar to peaceful near-death experiences
but interpreted as unpleasant, (2) a sense of nonexistence or eternal void, or
(3) graphic hellish landscapes and entities. While the first type may eventually
convert to a typical peaceful experience, the relationship of all three types to
prototypical near-death experiences merits further study. The effect of the
distressing experience in the lives of individuals deserves exploration, as the
psychological impact may be profound and long-lasting., (Web, pdf).
B. Greyson and J. M. Holden, Failure to elicit near-death experiences in
induced cardiac arrest, Journal of Near-Death ..., (2006).
Persons reporting near-death experiences (NDEs) sometimes describe a sense
of having been out of their bodies and observing their surroundings from a
visual perspective outside of and above their bodies. We attempted to study such
phenomena during the surgical implantation of automatic implantable
cardioverters/defibrillators (ICDs), electrical devices that monitor the
patient's heartbeat and automatically detect cardiac arrest and administer an
electrical shock to return the heart to normal rhythm. When ICDs are implanted
in a patient's chest, cardiac arrest is induced under closely monitored
conditions, in order to test the ICD's sensitivity and effectiveness. This study
was designed to investigate the accuracy of out-of-body perceptions during NDEs
that occur during these induced cardiac arrests. A computer in the operating
room displayed quasi-randomly-selected unusual visual targets so that they were
visible only from above eye level, from a visual perspective looking down upon
the body of the unconscious patient. In a series of 52 induced cardiac arrests,
no patient reported having had a near-death experience, and none reported a
sense of having left the physical body or observing from an out-of-body visual
perspective. This failure to find a single NDE in 52 induced cardiac arrests may
have been due to preoperative reassurances that patients would not be in danger
of dying, the brief duration of the induced cardiac arrest, or the amnestic
effects of pre-anesthetic sedative medication., (Web, pdf).
B. Greyson, J. M. Holden, and P. v. Lommel, `There is nothing paranormal
about near-death experiences' revisited: comment on Mobbs and Watt, Trends
in Cognitive Sciences, (2012), pp. 1-1.
In a recent article in this journal entitled `There is nothing paranormal
about near-death experiences', Dean Mobbs and Caroline Watt  concluded that
`[t]aken together, the scientific evidence suggests that all aspects of the
near-death experience have a neurophysiological or psychological basis' (p.
449). We suggest that Mobbs and Watt explained `all aspects' of near-death
experiences (NDEs) by ignoring aspects they could not explain and by overlooking
a substantial body of empirical research on NDEs., (Web,
K. L. R. Jansen, Neuroscience and the near-death experience: roles for
the NMSA-PCP receptor, the sigma receptor and the endopsychosins, Medical
hypotheses, 31 (1990), pp. 25-29.
The Near-Death Experience (NDE) is a dissociative mental state with
characteristic features. These can be reproduced by ketamine which acts at sigma
sites and blocks N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) linked phencyclidine (PCP)
receptors to reduce ischaemic damage. Endogenous ligands, alpha and beta-endopsychosin,
have been detected for these receptors which suggests an explanation for some
NDE's: the endopsychosins may be released in abnormal quantity to protect
neurons from ischaemic and other excitotoxic damage, and the NDE is a side
effect on consciousness with important psychological functions., (pdf).
R. Lange, B. Greyson, and J. Houran, A Rasch scaling validation of a
`core'near‚Äźdeath experience, British Journal of Psychology, 95
(2004), pp. 161-177.
For those with true near-death experiences (NDEs), Greyson's (1983, 1990)
NDE Scale satisfactorily fits the Rasch rating scale model, thus yielding a
unidimensional measure with interval-level scaling properties. With increasing
intensity, NDEs reflect peace, joy and harmony, followed by insight and mystical
or religious experiences, while the most intense NDEs involve an awareness of
things occurring in a different place or time. The semantics of this variable
are invariant across True-NDErs' gender, current age, age at time of NDE, and
latency and intensity of the NDE, thus identifying NDEs as `core' experiences
whose meaning is unaffected by external variables, regardless of variations in
NDEs' intensity. Signficant qualitative and quantitative differences were
observed between True-NDErs and other respondent groups, mostly revolving around
the differential emphasis on paranormal/mystical/religious experiences vs.
standard reactions to threat. The findings further suggest that False-Positive
respondents reinterpret other profound psychological states as NDEs.
Accordingly, the Rasch validation of the typology proposed by Greyson (1983)
also provides new insights into previous research, including the possibility of
embellishment over time (as indicated by the finding of positive, as well as
negative, latency effects) and the potential roles of religious affiliation and
religiosity (as indicated by the qualitative differences surrounding
paranormal/mystical/religious issues)., (Web,
J. Long, The Nine Lines of Evidence, (2012), pp. 1-2.
Research areas, as presented in the book Evidence of the Afterlife: The
Science of Near-Death Experiences, by Jeffrey Long, MD. These nine lines of
evidence support the reality of near-death experiences and their consistent
message that there is an afterlife., (pdf).
D. Mobbs, Response to Greyson et al.: there is nothing paranormal about
near-death experiences, Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 16 (2012),
Greyson and colleagues make several arguments  against the proposition
that near-death experiences (NDEs) can be explained on the basis of currently
available neuroscientific and psychological evidence . I must provide several
clarifications. First, I remind the reader that our brief Science & Society
article set out to examine the core features of NDEs, rather than provide an
exhaustive discussion of the literature. Second the goal of our article was to
present evidence that the brain can evoke `similar' experiences that are
observed under more controlled and less psychologically distressing
circumstances - a point explicitly made by others [3,4]. Third, given the
overwhelming media coverage and non-scientific literature in favour of
paranormal (i.e., beyond scientific investigation) accounts, our goal was to put
forward an alternative, scientific account of NDEs. Finally, I must also make it
clear that we extensively examined the extant literature and found no convincing
evidence (beyond anecdotes or questionnaires) that contradicted explanations
based on current neuroscientific evidence., (Web, pdf).
D. Mobbs and C. Watt, There is nothing paranormal about near-death
experiences: how neuroscience can explain seeing bright lights, meeting the
dead, or being convinced you are one of them, Trends in Cognitive Sciences,
15 (2011), pp. 447-449.
Approximately 3% of Americans declare to have had a near-death experience
. These experiences classically involve the feeling that one's soul has left
the body, approaches a bright light and goes to another reality, where love and
bliss are all encompassing. Contrary to popular belief, research suggests that
there is nothing paranormal about these experiences. Instead, near- death
experiences are the manifestation of normal brain function gone awry, during a
traumatic, and sometimes harmless, event., (Web, pdf).
T. Murphy, Near-Death Experiences in Thailand: Discussion of case
histories, shaktitechnology.com, (1999), pp. 1-9.
Several studies (Pasricha, 1986, Schorer, 1985-86) & Kellehear, 1993) have
indicated that the phenomenologies of NDEs is culture- bound. The observation
that the Being of Light can appear differently according to a person's
expectations of what God will be like (Osis, 1975) supports the notion that a
person's religion also plays a role. In this article, we will examine eleven
NDEs collected in Thailand. We will argue that the phenomenology of NDEs is not
determined by a person's culture, but rather reflects that person's expectations
of what death will be like. These expectations are most often, though not
always, derived from a person's culture. Culture-bound expectations (whether
conscious or unconscious) about death are, in turn, most often, but not always,
derived from it's religious traditions. NDE phenomenology is both highly
individualized, and at the same time shared by many people. Culture is
universal, but so are deviations from it's norms., (Web,
M. Nahm and B. Greyson, Terminal Lucidity in Patients With Chronic
Schizophrenia and Dementia, The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease,
197 (2009), pp. 942-944.
In this article, we present the results of a literature survey on case
reports of the unexpected return of mental clarity and memory shortly before
death, which we have called ``terminal lucidity.'' We focus specifically on
terminal lucidity in mental disorders, of which we have found 81 case
references. Of these, we were able to retrieve 49 case reports, most of which
had been recorded before 1849. Thereafter, comparatively few reports of terminal
lucidity have been published. Some more recent publications referred to terminal
lucidity in patients suffering from schizophrenia and dementia. We draw
parallels and distinctions between terminal lucidity and remissions attributable
to febrile illness in neurosyphilis. We recommend in-depth studies on the
psychopathology and neuropathology involved in terminal lucidity, since they
might enable the development of both improved therapies and a better
understanding of unresolved aspects of cognition and memory processing., (Web, pdf).
D. S. Oderberg, Survivalism, Corruptionism, and Mereology, European
Journal for the Philosophy of Religion, 4 (2012), pp. 1-26.
Corruptionism is the view that following physical death, the human being
ceases to exist (until Resurrection) but their soul persists in the afterlife.
Survivalism holds that both the human being and their soul persist in the
afterlife, as distinct entities, with the soul constituting the human. Each
position has its defenders, most of whom appeal both to metaphysical
considerations and to the authority of St Thomas Aquinas. Corruptionists claim
that survivalism violates a basic principle of any plausible mereology, while
survivalists tend to reject the principle, though without as much detail as one
would like. In this paper I examine both the key exegetical issues and the
mereological question, arguing (i) that Aquinas cannot be shown to have
supported the principle in question, and (ii) that the principle should be
rejected on independent grounds. If correct, some key planks in support of
survivalism are established, with others to await further examination., (pdf).
J. P. Pandarakalam, Doctors' religious beliefs influence their views on
end of life care, British Medical Journal News, (2010), pp. 1-2.
Medical scientists who are non-religious and espouse a strict biological
model of the mind tend to care less for prolonging life is a serious statement.
Theoretically this could be true of mental health professionals who are
sceptical about post mortem existence while they deal with suicidal behaviour.
The age-old belief in human spiritual existence has weakened with the growth
reductionist views of mind. Right from the beginning of their medical education,
medical professionals are exposed to reductionist models of mind and
consequently, the concept of spirituality becomes inappropriate in their
thinking. The concept of a Supreme Being becomes irrelevant if there is no life
after death. After completing the anatomy dissection and physiology classes, I
used to wonder where the soul in all these is. For mainstream scientists to
accept survival after physical extinction and spirituality, they have to abandon
a neutral position on the fence, metaphorically launching themselves on to the
side of the following: a. The possibility of some form of limited communication
between discarnate beings and living beings. b. The existence of an
imperceptible discarnate dimension. c. The existence of a non-physical component
that is in union with brain and body - a non-reductionist model of mind. d, The
existence of a Divine Intelligence., (Web,
J. P. Pandarakalam, A Search for the Truth of Near Death Experiences,
(2012), pp. 1-20.
The existence of so-called Near Death Experiences (NDEs), in which dying
people report having mystical sensations before being resuscitated, is now
widely accepted by cognitive scientists as a respectable research idea. Over the
years, various explanations have been put forward for the positive variety of
NDEs. Early investigators attached the importance of the transcendental aspects
of this experience but these views were challenged by biological explanations.
The aim of this paper is to evaluate the different interpretations from a
biological and parapsychological perspective as well as in the light of the
newer observations of particle physics. Selective survey of the may also help to
form a framework for future research. Features of cluster analysis and a case
example are given. Cultural differences are noted. Biological and transcendental
interpretations have obvious pitfalls. An intermediate position is advanced here
- that the NDE is a combination of individual hallucination and true extra
sensory perception. The current models of mind are inadequate to explain NDEs.
Study of NDEs is useful for a deeper understanding of mind. NDEs can be better
explained if the existence of an extra-cerebral component is conceptualised in
association with the brain even though this non-physical aspect is unobservable
with the present day instrumentation., (Web,
A. Paquette, NDE Implications from a Group of Spontaneous Long-Distance
Veridical OBEs, Journal of Scientific Exploration, 26 (2012),
The case for veridical out-of-body experiences (OBEs) reported in
near-death experiences might be strengthened by accounts of well-documented
veridical OBEs not occurring near death. However, such accounts are not easily
found in the literature, particularly accounts involving events seen at great
distances from the percipient. In this article, I seek to mitigate this paucity
of literature using my collection of dream journal OBE cases. Out of 3,395
records contained in the database as of June 15, 2012, 226 had demonstrated
veridicality. This group divides into examples of precogni- tion, after-death
communications, and OBEs. Of the OBEs, 92 are veridical. The documentation
involved is stronger than is normally encountered in spontaneous cases, because
it is made prior to confirmation attempts, all confirmations are
contemporaneous, and the number of verified records is large relative to the
total number of similar cases in the literature. This database shows that
NDE-related veridical OBEs share important characteristics of veridical OBEs
that are not part of an NDE. Because the OBEs are similar, but the conditions
are not, skeptical arguments that depend on specific physical characteristics of
the NDE--such as the use of drugs and extreme physical distress--are weakened.
Other arguments against purported psi elements found in veridical OBEs are
substantially weakened by the cases presented in this article., (pdf).
S. Parnia, D. Waller, R. Yeates, and P. Fenwick, A qualitative and
quantitative study of the incidence, features and aetiology of near death
experiences in cardiac arrest survivors, Resuscitation, 48 (2001),
Aim: To carry out a prospective study of cardiac arrest survivors to
understand the qualitative features as well as incidence, and possible aetiology
of near death experiences (NDEs) in this group of patients. Method: All
survivors of cardiac arrests during a 1 year period were interviewed within a
week of their arrest, regarding memories of their unconscious period. Reported
memories were assessed by the Greyson NDE Scale. The postulated role of
physiological, psychological and transcendental factors were studied.
Physiological parameters such as oxygen status were extracted from the medical
notes. Patients' religious convictions were documented in the interviews and
hidden targets were used to test the transcendental theories on potential out of
body claims. Those with memories were compared to those without memories.
Results: 11.1% of 63 survivors reported memories. The majority had NDE features.
There appeared to be no differences on all physiological measured parameters
apart from partial pressure of oxygen during the arrest which was higher in the
NDE group. Conclusions: Memories are rare after resuscitation from cardiac
arrest. The majority of those that are reported have features of NDE and are
pleasant. The occurrence of NDE during cardiac arrest raises questions about the
possible relationship between the mind and the brain. Further large-scale
studies are needed to understand the aetiology and true significance of NDE., (pdf).
T. Rivas, is it rational to extrapolate from the Presence of
Consciousness during a Flat EEG to Survival of Consciousness After death?,
Journal of Near-Death Studies, 29 (2010), pp. 355-361.
A few months ago, I read your review of Jeffrey Long's important
publication, Evidence of the Afterlife, for Noetic Now of the Institute for
Noetic Sciences (Holden, 2010). Although you have done an excellent job
discussing his book, there is one specific idea about which I probably disagree
with you., (pdf).
D. Rousseau, Near-Death Experiences and the Mind-Body Relationship: A
Systems-Theoretical Perspective, Journal of Near-Death Studies, 29
(2011), pp. 399-435.
In this paper I support the view that NDEs provide empirical support for
mind-body substance dualism and argue that a systems-theoretical analysis of the
evidence is required to obtain valid insights into the nature of the approach,
systems phenomena such as property emergence and property mask-capacities of the
mind-body system, that ordinary faculties such as emotional faculties such as
telepathy, and that NDE evidence favors a naturalistic form of Substance
Dualism., (Web, pdf).
D. Rousseau, Physicalism, Christianity and the Near-Death Experience: An
essay review of Out-of-Body and Near-Death Experiences: Brain-state Phenomena
or Glimpses of Immortality? by Michael Marsh, Journal of the Society for
Psychical Research, 75 (2011), pp. 225-234.
OBEs and NDEs are important phenomena pertinent to the debates about the
mind-body relationship and the survival of consciousness beyond bodily death.
The formal study of Near-Death Experiences started only in 1975 with Raymond
Moody's ground-breaking book, Life after Life (Moody, 1975), but it has since
mushroomed into a huge field of research that is now a subject of active
interest in a wide range of disciplines, including Philosophy (e.g. Lund, 2009),
Religious Studies (e.g. Fox, 2003), Anthropology (e.g. Shushan, 2009),
Anomalistic Psychology (e.g. CardeŮa et al., 2000, chap.10), Parapsychology
(e.g. Parker, 2001), Phenomenology (e.g. Murray etal., 2009), Cardiology (Parnia
et al., 2001), Neuroscience (Greyson, 2007) and Counselling (Nouri, 2008)., (pdf).
W. J. Serdahely, A. Drenk, and J. Serdahely, What carers need to
understand about the near-death experience., Geriatric nursing (New York,
NY), 9 (1988), p. 238.
Helping people talk about their NDEs will add to existing knowledge and
increase understanding., (pdf).
Y. F. Tai, Visualizing out-of-body experience in the brain., The New
England journal of medicine, 358 (2008), pp. 855-author reply 856.
The single-subject study design used by De Ridder et al. (Nov. 1 issue)1
makes it difficult to conclude whether the changes seen on positron-emission
tomography (PET) were due to out-of-body experiences or simply to the
differential effects of stimulation at 3.7 V in 40-Hz burst mode as compared
with other modes, a confounder that has not been controlled for. A more robust
approach would be to compare this patient with a group of patients with
tinnitus, but without the out-of-body experiences, receiving the same
stimulation. Furthermore, the short duration of the out-of-body experiences in
this patient (average duration, 17 seconds, starting within 1 second after
stimulation) means that the experiences had almost disappeared by the time the
scans started (10 seconds after stimulation started). Therefore, it is possible
that most of the PET changes reported in this study, despite being consistent
with the authors' hypothesis, were due to the effects of stimulation alone., (Web, pdf).
P. Van Lommel, R. van Wees, V. Meyers, and I. Elfferich, Near-death
experience in survivors of cardiac arrest: a prospective study in the
Netherlands, The Lancet, 358 (2001), pp. 2039-2045.
Background Some people report a near-death experience (NDE) after a
life-threatening crisis. We aimed to establish the cause of this experience
and assess factors that affected its frequency, depth, and content. Methods
In a prospective study, we included 344 consecutive cardiac patients who were
successfully resuscitated after cardiac arrest in ten Dutch hospitals. We
compared demographic, medical, pharmacological, and psychological data
between patients who reported NDE and patients who did not (controls) after
resuscitation. In a longitudinal study of life changes after NDE, we compared
the groups 2 and 8 years later. Findings 62 patients (18%) reported NDE, of
whom 41 (12%) described a core experience. Occurrence of the experience was
not associated with duration of cardiac arrest or unconsciousness,
medication, or fear of death before cardiac arrest. Frequency of NDE was
affected by how we defined NDE, the prospective nature of the research in
older cardiac patients, age, surviving cardiac arrest in first myocardial
infarction, more than one cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) during stay in
hospital, previous NDE, and memory problems after prolonged CPR. Depth of the
experience was affected by sex, surviving CPR outside hospital, and fear
before cardiac arrest. Significantly more patients who had an NDE, especially
a deep experience, died within 30 days of CPR (p<0∑0001). The process of
transformation after NDE took several years, and differed from those of
patients who survived cardiac arrest without NDE. Interpretation We do not
know why so few cardiac patients report NDE after CPR, although age plays a
part. With a purely physiological explanation such as cerebral anoxia for the
experience, most patients who have been clinically dead should report one., (pdf).
L. K. Wilkins, T. A. Girard, and J. A. Cheyne, Ketamine as a primary
predictor of out-of-body experiences associated with multiple substance
use, Consciousness and Cognition, (2011), pp. 1-8.
Investigation of ``out-of-body experiences'' (OBEs) has implications
for understanding both normal bodily-self integration and its
vulnerabilities. Beyond reported associations between OBEs and specific brain
regions, however, there have been few investigations of neurochemical systems
relevant to OBEs. Ketamine, a drug used recreationally to achieve
dissociative experiences, provides a real-world paradigm for investigating
neurochemical effects. We investigate the strength of the association of OBEs
and ketamine use relative to other common drugs of abuse. Self-report data (N
= 192) from an online survey indicate that both lifetime frequency of
ketamine use and OBEs during ketamine intoxication were more strongly related
to the frequency of OBEs and related phenomena than other drugs. Moreover,
the apparent effects of other drugs could largely be explained by associated
ket- amine use. The present results, consistent with the role of NMDA
receptors in OBEs, should encourage future studies of the role of
neurochemical systems in OBEs., (Web,