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Humanities 2015, 4(4), 775-796; doi:10.3390/h4040775

Western Scientific Approaches to Near-Death Experiences

Department of Psychiatry & Neurobehavioral Sciences, University of Virginia School of Medicine, 210 10th Street NE, Charlottesville, VA 22902-4754, USA
Academic Editors: David San Filippo and Anders Karl Gustaf Gustavsson
Received: 12 October 2015 / Revised: 31 October 2015 / Accepted: 4 November 2015 / Published: 9 November 2015
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [237 KB, uploaded 9 November 2015]

Abstract

Near-death experiences (NDEs) are vivid experiences that often occur in life-threatening conditions, usually characterized by a transcendent tone and clear perceptions of leaving the body and being in a different spatiotemporal dimension. Such experiences have been reported throughout history in diverse cultures, and are reported today by 10% to 20% of people who have come close to death. Although cultural expectations and parameters of the brush with death influence the content of some NDEs, near-death phenomenology is invariant across cultures. That invariance may reflect universal psychological defenses, neurophysiological processes, or actual experience of a transcendent or mystical domain. Research into these alternative explanations has been hampered by the unpredictable occurrence of NDEs. Regardless of the causes or interpretations of NDEs, however, they are consistently associated with profound and long-lasting aftereffects on experiencers, and may have important implications for non-experiencers as well. View Full-Text
Keywords: near-death experience; psychological explanation; neurophysiological explanation; mystical experience; science; out-of-body experience; death; attitude change near-death experience; psychological explanation; neurophysiological explanation; mystical experience; science; out-of-body experience; death; attitude change
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Greyson, B. Western Scientific Approaches to Near-Death Experiences. Humanities 2015, 4, 775-796.

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