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Abstract

This article provides a short summary of a representative survey on near-death experiences (NDEs) in Germany, which is the first of its kind in Europe. We tested several assumptions derived from previous research on NDEs, including the assumptions of a unified pattern of experience, the universality of the pattern, and the necessary link between NDEs and clinical death. We received replies from more than 2,000 persons, 4 percent of whom reported NDEs. The patterns of the NDEs did not seem to correspond to earlier findings: aside from being much more diverse, they also differed with respect to cultural variables, particularly the difference between religious interpretations and the differences between post-socialist East Germany and West Germany.
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... Different studies have reported different results regarding the prevalence of NDEs. For example, 10 to 35% of people who experience life-threatening events (Grayson, 2003;Zingrone & Alvarado, 2009), 10% of people with rapid eye movements (REM) intrusion problems , 23% of heart attack survivors (Schwaninger et al., 2002) and 4% to 8% of the general population (Knoblauch et al., 2001) report NDEs. To date, several aspects of the cognitive and emotional components and effects of NDEs on the psychological health of NDErs have been investigated. ...
... To date, several aspects of the cognitive and emotional components and effects of NDEs on the psychological health of NDErs have been investigated. In particular, many studies have highlighted the effects of NDEs such as the growth of spirituality, participation in spiritual and religious activities, reduction of materialistic values, reduction of fear of death, and positive emotions and experiences (Van Lommel et al., 2001;Knoblauch et al., 2001;Groth-Marnat & Summers, 1998, Noyes, 1980Ghasemiannejad Jahromi, 2021). The positive effects of NDEs have been considered the "posttraumatic growth" in the literature. ...
... Overall, the findings of this study extended the literature on NDEs (e.g. Lommel et al., 2001;Knoblauch et al., 2001;Groth-Marnat & Summers, 1998, Noyes, 1980Ghasemiannejad Jahromi, 2021) and showed that positive psychological changes occur not only in people who go through NDEs but also in other people aware of these experiences, and the greater the severity and duration of this knowledge, the greater the positive changes. At the heart of these changes is a kind of selfreflection and a focus on existential philosophy and the meaning of life and death, leading to posttraumatic growth, spiritual and existential changes, and appreciation of life as confirmed by previous studies (Tedeschi & Calhoun, 2004;Calhoun et al., 2010). ...
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Background & Objective: NDEs exert many effects on the life of near-death experiencers (NDErs), but it is unclear how the knowledge of these experiences influences the other people. To this end, the present study investigates the effects of knowledge of NDEs on various aspects of life and the sleep quality of people without NDEs. Methods: The research population included all people aged 12 to 60 years living in a number of cities in Iran in 2021. To collect the data, a total of 800 self-report questionnaires were distributed among the people who met the inclusion criteria, where 766 respondents completed the questionnaires. Among this group, 466 respondents (60.8%) were women. Results: The findings of the study indicated that 57.6% of the respondents acquired knowledge about NDEs through books and articles, 58.1% through movies and clips, 72.1% through social media and networks, 79.6% through lectures, and 70.9% learned about NDEs through chat with friends. Data analysis showed that 40% of the respondents reported a drastic change in their views or feelings after learning about NDEs and 57% experienced positive effects in their lives. Overall, the data in this study confirmed a profound effect on people exposed to NDEs. Conclusion: Knowledge of NDEs leads to positive life changes in people without NDEs and can contribute to improving their quality of life, enhance their understanding of life and death, and improve their mental health and sleep quality.
... The most frequently reported changes after a classical NDE correspond to a more altruistic and spiritual attitude, an important personal understanding of life and self, decreased fear of death, as well as a trend towards less materialist values [10,[43][44][45][46][47][48][49]. Psychedelic studies show similar long-term changes, such as reduced death anxiety and lasting improvements in well-being [21,[50][51][52][53][54]. ...
... As our aim was to assess the sense of self, we relied on retrospective subjective measures of first-person experiences; only the individuals who experienced the NDEs know "what it feels like" to have had such experiences. As with psychedelic experiences [66], it is common for NDEs to be described as 'ineffable' [7,46]. Here, we decided to use a closed questionnaire format rather than spontaneous written narratives or freely expressed reports. ...
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Many people who have had a near-death experience (NDE) describe, as part of it, a disturbed sense of having a “distinct self”. However, no empirical studies have been conducted to explore the frequency or intensity of these effects. We surveyed 100 NDE experiencers (Near-Death-Experience Content [NDE-C] scale total score ≥27/80). Eighty participants had their NDEs in life-threatening situations and 20 had theirs not related to life-threatening situations. Participants completed the Ego-Dissolution Inventory (EDI) and the Ego-Inflation Inventory (EII) to assess the experience of ego dissolution and inflation potentially experienced during their NDE, respectively. They also completed the Nature-Relatedness Scale (NR-6) which measures the trait-like construct of one’s self-identification with nature. Based on prior hypotheses, ratings of specific NDE-C items pertaining to out-of-body experiences and a sense of unity were used for correlational analyses. We found higher EDI total scores compared with EII total scores in our sample. Total scores of the NDE-C scale were positively correlated with EDI total scores and, although less strongly, the EII and NR-6 scores. EDI total scores were also positively correlated with the intensity of OBE and a sense of unity. This study suggests that the experience of dissolved ego-boundaries is a common feature of NDEs.
... Concurrently, a group of psychologists including Maslow [52] and Tart [78] began to explore the domain of ASCs. Grof [26] and Pahnke [59] investigated ASCs with a focus on psychedelic substances like LSD and psilocybin, and since then, a large number of research findings have emerged relating to ASCs produced by hypnosis [33], sleep and dreaming [40,45], meditation [13,82], mystical and transcendent experiences [7,25], illness and injury [5], near-death experiences [24,39], and out-of-body experiences [8,18]. ...
Conference Paper
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There has been increasing interest shown in experiences such as lucid dreams, hallucinations, or awe that arise in HCI. Altered States of Consciousness (ASC) is the umbrella term for these experiences, yet it has been subject to fragmented study, and design knowledge to help individuals working on technology-driven ASCs is lacking. This paper investigates HCI studies involving ASC artefacts through a scoping review. The findings relate to (1) ASC induction methods, (2) ASC experiences through artefacts, (3) ASC artefacts, and (4) the technology of ASC artefacts. The returned literature shows that HCI studies have mainly explored psychologically induced ASCs, and XR technologies and embodied interaction are widely used in ASC research. Meanwhile, physical artefact design including active body movements and the integration of games and play approaches featured as prospective directions. These results will contribute to the knowledge of those studying and designing ASC artefacts.
... 21 To take this aftermath of NDEs as a distinctive phenomenological feature of authentic NDEs is to mix a specific experience of consciousness with an evolution subject to cultural, sociological, and clinical factors. 22 Parnia et al.'s assertion, besides being empirically unfounded, could reinforce a conformism to certain idealistic values associated with the prototype implicitly defended by these authors. 1 This self-proclaimed consensus conceals one of the great difficulties of this field of research: the difficulty of defining NDE precisely. ...
Article
In their recent paper, Parnia and colleagues propose a new label for the near‐death experience (NDE): recalled experience of death. They claimed NDEs are “authentic” only when an objective danger is present and that authentic NDEs have a proven core phenomenology. We consider that these claims are insufficiently supported by empirical data. NDEs appear as a continuum of heterogeneous experiences of consciousness precipitated by the disjunction of processes usually combined in normal mental activity. The “core phenomenology” of NDEs is also opened to several criticisms. Closeness to “real” death does not appear to be a decisive criterion for characterizing NDEs. The author's adhesion to Raymond Moody's NDE model produces a biased partition of this field of research that is unable to provide the basis for a consensus.
... This is particularly useful for research purposes as it helps establish a baseline for what qualifies as an NDE versus an experience that may be NDE-like. The Scale has been used in many studies since its publication and is arguably a standard material in most NDE studies (Council & Greyon, 1985;Kellehear, Stevenson, Pasricha, & Cook, 1994;Klemenc-Ketis, Grmec, & Kersnik, 2011;Knoblauch, Schmied, & Schnettler, 2001;Locke & Shontz, 1983;Nelson, Mattingly, Lee, & Schmitt, 2006;Parnia, Waller, Yeats, & Fenwick, 2001;Pasricha, 1992;Schwaninger, Eisenberg, Schechtman, & Weiss, 2002). It is often used as a measure to investigate other variables, though it has not often been employed for studying NDE aftereffects, which I will discuss in Chapter III. ...
Thesis
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This thesis aims to identify challenging aftereffects of near-death experiences (NDEs), to explore how these are lived by near-death experiencers (NDErs), and to study the impacts of these challenging aftereffects on psychological wellbeing. This thesis also aims to identify what aids integration of these aftereffects, particularly so that when NDErs come to mental health professionals for help, these professionals have a framework with which to work. Per a review of the literature, there has been research on certain aspects of NDEs in relation to wellbeing, such as satisfaction with life or post-traumatic growth, but not as looking at factors that make up psychological wellbeing as a whole. Furthermore, the literature review identified only two studies which mapped challenging aftereffects with limited information on how the data were analyzed. Thus, a mixed-method study was developed to identify challenging NDE aftereffects and examine further the impact of these on wellbeing. A questionnaire utilizing the NDE Scale, multiple choice questions measuring wellbeing outcomes, and open response questions to further describe how challenges were experienced by participants was employed. The quantitative analysis discovered that the deeper the NDE, particularly if the NDE had a transcendental component, the more someone reports positive long-term changes in mood. It also identified that the more an NDEr reports positive changes in one’s current sense of happiness and life satisfaction, the more one reports ongoing positive changes in their perception of life’s purpose, social relationships, and mood. The analysis also presented the finding that people who had their NDE when they were teenagers or children report more struggles socially than compared to people who had their NDEs as adults. The thematic content analysis conducted on the written answers from the questionnaire illuminated the variety of psychological changes following an NDE and categorized them as negative, neutral, and positive depending on how the participants presented them. However, the thematic content analysis also showcased how even if changes are viewed positively, this does not negate the fact they could still be challenging to accommodate. For instance, the majority of participants discussed how discovering their life’s purpose through their NDE was a positive thing but trying to live their life’s purpose was often a struggle, particularly when, for example, they could not easily change jobs without sacrificing financial stability for their family. Interviews to further illuminate challenges experienced by the participants were conducted and analyzed via interpretative phenomenological analysis. The analysis showcased key themes while presenting and respecting the subtle nuances of each interviewee’s personal experience. Each theme had at least two subthemes: Relationship with Reality – “life is temporary; we are forever,” and, “life is an assignment/has purpose;” Relationship with NDE/Its Aftereffects – “community/sharing the experience,” and “time to comprehend the/live with it;” Relationship with Self – “strong sense of responsibility for/of Self,” and, “pursued integration/development;” and lastly, Relationship with Other People – “being compassionate with boundaries,” “family/friend support,” and “loneliness/hard to relate with other people.” These themes/subthemes were then placed within the framework of the Six-Factor Model of psychological wellbeing as a way to gauge how certain aftereffects impact wellbeing. This thesis is the first research to map challenges caused by NDEs using a multi-method approach involving statistical analysis, thematic analysis, content analysis, and interview examined via interpretative phenomenological analysis. It is also the first to frame these challenges within a wellbeing model. The findings of this thesis have pragmatic uses, particularly for mental health professionals when working with NDErs. It adds to the clinical as well as the parapsychological, thanatological, and health literature.
Article
Целью статьи является анализ состояния исследований нового для научной психологии предмета – феномена Мгновенного жизненного обзора (МЖО) и разработка перспективной программы его изучения. Феномен МЖО заключается в том, что, вспоминая об экстремальных ситуациях, люди иногда утверждают, будто бы в момент максимальной угрозы «вся жизнь в одно мгновение промелькнула у них перед глазами». Критикуется сложившаяся методология исследования МЖО на основе ретроспективных отчетов, так как она не позволяет диссоциировать механизмы переживания МЖО и воспоминания о нем. Фиксируется противоречивость литературных данных об условиях возникновения, составе и последствиях МЖО. Обосновывается понимание МЖО как мнемической иллюзии, связанной с взаимодействием трех факторов: 1) специфического модуса работы автобиографической памяти в условиях сильного стресса; 2) культурного образца переживания МЖО; 3) языковых средств перекодирования образа памяти в ретроспективное описание. Разработку метода имитации феномена МЖО в лабораторных условиях предлагается провести на основе генетического эксперимента в рамках методологии культурно-исторического подхода Л.С.Выготского.
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The article summarizes the main findings of a socio-historical study devoted to the question of the political and social handling of 'paranormal', 'parapsychological' or 'occult' knowledge, experiences, and practices in the German Democratic Republic (GDR). The 'scientific worldview' derived from Marxism-Leninism and propagated in the GDR was essentially a scientistic conception of reality. Against this background, all occult or paranormal topics were rigorously rejected in the public discourse of the GDR. The clear direction of the public discourse was accompanied by an institutionally supported struggle against everything that was considered 'irrational'. These discursive and institutional measures had a considerable impact on the population of the GDR. In the final years of the GDR, only a few people were still secretly dealing with paranormal topics. Overall, the findings show a largely successful marginalization of deviant practices and belief systems in a society characterized by a stringent order of social reality. However, compared to traditional Christian beliefs, which were severely repressed by the state’s secularization program, paranormal beliefs proved to be somewhat more resistant.
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Evidence from near-death experiences (NDEs) demonstrates that the essential, nonmaterial aspect of a human being (the person’s mind entity) separates from the physical body in an NDE and operates independent of the brain and physical body. Evidence from shared death experiences (SDEs) demonstrates that in the process of physical death, as witnessed by SDErs, the dying person’s mind entity separates from the physical body and transitions to a different realm. Evidence of meeting deceased persons in NDEs, SDEs, and in after-death communications (ADCs) demonstrates that the deceased persons are objectively real because they are observed at times simultaneously by multiple witnesses and at times provide veridical information previously unknown to the witness. Credible veridical communication with someone who has already died is evidence implicitly for personal survival of physical death. Based on the evidence from these phenomena, taken as a whole, a person’s essential Self or mind at death separates from the physical body, transitions to a different realm, and survives the death of the physical body. The insights derived from NDEs, SDEs, and related phenomena lead to a theory of mind that has greater explanatory power with respect to consciousness, memory, and agency. These insights provide a new conceptual framework that can lead to paradigm shifts in neuroscience, physics, and other fields, thereby extending the current naturalism to include nonmaterial entities, forces, and interactions.
Article
Full-text available
Evidence from near-death experiences (NDEs) demonstrates that the essential, nonmaterial aspect of a human being (the person’s mind entity) separates from the physical body in an NDE and operates independent of the brain and physical body. Evidence from shared death experiences (SDEs) demonstrates that in the process of physical death, as witnessed by SDErs, the dying person’s mind entity separates from the physical body and transitions to a different realm. Evidence of meeting deceased persons in NDEs, SDEs, and in after-death communications (ADCs) demonstrates that the deceased persons are objectively real because they are observed at times simultaneously by multiple witnesses and at times provide veridical information previously unknown to the witness. Credible veridical communication with someone who has already died is evidence implicitly for personal survival of physical death. Based on the evidence from these phenomena, taken as a whole, a person’s essential Self or mind at death separates from the physical body, transitions to a different realm, and survives the death of the physical body. The insights derived from NDEs, SDEs, and related phenomena lead to a theory of mind that has greater explanatory power with respect to consciousness, memory, and agency. These insights provide a new conceptual framework that can lead to paradigm shifts in neuroscience, physics, and other fields, thereby extending the current naturalism to include nonmaterial entities, forces, and interactions.
Book
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This is the full text of my original book on out-of-body experiences, "Beyond the body" published in 1982. Please note that my new book on out-of-body experiences "Seeing Myself: The new science of out-of-body experiences", published in 2017 is also now available, with all the recent research and theories. See more here www.susanblackmore.uk/seeing-myself
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Scholars often assume that religious preference, religiosity, and scientific training affect the incidence of anomalous experiences. Caucasian-American, African-American, Chinese, and Japanese college students were polled regarding déjà vu, night paralysis, extrasensory perception (ESP), contact with the dead, out-of-body experience (OBE), and belief in ESP. Although the incidence of reported episode varied cross-culturally, knowledge of a respondent's religious preference, self-reported religiosity, or scientific training provided little predictive capacity regarding frequency of anomalous experience or belief in ESP. These findings contradict prevalent assumptions regarding anomalous experience and occult belief.
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