Division of Perceptual Studies

Our Mission - Scientific Study of Extraordinary Experiences

Founded in 1967 by Dr. Ian Stevenson, the Division of Perceptual Studies (DOPS) at the University of Virginia is a research group devoted to the investigation of phenomena that challenge mainstream scientific paradigms regarding the nature of human consciousness.

The core mission of DOPS is rigorous evaluation of empirical evidence for extraordinary human experiences and capacities. Major research areas include investigations into the mind’s relationship to the body, as well as the possibility of consciousness surviving physical death.

Additionally, DOPS studies the impact of these experiences on people, explores the implications for scientific theory, and disseminates this information broadly to both the public and scientific communities. It is the hope of DOPS that other scientists join in addressing the serious study of the nature of consciousness and its interaction with the physical world.

Support Our Mission

We appreciate your kind donations and generous support of our research

Get to Know Our Researchers at the Division of Perceptual Studies

Jim Tucker, MD - Director, Bonner-Lowry Professor
Bruce Greyson, MD - Chester Carlson Prof. Emeritus
Kim Penberthy, PhD - Chester Carlson Prof. of Psychiatry
Edward Kelly, PhD - Professor of Research
Marieta Pehlivanova, PhD - Research Assistant Professor

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Keep Up With the Latest DOPS News

SXSW Panel Discussion: Is There Life After Death?

Jim Tucker, MD - Director of DOPS, Bonner-Lowry Prof. of Psychiatry & Neurobehavioral Sciences

Kim Penberthy, PhD - DOPS Chester Carlson Professor of Psychiatry & Neurobehavioral Sciences

Panel Facilitator:
Deborah Blum, M.A. - Director of the Knight Science Journalism Program at M.I.T.


BIG THINK presents Dr. Bruce Greyson

Are near-death experiences real? Here’s what science has to say.

Psychiatrist Dr. Bruce Greyson studied 1,000 near-death experiences.

Here’s what he discovered.

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The DOPS staff and researchers

Participate in Our Research

Join our team as a research participant, an academic researcher, or as a volunteer. Discover the opportunities to get involved with DOPS and help us study the nature of consciousness.

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books by DOPS faculty

Books by DOPS Faculty

Explore the many books authored and edited by our faculty, including best-sellers and award-winners covering topics such as past-life memories, near-death experiences, and the study of body and mind.

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Check out presentations, radio programs, podcasts, articles, and other media our researchers have been a part of over the years. In this popular UVA Medical Center Hour, DOPS researchers highlight the division's work since its founding over 50 years ago.

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Dr. Jim Tucker: Life Before Life-Extraordinary Cases of Children Who Remember Past Lives

In this video, Dr. Tucker presents cases from our collection of this worldwide phenomenon, as well as details of recent American cases.

Dr. Tucker was invited to give this talk at the 2019 Vail Symposium.

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Contact DOPS

The staff of the Division welcomes information about unusual or anomalous experiences that appear to challenge normal explanations.