Division of Perceptual Studies

The DOPS Mission-Scientific Study of Extraordinary Experiences

Founded in 1967 by Dr. Ian Stevenson, the UVA Division of Perceptual Studies (UVA DOPS) is a highly productive university-based research group devoted to the investigation of phenomena that challenge mainstream scientific paradigms regarding the nature of human consciousness. DOPS researchers objectively document and carefully analyze data collected regarding extraordinary human experiences.

The DOPS core research mission is the rigorous evaluation of empirical evidence for exceptional human experiences and capacities that bear on whether mind and brain are distinct and separable and whether consciousness survives physical death.

Also in our research, we examine the impact of these experiences on individuals and the general public, explore the implications for scientific theory, and disseminate this information broadly to the public as well as to scientific communities.

It is our hope that other scientists will join us 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

Meet Our Research Team at The Division of Perceptual Studies

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

Watch the Video

UVA Division of Perceptual Studies Newsletter

Read the Most Recent Edition

Be a Newsletter Subscriber

Keep Up With the Latest DOPS News

SXSW Panel Discussion: Is There Life After Death?

Jim Tucker, MD: Director of UVA DOPS, Bonner-Lowry Professor of Psychiatry & Neurobehavioral Sciences

Kim Penberthy, PhD: UVA 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., Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and founder of the award-winning science magazine, "Undark".

'I Study NDEs. What I've Learned About Near-Death Experiences Changed My Life' by Bruce Greyson

"Over the past five decades, I've interviewed thousands of people who were brought back from the threshold of death—or in some cases pronounced dead—and had striking tales to tell. Although it's impossible to say for certain what happens when we die, I have heard hundreds of accounts of people claiming to have left their physical bodies and seeing things they shouldn't have been able to see, while they were unconscious."

Read the Article

Vice News Image

The Hard Science of Reincarnation

VICE: The Hard Science of Reincarnation. All over the world, scholars studying reincarnation are making findings even skeptics have difficulty explaining-by Rebecca Nathanson

VICE: Tech Section

Scientific American (2)

Misreporting and Confirmation Bias in Psychedelic Research by Bernardo Kastrup and Edward F. Kelly

Misreporting and Confirmation Bias in Psychedelic Research. What do images of the brain under psychedelics really tell us about the relation of brain to the mind?

Read the Blog


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.

Watch the video

Announcing Dr. Bruce Greyson's Newly Released Book

After-A Doctor Explores What Near-Death Experiences Reveal About Life and Beyond by Dr. Bruce Greyson

After: A Doctor Explores What Near-death Experiences Reveal about Life and Beyond

Dr. Bruce Greyson, leading expert on near-death experiences, reveals his journey toward rethinking the nature of death, life, and the continuity of consciousness.

What happens when we die? Approximately 10% of people whose hearts stop report near-death experiences (NDEs). Stories of lights, tunnels and loved ones have been relayed — and dismissed — since ancient times. But when Dr. Bruce Greyson’s patients started describing events that he could not just dismiss, he began to investigate.

In After, Dr. Greyson shares the transformative lessons he has learned over four decades of research.  In this book, Bruce Greyson challenges us to consider what NDEs can teach us about the relationship between our brain and our mind, expanding our understanding of consciousness, and of what it means to be human.

Order the Book

“This very captivating book by Dr. Bruce Greyson chronicles his personal, spiritual and professional quest to understand the meaning of near-death experiences. His long-awaited and amazing book is a major contribution to the study of what happens when we die, and will quickly prove to be a classic in near-death studies.”
~Raymond Moody, MD, PhD, Author of Life After Life

Dr. Bruce Greyson’s Website

Announcing Dr. Jim Tucker's Newly Released Book

Dr. Jim Tucker's Book "Before"

Before: Children’s Memories of Previous Lives

A fully updated 2-in-1 edition, with a new introduction by the author, combining Dr. Jim B. Tucker’s bestselling books about children who remember past lives—Return to Life and Life Before Life.

These two books contain first-person accounts of Jim B. Tucker’s experiences with a number of extraordinary children with memories of past lives, and expands on the international work started by Tucker’s University of Virginia mentor and colleague Ian Stevenson.

Jim Tucker’s goal in each case of a child reporting memories of previous lives is to determine what happened—what the child has said, how the parents have reacted, whether the child’s statements match the life of a particular deceased person, and whether the child could have learned such information through normal means. Tucker has found case studies that provide persuasive evidence that some children do, in fact, possess memories of previous lives.

Thought-provoking and captivating, the stories in Before urge readers, skeptics and supporters alike to think about life, death, and reincarnation and to reflect about their own consciousness and spirituality.

Order the Book

Praise for “Before”
“In this very elegant book, Dr. Tucker offers the most convincing scientific evidence for the fact that our consciousness survives physical death. And indeed, takes quantum leaps of creativity in the form of reincarnation. The model that Dr. Tucker presents opens a new vision of who we are, limitless beings that fill up all of space and time.”
~Deepak Chopra, author of Life After Death: The Burden of Proof

Dr. Jim B. Tucker’s Website


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.

Watch the Video

The DOPS staff and researchers

Participate in Our Research

Join our team as a subject, an academic researcher, or as a volunteer.

Learn More

Recently Published books by the DOPS researchers

Books by DOPS Faculty

Explore the many books authored by DOPS faculty covering subjects such as past life memories, near death experiences and the study of mind and body.

Learn More


In this UVA Medical Center Hour, DOPS researchers highlight the unit's work since its founding over 50 years ago. Our dedicated and passionately focused faculty and staff are privileged to continue this research into the future. DOPS researchers are leading the way in the study of survival of consciousness beyond the physical body.

View More Media

The Parapsychological Association Book Award was established in 2015 to recognize books in the field of parapsychology that make significant contributions to science and to the cultural conversation about the implications of parapsychology.

The 2021 Parapsychology Book Award, is being given to the trilogy of important scholarly books edited by Edward F. Kelly Ph.D. Books by Ed Kelly

This trilogy of books, edited by Edward F. Kelly and his co-authors, document the results of a series of scholarly seminars held at Esalen’s Center for Theory and Research. The trilogy is very useful to anyone interested in understanding the challenges to materialistic and physicalistic assumptions about consciousness. This collection places psi research in a historical and philosophical context, and it reviews in detail empirical data from a wealth of sources. The result, over 1500 pages across the three books, demands a radical revisioning of what consciousness is and what is possible regarding the nature of consciousness.

Congratulations Ed Kelly and co-authors for this important book award from the  Parapsychological Association!



Contact DOPS

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