Division of Perceptual Studies

The DOPS Mission:

Founded in 1967 by Dr. Ian Stevenson, the Division of Perceptual Studies (DOPS) is a highly productive university-based research group devoted to the investigation of phenomena that challenge mainstream scientific paradigms regarding the nature of the mind/brain relationship. Researchers at DOPS are particularly interested in studying phenomena related to consciousness functioning beyond the confines of the physical body, and phenomena that suggest continuation of consciousness after physical death.

DOPS researchers objectively document and rigorously analyze empirical data collected regarding human experiences which suggest that mind and brain may be distinct and separable, and that consciousness may persist in detectable ways beyond bodily death.

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.

Please Note:  Although our physical offices at UVA DOPS are currently closed due to COVID-19 precautions, our DOPS staff and researchers are continuing our research projects in all of the ways that we can from home. During these unprecedented times, we invite you to look around on our website and view the many resources, videos, and academic papers we have posted about our research.
Be well and safe everyone!
Myers Memorial Medal awarded to Edward F. Kelly PhD, Professor of Research, UVA Division of Perceptual Studies

Edward F. Kelly, is the latest recipient of the prestigious Myers Memorial Medal.  The medal is awarded by the Society for Psychical Research on an occasional basis to those who have made significant contributions to the field. Professor Kelly is the ninth recipient of the award; the first, Prof Ian Stevenson MD, was the founder of the UVA Division of Perceptual Studies.

Ed Kelly has been active in parapsychology for several decades and is being recognized for his sustained efforts in the exploration of the implications of psi phenomena and the ramifications of the mind-brain relationship, and, more broadly, his ongoing challenge to mainstream science for its reductionist physicalist approach to anomalous phenomena.

Professor Kelly was the chief editor of and a major contributor to the books Irreducible Mind: Toward a Psychology for the 21st Century and Beyond Physicalism: Toward Reconciliation of Science and Spirituality.  In addition to these groundbreaking works he has researched and published in a variety of parapsychological areas.  Irreducible Mind in particular builds on insights developed by Frederic Myers, making this award particularly appropriate.

The SPR’s Psi Encyclopedia contains an overview of Prof Kelly’s achievements in parapsychology.


Edward F. Kelly PhD, co-director of the Ray Westphal Neuroimaging Lab at UVA DOPS

Edward F. Kelly PhD, co-director of the Ray Westphal Neuroimaging Lab at UVA DOPS

Announcing Dr. Bruce Greyson's Forthcoming Book

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, he shares the transformative lessons he has learned over four decades of research.

In this book, Dr. 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.

“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


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

   Pre-order the book



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Explore the many books authored by DOPS faculty in subjects such as past life memories, near death experiences and the study of mind and body.
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In this Medical Center Hour, faculty from the Division of Perceptual Studies highlight the unit's work since its founding. As the division enters its second half-century, what are its research priorities and partnerships?
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Is There Life After Death?

At the 2018 Tom Tom Founders Festival, John Cleese moderated a discussion amongst the UVA DOPS research faculty regarding the nature of consciousness and the evidence for survival of consciousness after physical death.
John Cleese is a friend and supporter of the research being done at UVA DOPS into the nature of consciousness. Mr. Cleese has a long history of personal interest in this important area of inquiry.
( Video Transcript )

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John Cleese Interviews Dr. Jim Tucker re: DOPS Research into Children's Past Life Memories

John Cleese interviews pediatric psychiatrist and director of UVA DOPS, Dr. Jim Tucker regarding his research into the memories of young children who appear to recall specific facts of a previous life. In this interview, Dr. Tucker presents some details in the case of 'Ryan' who made statements that were discovered to match people, places and events in the life of a man name 'Marty Martin'.
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Ed Kelly interviewed by John Cleese @ Science, Skeptics and the Study of Consciousness

John Cleese interviews UVA DOPS research faculty member and author Dr. Edward F. Kelly, about current issues regarding scientific inquiry into the nature of consciousness. They discuss science, skeptics and the study of consciousness. Ed Kelly writes about these ideas in his books "Irreducible Mind" and "Beyond Physicalism". Please find these on our "Books" page, found under "Publications".
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John Cleese and Ed Kelly discuss survival of consciousness beyond death

John Cleese and DOPS research faculty member Dr. Edward F. Kelly exchange ideas about current issues regarding scientific inquiry into the nature of consciousness. They discuss ideas and concepts related to survival of consciousness beyond the physical.
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The staff of the Division welcomes information about unusual or anomalous experiences that appear to challenge normal explanations.

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