-Expanding Our Research

We invite you to review the following descriptions of ways in which the DOPS researchers currently envision expanding their research within special areas of focus:

Children Who Report Memories of Previous Lives:

Study of American Children Who Claim to Remember Past Lives

For the first time, this study will include psychological evaluations of the parents as well as thorough investigation into the spontaneous statements regarding a previous life made by a young child.

Study of the Prevalence of Children’s Reported Past-life Memories

After a limited pilot survey in a rural and suburban area, it was found that up to 6% of American parents reported having a child who is spontaneously speaking about past-life memories. This was unexpectedly high and compels our research staff to engage in more thorough research into this finding.

Statistical Modeling and Analysis of the Children Who Remember Previous Lives SPSS Database

We propose to do more and varied statistical analysis of the over 2200 cases that have been coded and entered into the SPSS data base to discern patterns and trends regarding small children who remember previous lives.

Near-Death Experiences (NDEs):

Detailed Case Studies of Near-death Experiences Occurring under Extreme Conditions

In this study we are interested in well documented cases in which a person recovered unexpectedly from a life-threatening medical condition in which certain death was predicted by their doctors. It would appears that their near-death experience had a protective effect against the usual outcomes of these severe medical situations.

Near-death Experiences Statistical Modeling and Analysis

This study will utilize the SPSS data base containing over a 1000 cases of near-death experiences that have been coded using over 300 variables and have been entered into SPSS. Statistical models and analyses will be utilized to explore patterns and trends in these cases.

Near-death Experience Aftereffects Study

This study will be looking at the profound and lasting, very personal changes experienced by those that have an NDE. Changes in attitudes, lifestyles, and personality often occur.

Altered States of Consciousness:

Surveys and Case Studies of Spontaneous Psi Experiences

This study would occur outside of the lab, but we would be gathering information on the occurrence of spontaneous psi activity related to information about the survival of some aspect of human consciousness post mortem. The study of the occurrence of spontaneous experiences relevant to the question of survival of consciousness after death has been an important focus of the research at UVA DOPS since its inception in 1967. An example of one type of spontaneous case is the witnessing of lifelike apparitions of remote persons or loved-ones undergoing severe injury or death. These cases often have multiple credible witnesses who have experienced this phenomena in various locations simultaneously.

  • Creation of a composite data base of well-researched spontaneous cases to conduct statistical modeling and analysis.
  • Survey of spontaneous experiences in a large random sample.

Meditation and Mindfulness Study:

Self-report Surveys of Exceptional Human Experiences

This is a prospective study in which adults are surveyed who are engaged in meditation and mindfulness practices. We are interested in gathering information about possible unusual or exceptional human experiences that might arise as a result of meditation practices. These adult meditators will be invited to participate in the survey during the course of meditation instruction.

Neuroimaging -Studies of Psi:

Neuro-imaging-Studies of Psi Processes and Psi-Conducive Altered States of Consciouness:

The hardware in our new laboratory facility enables synchronous sampling of up to 128 channels of EEG, together with additional physiological signals and signals derived from specialized sensors of various kinds. Extensive and sophisticated software resources have also been developed in-house for analysis and modeling of the resulting multichannel data.

  • Neuroimaging studies of psi processes to identify conditions that lead to greater success on ESP and Psychokinesis tasks.
  • Experimental studies of psi-conducive altered states of consciousness such as deep meditative states, hypnotic and mediumistic “trance” and controlled “out-of-body” experiences.
  • Field studies of group psi effects that can occur with peaks of emotional intensity in group settings of various kinds such as in the group focus cultivated during improvisational singing.
  • Study of mediums includes eeg and other physiological measurements while the medium is receiving information for a sitter. This study is currently underway and closed to enrollment at this time.

End of Life Studies:

Deathbed Visions/Hospice Studies

Numerous anecdotal reports have indicated that deathbed and hospice settings are replete with spontaneous unusual experiences that are profoundly relevant to the question of the survival of consciousness post physical death. Despite reports from family members and healthcare workers alike, very little systematic research has been done in this area-especially in the United States. Our goal is to extend the UVA DOPS research portfolio in this promising new direction.

This study would focus on systematically studying reports of deathbed visions by family members, the healthcare workers, and possibly the person dying within the context of the hospice setting.

Hospice Follow-up Study and After Death Communication

Hospice Follow-up and After Death Communication:

This study would be looking at apparent after-death communications to bereaved family and friends from recently deceased persons.

Study of Deathbed Lucidity 

Often, close to the time of death, a dying person who has organic brain damage through dementia or other disease processes, can demonstrate unexpected mental clarity shortly before physical death.  We propose a systematic study of events and circumstances under which this occurs. We believe that a study of this type can further elucidate the nature of the relationship between mind and brain.