Participate as a Research Subject

Current Research Studies

1) Unusual Experiences Screening Questionnaire, IRB-SBS Protocol #2466

2) Functional Neuroimaging Studies of Psi Processes, IRB-HSR Protocol #14311

3) Near-Death Experiences, IRB-SBS Protocol #3365 

4) Investigation of Children Who Claim to Remember a Previous Life, IRB-SBS Protocol #2601

5) Investigating Physician Barriers to Acceptance of Near-death Experiences, IRB-SBS Protocol #5305

Each study is described below:

1) Unusual Experiences Screening Questionnaire, IRB-SBS Protocol #2466

We hope to learn more about unusual and extra-ordinary experiences, including the characteristics of people who have them and the circumstances in which they have them. If you feel that you have had experiences that match, in some way, the phenomena studied at the Division of Perceptual Studies and would like to share personal accounts of your experiences with the researchers, we would like to hear from you. You must be at least 18 years old, in good health, and be interested in becoming a participant in our study.

If you are interested in sharing your unusual experiences and becoming a participant, please follow the link to the Unusual Experiences Questionnaire. There you will read through the consent form. If you agree to participate in the study, you will be taken to the Unusual Experiences Screening Questionnaire. There are 16 questions and completing this questionnaire will take approximately 15-40 minutes of your time depending on how much you might want to share regarding details of the accounts of your unusual experiences.

If we have current or future protocols investigating the specific experience or experiences you have had, we may contact you and invite you to participate in the research. The Principal Investigator of this study is Marieta Pehlivanova, Ph.D., Senior Research Specialist (

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3) Functional Neuroimaging Studies of Psi Processes, IRB-HSR Protocol #14311


Dr. Ed Kelly is pictured here wearing the eeg cap used in our psi experiments in the DOPS lab

We currently need volunteers for our investigation of Functional Neuroimaging Studies of Psi processes. We are looking for healthy volunteers 18 and older for a study of physiological correlates of success in controlled Psi (ESP/Psycho-kinesis) tasks.

You may qualify if you:

  • Are at least 18 and in good health
  • Have a history of unusual experiences as surveyed by the “Unusual Experiences Questionnaire“. This is part of our screening process for this study.
  • Have a history of success in Psi Process experiments and can reliably reproduce your skills in a controlled setting
  • Are not currently pregnant

If you are interested in volunteering for this study, please complete the Unusual Experiences Questionnaire. This questionnaire serves as a screening tool for the researchers. If they are interested in learning more about your psi experiences, someone will contact you about possible enrollment in this study. By completing this questionnaire, you will also be participating in our research via IRB-SBS Protocol #2466, well as being screened for this study (IRB-HSR Protocol #14311).

If chosen for this study based on your history of replicable psi activity, you will participate in eeg imaging sessions in our lab in Charlottesville, VA. It will take approximately two hours or less including setup and practice time. The lab will run at least two sessions with each selected psi task and run the experiment. You will be able to discontinue participation at any time or to elect to continue as you progress through the psi task sessions.

If you would rather not fill out the Unusual Experiences Questionnaire, but want to share your history of Psi abilities, and can reliably reproduce your special skills in a controlled lab setting, then please feel free to contact us via email to describe your Psi abilities with as many details as you care to share.

Compensation:  If chosen for this study based on your history of replicable Psi activity, and need to travel long distances to our lab setting here in Charlottesville, VA, compensation may be provided in the form of travel and per diem expenses, otherwise there is no compensation.

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4) Near-Death Experiences, IRB-SBS Protocol #3365

A near-death experience, or NDE, is reported by many people when they are experiencing intense threat, are seriously ill, or come close to death. Although NDEs vary from one person to another, they often include such features as the following:

  • feeling very comfortable and free of pain
  • a sensation of leaving the body, sometimes being able to see the physical body while floating above itNDE Image
  • the mind functioning more clearly and more rapidly than us
  • a sensation of being drawn into a tunnel of darkness
  • a brilliant light, sometimes at the end of the tunnel
  • a sense of overwhelming peace, well-being, or absolute, unconditional love
  • a sense of having access to unlimited knowledge
  • a “life review,” or recall of important events in the past
  • a preview of future events yet to come
  • encounters with deceased loved ones, or with other beings that may be identified as religious figures

While these features are commonly reported, many NDEs differ from this pattern and include other elements. For example, some near-death experiences may be frightening or distressing rather than peaceful. We are interested in hearing about all kinds of near-death and similar experiences, and in studying their effect on persons who have them.

Veridical NDEs

We are particularly interested in studying NDEs that may bear on the question of whether the mind can function outside the physical body, and on whether we may survive bodily death. One such type of experience is the so-called veridical NDE, in which experiencers acquire verifiable information that could not have been obtained by any normal means. For example, some experiencers report seeing verifiable events going on at some distant location, such as another room of the hospital or even another city; or an experiencer might meet a deceased loved one who then communicates verifiable information the experiencer had not known prior to this experience. Other kinds of NDEs that may bear on the mind/body question include those in which mental functioning seems to be enhanced despite physiological evidence that the brain is impaired.

The causes of NDEs are complex and not fully known. While many medical and psychological explanations have been offered, they remain speculative and often fall short of explaining the entire phenomenon.

Dr. Bruce Greyson is continuing to conduct his research into near-death experiences. If you are at least 18 years old, currently healthy, and would like to submit a personal account of a near-death experience, please send us an email with as much detail as you care to share. Please send your email to Marieta Pehlivanova, Ph.D., ( There are no monetary incentives offered to be included in this study.

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5) Investigation of Children Who Claim to Remember a Previous Life, IRB-SBS Protocol #2601

If you are the parent, responsible caregiver, or legal guardian of a child who is spontaneously reporting memories appearing to be related to a previous life, we invite you to contact us via email to share as much detail as you wish about the statements the child is making, as well as any particular or unusual behaviors you have noticed in the child which may or may not be associated with memories of a past life. We are especially interested in cases in which the child has spontaneously uttered specific facts and details that they could not have acquired via normal means.

Types of Statements a Child Might Make:

Statements made by a child who seems to be remembering a previous life can be quite varied. The following is not an exhaustive list by any means. It is designed to give an idea of the kinds of things a parent or caregiver might hear, and in our Western culture, tend to dismiss as fantasy. It is also true that a child might say one or more of these things and not be remembering a previous life. It is probably best not to prompt a child or attempt to intensely interview the child for more information, at the same time, also to try to avoid preventing him or her from saying such things.

  • “You’re not my mommy/daddy.”
  • “I have another mommy/daddy.”
  • “When I was big, I …(used to have blue eyes/had a car, etc.).”
  • “That happened before I was in mommy’s tummy.”
  • “I have a wife/husband/children.”
  • “I used to…(drive a truck/live in another town, etc.)”
  • “I died … (in a car accident/after I fell, etc.)”
  • “Remember when I …(lived in that other house/was your daddy, etc.)”

We are interested in hearing about cases with any of the elements discussed here. If you have an account of a child who is reporting memories of a previous life, please send your email to our research assistant, Diane Morini at . We are interested to read your observations and experiences of young children who may be talking about memories of a previous life. There are no monetary incentives offered to be included in this study.

If you are a parent seeking advice about your child who seems to remember a previous life, please see Advice to Parents.

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6) Investigating Physician Barriers to Acceptance of Near-death Experiences, IRB Protocol #5305

Call for research with physicians who have had a near-death experience.

Dr. Marieta Pehlivanova and Dr. Bruce Greyson are recruiting physicians who have had a near-death experience (NDE) for an online study.

The purpose of the study is to learn about physicians’ attitudes toward NDEs. These are personal and deeply transformative experiences that patients can experience when they are in a medical crisis or close to death. Patients sometimes report the feeling of leaving their bodies, going through a tunnel, strong positive emotions, and a sense of having a life review, among others. Because of the impact of NDEs on experiencers’ lives, patients sometimes talk about these experiences with their physicians. This research aims to improve these interactions. We are interested in your participation even if you have not had patients who have reported an NDE.

Participation in the study will take about 15 minutes of your time and will consist of an anonymous online questionnaire.

You are eligible to participate if you are 18 years of age or older, are a physician in any specialty, have had a near-death experience, and are fluent in English. This research project has been approved by the University of Virginia’s Institutional Review Board for the Social Sciences (protocol #5305).

If you complete the questionnaire, you have the option to enter a raffle to win one of several $100 Amazon gift cards.

If you are a physician who has had a near-death experience, fluent in English, and are interested in participating in this study, please contact the investigators at and

Thank you for your support of this research.

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Sharing information with the researchers at the Division of Perceptual Studies:

We will hold any information you share with us in confidence according to the privacy policies of the University of Virginia.

PLEASE NOTE: We are collecting cases for the purposes of research only.  We cannot provide therapeutic counseling services via email, telephone, or correspondence to individuals who are made anxious by unusual experiences.

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