The Division of Perceptual Studies at the University of Virginia is recruiting individuals who have had a near-death experience for an online study. These are personal and transformative experiences that sometimes happen when one is close to death or under the threat of death.

Participation in the study will take up to 75 minutes of your time and will consist of a single online questionnaire.

The study focuses on the types of help and support people seek out in order to help them process their near-death experience, and whether and how these efforts are beneficial. This research project has been reviewed by University of Virginia’s Institutional Review Board for the Social Sciences. You will not be paid for your participation if you choose to enroll.

If you are interested in enrolling in the near-death experiencer part of this research study, please follow this link to the online questionnaire

If you have questions about this study, you may contact the Principal Investigator, Marieta Pehlivanova, Ph.D., Senior Research Specialist at mp8ce@virginia.edu

We thank you in advance for your support of this important research.

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

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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 Inventory“. This is introduced as part of our screening process for this study.
  • Have a history of success in Psi Process experiments
  • Are not currently pregnant

If you are interested in volunteering for study participation, please complete the screening questionnaire and someone will contact you if you qualify for this research. Please respond to all 16 questions on the questionnaire before pressing “submit”.

Each imaging session will take approximately two hours or less including setup and practice time. We will run at least two sessions with each selected protocol. You will be able to discontinue participation at any time, or to elect to continue as you wish by mutual agreement with the investigators.

Compensation:  Should the subject 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.

 Spontaneous Unusual and Extra-ordinary Experiences

We hope to learn about 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 are interested in participating in our screening tool, please fill out the questionnaire to help us identify special subjects who have extra-ordinary unusual experiences. You will be contacted by a researcher if more information about a particular answer or pattern of answers is needed. There are no monetary incentives offered to fill out our Unusual Experiences Inventory.

If you are at least 18 years old, currently healthy and would like to submit a personal account of EXCEPTIONAL ABILITIES WHICH YOU ARE ALSO POTENTIALLY ABLE TO PRODUCE AND CONTROL IN A LAB SETTING,  please send us an email with as much detail as you care to share-see contact us. 

4) Near-Death Experiences, IRB-SBS Protocol #1999-0116-00

A near-death experience, or NDE, is a 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 it
  • the mind functioning more clearly and more rapidly than us
  • a sensation of being drawn into a tunnel or 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 upon 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-see contact us . 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 #1999-0136-00

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 many 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. Please contact us to submit 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 then see Advice to Parents

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6) Study of Strategies to Cope with Medical Illness Stress, IRB-SBS #2397

Seeking patients to participate in a survey study to examine the acceptability of different strategies for coping with medical illness related stress and distress for a study conducted by Dr. Kim Penberthy, Faculty, Department of Psychiatry & Neurobehavioral Sciences, of the University of Virginia.

If you age 18 and older, we invite you to participate in this study if you are experiencing stress from a medical condition.

Click this link to access the secure online survey.    It will take about 15-20 minutes to complete the questionnaire.

Kim Penberthy, Ph.D. is the Primary Investigator for this study.

If you have questions or want more information about this study, please contact Kim Penberthy at Jkp2n@virginia.edu.

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

We will hold any information you share with us in confidence according to privacy policies of the University of Virginia, and will make no other use of it without your explicit permission.

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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