History of DOPS

History and Description

Photo by Edwin Roseberry November, 1979 The Dalai Lama toured the UVA Grounds with Dr. Ian Stevenson, (back left) and Prof. Jeffrey Hopkins (front left). Prof. Hopkins was the Dalai Lama’s official interpreter from 1976 to 1996.

Photo by Edwin Roseberry November, 1979 The Dalai Lama toured the UVA Grounds with Dr. Ian Stevenson, (back left) and Prof. Jeffrey Hopkins (front left). Prof. Hopkins was the Dalai Lama’s official interpreter from 1976 to 1996.

The Division of Perceptual Studies (DOPS) is a research unit of the Psychiatry and Neurobehavorial Sciences of the University of Virginia’s School of Medicine. It was founded in 1967, when Dr. Ian Stevenson resigned as Chairman of the UVA Department of Psychiatry to become Director of the Division and Chester F. Carlson Professor of Psychiatry, positions he served in for the next 35 years. Early in 2002, Dr. Bruce Greyson, who has been a faculty member at DOPS since 1995, formerly the editor of the Journal of Near-Death Studies, took over as director and Carlson Professor of Psychiatry. This allowed Dr. Stevenson to devote more time to writing books and articles about his research into cases of the reincarnation type.

In September of 2014, Dr. Bruce Greyson retired from the DOPS directorship but continues his research and writing about the intriguing study of near-death experiences. In March of 2021, Dr. Greyson published his much anticipated book After: A Doctor Explores What Near-Death Experiences Reveal About Life and Beyond.  The book challenges our everyday ideas about our how minds and our brains interact, and offers key insights on how we can begin to live a more meaningful and fulfilling life.

In 2009, Dr. Greyson co-authored The Handbook of Near-Death Experiences: Thirty Years of Investigation. This book is written by a team of experts who presents the history, recent developments, and controversies in the study of near-death experience.

Dr. Jim Tucker, Bonner-Lowry Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences, became the Director of the Division of Perceptual Studies after Dr. Greyson’s retirement. Dr. Tucker has authored two books on his research into the phenomena of children who are remembering previous lives. His book, Return to Life: Extraordinary cases of Children Who Remember Past Lives was published in 2013, and his first book Life Before Life: A Scientific Investigation of Children’s Memories of Previous Lives was published in 2005.

Dr. Tucker now has a fully updated 2-in-1 edition, with a new introduction by the author, combining his bestselling books about children who remember past lives. The new book is titled Before: Children’s Memories of Previous Lives and is scheduled to be released mid April of 2021.

The Division’s main purpose, is the scientific empirical investigation of phenomena that suggest currently accepted scientific assumptions and theories about the nature of mind and consciousness, and relationships to physical matter, may be incomplete.