Near-death studies is a field of psychology and psychiatry that studies the physiology, phenomenology and after-effects of the near-death experience (NDE). The field was originally associated with a distinct group of North American researchers that followed up on the initial work of Raymond Moody, and who later established the International Association for Near-death Studies (IANDS) and the Journal of Near-Death Studies. Since then the field has expanded, and now includes contributions from a wide range of researchers and commentators worldwide.
- 1 Near-death experience
- 2 Research – history and background
- 3 Near death studies community
- 4 Recognition and criticism
- 5 See also
- 6 Notes
- 7 References
- 8 External links
The near-death experience is an experience reported by people who have come close to dying in a medical or non-medical setting. The aspect of trauma, and physical crises, is also recognized as an indicator for the phenomenon. According to sources it is estimated that near-death experiences are reported by five percent of the adult American population. According to IANDS, surveys (conducted in USA, Australia and Germany) suggest that 4 to 15% of the population have had NDEs. Researchers study the role of physiological, psychological and transcendental factors associated with the NDE. These dimensions are also the basis for the three major explanatory models for the NDE.
Some general characteristics of an NDE include subjective impressions of being outside the physical body; visions of deceased relatives and religious figures; transcendence of ego and spatiotemporal boundaries. NDE researchers have also found that the NDE may not be a uniquely western experience. Commentators note that several elements and features of the NDE appears to be similar across cultures, but the details of the experience (figures, beings, scenery), and the interpretation of the experience, varies between cultures. However, a few researchers have challenged the hypothesis that near-death experience accounts are substantially influenced by prevailing cultural models.
Elements of the NDE
- Time speeds up or slows down.
- Thought-processes speed up.
- A return of scenes from the past.
- A sudden insight, or understanding.
- A feeling of peace or pleasantness.
- A feeling of happiness, or joy.
- A sense of harmony or unity with the universe.
- Confrontation with a brilliant light.
- The senses feel more vivid.
- An awareness of things going on elsewhere, as if by extrasensory perception (ESP).
- Experiencing scenes from the future.
- A feeling of being separated from the body.
- Experiencing a different, unearthly world.
- Encountering a mystical being or presence, or hearing an unidentifiable voice.
- Seeing deceased or religious spirits.
- Coming to a border, or point of no return.
- Awareness of being dead.
- Positive emotions.
- Out of body experience.
- Moving through a tunnel.
- Communication with light.
- Observation of colours.
- Observation of a celestial landscape.
- Meeting with deceased persons.
- Life review.
- Presence of border.
According to sources the NDE is associated with a number of after-effects, or life changing effects. The effects, which are often summarized by researchers, include a number of value, attitude and belief changes that reflect radical changes in personality, and a new outlook on life and death, human relations, and spirituality. Many of the effects are considered to be positive or beneficial. van Lommel and colleagues conducted a longitudinal follow-up research into transformational processes after NDEs and found a long-lasting transformational effect of the experience.
However, not all after-effects are beneficial. The literature describes circumstances where changes in attitudes and behavior can lead to distress, psychosocial, or psychospiritual problems.Note b Often the problems have to do with adjustment to the new situation following a near-death experience, and its integration into ordinary life. Another category, so-called distressing or unpleasant near-death experiences, has been investigated by Greyson and Bush.
Explanatory models for the phenomenology and the elements of the NDE can, according to sources, be divided into a few broad categories: psychological, physiological, and transcendental. Agrillo, adopting a more parsimonious overview, notes that literature reports two main theoretical frameworks: (1) "biological/psychological" interpretation (in-brain theories), or (2) "survivalist" interpretation (out-of-brain theories). The research on NDEs often include variables from all three models. In a study published in 1990, Owens, Cook and Stevenson presented results that lent support to all of these three interpretations.
Each model contains a number of variables that are often mentioned, or summarized, by commentators:
Psychological theories have suggested that the NDE can be a consequence of mental and emotional reactions to the perceived threat of dying, or a result of expectation.  Other psychological variables that are considered by researchers include: imagination; depersonalization; dissociation; proneness to fantasy; and the memory of being born.
Physiological theories tend to focus on somatic, biological or pharmacological explanations for the NDE, often with an emphasis on the physiology of the brain. Variables that are considered, and often summarized by researchers, include: anoxia; cerebral hypoxia; hypercarbia; endorphins; serotonin or various neurotransmitters; temporal lobe dysfunction or seizures; the NMDA receptor; activation of the limbic system; drugs; retinal ischemia; and processes linked to rapid eye-movement (REM) sleep or phenomena generated on the border between sleep and wakefullness.
A third model, sometimes called the transcendental explanation, considers a number of categories, often summarized by commentators, that usually fall outside the scope of physiological or psychological explanations. This explanatory model considers whether the NDE might be related to the existence of an afterlife; a changing state of consciousness; mystical (peak) experiences; or the concept of a mind-body separation.
Several researchers in the field, while investigating variables from all three models, have expressed reservations towards explanations that are purely psychological or physiological. van Lommel and colleagues have argued for the inclusion of transcendental categories as part of the explanatory framework. Other researchers, such as Parnia, Fenwick, and Greyson, have argued for an expanded discussion about the mind-brain relationship and the possibilities of human consciousness.
Research – history and background
Individual cases of NDEs in literature have been identified into ancient times. In the 19th century a few efforts moved beyond studying individual cases - one privately done by Mormons and one in Switzerland. Up to 2005, 95% of world cultures have been documented making some mention of NDEs. From 1975 to 2005, some 2500 self reported individuals in the US had been reviewed in retrospective studies of the phenomena with an additional 600 outside the US in the West, and 70 in Asia. Prospective studies, reviewing groups of individuals and then finding who had an NDE after some time and costing more to do, had identified 270 individuals. In all close to 3500 individual cases between 1975 and 2005 had been reviewed in one or another study. And all these studies were carried out by some 55 researchers or teams of researchers.
Research on near-death experiences is mainly limited to the disciplines of medicine, psychology and psychiatry. Interest in this field of study was originally spurred by the research of such pioneers as Elisabeth Kübler-Ross (psychiatrist) and Raymond Moody (psychologist and M.D.), but also by autobiographical accounts, such as the books of George Ritchie (psychiatrist). Kübler-Ross, who was a researcher in the field of Thanatology and a driving force behind the establishment of the Hospice System in the United States, reported on her interviews for the first time in her book "On Death and Dying. What the dying have to teach doctors, nurses, clergy, and their own families"(1969). Raymond Moody, on the other hand, got interested in the subject at the start of his career. In the mid-seventies, while doing his medical residency as a psychiatrist at the University of Virginia, he conducted interviews with Near-Death Experiencers. He later published these findings in the book Life After Life (1976). In the book Moody outlines the different elements of the NDE. Features that were picked up by later researchers. The book brought a lot of attention to the topic of NDEs.
The late seventies saw the establishment of the Association for the Scientific Study of Near-Death Phenomena, an initial group of academic researchers, including John Audette, Raymond Moody, Bruce Greyson, Kenneth Ring and Michael Sabom, who laid the foundations for the field of Near-death studies, and carried out some of the first post-Moody NDE research. The Association was the immediate predecessor of the International Association for Near-death Studies (IANDS), which was founded in the early eighties and which established its headquarters at the University of Connecticut, Storrs. This group of researchers, but especially Ring, was responsible for launching Anabiosis, the first peer-reviewed journal within the field. The journal later became Journal of Near-Death Studies.
However, even though the above-mentioned profiles introduced the subject of NDEs to the academic setting, the subject was often met with academic disbelief, or regarded as taboo. The medical community has been somewhat reluctant to address the phenomenon of NDEs, and grant money for research has been scarce. However, both Ring and Sabom made contributions that were influential for the newly established field. Ring published a book in 1980 called Life at Death: A Scientific Investigation of the Near-Death Experience. This early research was followed up by new book in 1984 by the title Heading Toward Omega: In Search of the Meaning of the Near-Death Experience. The early work of Michael Sabom was also bringing attention to the topic within the academic community. Besides contributing material to academic journals, he wrote a book called Recollections of Death (1982) which is considered to be a significant publication in the launching of the field.
As research in the field progressed both Greyson and Ring developed measurement tools that can be used in a clinical setting. Greyson has also addressed different aspects of the NDE, such as the psychodynamics of the experience, the varieties of NDE, the typology of NDEs and the biology of NDEs. In addition to this he has brought attention to the near-death experience as a focus of clinical attention, suggesting that the aftermath of the NDE, in some cases, can lead to psychological problems.
The 1980s also introduced the research of Melvin Morse, another profile in the field of near-death studies. Morse and colleagues investigated near-death experiences in a pediatric population. They found that children reported NDEs that were similar to those described by adults. Morse later published two books, co-authored with Paul Perry, that were aimed at a general audience: Closer to the light: learning from children's near-death experiences (1990) and Transformed by the light: the powerful effect of near-death experiences on people's lives (1992). Another early contribution to the field was the research of British Neuro-psychiatrist Peter Fenwick, who started to collect NDE-stories in the 1980s. In 1987 he presented his findings on a television-program, which resulted in more stories being collected. The responses from Near-death experiencers later served as the basis for a book published in 1997, "The Truth in the light", co-authored with his wife Elizabeth Fenwick. Co-operating with other researchers, among others Sam Parnia, Fenwick has also published research on the potential relationship between cardiac arrest and Near-death Experiences.
Early investigations into the topic of near-death experiences were also being conducted at the University of Virginia, where Ian Stevenson founded the Division of Personality Studies in the late sixties. The division went on to produce research on a number of phenomena that were not considered to be mainstream. In addition to near-death experiences this included: reincarnation and past lives, out-of-body experiences, apparitions and after-death communications, and deathbed visions. Stevenson, whose main academic interest was the topic of reincarnation and past lives, also made contributions to the field of near-death studies. In a 1990 study, co-authored with Owens & Cook, the researchers studied the medical records of 58 people who believed they had been near death. The authors judged 28 candidates to actually have been close to dying, while 30 candidates, who merely thought they were about to die, were judged to not have been in any medical danger. Both groups reported similar experiences, but the first group reported more features of the core NDE-experience than the other group.
Recently, the work of Jeffrey Long has also attracted attention to the topic of NDEs in both the academic, and the popular field. In 2010 he released a book, co-authored with Paul Perry, called Evidence of the Afterlife: The Science of Near-Death Experiences. In the book Long presented results from research conducted over the last decade. Research has also entered into other fields of interest, such as the mental health of military veterans. Goza studied NDEs among combat veterans. She found, among other things, that combat soldiers reported different, and less intense near-death experiences, compared to NDErs in the civilian population.
The first decades of Near-death research were characterized by retrospective studies. However, the 2000s marked the beginning of prospective studies in the field, both on the European and the American continent.
In a study from 2001, conducted at Southampton General Hospital, Parnia and colleagues found that 11.1% of 63 cardiac-arrest survivors reported memories of their unconscious period. Several of these memories included NDE-features.Note c This study was the first in a series of new prospective studies using cardiac arrest criteria, and it was soon to be followed by the study of van Lommel and colleagues, also published in 2001. Pim van Lommel (cardiologist) was one of the first researchers to bring the study of NDEs into the area of Hospital Medicine. In 1988 he launched a prospective study that spanned 10 Dutch hospitals. 344 survivors of cardiac arrest were included in the study. 62 patients (18%) reported NDE. 41 of these patients (12%) described a core experience. The aim of the study was to investigate the cause of the experience, and assess variables connected to frequency, depth, and content.
Prospective studies were also taking place in the U.S. Schwaninger and colleagues collaborated with Barnes-Jewish Hospital, where they studied cardiac arrest patients over a three-year period (April 1991 – February 1994). Only a minority of the patients survived, and from this group 30 patients were interviewable. Of these 30 patients 23% reported an NDE, while 13% reported an NDE during a prior life-threatening illness. Greyson conducted a 30-month survey of patients admitted to the cardiac inpatient service of the University of Virginia Hospital. He found that NDEs were reported by 10% of patients with cardiac arrest and 1% of other cardiac patients.
In 2008 the University of Southampton announced the start of a new research-project named The AWARE (AWAreness during REsuscitation) study. The study was launched by the University of Southampton, but included collaboration with medical centres within the UK, mainland Europe and North America. The object of the study was to study the brain, and consciousness, during cardiac arrest, and to test the validity of out of body experiences and reported claims of lucidity (the ability to see and hear) during cardiac arrest.
The first clinical paper from this project, described as a 4-year multi-center observational study, was published in 2014. The study found that 9% of patients who completed stage 2 interviews reported experiences compatible with NDEs.
Several psychometric instruments have been adapted to near-death research. Ring developed the Weighted Core Experience Index in order to measure the depth of NDEs, and this instrument has been used by other researchers for this purpose. The instrument has also been used to measure the impact of near-death experiences on dialysis patients. According to some commentators the index has improved consistency in the field. However, Greyson notes that although the index is a pioneering effort, it is not based on statistical analysis, and has not been tested for internal coherence or reliability. In 1984 Ring developed an instrument called the Life Changes Inventory (LCI) in order to quantify value changes following an NDE. The instrument was later revised and standardized and a new version, the LCI-R, was published in 2004.
Greyson developed The Near-Death Experience Scale. This 16-item Scale was found to have high internal consistency, split-half reliability, and test-retest reliability and was correlated with Ring's Weighted Core Experience Index. Questions formulated by the scale address such dimensions as: cognition (feelings of accelerated thought, or "life-review"), affect (feelings of peace and joy), paranormal experience (feelings of being outside of the body, or a perception of future events) and transcendence (experience of encountering deceased relatives, or experiencing an unearthly realm). A score of 7 or higher out of a possible 32 was used as the standard criterion for a near-death experience. The scale is, according to the author, clinically useful in differentiating NDEs from organic brain syndromes and nonspecific stress responses. The NDE-scale was later found to fit the Rasch rating scale model. The instrument has been used to measure NDEs among cardiac arrest survivors, coma survivors, out-of-hospital cardiac arrest patients/survivors, substance misusers, and dialysis patients.
In the late 1980s Thornburg developed the Near-Death Phenomena Knowledge and Attitudes Questionnaire. The questionnaire consists of 23 true/false/undecided response items assessing knowledge, 23 Likert scale items assessing general attitudes toward near-death phenomena, and 20 Likert scale items assessing attitude toward caring for a client who has had an NDE. Knowledge and attitude portions of the instrument were tested for internal consistency. Content validity was established by using a panel of experts selected from nursing, sociology, and psychology. The instrument has been used to measure attitudes toward, and knowledge of, near-death experiences in a college population, among clergy, among registered psychologists, and among hospice nurses.
Greyson has also used mainstream psychological measurements in his research, for example The Dissociative Experiences Scale; a measure of dissociative symptoms, and The Threat Index; a measure of the threat implied by one's personal death.
Near death studies community
Research organizations and academic locations
The field of near-death studies includes several communities that study the phenomenology of NDEs. The largest of these communities is IANDS, an international organization based in Durham, North-Carolina, that encourages scientific research and education on the physical, psychological, social, and spiritual nature and ramifications of near-death experiences. Among its publications we find the peer-reviewed Journal of Near-Death Studies, and the quarterly newsletter Vital Signs. The organization also maintains an archive of near-death case histories for research and study.
Another research organization, the Louisiana-based Near Death Experience Research Foundation, was established by radiation oncologist Jeffrey Long in 1998. The foundation maintains a web-site, also launched in 1998, and a database of more than 1,600 cases, which is currently the world's largest collection of near-death reports. The reports come directly from sources all across the world.
A few academic locations have been associated with the activities of the field of near-death studies. Among these we find the University of Connecticut (US), Southampton University (UK), University Of North Texas (US) and the Division of Perceptual Studies at the University of Virginia (US).
IANDS holds conferences, at regular intervals, on the topic of near-death experiences. The first meeting was a medical seminar at Yale University, New Haven (CT) in 1982. This was followed by the first clinical conference in Pembroke Pines (FL), and the first research conference in Farmington (CT) in 1984. Since then conferences have been held in major U.S. cities, almost annually. Many of the conferences have addressed a specific topic, defined in advance of the meeting. In 2004 participants gathered in Evanston (IL) under the headline:"Creativity from the light". A few of the conferences have been arranged at academic locations. In 2001 researchers and participants gathered at Seattle Pacific University. In 2006 the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center became the first medical institution to host the annual IANDS conference.
The first international medical conference on near-death experiences was held in 2006. Approximately 1.500 delegates, including people who claim to have had NDEs, were attending the one-day conference in Martigues, France. Among the researchers attending the conference were anaesthetist and intensive care doctor Jean-Jacques Charbonnier, and pioneering researcher Raymond Moody.
IANDS publishes the quarterly Journal of Near-Death Studies, the only scholarly journal in the field. The Journal is cross-disciplinary, is committed to an unbiased exploration of the NDE and related phenomena, and welcomes different theoretical perspectives and interpretations that are based on scientific criteria, such as empirical observation and research. IANDS also publishes Vital Signs, a quarterly newsletter that is made available to its members and that includes commentary, news and articles of general interest.
One of the first introductions to the field of near-death studies was the publication of a general reader: The Near-Death Experience: Problems, Prospects, Perspectives. The book was published in 1984 and was an early overview of the field. In 2009 Praeger Publishers published the Handbook of Near-Death Experiences: thirty years of investigation, a comprehensive critical review of the research carried out within the field of near-death studies. 2011 marked the publication of Making Sense of Near-Death Experiences: A Handbook for Clinicians. The book is a multi-author text which describes how the NDE can be handled in psychiatric and clinical practice.
Recognition and criticism
Skepticism towards the findings of near-death studies, and the validity of the near-death experience as a subject for scientific study, has been widespread. According to Knapton, in The Daily Telegraph, the subject was, until recently, considered to be controversial. Both scientists and medical professionals have, in general, tended to be skeptical. According to commentators in the field the early study of Near-death experiences was met with "academic disbelief". Acceptance of NDEs as a legitimate topic for scientific study has improved, but the process has been slow. According to literature "psychiatrists have played a role in the recognition of the "near-death" phenomenon as well as popularization of the subject and subsequent research".
Internet Infidels paper editor, and commentator, Keith Augustine has criticized near-death research for oversimplifying the role of culture in afterlife beliefs. He has also exposed weaknesses in methodology, paucity of data, and gaps in arguments. Instead of a transcendental model of NDEs, which he does not find plausible, he suggests that NDEs are products of individuals' minds rather than windows into a transcendental reality. His criticism has been answered by Greyson who suggests that the materialist model favored by Augustine is supported by even fewer data than the "mind-brain separation model" favored by many researchers within the field of near-death studies.
The findings of NDE-research has been contested by several writers in the fields of psychology and neuroscience. Susan Blackmore has contested the findings of NDE-research, and has instead argued in favour of a neurological explanation. Psychologist Christopher French has reviewed several of the theories that have originated from the field of Near-death studies. This includes theories that present a challenge to modern neuroscience by suggesting a new understanding of the mind-brain relationship in the direction of transcendental, or paranormal, elements. In reply to this French argues in favour of the conventional scientific understanding, and introduces several non-paranormal factors, as well as psychological theory, that might explain those near-death experiences that defy conventional scientific explanations. However, he does not rule out a future revision of modern neuroscience, awaiting new and improved research procedures.
Jason Braithwaite, a Senior Lecturer in Cognitive Neuroscience in the Behavioural Brain Sciences Centre, University of Birmingham, issued an in-depth analysis and critique of the survivalist's neuroscience of some NDE researchers, concluding, "it is difficult to see what one could learn from the paranormal survivalist position which sets out assuming the truth of that which it seeks to establish, makes additional and unnecessary assumptions, misrepresents the current state of knowledge from mainstream science, and appears less than comprehensive in its analysis of the available facts."
Martens noted the "lack of uniform nomenclature", and "the failure to control the studied population with an elimination of interfering factors", as examples of criticism directed towards near-death research.
But criticism of the field has also come from commentators within its own ranks. In an open letter to the NDE-community Ring has pointed to the "issue of possible religious bias in near-death studies". According to Ring the field of near-death studies, as well as the larger NDE-movement, has attracted a variety of religious and spiritual affiliations, from a number of traditions, which makes ideological claims on behalf of NDE-research. In his view this has compromised the integrity of research and discussion.
- a.^ van Lommel et.al, 2001: Table 2
- b.^ The diagnostic label of "Religious or spiritual problem" is included in DSM-IV under the category of "Other conditions that may be a focus of clinical attention". See American Psychiatric Association (1994) "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders", fourth edition. Washington, D.C.: American Psychiatric Association (Code V62.89, Religious or Spiritual Problem).
- c.^ Reported memories were assessed by the Greyson NDE Scale.
- Sommers MS. "The near-death experience following multiple trauma". Crit Care Nurse. 1994 Apr;14(2):62–6.
- Griffith, Linda J. "Near-Death Experiences and Psychotherapy," Psychiatry (Edgmont). 2009 October; 6(10): 35–42.
- Greyson B. "Varieties of near-death experience". Psychiatry. 1993 Nov;56(4):390–9.
- IANDS. "Near-death experiences: Key Facts". Informational Brochure published by the International Association for Near-death Studies. Durham, NC. Updated 7.24.07
- Parnia S, Waller DG, Yeates R, Fenwick P. "A qualitative and quantitative study of the incidence, features and aetiology of near death experiences in cardiac arrest survivors". Resuscitation. Feb;48(2):149–56, 2001 PubMed abstract PMID 11426476
- Greyson, Bruce. "Near-Death Experiences in a Psychiatric Outpatient Clinic Population". Psychiatric Services, Dec., Vol. 54 No. 12. The American Psychiatric Association, 2003
- van Lommel P, van Wees R, Meyers V, Elfferich I. "Near-Death Experience in Survivors of Cardiac Arrest: A prospective Study in the Netherlands". The Lancet. December 15, 2001 ; 358(9298):2039–45. PMID 11755611
- Mauro, James. Bright lights, big mystery. Psychology Today, July 1992
- Blackmore, "Susan J. Near-death experiences". "Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine", Volume 89 February 1996
- Graves, Lee. "Altered States. Scientists analyze the near-death experience". The University of Virginia Magazine, Summer 2007 Feature
- Facco, Enrico & Agrillo, Christian. Near-death experiences between science and prejudice. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. 2012; 6: 209.
- Belanti, John; Perera, Mahendra and Jagadheesan, Karuppiah. "Phenomenology of Near-death Experiences: A Cross-cultural Perspective". Transcultural Psychiatry, 2008 45: 121.
- Athappilly G, Greyson B, Stevenson I. "Do Prevailing Societal Models Influence Reports of Near-Death Experiences? A Comparison of Accounts Reported Before and After 1975". The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, Volume 194, Number 3, March 2006.
- Greyson, Bruce. "The near-death experience scale. Construction, reliability, and validity". Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, Jun;171(6):369–75, 1983
- Greyson, Bruce. "The near-death experience as a focus of clinical attention". Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, May;185(5):327–34, 1997
- Greyson, B. "Dissociation in people who have near-death experiences: out of their bodies or out of their minds?" The Lancet. Feb 5;355(9202):460–3, 2000
- Yang, C. Paul; Lukoff, David; Lu, Francis. "Working with Spiritual Issues". Psychiatric Annals, 36:3, March 2006.
- Weintraub, Pamela. "Seeing the Light". Psychology Today, September/October 2014
- Parnia S, Fenwick P. "Near death experiences in cardiac arrest: visions of a dying brain or visions of a new science of consciousness". Resuscitation. 2002 Jan;52(1):5–11
- Orne RM. "The meaning of survival: the early aftermath of a near-death experience". Research in Nursing & Health. 1995 Jun;18(3):239–47. PubMed abstract PMID 7754094
- Greyson B, Bush NE. "Distressing near-death experiences". Psychiatry. 1992 Feb;55(1):95–110.
- Owens J, Cook E W, Stevenson I. "Features of "near-death experience" in relation to whether or not patients were near death." The Lancet, Volume 336, Issue 8724, 10 November 1990, Pages 1175–1177.
- French, Christopher C. "Near-death experiences in cardiac arrest survivors", in S. Laureys (Ed.) (2005) Progress in Brain Research, Vol. 150
- Klemenc-Ketis Z, Kersnik J, Grmec S. "The effect of carbon dioxide on near-death experiences in out-of-hospital cardiac arrest survivors: a prospective observational study". Crit Care. 2010;14(2):R56.
- Agrillo, Christian. Near-Death Experience: Out-of-Body and Out-of-Brain? Review of General Psychology, 2011, Vol. 15, No. 1, 1–10.
- Parnia S, Spearpoint K, Fenwick PB. "Near death experiences, cognitive function and psychological outcomes of surviving cardiac arrest". Resuscitation. 2007 Aug;74(2):215–21.
- Britton W. B., Bootzin R. R. "Near-death experiences and the temporal lobe". Psychol. Sci. 15, 254–258, 2004
- Ruttimann, Jacqueline. "Are near-death experiences a dream?" Nature magazine, Published online 10 April 2006
- Williams, Daniel. "At the Hour Of Our Death". TIME Magazine. Friday, Aug. 31, 2007
- Greyson, Bruce. "Incidence and correlates of near-death experiences in a cardiac care unit." General Hospital Psychiatry, 25 (2003) 269–276
- Greyson, Bruce. "Implications of near-death experiences for a postmaterialist psychology". Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, Vol 2(1), Feb 2010, 37–45.
- Holden, Janice Miner; Greyson, Bruce; James, Debbie, eds. (Jun 22, 2009). "The Field of Near-Death Studies: Past, Present and Future". The Handbook of Near-Death Experiences: Thirty Years of Investigation. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 1–16. ISBN 978-0-313-35864-7.
- Anderson, Jon. "Shedding light on life at death's door". Chicago Tribune, published online May 13, 2004
- Slayton, Jeremy. "Death Notice: George Gordon Ritchie Jr dies". Richmond Times Dispatch, published online Wednesday, October 31, 2007
- Video: Elisabeth Kübler-Ross über Nahtoderfahrungen (1981) , abgerufen am 14. März 2014
- Bild der Wissenschaft: Sind Nahtod-Erfahrungen Bilder aus dem Jenseits? abgerufen am 16. März 2014.
- Noble, Holcomb B. "Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, 78, Dies; Psychiatrist Revolutionized Care of the Terminally Ill." New York Times, August 26, 2004
- Moody Raymond A. (1976). Life after life : the investigation of a phenomenon – survival of bodily death. Harrisburg, Pa. : Stackpole Books.
- Ring, Kenneth. Religious Wars in the NDE Movement: Some Personal Reflections on Michael Sabom's Light & Death. Journal of Near-Death Studies, 18(4) Summer 2000
- New York Times staff. Connecticut Guide; Near-death Symposium. New York Times, April 25, 1982
- Bush, Nancy Evans. "Is Ten Years a Life Review?" Journal of Near-Death Studies, 10(1) Fall 1991
- Ring, K. (1980a). Life at death: A scientific investigation of the near-death experience. New York, NY: Coward, McCann and Geoghegan.
- Ring, K. (1984). Heading toward omega: In search of the meaning of the near-death experience.New York, NY: William Morrow.
- Sabom, M. B. The near-death experience. JAMA 1980 Jul 4;244(1):29–30.
- Sabom, M. (1982). Recollections of death: A medical investigation. New York, NY: Harper and Row.
- Ring, Kenneth. (1980) Life at death. A scientific investigation of the near-death experience. New York: Coward McCann and Geoghenan.
- Greyson, Bruce. "The psychodynamics of near-death experiences." Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 1983 Jun;171(6):376–81.
- Greyson B. "A typology of near-death experiences." Am J Psychiatry. 1985 Aug;142(8):967-9.
- Greyson B. "Biological aspects of near-death experiences". Perspect Biol Med. 1998 Autumn;42(1):14–32.
- Maryles, Daisy. Behind the bestsellers. Publishers Weekly. 240.20 (May 17, 1993): p17. From Literature Resource Center.
- Morse M, Conner D, Tyler D. "Near-death experiences in a pediatric population. A preliminary report". American Journal of Diseases of Children, Jun;139(6):595–600, 1985
- Morse M, Castillo P, Venecia D, Milstein J, Tyler DC. "Childhood near-death experiences". American Journal of Diseases of Children, Nov;140(11):1110-4, 1986
- Morse, Melvin (with Paul Perry) (1990) Closer to the light : learning from children's near-death experiences. New York : Villard Books
- Morse, Melvin (with Paul Perry) (1990) Transformed by the light : the powerful effect of near-death experiences on people's lives. New York : Villard Books
- Wheatley, Jane (6 October 2006). "Life goes on... but even after death?". Irish Independent. Retrieved 10 August 2013.
- Mensel, Lars. "I'm no longer afraid of death". Conversation by Lars Mensel with Peter Fenwick. The European, published online 10.03.2013.
- Fenwick, Peter and Fenwick, Elizabeth (1997). The truth in the light: an investigation of over 300 near-death experiences. New York : Berkley Books
- Fox, Margalit. "Ian Stevenson Dies at 88; Studied Claims of Past Lives". New York Times, February 18, 2007
- Wallis, David. "Conversations/Dr. Ian Stevenson; You May Be Reading This In Some Future Past Life". New York Times, September 26, 1999
- Cadoret, Remi J. "Book Forum: European Cases of the Reincarnation Type". Am J Psychiatry 162:823–824, April 2005
- Stevenson I, Cook EW. Involuntary memories during severe physical illness or injury. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease. 1995 Jul;183(7):452–8.
- Beck, Melinda. "Seeking Proof in Near-Death Claims". The Wall Street Journal (Health Journal), October 25, 2010
- MacDonald, G. Jeffrey. "Scientists probe brief brushes with the afterlife". The Christian Century, Jan 12, 2011
- Fitzpatrick, Laura. Is There Such a Thing as Life After Death?. TIME magazine, published online Friday, Jan. 22, 2010
- UNT (University of North Texas) News. "UNT research produces new findings on combat soldiers' near-death experiences". Published online Monday, July 11, 2011
- Goza, Tracy H. "Combat Near-Death Experiences: An Exploratory, Mixed-Methods Study". Doctoral Dissertation, University of North Texas, August 2011
- French, Christopher. "Commentary." The Lancet 358, pp. 2010–11, 2001
- Greyson, Bruce. An Overview of Near-Death Experiences. Missouri Medicine, November/December 2013
- Schwaninger J, Eisenberg PR, Schechtman KB, Weiss AN. A Prospective Analysis of Near-Death Experiences in Cardiac Arrest Patients. Journal of Near-Death Studies, 20(4), Summer 2002
- University of Southampton Press Release. "World's largest-ever study of near-death experiences". 10 September 2008. Ref: 08/165
- Stephey, M.J. "What Happens When We Die?". TIME Magazine, Thursday, Sep. 18, 2008
- Parnia S, et al. AWARE—AWAreness during REsuscitation — A prospective study. Resuscitation (2014).
- University of Southampton News Release. Results of world's largest Near Death Experiences study published. Ref: 14/181, 07 October 2014
- Stony Brook University News. "Stony Brook Professor Leads World's Largest Medical Study on the State of Mind and Consciousness at the Time of Death". Published online, October 9, 2014
- Cai, S. "Study finds awareness after death in patients". The Johns Hopkins News-Letter, published online October 23rd, 2014
- Lichfield, Gideon. "The Science of Near-Death Experiences. Empirically investigating brushes with the afterlife". The Atlantic, April 2015
- Robb, Alice. The Scientists Studying Life After Death Are Not Total Frauds. The New Republic, published online October 8, 2014
- Lester, David. "Depth of Near-Death Experiences and Confounding Factors". Perceptual and Motor Skills, 2003,96, 18.
- Lai et al. "Impact of near-death experiences on dialysis patients: a multicenter collaborative study". Am J Kidney Dis. 2007 Jul;50(1):124–32, 132.e1-2.
- Greyson, Bruce; Ring, Kenneth. "The Life Changes Inventory – Revised." Journal of Near-Death Studies, Vol 23(1), 2004, 41–54.
- Lange R, Greyson B, Houran J. "A Rasch scaling validation of a 'core' near-death experience". British Journal of Psychology. Volume: 95 Part: 2 Page: 161-177, 2004
- Thonnard M, Charland-Verville V, Brédart S, Dehon H, Ledoux D, Laureys S, Vanhaudenhuyse A. Characteristics of near-death experiences memories as compared to real and imagined events memories. PLoS One. 2013;8(3):e57620. Mar 27.
- Klemenc-Ketis Z. "Life changes in patients after out-of-hospital cardiac arrest: the effect of near-death experiences". Int J Behav Med. 2013 Mar;20(1):7–12.
- Martens PR. "Near-death-experiences in out-of-hospital cardiac arrest survivors. Meaningful phenomena or just fantasy of death?" Resuscitation. 1994 Mar;27(2):171–5.
- Corazza O, Schifano F. "Near-death states reported in a sample of 50 misusers". Subst Use Misuse. 2010 May;45(6):916-24.
- Walker, Barbara & Russell, Robert D. "Assessing psychologists' knowledge and attitudes toward near-death phenomena". Journal of Near-Death Studies, Vol. 8, Number 2, 103–110
- Barnett, Linda. "Hospice Nurses' Knowledge and Attitudes Toward the Near-Death Experience". Journal of Near-Death Studies, 9(4), Summer 1991
- Ketzenberger, Kay E. & Keim, Gina L. "The Near-Death Experience: Knowledge and Attitudes of College Students". Journal of Near-Death Studies, Volume 19, Number 4, 227–232
- Bechtel, Lori J.; Chen, Alex; Pierce, Richard A.; Walker, Barbara A. "Assessment of clergy knowledge and attitudes toward near-death experiences". Journal of Near-Death Studies, Vol 10(3), 1992, 161–170.
- Greyson, Bruce. "Reduced death threat in near-death experiencers". Death Studies, Vol. 16, Issue 6, 1992.
- IANDS. Near-Death Experiences: Is this what happens when we die? Durham: International Association for Near-Death Studies. Informational brochure REV 4/11. Available at www.iands.org.
- IANDS: Vital Signs. Accessed 2011-02-06.
- IANDS: NDE Archives. Accessed 2011-02-06.
- Adler, Jerry. "Back From the Dead". Newsweek, July 23, 2007
- "IANDS Fact Sheet, As of December, 2010". Accessed 2012-02-09.
- Gordon, Scott. "Evanston's brush with death." The Daily Northwestern, published online June 30, 2004
- Forgrave, Reid. "A glimpse of the 'other side': Seattle conference unites near-death individuals". The Seattle Times, published online Friday, July 27, 2001
- Hopper, Leigh. "Conference to shed light on 'near-death' experiences". The Houston Chronicle, published online October 25, 2006
- Cosmos Magazine Staff. "Near-death experiences go under the French microscope". Cosmos Magazine, Sunday, 18 June 2006. Cosmos Media Pty Ltd
- IANDS Journal of Near-Death Studies. Accessed 2011-02-06.
- Bruce Greyson (Editor), Charles P. Flynn (Editor) (1984) The Near-Death Experience: Problems, Prospects, Perspectives. Charles C Thomas Pub Ltd
- Holden, Jan. M. "UNT Faculty Member Dr. Janice Minor Holden Publishes The Handbook of Near-Death Experiences: Thirty Years of Investigation". University of North Texas Counseling Program News, Vol. 1, Issue 2, Summer/Fall 2010
- Mahendra Perera, Karuppiah Jagadheesan, Anthony Peake (editors) (2011) Making Sense of Near-Death Experiences: A Handbook for Clinicians. Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 176 pp
- Russell, Rebecca. "Book reviews: Making Sense of Near-Death Experiences: A Handbook for Clinicians". The British Journal of Psychiatry (2012) 201: 415
- Knapton, Sarah. First hint of 'life after death' in biggest ever scientific study. The Telegraph, published online 07 Oct 20
- Petre, Jonathan. Soul-searching doctors find life after death. The Telegraph, published online 22 Oct 2000
- O'Connor, Anahad. "Following a Bright Light to a Calmer Tomorrow". New York Times, published online April 13, 2004
- Augustine, K. "Psychophysiological and cultural correlates undermining a survivalist interpretation of near-death experiences". Journal of Near Death Studies, 26 (2):89–125 (2007).
- Greyson, Bruce. "Commentary on 'Psychophysiological and Cultural Correlates Undermining a Survivalist Interpretation of Near-Death Experiences'". Journal of Near-Death Studies, 26(2), Winter 2007
- Braithwaite, J. J. "Towards a Cognitive Neuroscience of the Dying Brain". The Skeptic, Volume 21, Issue 2 (2008).