Near-death experience - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Near-Death Experience - Crystalinks

Plausibly, OBErs and NDErs have greater dissociative tendencies than control groups because they are to dissociate. Dissociative tendencies, in turn, are correlated with nonpathological temporal lobe instability as measured by various temporal lobe signs (Richards and Persinger 1139). This suggests that those with greater temporal lobe instability be more prone to have NDEs than others—a hypothesis which is testable in any number of ways, one of which is suggested by Blackmore, who predicts "that the highest level of temporal lobe signs would be found in those who have NDEs when not medically near death, next highest in those who have NDEs near death and lowest in those who come close to death but have no NDE" (Blackmore, "Dying" 218). Though circumstantial, evidence of temporal lobe instability among NDErs comes from findings that NDErs report undergoing more mystical experiences than average their NDEs (Greyson and Stevenson 1195), and having more OBEs and 'psychic' experiences than non-NDErs (Kohr 160; Makarec and Persinger 838). Greyson and Stevenson also found that perceptions of time distortion were significantly correlated with ecstatic feelings during NDEs (Greyson and Stevenson 1195). These elements are associated with temporal lobe instability in non-NDE contexts, and there is no other apparent reason for them to be correlated in NDEs.

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Hallucinatory Near-Death Experiences

Another feature which suggests that NDEs are not perceptions of an external afterlife reality is the random nature of the life review. The glamorized picture provided by Moody's artificial composite NDE portrays the life review as a personally significant 'learning experience' where one is either judged by other beings or by oneself for past wrongdoings. While this characterization does fit some cases—and indeed is found even in people who face life-threatening danger but never really come close to death (e.g., see Blackmore 183)—the frequency of 'learning experience' type life reviews appears to have been exaggerated by some near-death researchers. At least one researcher sympathetic to the survival hypothesis has found that most near-death life reviews do fit this pattern.

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Fox has uncovered further evidence that temporal lobe activity may bring about NDEs. He notes that when he examined complete NDE accounts from the RERC archives, rather than the incomplete extracts published by major near-death researchers, he found signs of temporal lobe epilepsy in a significant number of NDErs. In particular, he found signs of , a compulsion to write extensively about spiritual realities. In one case from the RERC archives, for example, a man reported an OBE, a tunnel experience, encounters with deceased relatives, and a life review, followed by 11 pages of speculative hypergraphic testimony about the meaning of life, the purpose of existence, the soul, and the beginning of the universe (Fox 161). Fox concludes that:

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But how do near-death researchers obviously sympathetic to the survival hypothesis explain hallucinatory NDE characteristics? Typically, they invoke a rather rationalization: whenever culturally conditioned or other clearly hallucinatory features are found, the NDEr must have made a mistake. For example, one could argue that when NDErs report encountering living persons 'on the other side,' they must be misidentifying the person seen. When a Christian sees Jesus in an NDE while a Hindu sees Yamaraj, the standard explanation near-death researchers give is that both are seeing the same spiritual being but 'interpreting' it as a specific religious figure. But how do we know that the Christian didn't really encounter a being that looks exactly like portraits of Jesus, or that the Hindu didn't encounter a being with the specific features his culture ascribes to Yamaraj?

The Near Death Experience as Evidence for Life After ..

Serdahely, William. "Variations from the Prototypic Near-Death Experience: The 'Individually Tailored' Hypothesis." . Vol. 13, No. 3 (Spring 1995): 185-196.