Explaining Near-Death Experiences: Physical or Non-Physical Causation?

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Article discussing current research and possible causes of near-death experiences, comparing the hypotheses regarding physiological causes (e.g., neural circuitry) and non-physical causes (e.g., a separation of consciousness).

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125-149 p.

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Mays, Robert G. & Mays, Suzanne B. Spring 2015.

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This article is part of the collection entitled: Journal of Near-Death Studies and was provided by UNT Libraries to Digital Library, a digital repository hosted by the UNT Libraries. It has been viewed 35 times . More information about this article can be viewed below.

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Description

Article discussing current research and possible causes of near-death experiences, comparing the hypotheses regarding physiological causes (e.g., neural circuitry) and non-physical causes (e.g., a separation of consciousness).

Physical Description

125-149 p.

Notes

"[The Journal of Near-Death Studies] is the only peer-reviewed scholarly journal (ISSN 0891-4494) devoted exclusively to the field of near-death studies. It is cross-disciplinary and published quarterly."

Pagination is continuous through volumes.

Notes

Abstract: A recent comparison of near-death experiences (NDEs) occurring with life-threatening events leading to coma to "NDE-like" experiences occurring with non-life-threatening events showed no significant difference in intensity or content between the two experiences, suggesting that neither the apparent proximity to death nor the specific physiological or psychological factors present influence quality or "depth" of such experiences. This study directly contradicts previous findings of significantly more enhanced perception of light and enhanced cognitive powers in near-death experiencers (NDErs) very close to death compared to those not in danger of dying. We argue that findings of the recent study are more valid due to more appropriate methodology. The general assumption has been that NDEs result from some physical cause that brings people close to death, but such explanations are problematic. An adequate scientific explanation of NDEs needs to be complete, accounting for all aspects of all NDEs. The commonality among NDEs occurring in a wide range of conditions suggests that there is a common underlying "proximate cause" to all NDEs. The proximate cause could be physiological, for example, a common brain circuit in a particular brain region, or non-physiological, for example, the separation of consciousness as an autonomous endity from the physical body. We argue that the latter hypothesis has greater explanatory power, although it posits elements beyond the current physicalist paradigm. Which explanation of NDEs is correct with be resolved only with further scientific investigation.

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  • Journal of Near-Death Studies, 33(3), International Association for Near-Death Studies, Spring 2015, pp. 125-149

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  • OCLC: 14781775 | External Link
  • ISSN: 0891-4494
  • Library of Congress Control Number: 88-648131
  • Library of Congress Control Number: sn 86-2701
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc948124

Publication Information

  • Publication Title: Journal of Near-Death Studies
  • Volume: 33
  • Issue: 3
  • Page Start: 125
  • Page End: 149
  • Pages: 25

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Journal of Near-Death Studies

The Journal of Near-Death Studies is a scholarly peer-reviewed journal devoted to the field of near-death studies. It is published on a quarterly basis by the International Association for Near-Death Studies. The Journal began publication in 1982 under the name Anabiosis which was changed to its current title in 1986 with the start of Volume 6.

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Creation Date

  • Spring 2015

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Jan. 16, 2017, 10:42 p.m.

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Mays, Robert G. & Mays, Suzanne B. Explaining Near-Death Experiences: Physical or Non-Physical Causation?, article, Spring 2015; Durham, North Carolina. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc948124/: accessed October 16, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .