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Conscious Cogn. 2017 May;51:116-124. doi: 10.1016/j.concog.2017.03.003. Epub 2017 Mar 19.

Characteristics of memories for near-death experiences.

Author information

1
Department of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences, University of Virginia Health System, 210 10th Street NE, Suite 100, Charlottesville, VA 22902-4754, United States.
2
Department of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences, University of Virginia Health System, 210 10th Street NE, Suite 100, Charlottesville, VA 22902-4754, United States. Electronic address: cbg4d@virginia.edu.

Abstract

Near-death experiences are vivid, life-changing experiences occurring to people who come close to death. Because some of their features, such as enhanced cognition despite compromised brain function, challenge our understanding of the mind-brain relationship, the question arises whether near-death experiences are imagined rather than real events. We administered the Memory Characteristics Questionnaire to 122 survivors of a close brush with death who reported near-death experiences. Participants completed Memory Characteristics Questionnaires for three different memories: that of their near-death experience, that of a real event around the same time, and that of an event they had imagined around the same time. The Memory Characteristics Questionnaire score was higher for the memory of the near-death experience than for that of the real event, which in turn was higher than that of the imagined event. These data suggest that memories of near-death experiences are recalled as "realer" than real events or imagined events.

KEYWORDS:

Imagination; Memory; Near-death experience; Reality monitoring

PMID:
28329717
DOI:
10.1016/j.concog.2017.03.003
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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