Parnia has spent years studying reports that some cardiac-arrest patients keep having clear, distinct thought processes after they’re clinically dead and detectable brain activity has ceased. Patients commonly recount these mental experiences, which often include seeing a light at the end of a tunnel, after being revived.Philosophically, World Science overstates the case: the research won't solve the "hard problem" of consciousness, but it might help straighten out one of the more pliant puzzles.
Parnia and colleagues aim to put these reports to a test: specific sounds will be played to such patients, and they’ll be asked to recall the sounds after reviving. If they do, it would confirm the accounts of thoughts without brain activity—supporting the claims that “consciousness is a separate, yet undiscovered scientific entity” from the brain, Parnia wrote in a paper in the the April 23 advance online edition of the research journal Medical Hypotheses....
[When it comes to OOBEs], Parnia is not testing whether patients genuinely feel their minds have floated away. He wants to test whether the minds actually do float away—a controversial idea to say the least. His team plans to place pictures strategically around patients’ rooms where they’re visible only from near the ceiling. Patients would later be asked about the images. “Thus, the claims of conscious awareness and out-of-body experiences will be tested independently,” he wrote in the paper.
May 20, 2007
OOBEs, NDEs, and an interesting research proposal
Perhaps a clever study will put to rest claims that Near Death Experiences (NDEs), which sometimes include Out Of Body Experiences (OOBEs), are more than short-circuiting neural activity. World Science reports: