Many other forms of religious experience tied to abnormalities in temporal lobe functions
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Near-death experiences involve common elements, including clarity, sense of peace, traveling through dark tunnel toward light, etc Most often interpreted in the context of religious experiences Frequency of about 10% of the nearly-dead Unknown cause.

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Many other forms of religious experience tied to abnormalities in temporal lobe functions

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Many other forms of religious experience tied to abnormalities in temporal lobe functions

  • Near-death experiences involve common elements, including clarity, sense of peace, traveling through dark tunnel toward light, etc

  • Most often interpreted in the context of religious experiences

  • Frequency of about 10% of the nearly-dead

  • Unknown cause

  • Many other forms of religious experience tied to abnormalities in temporal lobe functions

  • May be the opposite of PTSD

  • May represent abnormal response to threat/distress


Many other forms of religious experience tied to abnormalities in temporal lobe functions

  • Depth electrical stimulation of temporal lobe and temporal lobe seizures can cause similar profound, religiously-interpreted experiences

Hypothesis: Could NDEs reflect altered temporal lobe function?


Many other forms of religious experience tied to abnormalities in temporal lobe functions

METHOD

Two groups: NDE (N = 23) >6 on the NDE Scale

Control group (N = 20) no near death illness

EEG recording during one night sleep

Several paper and pencil tests


Many other forms of religious experience tied to abnormalities in temporal lobe functions

RESULTS

21.7% of the NDE show epileptiform-like activity associated with left temporal lobe and abnormal sleep pattern

5% of control group showed similar pattern but over right temporal lobe

Temporal lobe symptoms checklist showed significant difference (p < .005)

So did the Complex Partial Epileptic signs test (p < .001)


Many other forms of religious experience tied to abnormalities in temporal lobe functions

RESULTS

In line with the hypothesis, NDE patients showed greater EEG and self-report data implying temporal lobe epileptiform activity than control patients


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