The Greyson Scale Quantifies Near-Death Experiences

Near-death experiences, or NDEs, are experienced by people across time, culture, and condition. Written records of NDEs date back to the times of ancient Greece, and humans have tried to uncover their mysteries for just as long. As research into these events became more rigorous, researchers needed a way to quantify and categorize the stories recounted by those who had experienced them. Enter Dr. Bruce Greyson. In 1983, he published a 16-point questionnaire he called the Near-Death Experience Scale. The survey, which is in regular use today, is divided into four components with four questions each. The cognitive component, for example, asks "Did scenes from your past come back to you?" and "Did you suddenly seem to understand everything?", whereas the paranormal component includes questions like "Did you feel separated from your physical body?". Survey takers can give each question a 0 (did not experience) through 2 (vivid experience) rating, and for the event to be considered a real NDE, it must score a total of 7 or higher on the entire questionnaire. But what actually happens during a near-death experience? Explore the science of NDEs with the videos below.

What Happens Inside A Dying Mind?

What causes the common elements of a near-death experience?

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Why Do People See A White Light When They Die?

Neuroscience may have the answer.

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Key Facts In This Video

  1. Many describe the experience similarly: warmth spreading throughout the body, calmness, a bright light and feeling detached from the body. 00:19

  2. One of the most highly regarded studies on NDE's explains the experiences as REM intrusion, instances when the mind wakes before the body. 00:58

  3. The brain also releases a flood of happy endorphins that puts you in a state of peace and calm. 01:40

Why Do We Die?

There's a reason we don't just go on living forever.

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Written by Curiosity Staff September 15, 2016