Near-death experiences are simply “manifestations of normal brain functions gone awry”, researchers say. Psychologists from Edinburgh University and the Medical Research Council in Cambridge reviewed existing research. They say phenomena such as out-of-body experiences or encounters with dead relatives are tricks of the mind rather than a glimpse of the afterlife.
One of the researchers, Dr Caroline Watt, said: “Our brains are very good at fooling us.”
The researchers say that many common near-death experiences could be caused by the brain’s attempt to make sense of unusual sensations and perceptions occurring during a traumatic event. Dr Watt, of the University of Edinburgh, said: “Some of the studies we examined show that many of the people experiencing a near-death experience were not actually in danger of dying, although most thought they were.
“The scientific evidence suggests that all aspects of the near-death experience have a biological basis.”