Posted in biology, communication and networking, medical imaging

Art and science of near-death experiences

This isn’t as morbid as it sounds. Scientists are beginning to be able to document the brain’s reaction to dying or near-death episodes, and they’re beginning to wonder if the brain’s reaction to death gives us humans our ideas of heaven.

Newsweek published an interesting article on the phenomenon based on the book Heaven: Our Enduring Fascination With the Afterlife by Lisa Miller.

Before brain-scanning and brain imaging techniques, patients had to write down or illustrate their experiences to explain to people what they saw/heard/experienced. The Newsweek article included some of those drawings in a slideshow.

Tannis Prouten, depressed and severely underweight at age 20, drew this diagram of her extrabody experience.

View full slideshow



Beth Kelley is an applied & digital anthropologist with an overall interest in how people engage with and are impacted by their environments and vice versa. This has manifested itself in many ways, by looking at creativity, playful spaces, built environments, and environmental enrichment, sustainability, design research, and integrative and collaborative models of learning such as through play and hands-on learning.