People who are approaching death often see and experience events such as bright white light at the end of a long tunnel or meetings with lost family members or loved pets. Despite the apparent supernatural nature of these experiences, science can explain why they are happening and what they really are, says British scientists Neil Dagnall and Ken Drinkwater in an article published in The Conversation.
The experiences of the dead are "a deep psychological event with mystical elements," explains the experts, remembering that such a situation can be caused by situations of intense physical or emotional pain, but also after suffering from heart attacks or traumatic brain injuries or even during meditation are practiced
One third of people who experienced this type of situation claimed that they experienced common feelings, feelings of satisfaction, psychic separation of the body, rapid movements through a long dark tunnel to access light, scientists say.
They also emphasize that culture and age also play an important role. So, for example, many Indians claim to meet Iran, the Hindu god death, while Americans say they met Jesus. In addition, children often describe that they meet friends and teachers.
In 2009, the Ouraf Blanke and Sebastian Dieguez neurologists proposed two types of near-dead experiences. The first type is associated with those cases, in which the exact hemisphere of the brain is affected, resulting in a change in time sensation and having the impression of flying. The second, linked to damage in the left hemisphere, is characterized by vision or communication with spirits and hearing voices, sounds or music.
Another important role is played by the time lobes: this area of the brain is involved in the treatment of sensory information and memory, so that abnormal activity in these lobes can produce strange feelings and perceptions.
What is the reason?
Although there are several theories that try to explain near death experiences, reaching the lower origin, hard, says Dagnall and Drinkwater. These emphasize that religious people believe that these episodes provide evidence that life exists beyond death (especially the separation of the body's spirit), while scientific explanations for this type of phenomenon indicate depersonalization, which is how it is defined to the feeling of being separated from the body.
Scientific author Carl Sagan suggested in 1979 that the stress of death produces a memory of birth, suggesting that the "tunnel" that people see is a new image of the native channel.
Meanwhile, other researchers attributed these experiences to cerebral anoxia, the lack of oxygen in the brain. In that sense, there are testimonies of aerial pilots who experienced a loss of knowledge during rapid accelerations and described similar characteristics to near-dead experiences, such as the sight of a tunnel. Lack of oxygen can also trigger attacks from the temporary lobe, causing hallucinations.
However, the most widely explained explanation is "the morbid brain hypothesis," a theory that suggests that experiences near death are hallucinations caused by brain activity when cells begin to die. However, this theory does not explain the full range of feelings that can be experienced during these episodes, such as incorporeal experiences.
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