Near-death experiences more vividly recalled than real memory

Updated: Apr 07, 2013, 14:54 PM IST

New York: People who have had a near-death experience can recall the incident more vividly and emotionally than real-life memories even years later, according to a new study.

Many people report seeing a bright light at the end of a long dark tunnel after a near-death experience.

"It`s really something that stays in the mind of people as a clear trace, and it`s even clearer than a real memory," said Vanessa Charland-Verville, a neuropsychologist in the Coma Science Group at the University of Liege in Belgium.

Across cultures and religions, people describe similar themes in a near-death experience: being out of body; passing through a tunnel, river or door toward warm, glowing light; seeing dead loved ones greet them; and being called back to their bodies or told it`s not time to go yet, LiveScience reported.

In the study, the team gave memory questionnaires to eight coma survivors who had near-death experiences, six who had coma memories but no memory of near-death experiences, seven who had no memories of their coma, and 18 people who had not had any of these experiences.

The questions assessed people`s memories of imagined events as well as memories of near-death events, comas and emotional events from real life.

Even years later, the near-death experiences seemed hyperreal. In fact, they were remembered more clearly and emotionally than all other types of memories.

The researchers now plan to study the brain activity of these individuals.

"If it changed people`s lives, there must be something different in their brain functioning," Charland-Verville said.

The study was published in the journal PLOS ONE.