Dr Natasha Tassell, standing at the bedside, and Dr Mary Murray are midway through their study of near-death experiences, which many respondents say include sensations of leaving the body.


Near-death experience research gets TV treatment

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Psychologist Natasha Tassell and sociologist Mary Murray, who are researching people’s accounts of near-death experiences, have appeared on a segment of the TV3 current affairs programme 60 minutes that investigated the phenomena.

Dr Murray from the School of People, Environment and Planning and Dr Tassell a lecturer at the School of Psychology, estimate that up to quarter of those who have come close to dying may recall undergoing some form of near-death experience,

While near-death experiences have been the subject of studies overseas, including medical research, the Massey researchers are interested in finding out about experiences had by any member of the New Zealand population as well as factors that may differentiate findings here from overseas − including culturally specific aspects to these experiences.

The researchers, who are about halfway through their study, have both published papers on aspects of death, dying and near-death experiences and both have received assistance for the project from the Massey University Women’s Awards and the Massey University Research Fund.

Both women say there has been considerable interest in the research and to date participants have come from a wide cross section of the community. Participation in the research is ongoing and any responses will be treated in confidence under ethical guidelines.

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