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What Survives Death? A New Study Exploring People’s Beliefs

August 4, 2020
Nina Fry-Kizler, Science Liaison

Much attention has been paid to the question, “Is there life after death?” and what people believe about this question in both the media and research. Several studies about Near Death Experiences (NDEs), apparitions and hauntings, mediumship, and reincarnation suggest that consciousness does persist in some form after someone dies. However, much of these studies base their findings on experiences of living people (rather than directly from deceased people). As a result, skeptics argue that the evidence may not actually indicate the survival of consciousness but rather the natural psychological urge to believe that death is not the end of who we are. At this point, it is unlikely that we can contribute completely new evidence that some aspect of our consciousness may exist after physical death. However, what we can do is explore the variety of ideas on exactly what persists after death.

IONS is launching an exciting new study about a rarely asked question: “What part of us (if any) survives our physical death?” Is it our personality, memories, thoughts, emotions, soul, nothing, or something else completely? If consciousness does survive, does it remain indefinitely, or does it change over time or merge with something larger? Or does something else entirely happen? World religions certainly have much to say about this topic but we want to know what individuals believe. This innovative study will also explore whether people have had direct experiences with the survival of consciousness.

Interested in helping us learn more? You can participate in the “What Survives Death?” study by filling out a brief anonymous online survey which takes about 5-7 minutes to complete.

Click here to complete the survey


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