A Rogers State University psychology student presented original research on near-death experiences during Oklahoma Research Day held April 1 at the state capitol.
Senior Caleb Demarais of Tulsa was one of 25 undergraduate student researchers who representing 19 Oklahoma colleges and universities during the annual event, which was sponsored by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, the Oklahoma Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (OK EPSCoR) and the National Science Foundation.
Demarais’ study, “Towards an Explanatory Mode for Near-Death Experiences: Psychological, Spiritual, and Neurobiological Perspectives,” looked at near-death experiences through those three perspectives. From there, he developed a model to explain why and how they happen, as well as provide a structure for interpreting them. His research found that such experiences are more common than before due to the increase in modern resuscitation techniques. These near-death experiences also brought about a marked increase in belief in a higher being and belief in an afterlife, according his research.
Demarais says his study seeks to eliminate the social and mystical stigma that surrounds NDE’s and show that they are rooted in science.
Each Oklahoma college is invited to send a student to participate in the annual event to demonstrate the high quality of original research conducted in the state. Demarais was competitively selected as this year’s representative from RSU. Dr. Abe Marrero, Professor and Head of the Department of Psychology, Sociology and Criminal Justice, served as Demarais’ mentor on the project.
“I felt very honored to be nominated to represent RSU and was humbled to see all of the other fantastic research fellow Oklahoma undergraduates are performing,” Demarais said. “There were a lot of strong studies on cancer treatment and prevention as well as more environmentally friendly and effective methods for drilling. All in all, it was a fantastic experience, and I really enjoyed it.”