Archive for September, 2009

Psychological Test Usage with Adolescent Clients: Survey Update

September 29, 2009

Assessment

http://asm.sagepub.com

Psychological Test Usage with Adolescent Clients: Survey Update

Robert P. Archer and Cassandra Rutledge Newsom

Assessment 2000; 7; 227

DOI: 10.1177/107319110000700303

The online version of this article can be found at: http://asm.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/7/3/227

Published by:

http://www.sagepublications.com

Additional services and information for Assessment can be found at: Email Alerts: http://asm.sagepub.com/cgi/alerts

Subscriptions: http://asm.sagepub.com/subscriptions

Reprints: http://www.sagepub.com/journalsReprints.nav

Permissions: http://www.sagepub.com/journalsPermissions.nav Citations http://asm.sagepub.com/cgi/content/refs/7/3/227

Downloaded from http://asm.sagepub.com at MCGILL UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES on June 5, 2009

Assessment

2000, Volume 7, Number 3, 227-235

Copyright © 2000 by Psychological Assessment Resources, Inc. All rights reserved.

Psychological Test Usage With Adolescent Clients: Survey Update

Robert P. Archer Eastern Virginia Medical School

Cassandra Rutledge Newsom Virginia Consortium Program in Clinical Psychology

In 1991, Archer, Maruish, Imhof, and Piotrowski presented survey findings based on the responses of a national sample of psychologists who performed psychological assessment with adolescent clients. The current survey was designed to update their results by exam­ining the test use practices reported by 346 psychologists who work with adolescents in a variety of clinical and academic settings. These respondents represented an adjusted sur­vey return rate of 36% and predominantly consisted of doctoral prepared psychologists (95%) in private practice settings (51%). The survey respondents had a mean of 13.6 years of post-degree clinical experience, and spent an average of 45% of their clinical time working with adolescents. Survey results reveal a substantial similarity in test usage between the 1991 survey and the current investigation. For example, the Wechsler Intelligence Scales, Rorschach, Thematic Apperception Test (TAT), and Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) remain among the widely used tests with ado­lescents. However, several changes were also noted including a reduction in the use of the Bender-Gestalt and increases in the use of parent and teacher rating instruments. The current findings are used to estimate the relative popularity of an extensive list of test instruments, compare current findings to 1991 survey results, and to examine sev­eral issues related to general effects of managed care procedures and policies on test usage with adolescents.

Keywords: Test usage, adolescents, survey, managed care, MMPI-A

Archer, Maruish, Imhof, and Piotrowski (1991) provided the first published survey of test usage specifically based on practitioners who work extensively with adolescents. These authors con­ducted their research survey on 600 psychologists during February 1990, with 165 respondents pro­viding usable data to yield an adjusted response

Correspondence concerning this article and requests for offprints should be addressed to Robert P. Archer, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Eastern Virginia Medical School, 825 Fairfax Avenue (Hofheimer Hall 730), Norfolk, VA 23507.

rate of 36%. The Wechsler Intelligence Scales, the Rorschach, and the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) were identified as the most widely used intellectual, projective, and objective assessment instruments, respectively, with this age group. The Bender-Gestalt, Thematic Apperception Test (TAT), sentence com­pletion tests, figure drawings, and the Wide Range Achievement Test (WRAT) were also among the 10 most frequently used instruments. Over the past decade, the number of clinical mea­sures and tests specifically developed for the

Downloaded from http://asm.sagepub.com at MCGILL UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES on June 5, 2009

from the SAGE Social Science Collections. All Rights Reserved.

227

Archer and Newsom

assessment of adolescents has continued to grow, for example, the Adolescent Psychopathology Scale (APS: Reynolds, 1998a, 1998b). Additionally, a number of well-established instruments, includ­ing the MMPI, have been revised to more readily apply to adolescent age test-takers. These develop­ments continue to support substantial clinical interest in the assessment of adolescents, and research into psychological assessment with ado­lescents remains robust. Despite these develop­ments, however, there have been no surveys conducted since 1990 on test usage specifically focused on practitioners working with adolescents.

The present study was designed to survey the cur­rent assessment practices of psychologists who spend a significant amount of time working with adolescents, and to evaluate the changes that have occurred in adolescent assessment over the past 9 years. Among the potential factors that could affect psychological test usage with adolescent clients are the following: (a) the influences of managed care authorization procedures on test practices (see Piotrowski, 1999); (b) the release of new or substantially revised self-report instruments for adolescents (for example the MMPI-A; Butcher et al., 1992; Millon Adolescent Clinical Inventory, MACI: Millon & Davis, 1993); and (c) the develop­ment of new or substantially revised rating scales to assess adolescent behaviors and symptoms, e.g., the Child and Adolescent Functional Assessment Scale (CAFAS: Hodges, 1994) or the Devereux Scales of Mental Disorders (DSMD: Naglieri, LeBuffe, & Pfeiffer, 1994). Piotrowski, Belter, and Keller (1998) recently surveyed the impact of man­aged care on the assessment practices of 137 members of the National Register of Health Service Providers in Psychology and reported a substantive number of recent changes across the past 5 years due to managed care policies or proce­dures. Specifically, Piotrowski and his colleagues reported that clinicians were less likely to conduct testing overall, and are more likely to restrict their pool of available tests in response to managed care restrictions. Further, the authors noted that the Rorschach, TAT, and Wechsler Intelligence Scales were the instruments most likely to be used less frequently, with practitioners relying more heavily on brief self-report measures that focus on spe­cific problem or symptom areas.

The purpose of the present survey was to provide a current perspective on test usage with adoles­cents, while also incorporating a number of sur­vey questions pertaining to managed care based on the recent work of Piotrowski and his col­leagues. To ensure continuity between the 1991 and current surveys, instruments were identified for inclusion in the current survey by selecting the top 30 instruments reported by Archer et al. from their 1991 survey findings. As necessary, instru­ment names were modified or updated to corre­spond to recent revisions, e.g., the MMPI was re-designated as the MMPI-A for the current sur­vey. Further, one of the instruments included in the 1990 survey, the MacAndrew Alcoholism (MAC: MacAndrew, 1965) Scale, was omitted from the current survey because a revised form of this scale has been formally included as an MMPI-A Supplementary scale. In addition, seven tests or instruments were added to the current survey that either appeared following the 1990 survey or have undergone substantial revisions since the original survey (e.g., Kaufman Adolescent and Adult Intelligence Test, KAIT; Kaufman & Kaufman, 1993). These instruments were selected for inclu­sion in the survey by examining the literature and incorporating those that generated the most research attention over the past 9 years. In light of the dominant role of the MMPI in objective per­sonality assessment of both adults and adoles­cents, a question was included in the current survey on the respondents’ perspectives concern­ing the relative strength and limitations of the MMPI-A, an instrument released for clinical use in 1992. Finally, to maintain continuity with the 1990 survey and to update these results, a question was also posed on the respondents’ utilization of com­puter-based test interpretation services.

Method

Participants

The potential sample for this survey consisted of 1,200 psychologists who were mailed the survey instrument during October 1998. One-thousand of these psychologists were selected from the 1997 American Psychological Association (АРА) Directory Survey compiled by the АРА Research Office (1998) and included all psychologists

228

Downloaded from http://asm.sagepub.com at MCGILL UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES on June 5, 2009

Test Usage

employed in a full-time capacity (35 hours per week or greater) who had indicated specialty areas in adolescent therapy (designed by АРА as specialty area 070107) and in either assessment/diagnosis/ evaluation (232000) or psychometrics (362000). The records provided by the АРА staff included both licensed and nonlicensed psychologists, all degree levels and types, in clinical, school, and counseling psychology areas. The 1,000 names and addresses provided by АРА for the purposes of this research survey included 543 men and 457 women with a mean age of 46.5 years (SD = 7.2 years). The majority of this АРА subsample (76.4%) reported their highest degree as Ph.D., 16.6% reported Psy.D., and the remainder reported other degrees including Ed.D. and Masters degrees. The mean years of experience post-degree for this subsample was 13.7 (SD = 6.6) and the ethnic background of the survey was: 85.9% Caucasian; 1.9% African-American; 2.1% Hispanic, 1.6% Asian, .5% Native American, and 8% not specified. An additional 100 respondents were selected from the member­ship directory of the Society for Personality Assessment (SPA) because of the high percentage of SPA members involved in the assessment of adolescent clients (Spielberger & Piotrowski, 1992). For the selection of the sample of SPA members, the 1997 directory of the Society (SPA, 1997) was consulted and every 25th name was selected for survey purposes. Finally, an additional 100 psychologists were selected on the basis of their involvement in recent (1990-1998, inclusive) publications on adolescent assessment topics in the Journal of Clinical Psychology, the Journal of Clinical and Consulting Psychology, the Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, the Journal of Personality Assessment, or Assessment. All psychologists selected for the survey from these journals were first or second authors of studies which focused on ado­lescent assessment.

Of the 1,200 questionnaires mailed in this survey, 108 were deemed undeliverable, leaving a poten­tial survey response pool of 1,092 psychologists. From this available pool, 346 psychologists returned the surveys with completed data, and another 49 psychologists returned the survey with­out data beyond indicating that they did not per­form sufficient assessments with adolescents to

provide meaningful responses to the survey ques­tions. Thus, the adjusted response rate overall for this survey was 36%, and the most meaningful sur­vey data were provided by 346 psychologists.

Of the 346 respondents, 84.0% held Ph.D.s, 10.8% held Psy.D.s, 3.3% reported ABD status or other degrees including Ed.D., and 1.8% held Masters degrees. Among these respondents, the years in post-degree practice ranged from zero to 42, with a mean of 13.6 years, a median of 13.0 years, and a standard deviation of 7.1 years. The primary occu­pational settings for the sample were private prac­tice (50.6%), “other” settings (10.9%), university/ college settings (9.4%), medical center/hospital settings (7.9%), residential/inpatient settings (6.7%), outpatient clinic (6.7%), school system (6.4%), and medical schools (1.5%). The respon­dents devoted the largest percentage of their time to clinical practice (M = 59.8, SD = 32.7). The remainder of their professional time was utilized in the following activities: administrative duties (M = 13.8, SD = 20.1), consultation (M = 8.9, SD = 13.0), teaching (M = 7.5, SD = 14.0), research (M = 4.5, SD = 12.6), and other duties (Af = 2.5, SD = 9.6). The respondents spend a mean average of 45% of their total clinical time working with adolescents (SD = 30.5), with a mean average of 14.1% of their time (SD = 17.9) devoted specifically to assessment or testing with this age group.

Survey Instrument

The survey for this study was three pages in length and divided into three sections. Section I included six questions that dealt with the professional back­ground and practice characteristics of the respon­dent, but also contained one question on frequency of use of computer-based test interpre­tation and one question on the major advantages and disadvantages of the MMPI-A. The last two questions in Section I focused on identification of the four most important tests in the respondent’s practice with adolescents and the four factors most influential in selecting instruments to use with adolescents. In Section II, respondents were asked to rate their frequency of use of 36 assess­ment and testing instruments (listed in alphabetical order) on a scale of Infrequently, Occasionally, About 50% of the Time, Frequently, and Almost Always.

Downloaded from http://asm.sagepub.com at MCGILL UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES on June 5, 2009

229

Archer and Newsom

Space was also provided for the respondent to include up to five tests not listed in the survey. A total mention (TM) score was calculated for each test by summing the usage ratings for the total sample. A weighted score (WS) was also derived by summing the number of respondents who checked each frequency of use category, multiplied by the numerical weights assigned for that intensity of use (i.e., Infrequently = 1 to Almost Always = 5). Section III presented four questions related to the influences or effects of managed care on the respondents’ use of psychological tests, modeled closely on the work of Piotrowski et al. (1998) in their survey of members of the National Register of Health Service Providers in Psychology. The managed care questions were generally open ended in nature, and dealt with respondents’ impressions concerning the effects of managed care over the past 10 years, influences on the kinds of tests currently used, a request to list up to four psychological test instruments no longer used or used significantly less due to managed care, and a request for the major positive and negative impact of managed care on the use of psychologi­cal testing. Responses to these questions were tab­ulated into broad categories and summarized for the purposes of this survey.

Results

Psychological Test Usage

Table 1 presents the usage rating totals, arranged in order of decreasing weighted score values, for the 30 most frequently reported instruments in the current survey.

The 10 most frequently used instruments con­sisted of the Wechsler Intelligence Scales, several projectives, one objective self-report measure, and parent and teacher behavior rating forms. Specifically, the Wechsler Intelligence Scales were the most frequently used assessment measure with adolescents, followed by the Rorschach Inkblot Technique ranked 2nd overall in both frequency of use and total mentions, all forms of the Sentence Completion Test, taken collectively, were rated as 3rd, the TAT was ranked as 4th both in total men­tion and weighted score, and the MMPI-A was

rated 5th in both total mentions and weighted score. Further, the MMPI-A was the only self-report objective personality assessment instrument included in the top 10 ranked instruments.

In addition to questions related to test utilization, Section I of the response survey requested respon­dents to indicate four psychological test instru­ments that were “most important in your current practice with adolescents.” The top five most fre­quently selected instruments, in order, were as fol­lows: Wechsler Intelligence Scales, the Rorschach Inkblot Technique, the MMPI-A, the Thematic Apperception Test, and the Millon instruments for adolescents which were the MACI and the Millon Adolescent Personality Inventory (MAPI; Millon, Green, & Meagher, 1982). In addition, respon­dents were asked to indicate those test characteris­tics that were most likely to influence their choice of assessment instruments, and these factors are listed in order as follows: Psychometric soundness of the instrument including reliability and validity; the responsiveness of the test to referral ques­tions; the uniqueness and usefulness of informa­tion provided for treatment planning; the ability of the instrument to provide comprehensive infor­mation about psychopathology and clinical diag­nosis; and ease of scoring and interpretation.

A question in Section I of the survey requested respondents to report their frequency of use of computer-based test interpretation. A substantial minority (41.5%) of the respondents reported never using computer-based test interpretations (CBTI), with their remaining endorsements distrib­uted as follows: Infrequently = 24.2%, Moderately = 24.8%, and Almost Always = 9.5%.

MMPI-A Results

Among the primary strengths reported by survey respondents were, in order, the MMPI-A’s ability to provide a comprehensive clinical picture, the avail­ability of contemporary adolescent norms, ease of administration, and the psychometric soundness and research base of the instrument. The most fre­quently cited disadvantages of the MMPI-A include (in order) the length of the instrument and its associated demands for prolonged cooperation with the testing task, a reading level that is too

230

Downloaded from http://asm.sagepub.com at MCGILL UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES on June 5, 2009

Test Usage

Table 1

Test Usage Ratings for Top Adolescent Assessment Instruments

Usage rating totals

Weighted score (sum of n x numerical weight of ratings; a-0, b – 1, с – 2, d – 3, e

Instrument

Wechsler Intelligence Scales

Rorschach Inkblot Technique

Sentence Completion Test (any form)

Thematic Apperception Test

MMPI-A

Child Behavior Checklist, Parent Report Form

The House-Tree-Person Technique

Wide Range Achievement Test (any format)

Child Behavior Checklist, Teacher’s Report Form

Conners’ Rating Scales-Revised

Kinetic Family Drawings

Child Behavior Checklist, Youth Self-Report

Behavior Assessment System for Children, Parent

Woodcock-Johnson Psycho-Educational Battery-R

Millon Adolescent Clinical Inventory

Reynolds Adolescent Depression Scale

Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales (survey and classroom)

Millon Adolescent Personality Inventory

Robert Apperception Test for Children

Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test-Revised (any form)

Wechsler Individual Achievement Test

Bender Visual Motor Gestalt Test

Behavioral Assessment System for Children, Teacher

Personality Inventory for Children

Peabody Individual Achievement Test-Revised (any form)

Piers-Harris Children’s Self-Concept Scale

Children’s Depression Inventory

Symptom Checklist-90 Revised

Kaufman Adolescent and Adult Intelligence Test

Vineland Social Maturity Scale

a

b

с

d

e

f

TM

WS

82

23

37

27

63

101

251

935

108

46

48

22

38

71

225

715

109

31

57

32

49

55

224

712

114

46

55

38

33

47

219

637

128

45

55

25

39

41

205

591

133

62

50

18

30

41

201

541

139

52

63

18

23

38

194

514

179
28
31
26
50
154
44

486

138

54

65

25

29

22

195

485

135

46

82

27

31

12

198

475

159

49

50

24

31

20

174

445

24
166
33
17
33
59
167

428

158
18
28
19
39
54
175

391

165

61

53

20

18

16

168

379

194

60

27

13

23

16

139

325

199

62

38

13

14

7

134

268

186

72

59

10

4

2

147

246

200

75

30

9

12

7

133

245

196

79

32

13

7

6

137

240

190

75

56

8

4

0

143

227

231

59

9

7

13

14

102

220

231

67

5

3

7

20

102

214

219

78

14

3

12

7

114

198

217

80

21

3

7

5

116

184

212

81

27

6

6

1

121

182

218

75

26

7

4

3

115

179

237

69

3

7

5

12

96

176

215

87

17

5

5

4

118

176

220

78

20

7

4

4

113

175

219

78

22

5

7

2

114

175

: 50% of the time;

e = Frequently; f = .

Almost always.

TM = Total mentions; WS =

), b=l,

с = 2, d =:

5, e = 4, f = 5.

Downloaded from http://asm.sagepub.com at MCGILL UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES on June 5, 2009

231

Archer and Newsom

high for many adolescents or too difficult for learning disabled or mentally retarded adolescents, the time requirements for scoring and interpreta­tion, the time requirements related to administra­tion, and, finally, the expense of the test instrument in the managed care environment.

Managed Care Results

In Section HI of the survey, respondents were asked to reflect along four dimensions on the influence of managed care on their use of psycho­logical tests with adolescents. First, respondents were asked if, and in what ways, their use of psy­chological testing with adolescents has changed in the past 10 years as a result of managed care. Sixty-two percent of the respondents reported changes due to managed care, while 38% reported no change linked to managed care policies. For the former group, the dominant changes were the performance of fewer psychological evaluations (51%), a lower rate of reimbursement for psycho­logical evaluations (32%), inability to perform test­ing due to denied requests for approval (18%), a reduced number of assessment instruments con­tained within an evaluation battery (17%), and an increase in the referral of psychological assess­ments to other providers (10%).

Respondents were also asked if their selection of assessment instruments had been influenced by managed care practices. Thirty-five percent of the respondents indicated that managed care related change had affected their selection of psychologi­cal tests. Of the latter survey respondents, 26% reported using briefer instruments, 21% reported using fewer projectives, 16% reported reducing the length of their test battery, 11% reported the referral of educational testing to school psycholo­gists, and 9% reported an increased use of self-report inventories and checklists.

Respondents were asked to “list up to four psycho­logical test instruments you no longer use or use significantly less often due to managed care restraints.” The five most frequently mentioned instruments in this category were, in order, the Rorschach Inkblot Technique, the Thematic Apperception Test, the Wechsler Scales, educational tests including the Woodcock-Johnson and the Wide Range Achievement Test, and the MMPI-A.

Finally, respondents were asked, “What has been the major positive and major negative impact of managed care on your use of psychological test­ing?” Respondents were allowed to provide up to four responses. Fourteen percent of respondents indicated a positive impact, the most frequent of which was increased efficiency and increased clar­ity of planning. In contrast, 84% of respondents indicated one or more negative impacts. Among these latter respondents, the most frequently cited negatives involved reduced reimbursement for psy­chological assessment (16%), reduced overall activ­ity in psychological assessment (11%), denial of approval for psychological testing (11%), less com­prehensive psychological assessment (11%), and more time consuming paperwork (8%).

Discussion

The typical survey respondent in the current study was a doctoral-trained psychologist with extensive clinical experience, much of which was with ado­lescents. The mean years in practice for respon­dents was 13.6, roughly 95% of the respondents held a Ph.D. or Psy.D. degree, and slightly over half were in private practice settings. About 45% of their clinical contact was spent with adoles­cents, and approximately 14% of their total clini­cal time was allocated to the psychological assessment of adolescent age clients. Overall, the characteristics of the 1999 survey respondents are reasonably consistent with their counterparts in the Archer et al. (1991) survey conducted nearly a decade earlier, and the adjusted survey response rate of 36% is identical for both studies.

Given the development of computer technologies, it is not surprising that the percentage of respon­dents who reported using computer-based test interpretation packages was somewhat higher than that found in the 1990 survey of psychologists. Specifically, 41.5% of the current survey respon­dents reported never having used computer-based test interpretation services, while the frequency of respondents reporting never using computer-based test interpretation in 1990 was 46%. In late 1998, 25% of respondents used computer based test interpretation services “moderately” whereas 10% used computer interpretations “almost

232

Downloaded from http://asm.sagepub.com at MCGILL UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES on June 5, 2009

Test Usage

always.” The corresponding figures for the 1991 study were 18% and 6%, respectively. Overall, however, the current data show only a slow and relatively limited growth in the use of computer interpretation services in the assessment of adoles­cents. A similar point was underscored in a recent survey of assessment practices among clinical and neuropsychologists by Camara, Nathan, and Puente (1998). These authors investigated the per­centage of testing that providers conducted using computers and reported that approximately 10% of all test scorings are based on computer use, and only 3% to 4% of all interpretations are generated by computer.

In terms of the major findings from our survey, substantial similarity in test use patterns can also be found between the 1991 survey findings and the current update. The MMPI, Wechsler Scales, Rorschach, and TAT were included among the most frequently used tests, not only in the 1991 and current surveys of test usage with adolescents, and in the recent Camara et al. (1998) survey of clinical and neuropsychologists, but also in virtu­ally every other survey of test use practices with adults conducted over the past 4 decades. Such findings speak to the robustness of these instru­ments and their perceived clinical yield, but also perhaps to the relative slowness of change and innovation in the applied clinical assessment field. In particular, projective testing has withstood both the pressures of managed care practices and criti­cisms from parts of the academic community, with the Rorschach Inkblot Technique continuing in the number two slot, and the Sentence Completion Test, the TAT, and projective draw­ings all remaining among the most frequently used instruments. Piotrowski (1984) has also noted the impressive ability of projective tests to con­tinue to survive and prosper despite decades of intense criticism and numerous predictions that use of these instruments would inevitably decline across time. Piotrowski observed that test usage is driven by many factors beyond psychometric relia­bility and validity data, and that many clinicians may give their own personal clinical experience with the psychometric instrument greater weight than findings from research studies in determin­ing their selection of particular assessment

instruments. In the situation of assessment with child and adolescent clients, projectives may also hold potent advantage in terms of avoiding the types of reading ability and literacy limitations typically encountered in the use of objective instruments such as the MMPI-A. The conclusion by Levy and Fox (1975) that projective testing was “alive and well” also seems to be applicable to the status of these instruments nearly 25 years later.

However, several changes may be noted from 1990 to 1998 in the top ranked instruments. For exam­ple, the Bender-Gestalt (Bender, 1938) was ranked third in the 1990 survey, but has dropped out of the top 20 rankings by 1998. Further, a number of parent and teacher report forms including the Child Behavior Checklist (Achenbach & Edelbrock, 1983) and the Revised Conners’ (1997) Rating Scales have all increased in usage and are presently among the top ranked test instruments with adolescent clients. The use of rating scales may be increasing in popularity because of the recognition that these approaches provide very valuable information regarding the functioning of an adolescent in a manner that often compliments and refines data provided through projective test­ing, objective self-report sources, and other sources of information including the findings from clinical interviews. Achenbach (1999) has referred to this approach of combining assessment data from multiple sources as multiaxial, and has observed that variations in clients’ functioning that are reflected in different assessment sources may underscore the need for a variety of interven­tions to address each of these different problem areas. As noted in our discussion of the popularity of projectives, parent, clinician, and teacher rating forms also maintain an advantage of circumvent­ing reading limitations present in the adolescent client attempting to provide reliable and accurate self-report data.

The MMPI was the most frequently used objective personality assessment measure in the evaluation of adolescents in the 1991 survey, ranked third in total mentions and sixth in frequency of use at that time despite the fact that the original MMPI was an assessment instrument primarily designed for evaluation in adult populations. In our present

Downloaded from http://asm.sagepub.com at MCGILL UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES on June 5, 2009

233

Archer and Newsom

survey, the MMPI-A was also the most widely used objective personality assessment instrument with adolescents, ranked fifth in total mentions and fifth in weighted score with this population. The major reasons for the continued popularity of the instrument appears to be related to the compre­hensiveness of the MMPI-A, the development of a contemporary set of adolescent norms, the ease of administration of the instrument, and the ability to relate the interpretation of MMPI-A findings to the extensive adolescent research base available on the original instrument. The major disadvantages of the MMPI-A reported by survey respondents focused on the length of the 478-item revised instrument (still too excessive) and the reading level (approximately 7th grade) as remaining too demanding for many adolescent age clients. These disadvantages associated with the MMPI-A could be summarized as reflecting a desire for an assess­ment instrument that is shorter, easier to read, and less expensive than the MMPI-A. While such criticisms might not lead to a major revision of the item pool in the near future, these concerns might support efforts to develop either short form versions of the MMPI-A or adaptive testing approaches which serve to abbreviate the adminis­tration process.

Despite the fact that the Rorschach Inkblot Technique, the TAT, the Wechsler Scales, educa­tional tests, and the MMPI-A were listed as the five instruments used less frequently due to man­aged care constraints, each of these tests continues to be among the most relied upon in the assess­ment of adolescents. One possible explanation for this phenomenon is that the total volume or amount of psychological testing has significantly decreased between 1990 and 1998, and therefore the same tests remain dominant even though they are used less frequently by clinicians. While this hypothesis cannot be directly evaluated by the cur­rent findings, it is indirectly supported by the observation that 84% of respondents indicated one or more negative impacts on psychological testing related to managed care. Further, of those respondents reporting negative effects, 11% reported that they conducted less psychological testing overall and an additional 11% reported

that they conducted less comprehensive psycho­logical assessments as a result of managed care practices. Perhaps most importantly, in the 1991 survey psychologists reported spending 29.5% of their total clinical time in assessment with adoles­cents, but in the current study that figure was reduced to 14.1%. Yet, the total amount of time spent with adolescents was roughly equivalent between the 1991 and current surveys, reflecting 51.5% and 45% of total clinical time for these groups. This apparent restriction of testing to fewer instruments and the reduction of the assess­ment scope to more specific issues is consistent with the recent observations of Piotrowski and his colleagues (1998). These authors predicted that the future of psychological assessment is likely to focus more on specific domain-based testing, uti­lizing extended diagnostic interviewing and rela­tively brief psychological instruments, rather than comprehensive assessment integrating results from a wide variety of test instruments. An impor­tant area for future research would be to more pre­cisely determine the scope and degree of overall declines in psychological assessment usage with children, adolescents, and adults.

References

Achenbach, Т. M. (1999). The Child Behavior Checklist and related instruments. In M. Maruish (Ed.), The use of psy­chological testing for treatment planning and outcome assessment (2nd ed., pp. 429466). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

Achenbach, T. M., 8c Edelbrock, C. (1983). Manual for the Child Behavior Checklist/4-18 and Revised Child Behavior Profile. Burlington: University of Vermont, Department of Psychiatry.

American Psychological Association. (1998). [1997 АРА directory survey]. Unpublished data compiled by the АРА Research Office, Washington, DC.

Archer, R. P., Maruish, M., Imhof, E. A., & Piotrowski, C. (1991). Psychological test usage with adolescent clients: 1990 Survey findings. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 22, 247-252.

Bender, L. (1938). A visual motor gestalt test and its clinical use. American Orthopsychiatric Association Research Monograph, No. 3. New York: American Orthopsychiatric Association.

Butcher, J. N., Williams, С L. Graham, J. R., Archer, R. P., Tellegen, A., Ben-Porath, Y. S., 8c Kaemmer, B. (1992). MMPI-A (Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-Adolescent): Manual for administration, scoring and interpreta­tion. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

234

Downloaded from http://asm.sagepub.com at MCGILL UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES on June 5, 2009

Test Usage

Camara, W., Nathan, J., 8c Puente, A. (1998, May). Psychological test usage in professional psychology: Report to the АРА Practice and Science Directorates. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Conners, С. К. (1997). Conner’s Rating Scales-Revised technical manual. North Tonawanda, NY: Multi-Health Systems.

Hodges, K. (1994). Child and Adolescent Functional Assessment Scale. Ypsilanti, MI: Eastern Michigan University.

Kaufman, A. S., 8c Kaufman, N. L. (1993). Manual for the Kaufman Adolescent and Adult Intelligence Test (KAIT). Circle Pines, MN: American Guidance Service.

Levy, M. R., 8c Fox, H. M. (1975). Psychological testing is alive and well. Professional Psychology, 6, 420424.

MacAndrew, С (1965). The differentiation of male alco­holic outpatients from non-alcoholic psychiatric outpatients by means of the MMPI. Quarterly Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 26, 238-246.

Millon, Т., 8c Davis, R. D. (1993). The Millon Adolescent Personality Inventory and the Millon Adolescent Clinical Inventory. Journal of Counseling and Development, 71, 570-574.

Millon, Т., Green, С J., 8c Meagher, R. B. (1982). Millon Adolescent Personality Inventory manual. Minneapolis, MN: National Computer Systems.

Nagheri, J. A., LeBuffe, P. A., 8c Pfeiffer, S. I. (1994). Devereux Scales of Mental Disorders. San Antonio, TX: The Psychological Corporation.

Piotrowski, С (1984). The status of projective tech­niques: Or, “Wishing won’t make it go away.” Journal of Clinical Psychology, 40, 1495-1502.

Piotrowski, С (1999). Assessment practices in the era of managed care: Current status and future directions. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 55, 787-796.

Piotrowski, C, Belter, R. W., 8c Keller, J. W. (1998). The impact of managed care on the practice of psychological testing: Preliminary findings. Journal of Personality Assessment, 70, 441447.

Reynolds, W. M. (1998a). Adolescent Psychopathology Scale: Administration and interpretation manual. Odessa, FL: Psychological Assessment Resources.

Reynolds, W. M. (1998b). Adolescent Psychopathology Scale: Psychometric and technical manual. Odessa, FL: Psychological Assessment Resources.

Society for Personality Assessment. (1997). 1997 Membership Directory. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

Spielberger, С D., 8c Piotrowski, С (1992). Profiles of the membership of the Society for Personality Assessment: Comparisons between 1987 and 1990. Journal of Personality Assessment, 58, 423429.

Downloaded from http://asm.sagepub.com at MCGILL UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES on June 5, 2009

235

Carpenter, P.A., Just, M.A., & Shell, P. (1990). What One Intelligence Test Measures: A

Theoretical Account of the Processing in the Raven Progressive Matrices Test. Psychological Review, 97 (3), 404-431.

Summary of the article:

The authors examine analytical intelligence, whereby analytical intelligence is defined as the ability to solve problems without relying on previously acquired skills or knowledge. The authors examined the performance of two different groups of college students on the Raven test: those who performed less successfully and those who performed more successfully. In examining the performances of these two groups, the authors made use of verbal reports, eye fixations, and patterns of errors, amongst other characteristics. To test the validity of their findings, the authors developed computer simulation models in the hopes that they could duplicate the results of the two groups (FAIRAVEN for the less successful students and BETERAVEN for the more successful students). The authors found two significant differences between FAIRAVEN and BETERAVEN. First, BETERAVEN can induce more abstract relationships than FAIRAVEN. Second, BETERAVEN could solve more complex problems because it can handle a larger set of working goals. Indeed, the authors note that one of the major claims of the analysis is that Raven problems that require a larger number of rules to solve challenge the goal-management processes needed to solve the problem.

Details of the study:

This study comprised two experiments as well as the development of the computer simulation models. Experiment 1 was divided into two parts, 1a and 1b, each of which generated different types of data. The purpose of this phase was to collect detailed data about performance of the Raven test (the number and type of errors that a person of a given ability would have, eye movement patterns of the subjects, and the rules that test takers used to solve problems).

Experiment 2 was prompted by the discovery that error rates increase based on the number of rules required to solve a particular problem. The researchers hypothesized that subjects who performed well on the Raven test should also perform well on the Tower of Hanoi puzzle. Though much previous research on the Tower of Hanoi puzzle has focused on how subjects induce the correct strategy to solve the puzzle, researchers in the present study minimized the inductive aspect by teaching the subjects how to solve the puzzle. This deviation from common practice was designed to test how subjects could stay focused on the solution of smaller sub-goals. This experiment confirmed the researchers’ initial hypothesis.

The goal of the simulation models was to develop further understanding of the processes required to solve problems on the Raven test, distinguishing between easy and hard problems, and between weak and strong-performing subjects. The researchers then compared the performance of human subjects to that of FAIRAVEN and BETTERAVEN in terms of error patterns, induced rules, eye-fixation, and verbal reports. In so doing, they found that the performance of the computer simulation models strongly resembled the performance of the university students.

Strong and Weak Points of the Article:

The authors of this study are working towards a general theory of intelligence and thus discuss the implications their study has for the understanding of analytical intelligence. Indeed, one of the numerous strong points of this article is that the researchers tie their work into previous research on intelligence, going back to Spearman. Furthermore, they are conscious of pointing towards the use of this study in further theoretical and clinical work. However, they were not specific about the types of studies that could build upon the findings of the current research.

It seems that one of the primary weaknesses of this study lies in the subjects. Experiment 1 used 34 university students, and Experiment 2 used 45 university students. This small sample, taken from a well-educated population, decreases the study’s implications for the general field of analytic intelligence. Questions that could be asked in future studies would be 1) would a larger-sized group of subjects produce the same results?  2) Are there any differences in the problem-solving strategies of less-educated members of the population?  3) Does age make a difference in problem-solving strategies? For instance, in Experiment 1 researchers discovered a facet that governed problem-solving procedures that was common to all subjects: all broke-down the problems into smaller sub-problems, and then attempted to solve each of the sub-problems in turn. Would their findings be duplicated with a more diverse group of subjects?

The researchers were very careful to point to differences between the human subjects and the computer simulation models, highlighting four key differences: the simulations are not capable of visually encoding the problems, simulations are not capable of reading the test instructions, the simulations solved the problems by rule recognition (not rule induction), the simulators cannot perform at the low-end of the spectrum. The fact that the simulations solved the problems differently than human subjects (by rule recognition, not induction) would also point to future areas of research. Would subjects perform differently on Raven if they were provided instructions (as they were with the Tower of Hanoi puzzle)?

A potential weakness of this study concerns how Raven was administered. Subjects were asked to manage their time so that they would attempt all questions on the test; subjects were asked to talk aloud as they attempted the test; and subjects were also interviewed as to how they approached the problem. The authors did not address how these deviations from standard procedure might have affected their results.

Archer, R.P. & Newsom, C.R. (2000). Psychological Test Usage with Adolescent Clients:

Survey Update. Assessment, 7 (3), 227-235.

Summary of Article:

The authors surveyed 346 psychologists who work with adolescents in order to determine how psychological test usage has changed since Archer’s first survey in 1991. They found that the most widely used tests (in 1991 and 2000) are the Weschler Intelligence Scales, Rorschach, Thematic Apperception Test, and the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory. While Bender-Gestalt was less widely used in 2000, parent and teacher rating instruments were more commonly used in 2000. The purpose of the study was to evaluate the relative popularity of individual psychological tests, to compare usage practices from 1991 to 2000, to assess how the development of new tests and changes to existing tests have affected the results, and to examine how managed care impacts test usage on adolescent clients. The authors attribute the relative stability in terms of test choices to both their perceived clinical relevance as well as to the relative slowness of change in the applied clinical assessment field. They credit the increase in popularity of the parent / teacher rating instruments (such as the Child Behavior Checklist and the Revised Conners’ Rating Scales) to the awareness that these assessment tools provide valuable information about how the adolescent functions at home and school. They also attribute the popularity of projective testing (like the Rorschach) and these parent / teacher assessments to the fact that they circumvent literacy problems common to adolescent populations.

Details of the Study:

1200 psychologists were mailed the three-page survey in October 1998. The survey was divided into three sections: questions about professional background and characteristics of the practice, questions about frequency of use of 36 assessments and tests, and questions about the influence of managed care. 346 of the psychologists, the majority of which hold a Ph.D., completed the survey. These respondents work with adolescents for a mean average of 45% of their clinical time.

The survey indicated that the five most frequently used assessment tools are the Weschler Intelligence Scales, Rorschach Inkblot Technique, all forms of the Sentence Completion Test, the TAT, and the MMPI-A. Respondents indicated that their reasons for preferring these tools include psychometric soundness (reliability and validity), suitability of the test to respond to referral questions, usefulness of the results for the planning of treatment, ability of the test to provide details on psychopathology, and ease of scoring and interpretation of results.

In regards to the influence of managed care, the authors asked if the respondents if (and how) managed care had changed their testing practices over the past decade (from 1991 to 1998), with 62% responding that managed care had prompted changes in their practices. They then asked if managed care had influenced the psychologists’ choice of assessment tools (with 35% responding yes). The psychologists were also asked to list up to four tests that they use less frequently due to the influence of managed care. The five most frequently reported answers to this question were the Rorschach, the TAT, the Weschler scales, educational tests, and the MMPI-A. The final questions asked the respondents to discuss one positive and one negative impact of managed care on psychological testing.

Strong and Weak Points:

This article’s primary strength lies in its ease of understanding. The results are printed clearly, and the accompanying Table is germane to the discussion. An additional strength is that the authors point to how their study can lead to further research. They hypothesize that the overall volume of adolescent testing has decreased significantly since 1991, which would account for some of the inconsistencies in their data.

There are several weaknesses in this study. For one, the authors do not provide sufficient information on the survey questions. While it is not necessary to provide a copy of the survey, more detail on how the questions were worded would have been appreciated for two reasons. First, from the cursory information that the authors provide on the survey itself, it appears that the results from each section were not discussed. Second, the questions in section 3 (the section dealing with managed care) seem to be leading. It appears that the authors specifically mentioned managed care in all of the questions, which calls into question how many of the respondents would have attributed their changes in practice to managed care if they had not been prompted to do so.

Another weakness is that the authors devote seemingly undue attention to the MMPI-A. Why, when it ranked 5th on the list of frequently administered assessment tools, did the authors spend so much time discussing this tool in particular, and not devote the same attention to the first four? Perhaps the authors had a rationale for this, but it remains unclear for the reader.

Finally, the lack of numerous references to previous research makes it difficult to see how this study fits in with a larger trend. While the authors do cite a few (at most three or four) specific studies in the article, it remains unclear both how this study fits within a larger literature on the subject as well as how this study contributes to the field as a whole.

DOCUMENT RESUME

ED 319 811

TM 015 132

AUTHOR TITLE

INSTITUTION

SPONS AGENCY

PUB DATE CONTRACT NOTE PUB TYPE

EDRS PRICE DESCRIPTORS

IDENTIFIERS

Carpenter, Patricia A.; And Others

What one Intelligence Test Measures: A Theoretical

Account of the Processing in the Raven Progressive

Matrices Test.

Carnegie-Mellon Univ., Pittsburgh, Pa. Dept. of

Psychology.

National Inst. of Mental Health (DHEW), Rockville,

Md.; Office of Naval Research, Arlington, Va.

3 Apr 90

MH-00661; MH-00662; N00014-89-J-1218

/9p.

Reports – Research/Technical (143)

MF01/PC04 Plus Postage.

Abstract Reasoning; Cognitive Measurement; «Cognitive

Processes; «College Students; Computer Assisted

Testing; Higher Education; «Intelligence Tests;

«Nonverbal Tests; Problem Solving; Psychological

Testing; Simulation

Analytic Ability; BETTERAVEN Computer Program;

FAIRAVEN Computer Program; «Raven Progressive

Matrices; Tower of Hanoi Problem

ABSTRACT

The cognitive processes in a widely used, non-verbal test of analytic intelligence—the Raven Progressive Matrices Test (J. С Raven, 1962)—were analyzed. The analysis determined which processes distinguished between higher-scoring and lower-scoring subjects and which processes were common to all subjects and all items on the test. The analysis was based on detailed performance characteristics on the Tower of Hanoi puzzle such as verbal protocols, ->ye fixation patterns, and errors. The theory was expressed as a pair of computer simulation models—FAIRAVEN and BETTERAVEN—that performed like the median or best subjects in the samples of 12 and 22 college students. The processing characteristic common to all subjects was an incremental, reiterativa strategy for encoding and inducing t?ie regularities in each problem. The processes that distinguished among individuals were primarily the ability to induce abstract relations and the ability to manage dynamically a lc.rge set of problem-solving goals in working memory. Five sample test items, 3 tables, 12 figures, an appendix summarizing correct solutions by the models, and a 59-item list of references are included. (SLD)

***********************************************************************

*    Reproductions supplied by EDRS are the best that can be made    *

*                    from the original document.                                              *
********* *************** *************************************** ********

U S DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

Office of Educational Research and improvement

EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES INFORMATION CENTER (ERiCl

document has been reproved as received from the person т c«ganization originating it D Miror change» have been msde to impro,-» reproduction quality Points of view or opinions stated m thisdocu men! <Ju not пвсв^адги» ?sprcson} cfftca’ OERI position or podcy

m
IN THE RAVEN PROGRESSIVE MATRICES TEST

WHAT ONE INTELLIGENCE TEST MEASURES:

mmm^gi

WHAT ONE INTELLIGENCE TEST MEASURES:

A THEORETICAL ACCOUNT OF THE PROCESSING

IN THE RAVEN PROGRESSIVE MATRICES TEST

Patricia A. Carpenter

Marcel Adam Just

Peter Shell

Psychology Department

Carnegie Mellon University

In Press Psychological Review

The research reported here was supported in part by Contract N00014 -„-j-1218 with the Cognitive Science Program of the Office of Naval Research.    Approved for public release; distribution unlimited.    Repcrduction in whole or in part is permitted for any purpose of the United Stands Government.

SECURITY CLASSIFICATION OP THIS PAGE

I

REPORT DOCUMENTATION PAGE

1a. REPORT SECURITY CLASSIFICATION

Unclassified

lb. RESTRIC.IVE MARKINGS

2a. SECURITY CLASSIFICATION AUTHORITY

2b. OECLASSIFICATION/OOWNGRAOING SCHEDULE

3. DISTRIBUTION/AVAILABILITY OF REPORT

Approved for public release; distribution unlimited

4. PERFORMING ORGANIZATION REPORT NUM8ER(S)

0NR90-1

S. MONITORING ORGANIZATION REPORT NUM8ER(S)

6a. NAME OF PERFORMING ORGANIZATION.

Carnegie Mellon University

6b. OFFICE SYM80L (// applicable)

7a. NAME OF MONITORING ORGANIZATION

Cognitive Science Program

Office of Naval Research (Code 1142PT)

6c ADDRESS (Cty, State, and ZIP Code)

Department of Psychology Pittsburgh, PA 15213

8a. NAME OF FUNDING/SPONSORING ORGANIZATION

du. OFFICE SYM80L (If applicable)

7b. ADDRESS (City, State, and ZIP Code)

800 North Quincy Street Arlington, VA 22217-5000

9. PROCUREMENT INSTRUMENT IDENTIFICATION NUMBER N00014-89-J-1218

8c ADDRESS (City, State, and ZIP Code)

H). SOURCE C” 4INDING NUM8ERS

PROGRAM ELEMENT NO.

[ 0602233N

PROJECT NO.

RM33M20

TASK NO.

WORK UNIT
ACCESSION NC
4428017—- 0:

11. TITLE (Include Security Classification)

What One Intelligence Test Measures: A Theoretical Account of the Processing in the Raven Progressive Matrices Test    (Unclassified)

12. PERSONAL AUTHOR(S)

Patricia A.  Carpenter, Marcel Adam Just,  & Peter Shell

13a. TYPE OF REPORT Technical

1S. SUPPLEMENTARY NOTATION

13b. TIME COVERED
FROM__________ TO

14. DATE OF REPORT (fear, Month, Day) It S. PAGE” COUNT
90,   04,   03                             I        70

GROUP

17.

FIELD

05

COSATI CODES

SU8-GROUP

09

IB. SU8JECT TERMS (Continue on reverse if necessary and identify by block numbe-)

Measurement of intelligence, reasoning, problem-solving, individual differences

IS. ABSTRACT (Continue on reverse if neceuary and identify by block number)

This paper analyzes the cognitive processes in a widely used, non-verbal test of analytic inteiiigence, the Raven Progressive Matrices Test (Raven, 1962).   The analysis determines which processes distinguish between higher-scoring and lower-scoring subjects and which processes are common to all subjects and all items on the test.   The analysis is based on detailed performance characteristics such as verbal protocols, eye fixation patterns and errors.   The theory is expressed as a pair of computer simulation models that perform like the median or best college students in the sample.

The processing characteristic that is common to all subjects is an incremental, reiterative strategy for encoding and inducing the regularities in each problem.   Tha processes that distinguish among individuals are primarily the abiiity to induce abstract relations and the ability to dynamically manage a large set of problem-solving goals in working memory.

I 20. DlSTRIBUTtO’N/AVAlCABlLlTV’OF ABSTRACT Ш UNCLASSIFIED/UNLIMITED П SAME AS RPT.

П OTIC USERS

21. ABSTRACT SECURITY CLASSIFICATION Unclassified

SECURITY CLASSIFICATION OF THIS PAGE

22a. NAME OF RESPONSIBLEINDIVIDUAL

Dr.  Susan Chipman______

DD FORM ШЗ^ mar”

22b. TELEPHONE (Include AreaCode) [22c. OFFICE SYMBOL
202-696-4318                  I       0NRU42CS

83 APR edition may be used until exhausted. All other editions are obsolete.

1

Abstract

This paper analyzes the cognitive processes in a widely used, non-verbal test of analytic intelligence, the Raven Progressive Matrices Test (Raven, 1962).    The a’lalysis determines which processes distinguish between higher-scoring and lower-scoring subjects and which processes are common to all subjects and all items on the test.    The analysis is based on detailed performance characteristics such as verbal protocols, eye fixation patterns and errors.   The theory is expressed as a pair of computer simulation models that perform like the median or best college students in the sample.

The processing characteristic that is common to all subjects is an incremental, re­iterative strategy for encoding and inducing the regularities in each problem.    The processes that distinguish among individuals are primarily the ability to indu*”» abstract relations and the ability to dynamically manage a large set of problem-solving goals in working memory.

5

2

This paper analyzes a form of thinking that is prototypical of what psychologists consider to be analytic intelligence.    We will use the term “analytic intelligence” to refer to the ability to reason and solve problems involving new information, without relying extensively on an explicit base of declarative knowledge derived from either schooling or previous experience.    In the theory of R. Cattell (1963). this form of intelligence has been labeled fluid intelligence and has been contrasted with crystallized intelligence, which more directly reflects the previously acquired knowledge and skills that have been crystallized with experience.   Thus, analytic intelligence refers to the ability to deal with novelty, to adapt one’s thinking to a new cognitive problem.    In this paper, we provide a theoretical account of what it means to perform well on a classic test of analytic intelligence, the Raven Progressive Matrices test (Raven. 1962).

This paper describes a detailed theoretical model of the processes in solving the Raven test, contrasting the performance of college students who are less successful in solving the problems to those who are more successful. The model is based on multiple dependent measures, including verbal reports, eye fixations and patterns of errors on different types of problems.   The experimental investigations led to the development of computer simulation models that test the sufficiency of our analysis. Two computer simulations. FAIRAVEN and BETTERAVEN. express the differences between good and extremely good performance on the test.    FAIRAVEN performs like the median college student in our sample: BETTERAVEN performs like one of the very best.    BETTERAVEN differs from FAIRAVEN in two major ways.    BETTERAVEN has the ability to induce more abstract relations than FAIRAVEN.    In addition. BETTERAVEN has the ability to manage a larger set of goals in working memory and hence can solve more complex problems.   The two models and the contrast between them specify the nature of the analytic intelligence required to perform the test and the nature of individual differences in this type of intelligence.

There are several reasons why the Raven test provides an appropriate test bed to analyze analytic intelligence.    First, the size and stability of the individual differences that the test elicits, even among college students, suggest that the underlying differences in cognitive processes are susceptible to cognitive analysis.    Second, the relatively large number of items on the test (36 problems) permits an adequate data base for the theoretical and experimental analyses of the problem-solving behavior.    Third, the visual format of the problems makes it possible to exploit the fine-grained, process-tracing methodology afforded by eye fixation studies (Just & Carpenter, 1976). Finally, the correlation between Raven test scores and measures of intellectual achievement suggests that the underlying processes may be general, rather than specific to this one test (Court & Raven. 1982), although like most correlations, this one must be interpreted with caution.

The Raven test, including the simpler Standard Progressive Matrices Test and the Coloured Progressive Matrices Test, is also widely used in both research and clinical settings.   The test is used extensively by the military  in several western countries (for example, see Eelmont & Marolla. 1973).    Also, because of its non-verbal format, it is a common research tool used with children, the eldeily. and patient populations for whom it is desirable to minimize the processing of language.    The wide usage means that there is a great deal of information about the performance profiles of various populations.    But more importantly, it means that a cognitive analysis of the processes and structures that underlie performance has potential practical importance in the domains in which the test is used either for research or classification.

Several different research approaches have converged on the conclusion that the Raven

6

3

test measures processes that are central to analytic intelligence.    Individual differences in the Raven correlate highly with those found in other complex, cognitive tests (see Jensen, 1987). The centrality of the Raven among psychometric tests is graphically illustrated in several nonmetric scaling studies that examined the interrelation among ability test scores obtained both from archival sources and more recently collected data (Snow, Kyllonen & Marshalek. 1984).    The scaling solutions for the different data bases showed remarkably similar patterns. The Raven and other complex reasoning tests were at the center of the solution.    Simpler tests were located towards the periphery and they clustered according to their content, as shown in Figure la.    This particular scaling analysis is based on the results from a variety of cognitive tests given to 241 high school students (Marshalek, Lohman & Snow. 1983).    Snow et al. constructed an idealized space to summarize the results of their numerous scaling solutions, in which they placed the Raven test at the center, as shown in Figure lb.    In this idealized solution, task complexity is maximal near the center and decreases outward toward the periphery.    The tests in the annnlus surrounding the Raven test involve abstract reasoning, induction of relations, and deduction. For tests of intermediate or low complexity only, there is a clustering as a function of the test content, with separate clusters for verbal, numerical and spatial tests.    By contrast, the more complex tests of reasoning at the center of the space were highly intercorrelated in spite of differences in specific content.

Insert Figure la and lb – Marshalek et al results

One of the sources of the Raven test’s centrality, according to Marshalek. Lohman and Snow was that “…    more complex tasks may require mcie involvement of executive assembly and control processes that structure and analyze the problem, assemble a strategy of attack on it. monitor the performance process, and adapt these strategies as performance proceeds…”    (1983. p.    124).   This theoretical interpretation is based on the outcome of the scaling studies.    Our research also converges on the importance of executive processes, but the conclusions are derived from a process analysis of the Raven test.

Although there has been some dispute among psychometricians about which tests in the larger space might be said tc reflect analytic intelligence, the Raven test is central with respect to either interpretation.    In one view, intelligence refers to a construct underlying a small range of tests, in particular, those at the center of the space.    This view is associated with Spearman, although Spearman himself avoided the term “intelligence” and instead used the term g to refer to the determinants of shared variance among tests of intellectual ability (Jensen, 1987; Spearman, 1927).    An alternative view, associated with Thurstone, applies the term “intelligence” to a large set of diverse menta! abilities, including quite domain specific abilities, such as those in the periphery of the space (Thurstone, 1938).    Although the two views differ in the size of the spaces which they associate with intelligence, the centrality of the Raven test emerges in either case.   The centrality of the Raven test indicates not only that it is a good measure of intelligence, but also that a theory of the processing in the Raven test should account for a good deal of the reasoning in the other tests in the center of the space as well.

This paper has four parts.    Part I describes the structure of the problems, focusing on the problem characteristics that are likely to tax the psychological processes. Part I also reports two studies that examine the processes empirically, determining which processes distinguish between high scoring subjects and lowfi-scoring subjects and which processes are common to all subjects in their attempts to solve all problems.    Part II describes the two simulation models that perform like the median subject or like the best subject. Part HI compares the performance of the human subjects and the theoretical models in detail. Part IV generalizes the theory and examines its implications for a theory of intelligence.

n i

О Uses                         ^ v,

/      о Film Memory                                                                                            ^ч

N \

/ ч

/ \

/ \

/                                                                                                                 W-Picture                         \

/                                                      Identical Pictures                                      Completion                          \

/                                                           О                                                            О                                  \

.    Number                                                            ^^———– ^                                                                 \

‘    Comparison            • Finding A’s               ^-*                    Paper” ^                                   u w                v

.             ®            © ш ninit oumhn,            /’      Hidden        Form Board                               tw^n        V

/                           © W-Digit Symbol       /            Figures                 д      \                             Gestalt О           \

f                                                         /                        А                            Д \W-Object Assembly                         \

‘                                                      /   Trans.       Develop. Л                           \                                                   \

I                                                   I        cl>er–   s Series.                       ,’                                     Gestalt ,

/ Word        Surface                               \

/

/

\                          Vis. Numb.        Achieve. V.4        w Vnrab                     /                                                    ‘

/

\   Aud. Letter    Span©                \                    “~A        V’       ,

\  Чпап •                                       \                                    A W-hformation                           ., „.                  /

\ \ \

bpan# \W-Arith.A                                        /                          0 W-Picti.re       /

\                                a           A W-Similarities             Arrangement x

« W-Digit Span  v.          W-Comprehension
u Backward             ^ -^________ ^-”

© W-Digit Span

\ …_________ uS ‘                                                                                                          /

\                             u Backward             ^_                     _<-”                                                     у

\ \

N\      Forward

Figure In. A nonmetric scaling of the intercorrelations among various ability tests, showing the centrality of the Raven (from Marshalek, Lohman & Snow, 1983, Figure 2, p. 122).   The tests near the center of the space, such as the Raven and Letter Series Tests, are the most complex and share variance despite their differences in content (figura! versus verbal).   The outwardly radiating concentric circles indicate ,’ecreasing levels of test complexity. The shapes of the plotted points also denote test complexity:    squares (most complex), triangles (intermediate complexity), and circles (least complex).   The shading of the plotted points indicates the content of the test: white (figural), black (verbal) and dotted (numerical). (Reprinted by permission of authors.)

8

Number Compariso .W»Digii Symbol FindingWs Identical Figures
Auditory/Letter Spa Visual Mumber-S ■W-DigifSpanFo W-Digp Span Backward
Anagrams
Street Gestalt Harshman Gestalt
Word Beginnings

and Endings Prefixes Suffixes Synonyms

Figure lb.    An idealized scaling solution that summarizes the relations among ability tests across several sets of data, illustrating Jthe centrality of the Raven test (from Snow, Kyllonen & Marshalek, 1984; Figure 2.9^p. 92).   The outwardly radiating concentric circles indicate decreasing levels of test cfbnplexity.   Tests involving different content (figura!. verbal, and numerical) are separated by dashed radial lines. (Reprinted by permission of authors and publisher).

9

4

PART I: PROBLEM STRUCTURE AND HUMAN PERFORMANCE

A task analysis of the Raven Progressive Matrices. Test suggests some of the cognitive processes that are likely to be implicated in solving the problems. The test consists of a set of visual analogy problems.    Each problem consists of a 3 x 3 matrix, in wliich the bottom right entry is missing and must be selected from an-    g eight response alternatives arranged below the matrix. (Note that the word entry refc     to each of the nine cells of the matrix).    Each entry typically contains с le to five figural elements, such as geometric figures, lines, or background textures. The test instructions tell the test-taker to look across the rows and then look down the columns to determine the rules and then to use the rules to determine the missing entry. The problem in Figure 2 illustrates the format.1

Insert Figure 2 -sample problem

The variation among the entries in a row and column of this problem can be described by three rules:

–   Rule A. Each row contains three geometric figures (s diamond, a triangle and a square) distributed across its three entries.

–   Rule B. Each row contains three textured lines (dark, striped and clear) distributed across its three entries.

–   Rule C. The orientation of the lines is constant within a row. but varies between

rows (vertical, horizontal, then oblique).

The missing entry can be generated from these rules. Rule A specifies that the answer should contain a square (since the first two columns of the third row contain a triangle and diamond). Rule В specifies it should contain a dark line. Rule С specifies that the line orientation should be oblique, from upper left to lower right. These rules converge on the correct response alternative, #5.    Some of the incorrect response alternatives are designed to satisfy an incomplete set of rules.    For example, if a subject induced Rule A but not В or С he might choose alternative #2 or #8.    Similarly, inducing Rule В but omitting A and С leads to alternative #3.    This sample problem illustrates the general structure of the test problems, but corresponds to one of the easiest problems in the test. The more difficult problems entail more rules or more difficult rules, and more figural elements per entry.

Our research focuses on a form of the Raven test that is widely used for adults of higher ability, the Raven Advanced Progressive Matrices. Sets I and li.    Set I. consisting of 12 problems, is often used as a practice test or to obtain a rough estimate of a subject’s abiMty.    It has been pointed out that the first several problems in Set I can be solved by perceptually-based algorithms such аз line continuation (Hunt. 1974).    However, the later problems in Set I and most of the 36 problems comprising Set II which our research examines cannot be solved by perceptually-based algorithms, as Hunt noted.    Like the sample problem in Figure 2, the more difficult problems require that subjects analyze the variation in the problem in order to induce the rules that generate the correct solution. The problems requiring an analytic strategy can be used to discriminate among individuals with higher education, such as college students (Raven, 1965).

10

Figure 2.    A problem to illustrate the format of the Raven items.    The variation among the three geor.ietric forms (diamond, square, triangle! and three textures of the line (dark, striped, clear) is each governed by a distribution-of-three-values rule. The orientation of the line is governed by a constant in a row rule.   (The correct answer is #5).

11

5

Problem difficulty. Although all of the Raven problems share a similar format, there is substantial variation among them in their difficulty.    The magnitude of the variation is apparent from the error rates (shown in Figure 3) of 2256 British adults, including telephone engineering applicants, students at a teacher training college and British Royal Air Force recruits (Forbes. 1964).    There is an almost monotonic increase in difficulty from the initial problems, which have negligible error rates, to the last few problems, which have extremely high error rates.    (The error rates on the final problems reflect failures to attempt these problems in the testing period as well as failures to solve them correctly). The considerable range of error rates among problems leads to the question of what psychological processes account for the differences in problem difficulty and for the differences among people in their ability to solve them.

Insert Figure 3 – Forbes data

The tests origins provide a clue to what the test was intended to measure.    The Raven Progressive Matrices test was developed by John Raven, a student of Spearman.    As we previously mentioned. Spearman (1927) believed that there was one central intellectual ability (which he referred to as g). as well as numerous specific abilities.    What g consisted of was never precisely defined, but it was thought to involve “the eduction of relations”. John Raven’s conception of what his progressive matrices test measured was somewhat more articulated. His personal notes, generously made available to us by his son. J. Raven. indicate that he wanted to develop a series of overlapping, homogeneous problems whose solutions required different abilities. However, the descriptions of the abilities that Raven intended to measure are primarily characteristics of the problems, and not specifications of the requisite cognitive processes.    John Raven constru_ted problems that focused en each of six different problem characteristics, which approximately correspond to the different types of rules that we describe below. He used his intuition and clinical experience to rank order the difficulty of the six problem types.    Many years later, normative data from Forbes. shown in Figure 3. became the basis for selecting problems for retention in newer versions of the test, and for arranging the problems in order of increasing difficulty, without regard to any underlying processing theory. Thus, the version of the test that is examined in this research is an amalgam of John Raven’s implicit theory of the components of reasoning ability and subsequent item selection and ordering done on an actuarial basis.

Hide taxonomy

Across the Raven problems that we have examined, we have found that five different types of rules govern the variation among the entries.    Many problems involve multiple rules, which may all be different rule types or several instances or tokens of the same type of rule.    The problems in Figures 2. 4a. 4b and 4c illustrate the five different types of rules that are described in Table 1.    Almost all of the Raven problems in Sets I and II can be classified with respect to which of these rule types govern its variation, as shown in Appendix A.2

Insert Table 1. Figure 4a. b. с

One qualification to this analysis is that sometimes the set of rules describing the variation in a problem is not unique.    For example, quantitative pairwise progression is often interchangeable with a distribution-of-three-values.    Consider a row consisting of an arrow pointing to twelve o’clock, four o’clock, and eight o’clock.    This variation can be described as a distribution-of-three-values or in terms of a quantitative progression in which the arrow’s orientation is progressively rotated 120 degrees clockwise, beginning at twelve

12

4 ‘ 6  8  10 12 14 16 18 20 22 24 26 28 30 32 34 36

Problem Number

Figure 3.   The percentage error for each problem in Set II of the Raven Advanced Progressive Matrices shows the large variation in difficulty among problems with very similar formats.   The data are from 2256 British adults, including telephone engineering applicants, students at a teacher training college, and British Royal Air Force recruits (Forbes. 1964).

1 О

Table 1: A Taxonomy of Rules in the Raven Test

Constant in a row – the same value occurs throughout a row. but changes down a column.    (See Figure 4b. where the location of the dark component is constant within each row. in the top row. the location is the upper half of the diamond; in the middle row, it is the bottom half of the diamond; and in the bottom row. it is both halves).

Quantitative pairwise progression – a quantitative increment or decrement between adjacent entries in an attribute such as size, position, or number. (See Figure 4a. where the number of black squares in each entry increases along a rov/ from 1 to 2 to 3).

Figure addition or subtraction – a figure from one column is added to (juxtaposed or superimposed) or subtracted from another figure to produce the third. (See Figure 4b. where the figural element in column 1 juxtaposed to the element in column 2 produces the element in column 3).

Distributionof-three-values – three values from a categorical attribute (such as figure type) are distributed through a row.    (See Figure 2. where the three geometric forms (diamond, square, triangle) follow a distribution rule and the three line textures (black, striped, clear) also follow a distribution rule).

Distribution-of-two-values – two values from a categorical attribute are distributed through a row: the third value is null.    (See Figure 4c. where the various figural elements (such as the vertical line, the horizontal line, and the V in the first row) follow a distribution-of-two-values).

14

t »

*

Ц)1ЮИ)[Ю

ю

)И)

Figure 4а.   A problem to illustrate the quantitative pairwise progression rule.   The number of b’ack squares in the top of each row increases by one from the first to the second column and from the second to the third column.    The number of black squares along the left remains constant within a row, but changes between rows from three to two to one.   (The correct answer is #3).

15

5> BORDER

Ф)Е>

♦)

Figure 4b.   A problem to illustrate the figure addition rule.   The figural element in the first column is superimposed on the figural element in the second column to comprise the figural element in the third column.   The position of the darkened element remains constant in a row, but changes between rows from top to bottom to both.   (The correct answer is #8).

16

^ о

)

7\

Figure 4с.   A problem to illustrate the distribution-of-two-values rule.    Each figural

element, such as the horizontal line, the vertical line, the V. and so on. occurs twice in a row and the third value is null.   IThe correct answer ..? #5).

17

6

o’clock.    Similarly, the variation described by a distribution-of-two-values rule may be alternatively described by a figure-addition-modulo-2 rule.    In the case of alternative rules, Appendix A lists the rules most often mentioned by the highest scoring subjects in Experiment la.3

Finding corresponding elements. In problems with multiple rules, the problem solver must determine which figural elements or attributes in the three entries in a row are governed by the same rule, a process that will be called correspondence finding. For example, given a shaded square in one entry, the problem solver might have to decide which figure in another entry, either a shaded triangle or an unshaded square, is governed by the same rule.    Do the squares correspond to each other, or do the shaded figures?    In this example, and in some of the Raven problems, the cues to the correspondence are ambiguous, making it difficult to tell a priori which figural elements correspond to each other.   The correspondence finding process is a subtle source of difficulty because many problems seem to have been constructed by conjoining the figural elements governed by several rules, without much reg£ d for the possible difficulty of conceptually segmenting the conjunction.

The difficulty in correspondence finding can be illustrated with an adaptation of one of the problems {#28. Set II). shown in Figure 5.    A first plausible hypothesis about the correspondences is that the rectangles are governed by one rule, the dark curves by another rule, and the straight lines by a third rule.    This hypothesis reflects the use of a matclnng-names heuristic, namely, that figures with the same name might correspond to each other.    If this hypothesis is pursued further, it becomes clear that although each row does contain two instances of each figure type, the number and orientation of the figures vary unsystematically.    The matching-names heuristic produces an unfruitful hypothesis about the correspondences in this problem.    A subject who has tried to apply the heuristic must backtrack and consider other correspondences based on some other feature, either number or orientation.    Number, like figure identity, does not result in any economical and complete rule that governs location or orientation.    Orientation, the remaining attribute, is the basis for two economical, complete rules.    The horizontal elements in each row can be described in terms of two distribution-of-three-values rules, one governing number (1- 2 and 3 elements) and the second governing figure type (line, curve and rectangle).    Similarly, the vertical elements in each row are governed by the same two rules.    This example illustrates the complexity of correspondence finding, which along with the type of rule in a problem and the number of rules, can contribute to the difficulty of a problem.

Insert Figure 5 – correspondence problem

In addition to variation among problems in the difficulty of correspondence finding, the problems also vary in the number of rules.    Although John Raven intended to evaluate a test taker’s ability to induce relations, he apparently tried to make the induction process more difficult in some problems by including more examples or tokens of rules.    A major claim of the current analysis is that the presence of a larger number ot rule tokens taxes not so much the processes that induce the rules, but the goal management processes that are required to construct, execute and maintain a mental plan of action during the solution of those problems containing multiple rule tokens as well as difficult correspondence finding.

18

ж

J   .

>SDBD

Figure 5. A problem to illustrate characteristics that make it difficult to determine which
figural elements correspond, that is. which are operated on by the same rule.
Subjects initially assume that the rectangles correspond to each other, the dark
curves correspond to each other, and the straight lines correspond to each other.
But to solve the problem, subjects must backtrack and try other possible bases for
correspondence, such as numerosity or orientation.   Orientation turns out to provide
the correct basis. The horizontal figures correspond to each other; their form
(rectangle, dark curve, straight line) and number (1, 3. 2) is governed by distribution-
of-three-values rules.   Similarly, the vertical figures correspond to each other; their
form and number is also governed by distribution-of-three-values rules.   (The correct
answer is #5).
-. л>

I 9

7

Experiment 1: Performance in the Raven test

The purpose of Experiment 1 was to collect more detailed data about the performance in the Raven test to reveal more about the process and the content of thought during the solving of each Raven problem.    Experiments la and lb examined Raven test performance while obtaining somewhat different measures of performance.    Three types of measures provide the basis for the quantitative evaluation of the theory.

The first measure is the frequency and pattern of errors, which were obtained in both Experiments la and lb.    The simulation models account not only for the number of errors that a person of a given ability will make, but also predict which types of problems he will fail to solve.

The second type o.c measure, obtained in Experiment la   reflects on-line processes used during problem solution.    One such on-line measure assessed how the entries in successive rows were visually examined. In particular, measures of the eye-fixation patterns assessed the number of times a subject scanned a row of entries and the nunber of times he looked back and forth (made paired comparisons) between entries.    Another on-line measure was the time between the successive statements of rules uttered by subjects who were talking aloud while solving the problems.    These on-line measures constrain the type of solution processes postulated in the simulations.

A third measure, obtained in Experiment lb. is the subjects’ descriptions of the rules that they induced in choosing a response to each problem.    The subjects’ rules are compared to the rules induced by the simulation models.

Method

Procedure for Experiment la. In Experiment la. the subjects were presented with problems from the Raven test while their eye fixations were recorded. They were asked to talk out loud while they solved the problems, describing what they noticed and what hypotheses they were entertaining.    The subjects were given the standard psychometric instructions and shown two simple practice problems. One deviation from standard psychometric procedure was that subjects were told to pace themselves so as to a^c ..,. – all of the problems in the standard 40 minute time limit.

Stimuli. Experiment la used 34 of the 48 problems in Sets I and II that could be represented and displayed within the raster graphics resolution of our display system, which was 512 x 512 pixels (see Just & Carpenter, 1979, for a description of the video digitization and display characteristics). The stimuli were created by digitizing the video image of each problem in the Raven test booklet.    Appendix A shows the sequence number in the Raven test of the problems that were retained.    The problems that could not be adequately digitized were those with very high spatial frequencies in their depiction, such as .small grids or cross-hatching (Set II #2. 11. 15. 20. 21. 24. 25. 28, 30).    There was little relation between the presence of high spatial frequencies and г problem’s difficulty as indicated by the normative error rate from Forbes (1964) shovn in Figure 3.

Eye fixations. The subjects’ eye fixations were monitovd remotely with an Applied Science Laboratories corneal and pupil-centered eye-tracker that sampled at 60 Hz. ultimately resulting in an x-y pair of gaze coordinates expressed in the coordinate system of the display. The individual x-y coordinates were later aggregated into fixations.    Then. successive fixations on the same one of the nine entries in the problem matrix or on a single response alternative were aggregated together into units called gazes, which constitute the main eye-fixation data base.

Procedure for Experiment lb. Unlike Experiment la. in which subjects gave verbal protocols while they solved each problem, in Experiment lb subjects were asked to work

20

8

silently, make their response, and then describe the rules that motivated their final response.    This change in procedure was intended to provide more complete information about what rules the subjects induced.   These rule statements were then compared to the rules induced by FAIRAVEN and 3ETTERAVEN.    Subjects were given 40 problems, approximately half of vhich were from the Raven Progressive Matrices test and half from the Standard Progressive Matrices Test, involving similar rule types, to increase the number of problems involving more difficult rules.    The subjects in Experiment lb were tested in two sessions separated by about a week with 20 items in each session.

Subjects. In Experiment la. the subjects were 12 Carnegie Mellon students who participated for course credit.    In Experiment lb, the subjects were 22 students from Carnegie Mellon and the University of Pittsburgh who participated for a $10 payment. Data were not included from three additional subjects who did not return for the second session to complete Experiment lb.

Overview of Results

Errors, eye fixations and verbal reports. This overview presents the general patterns of results, particularly results that influenced the design features of the simulation models. This overview, presented in preliminary and qualitative terms, will be followed by a more precise analysis of the data in Part III. after the presentation of the models.

In Experiment la. over all 34 problems, the number of errors per subject ranged from 2 to 20. with a mean of 10.5 (31%). and a median of 10.3.    Although our college student subjects had a lower mean error rate than Forbes’ more heterogeneous sample, the correlation between the error rates of our sample and Forbes’ on the 27 problems in Set II was high. r(25) = .91. In Experiment lb. the meen number of errors for the 40 Raven problems was 11.1 (28%). with a median of 10 errors.4

The error rate on a given problem was related to the types of rules it involved, and the number of tokens of each rule type.    A simple linear regression whose single independent variable was the total number of rules in a problem (irrespective of whether they were of similar or different types, and not counting any constant rules) accounted for 57% of the variance among the mean error rates in Experiment la for the 32 problems classified within our taxonomy. (If any constant rules are counted in with thv, number of rule tokens in a problem, then the percentage of variance accounted for declines to 45%). The median and mean respon&e times for correct responses were generally longer for the problems that had higher error rates (with a correlation of .87 between the mean times and the errors) suggesting that problem difficulty affected both performance measures.

Perhaps the most striking facet of the eye fixations and verbal protocols was the uemonstrably incremental nature of the processing. The way that the subjects solved a problem was to decompose it into successively smaller subproblems, and then proceed to solve each subproblem.    The induction of the rules was incremental, in two respects.    First of all. in problems containing more than one rule, the rules were described one at a time. with long intervals between rule descriptions, suggesting that they were induced one at a time.    Second, the induction of each rule consisted of many small steps, reflected in the pairwise comparison of elements in adjoining entries. These aspects of incremental processing were ubiquitous characteristics of the problem-solving of all of the subjects, and do not appear to be a source of individual differences.    Consequently, the incremental processing played a large role in the design of both simulation models.

A typical protocol from one of the subjects illustrates the incremental processing. Table 2 shows the sequence of gazes and verbal comments made by an average subject (41% errors) solving a problem involving two distribution-of-three-values rules and a constant in a row rule (Set II #1, which is isomorphic to the problem depicted in Figure 2).   The

21

9

subject’s comments are transcribed adjacent to the gazes that occurred during the utterance. (The subject’s actual comments were translated to refer to the isomorphic attributes depicted in Figure 2.) The iocation of each gaze is indicated by labeling the rows in the matrix from top to bottom as row 3, 2 and 3, and the columns from left to right as 1, 2 and 3. such that (1.2) designates the entry in the top row and middle column.    The braces encompassing a sequence of gazes indicate how the gazes were classified in the E.nalysis that counted the number of scans of rows and columns.    The duration of each gaze is indicated in milliseconds next to the location of the gaze.

Insert Figure 6 and Table 2 below it

The verbal report shows that the subject mentioned one attribute at a time, with some * ле interval between the mentions, suggesting that the representation of the entries was being constructed incrementally.    Also, the subject described the rules one at a time, typically with several seconds elapsing between rules.    The subject seemed to construct a complete representation attribute by attribute, and induced the rules one at a time.

The incremental nature of the process is also apparent in the pattern of gazes. particularly the multiple scans of rows and columns and the repeated fixations of pairs of related entries.    These scans are apparent in the sequence of gazes shown in Figure 6. (The numbers indicating the sequence of gazes have been placed in columns to the right of the fixated entries and lines have been drawn to connect the successive fixations of entries within rows).    This protocol indicates the large amount of pairwise and row-wise scanning. For example, like most of the eye fixation protocols, this one began with a sequence of pairwise gazes on first two entries in the top row.    The subject was presumably encoding some of the figural elements in these two entries and comparing their attributes. Then, the subject went on to compare middle and right-most entries of the top row. followed by several scans of the complete row.

The general results, then, are that the processing is incremental, that the number of rule tokens affects the error rates, and that there is a wide range of differences among individuals in their performance on this test.

Experiment 2: Goal management in other tasks

The finding that error rates increase with the number of rule tokens in a problem suggests that the sheer keeping track of figural attributes and rules might be a substantial source of individual differences in the Raven test.    “Keeping track” refers to the ability to generate subgoals in working memory, record the attainment of subgoals, and set new subgoals as others are attained.    Subjects who are successful at goal management in tne Raven test should also perform well on other cognitive tasks involving extensive goal management.    One such task is a puzzle called the Tower of Hanoi, which can be solved using a strategy that requires considerable goal management.    Most research on the Tower of Hanoi puzzle has focused on how subjects induce a correct strategy.    By contrast, in the current study, the inductive aspect of the puzzle was minimized by teaching subjects a strategy beforehand, with extensive instructions and practice.    Errors on the Tower of Hanoi puzzle should correlate with errors on the Raven test, to the extent that both require goal management.

The Tower of Hanoi puzzle consists of three pegs and three or more disks of increasing size arranged on one of the pegs in the form of a pyramid, with the largest disk on the bottom and smallest disk on the top, as shown in the top part of Figure 7.    The subject’s task is to reconstruct the pyramid, moving one disk at a time, on another peg (called the goal peg), without ever putting a larger disk on a smaller disk.    One of the

22

-16 (to 2.3) 19

28 (to 2.2) 53 (to 2.1)

51 (to 3.1)

17(to 3.2)

29 (to 3.3)
31 (to 3.2) 38 (to 3.2)
40 (to 3.1) 42 (to 3.2) 50 (to 1.3)

21————

25 (to 3.1)

54 (to 3.2)

3?(to 2.3)
41
(to 2.2)
44   ———

49 (to 2.2)
52
(to 1.2)
56———–

18 (to 1.2)

27 (to 1.2)

30 (to 2.3)

32

34———–

36

39 (to 2.2)

43

48

-55

-35

■47

Figure 6. The sequence of gazes shown in the protocol in Table 2. Gazes within the same row are connected. The numbers in parentheses indicate the location of a gaze that followed if it was in a different row.

23

Table 2 The locations and durations of gazes in a typical protocol (Subject 5, Raven Set II, problem number 1)

Gaze

No.      Location

Duration

Subject’s comments

(Row,Col)

(msec)

1

Pairvise- 1,2

233

2

(1,1)-(1,2)

1,1

367

3

. 1,2

533

4

‘ 1,1

117

5

Row 1-

1,3

434

6

. 1,2

367

Okay,

7

1,1

516

8

Rov 1-

1,2

400

9

. 1,3

517

10

1,2

550

11

‘ 1,1

383

there’s diamond,

12

Rov 1-

1,2

517

square, triangle

13

. 1,3

285

14

” 1,2

‘599 ш

15

Pairvise-

1,1

533

16

(1,D-(1,2)

. 1,2

468

17

2,3

284

18

3,2

317

19

1,2

434

and they each contain

20

1,1

533

lines through them

21

2,1

434

22

Row 2-

2,2

451

23

.. 2,3

467

24

2,2

2,1

3,1

v. 3,2

1,2

2,2

3,2

2,3

3,2

3,1

3,2

3,3

3,2

L 3,1

2,3

3,2

2,2

3,1

L 2,2

3,2

3,1

#7

#4

Г 3,3

3,2

3,1

24

25

26     Row 3-

27

28

29     Col 2-

30

31

32     Row 3-

33

34

35

36     Row 3-

37

38

39

40    P^irwise-

41  (2,2)-(3,l)
42

Answers-

43     Row 3-44 45 46 47

48     Row 3-49

Table 2 (continued)

467

167

233

267

483

599 J

300

167

133

650

433 J

432 л

167

400

217

583

583

334

267

383

234

183

467

217

199

183

with different shadings

– going from vertical, horizontal, oblique

and the third one should be

25

Table 2 (continued)

50 2,2

350

51

Diagonal-

1,3

150 “

52 I 3′1

433

53

ly

234

54

2,1

117

55

Row 3-

3,2

417

56 57

Ansvers-

w 3,1 #1 366

250 –

58 #5

1900

59 #1 250 „

60 I *S

184

Okay, it should be a square

And should have the

-black line in them

and the answer’s 5.

26

10

most commonly used strategies in the puzzle is called the goal-recursion strategy (Simon. 1975: Kotovsk/. Hayes & Simon. 19851.    With this strategy, the puzzle is solved by first setting the goal of moving the largest disk from ths bottom of the pyramid on the source peg to the goal peg.    But before executing that move, the disks constituting the sub-pyramid above the lar£, Л disk must be moved out of the way.    This goal is recursive because in order to move the sub-pyramid, its largest disk must be cleared, and so on. Thus, to execute this strategy, a subject must set up a number of embedded subgoals.    As the number of di^ks in a puzzle increases, the subject must generate a successively larger hierarchy of subgoals and remember his/her place in the hierarchy while executing successive moves.

Moves in the Tower of Haroi puzzle can be organized within a goal tree which specifies the subgoals that rrust be generated or retained on each move, as pointed out by Egan and Greeno (19741.    Figure 7 shows a diagram of the goal tree when the goal recursion strategy is used in a four-disk problem.    Each branch corresponds to a subgoal and the terminal nodes correspond to individual moves.    The subject can be viewed as doing a depth first search of the goal tree: in the goal-recursion strategy, the subject is taught to generate the subgoals equivalent to those listed in the left-most branch to enable the first move.    Subsequent moves entail either maintaining, generating or attaining various jubgoals.    In particular, on move 1. 5. 9. and 13. the clair. is that the subject should generate one or more subgoals before executing the move: by contrast, no new subgoals need to be generated before other moves.    Egan and Greeno (19741 found that likelihood of an error on a move increased with the number of goals that had to be maintained or generated to enable that move.    Consequently, performance on the Tower of Hanoi goal-recursion strategy should correlate with performance on the Raven test, to the extent that both tasks rely on generating and maintaining goals in working memory.

Insert Figure 7 Goal tree and Tower of Hanoi

Method

Procedure. The subjects were administered the Raven Progressive Matrices Test. Sets I and II. using standard psychometric procedures.    Then the subjects were given extensive instruction and practice on the goal-recursion strategy in 2-disk and 3-disk versions of the Tower    “i Hanoi puzzle.    Finally, all subjects were given Tower of Hanoi problems of increasing size, from 3-^isks to 8-Jisks, although several subjects v,ere unable to complete the 8-disk puzzlf    – d so th2 data analysis concerns only the 3-disk to 7-disk problems. The total numbe     » moves required to s.»Ive a puzzle with N disks using goal recursion is 2N -1.    The stati, and goal pegs for each size puzzle were selected at random from trial to trial.    Between trials, subjects were reminded to use the goal-recursion strategy and they were questioned at the end of all of the trie’s to ensure that they had complied.    In place of a physical Tower of Hanoi, subjects saw a computer-generated (Vaxstation III graphic display, with disks that moved when a source and destination peg were ind’eated with a mouse.    Subjects seldom attempted an illegal move (placing a larger disk on a smaller diskl. but on those few occasions they tried, it was disallowed by the program.    If subjects made a move that was inconsistent with the goal-recursion strategy (and hence would not move them toward the goal), the move was signaled as an error by a computer tone, and the subject was instructed to undo the erroneous move before making the next п.. /e. Thus, subjects could not stray more than one move from the optimal solution path.    The main dependent measure was the total number of errors, that is. moves that were inconsistent with the goal-recursion strategy.

27

CREATE PYRAHID-4 ON GOAL PEG

CREATE PYRAHID-2 ON GOAL PEG
HOVE DISK 3
HOVE DISK 4

HOVE DISK 3

HOVE DISK 4

CLEAR GOAL PEG

HOVE DISK 4

CLEAR DISK 3

A

HOVE DISK 3

CREATE PYRAHID-3 ON GOAL PEG

HOVE PYRAHID-2

7    8   9  10  11 MOVE NUMBER

12

13      14      15

Figure 7. The goal tree generated by the goal-recursion strategy for the four-disk Tower-of-Hanoi puzzle. The tree is traversed depth-first, from left to right, generating the 15 moves.

28

11

Subjects. The subjects were 45 students from Carnegie Mellon, the University of Pittsburgh, and Community College of Allegheny County who participated for $10 payment. They took the Raven Advanced Progresske Matrices test and solved the Tower of Hanoi puzzles.

Results and Discussion

Becar.se of its extensive dependence on goal management, overall performance of the goal-recursion strategy in the Tower of Hanoi puzzle was predicted to correlate highly with the Raven test.    Consistent with this hypothesis, the correlation between errors on the Raven test and total number of errors on the six Tower of Hanoi puzzles was r(43)= .77. p < .01. a correlation that is close to the test-retest reliability typically found for the Raven test (Court & Raven. 1982).    A subanalysis of the higher-scoring subjects was also performed because many analyses that follow later in this paper deal primarily with students who score in the upper half of our college sample on the Raven test.    The subanalysis was restricted to subjects whose Raven scores were within one standard deviation of the mean Raven score in Experiment la or above, eliminating nine low-scoring subjects (scores between 12-17 points on the Raven test).5 Even with this restricted range. the correlation between errors on the Tower of Hanoi puzzles and the Raven test for the 34 students with scores of 20 or higher was highly significant. r(32) = .57.    These correlations support the thesis that the execution of the goal-recursion strategy in the Tower of Hanoi puzzle and performance on the Raven test are both related to the ability to generate and maintain goals in working memory.

A more specific prediction of the theory is that errors on the Tower of Hanoi puzzle should occur on moves that impose a greater burden on working memory and that the effect should depend, in part, on the capacity to maintain goals in working memory, as assessed by the Raven test.    These predictions were supported, as shown in Figure 8. Figure 8 shows the probability of an error on moves that require the generation of 0. 1. or 2 or more subgoals: the four curves are for subjects who are classified according to their Raven test score.    As Figure 8 inc” •afes. the error rates were low and comparable for moves that did not require the generation of additional subgoals: by contrast, lower-scoring subjects made significantly more errors as the number of subgoals to be generated increased, as reflected in an interaction between the subject groups and whether there were 0 or 1 or more subgoals to be generated. FI3.32) = 3.57. p <  .05.    Figure 8 also shows that the best performance was obtained by subjects with the best Raven test performance, FI3.32) = 3.53, p <  .05, and that the probability of an error increases with the number of subgoals to be generated in working memory, F(2,64) = 77.04, p <  .01.    This pattern of results supports the hypothesis that errors in the Tower of Hanoi puzzle reflect the constraints of working memory; consequently, its correlation with the Raven test supports the theory Uiat the Raven test also reflects the ability to generate and maintain goals in working memory.

Insert Figure 8 Tower of Hanoi data

Because the high correlation between the two tasks accounts for most of the reliable variance in the Raven test, it raises the question of whether there is any need to postulate abstraction as an additional source of individual differences in the Raven test.    But using goal-recursion in the Tower of Hanoi puzzle involves some abstraction to recognize each of the many configurations of sub-pyramids to which the strategy should be applied.    Thus. the high correlation probably reflects some shared abstraction processes as well as goal generation and management.

29

Raven Score 20-24

0

2 +

NUMBER OF GENERATED „UBGOALS

Figure 8.   The probability of an error for moves in the Tower uf Hanoi puzzle as a function of the number of subgoals that are generated to enable that move.   The curves represent subjects in Experiment 2 sorted according to their Raven test scores, from best (33-36 points) to low-median (20-25 points) psrformance.

30

12

The Raven test correlates with other cognitive tests that differ from it in form and content, but like the Raven test, appear to require considerable goal management.    One example of such a test is an alphanumeric series completion test, which requires the subject to determine which letter or number should occur next in a series, as in:

1B3D5G7K?? (The answer is 9 P)

Such correlations may reflect the fact that both tasks involve considerable goal generation and management.    A theoretical analysis of the series completion task by Kotovsky & Simon (1973: Simon & Kotovsky. 1963: Williams. 1972) indicated that the series completion test, like the Raven test, requires correspondence finding, pairwise comparison of adjacent corresponding elements, and the induction of rules based on patterns of pairwise similarities and differences.    The general similarity of the underlying processes leads to the prediction of correlated performance in the two tasks despite the minimal visuo/spatia! pattern analysis in the series completion task.    This construal of the correlation is further supported by the fact that some of the sources of individual differences in the series completion task are known and converge with our analysis of individual differences in the Raven test.    Applying the Simon and Kotovsky (1963. 1973) model to analyze the working memory load imposed by different types of series completion problems, it was found that problems involving larger working memory loads differentiated between bright and average-IQ children more than easier problems: this difference suggests that the ability to handle larger memory loads in the series completion task correlates with 1Q (Holzman, Pellegrino & Glaser. 1983).   These correlations, as well as the correlation between the Raven test and the Tower of Hanoi puzzie. strongly suggest that a major source of individual differences in the Raven test is due to the generation and maintenance of goals in working memory.

PART II: THE SIMULATION MODELS

In this section, we first describe the FAIRAVEN model which performs comparably to the median college student in our sample, already a rather high level of performance relative to the population norms.    Then, we will describe the changes required to improve FAIRAVEN’s performance to the highest level attained by our subjects, as instantiated by the BETTERAVEN model.

Overview. The primary goal in developing the simulation models was to specify the processes required to solve the Raven problems. In particular, the simulations should make explicit what distinguishes easier problems from harder problems, and correspondingly, what distinguishes among individuals of different ability levels.    The simulations were designed to perform in a manner indicated by the performance characteristics observed in Experiment la. namely incremental, re-iterative representation and rule induction.

The general outline of how the model should perform is as follows.    The model encodes some of the figures in the first row of entries, starting with the first pair of entries.    The attributes of the corresponding figures are compared, the remaining entry is encoded and compared with one of the other entries, and then the pattern of similarities and differences that emerges from the pairwise comparisons is recognized as an instance of a rule.    In problems involving more than one rule, the model must determine which figural elements are governed by a common rule. The representation is constructed incrementally and the rules are induced one by one. This process continues until a set of rules has been induced that is sufficient to account for all the variation among the entries in the top row. The second row is processed similarly, and in addition, a mapping is found between the rules for the second row and their counterparts in the first row.    The rules for the top two rows are expressed in a generalized form and applied to the third row to generate the

31

13

figural elements of the missing entry, and the generated missing entry is selected from the response alternatives.

The programming architecture. Both FAIRAVEN and BETTERAVEN are written as production systems, a formalism that was first used for psychological modeling by Newell and Simon and their colleagues (Newell. 1973: Newell & Simon. 1972). In a production system, procedural knowledge is contained in modular units called productions, each of which specifies what actions are to be taken when a given set of conditions arises in working memory.   Those productions whose conditions are met by the current contents of working memory are enabled to execute their actions, and they thereby change the contents of working memory (by modifying or adding to the contents).    The new status of working memory then enables another set of productions, and so another cycle of processing starts. All production systems share these control principles, although they may differ along many other dimensions (see Klahr. Langley & Neches. 1987).

The particular production system architecture used for these simulations is CAPS (for Concurrent. Activation-based Production System) (Just & Carpenter. 1987: Just & Thibadeau. 1984: Thibadeau. Just & Carpenter. 1982). Even though CAPS was constructed on top of a conventional system. OPS4 (Forgy & McDermott. 1977). it deviates in several ways from conventional production systems.    One distinguishing property is that on any given cycle. CAPS permits all the productions whose conditions are satisfied to be enabled in parallel with each other.    Thus CAPS has the added capability of parallelism, in addition to the inherent seriality of a production system. By contrast, conventional production systems enable only one production per cycle, regardless of how many of them have had their conditions met. requiring some method for arbitrating among satisfied productions. Another distinguishing property of CAPS is that knowledge elements can have varying degrees of activation, whereas in conventional systems, elements are either present or absent from working memory.    Other properties of CAPS, not used in the present applications, are described elsewhere (Just & Thibadeau. 1984: Thibadeau. Just & Carpenter. 1982).

FAIRAVEN

FAIRAVEN consists of 121 productions which can be roughly divided into three categories: perceptual analysis, conceptual analysis and responding. These three categories, which respectively account for approximately 48%. 40% and 12% of all the productions, are indicated in the block diagram in Figure 9.    The productions that constitute the perceptual analyzer simulate some aspects of the visual inspection of the stimulus.    Thjse productions access information about the visual display from a stimulus description file and bring this information into working memory as percepts.    These productions also notice some relations among percepts.   The productions in the conceptual analyzer try to account for the variation among the entries in one or more rows by inducing rules that relate the entries. The responder uses the induced rules to generate a hypothesis about what the missing matrix entry should be and it then determines which of the eight response alternatives best fits that hypothesis. The next sections describe each of the three categories in more detail. This description is followed by a example of how FAIRAVEN solved the problem shown in Figure 2.

Insert Figure 9 – FAIRAVEN modules

Perceptual analysis

FAIRAVEN operates on a stimulus description that consists of a hand-coded, symbolic description of each matrix entry.    Thus, the visual encoding processes that generate the symbolic representation lie outside the scope of the model.   This incompleteness does not

32

Stimulus Description

List of Fixations

fc

*

Perceptual Analysis

1) Encoding

2) Finding correspondences

3) Pairwise comparison


<

WORKING MEMORY

Current Representation

Conceptual Analysis

1) Row-wise rule induction

2) Generalization


<r

(fig 1 ^I(fig 1 (fig 1 (percl (percl (регсЗ (rule 1 (rule 1

:pos (1 D) :attrl percl) :attr2 perc2) :desc big) :diff регсЗ) :diff perc5) :val distr.) :perc 1,3,5)

Response Generation and Selection

i– ) “-

Figure 9.   A block diagram of FAIRAVEN.   The perceptual analysis productions,

conceptual analysis productions, and response generation productions all interact through the contents of working memory.   The perceptual analysis productions accept stimulus descriptions and generate a list of simulated fixations.

33

*ш

14

compromise our analysis of individual differences, for three reasons.    First, the high correlations between the Raven trt and other non-visual tests (such as alphanumeric series completion and verbal analogies, shown in Figure la) indicate that visual encoding processes are not a major source of individual differences.    Second, our protocol studies of the Raven test suggest that subjects have no difficulty perceiving and encoding the figures in each entry of a problem, such as squares, lines, angles, and so on.    Third, the protocols indicate that the subjects do have difficulty determining the correspondences among figures and their attributes, a process that lies within the scope of the model.

Stimulus descriptions. The perceptual analysis productions operate on a symbolic description of each matrix entry and response alternative. To generate these descriptions, an independent group of subjects was asked to describe the entries in each problem, one entry at a time, without any problem-solving goal.    The modal verbal descriptions served as the basis for the stimulus descriptions.    The typical descriptions were in terms of basic-level figures (Rosch. 1975) and their attributes, such as a square, a line, striped, and so on.    For example, the entry in the upper left of the matrix shown in Figure 2 would be described as a concatenation of two figures, a diamond and a line, with the line having the attributes of orientation (vertical) and texture (dark).    The stimulus description of some figures contained an additional level of detail that was accessed if the base-level description was insufficient to establish correspondences, as in the case of embedded figures.

The perceptual analysis is done by three subgroups of productions that (1) encode the information about the figures. (2) determine the correspondences and (3) compare the figures in adjacent entries to obtain a pattern of pairwise similarities and differences. Each subgroup is described in turn.

Encoding productions. These productions, the only access path to the stimulus information, transfer some or all of the information from the description file into working memory when such information is requested.    If the entries in a given problem contain figures with several attributes, then FAIRAVEN will go through multiple cycles of perceptual analysis of the entries in a row. until all the attributes have been analyzed. This behavior of the model was intended to express the incremental processing and re­iterative scanning of the entries that was evident in the human eye fixation patterns. Some of the simulated inspections of the stimulus, like the initial inspection of an entry. are data-driven.    If an entry’s position in the matrix is specified, one of the encoding productions returns the names of each figure in that entry and the number of figures, but not any attribute information.    Other inspections can be driven by a specific conceptual goal, such as the need to determine attributes of a particular figure.    If an entry’s position and the name of a figure are specified, one of the encoding productions returns an attribute of the figure and, if requested, its value.    These encoding productions, which are more conceptually driven, are evoked after hypotheses are formulated in the course of inducing and verifying rules.

Finding correspondences between figures. In most problems, because more than one rule is operating, it is necessary to conceptually group the figures in a row that are operated on by each rule.    The main heuristic procedure that subjects seem to use is to hypothesize that figures having the same name (e.g. line) should be grouped together. Similarly. FAIRAVEN uses a matching- names heuristic, which hypothesizes that figures having the same name correspond to each other.    A second heuristic rule used by FAIRAVEN is the matching-leftovers heuristic, which hypothesizes that if all but one of the figures (or attributes) in two adjacent entries have been grouped, then those leftover figures (or attributes) correspond to each other.    For example, for the problem depicted in Figure 2. the matching-names heuristic hypothesizes the correspondence among the three lines and the matching-leftovers heuristic hypothesizes correspondence among the geometric figures that are leftover in each entry.

34

15

FAIRAVEN also tries to establish correspondences between the figures in different rows by expressing how the rules from a previous row account for the variation in the new row. usually by generalizing the rule.

Pairwise comparison. The pairwise comparison productions perform the fundamental perceptual comparisons between figures or attributes that are hypothesized to correspond to each other, and thus provide the data-base for the conceptual processing.    These productions determine whether the elements are the same or different with respect to one of their attributes.    For example, consider a row of three entries consisting of successive sets of circles: о oo ooo.    By comparing the circle in the first entry with the two circles in the second entry, these productions would establish that they differ in the attribute of numerosity   such that the second entry has one more circle. These productions would then determine that this difference also characterizes the relation between the second and third entries. Both of these differences would be noted in working memory, and would serve as the input to a production that hypothesizes a systematic variation in the numerosity of the circles across the three columns.    The human counterpart of the pairwise comparison processes may be responsible for the one or more pairs of gazes between two related entries in the eye fixation protocols.

Conceptual analysis

The conceptual-analysis productions induce the rules that account for the variation among the figures and attributes in each of the first two rows.    For example, if the numerosity of an element is one in column 1. two in column 2. and three in column 3, then a rule-induction production would hypothesize that the variation in numerosity is governed by a rule that says “add one as you progress rightward from column to column”. The types of rules FAIRAVEN knows are:

–   Constant in a row

–   Quantitative pairwise progression

–   Distribution-of-three-values

–   Figure addition or subtraction

Note that this list of rules does not include distribution-of-two-values, even though it is one of the rules governing the variation in some of the problems. The reason for omitting this rule is that problems containing this rule could not be solved with FAIRAVEN’s limited correspondence-finding ability.    Also, problems containing this rule were often unsolved by the median subjects whom FAIRAVEN was intended to simulate.6

The main information on which the rule-induction productions operate are the patterns of pairwise similarities and differences.    When a particular pattern of variation in the entries has been encoded in working memory, it directly evokes the appropriate rule-inducing production.    Some of the productions in this module induce a rule to account for just one row ft a time, whereas others induce a generalized form of the rule by combining the rules that apply to corresponding figures in both the first and the second rows. The generalization is made by expressing the rules in terms of variables rather than using the actual values encountered in the first two rows. The more general form of the rules induced by the model are intended to be counterparts of the human subjects’ verbal statements of the rules.    In a later section, the simulation’s and human subjects’ statements of rules will be compared with respect to their content and the time in the trial at which they occur.

35

16

The perceptual analysis and the conceptual analysis are applied to the second row much as to the first row. except that the processing of the second row includes one additional step, namely establishing correspondences between the figures in the first and second rows.    The perceptual analysis of the first two entries in the third row is similar to the analysis of the second row. including encoding, finding correspondences, and doing pairwise comparisons to determine which figures or values vary and which are constant in the first two entries.    When this processing has been done, the response-generation productions take over.

Response generation and selection

The productions in this module use the hypothesized rules and the information in the first two columns of the third row to generate the missing entry in the third column.    The general form of the rule that applies to the first two rows must be instantiated in terms of the specific values encountered in the first two entries in the third row.    In problems containing more than one rule, the inter-row correspondence between figures indicates which rules to associate with which figures.    Then the instantiated rule (or rules) is applied to generate the missing entry.    FAIRAVEN searches through the response alternatives for one that adequately matches the generated missing entry.

FAlRAVEN’s strategy of generating the figures and attributes of the missing entry and then finding it among the alternatives closely corresponds to what the higher-scoring subjects did.    The lower-scoring subjects sometimes scanned the response alternatives before inducing the rules, particularly in the case of the more difficult problems.    Other researchers have also found that lower-scoring subjects are more likely to use response elimination strategies for geometric analogy problems, whereas higher-scoring subjects are more likely to determine the properties of the desired response before examining the response alternatives (Bethell-Fox. Lohman & Snow. 1984: Dillon & Stevenson-Hicks. 1981).

An example of FAlRAVEN’s performance

FAlRAVEN’s processes ran be illustrated by describing how the model solves the problem depicted in Figure 2.    FAIRAVEN starts by examining the top row.    The variation among the three entries in a row is found by examining the pairwise similarities and differences between the figures and attributes found in adjacent columns.    The first pairwise comparison is between the entries in the first and second columns of the top row.    The encoding productions determine that the first encry contains a diamond and line and the second entry contains a square and line.    The productions that find correspondences use the matching-names heuristic to postulate a correspondence between the lines that occur in the two entries.    Once a correspondence is found between the lines, the matching-leftovers heuristic is used to postulate a second correspondence between the diamond and the square. FAIRAVEN then compares the entries in the second and third columns.    The lines in the second and third columns are postulated to correspond to each other, and the square is postulated to correspond to the triangle.    The pattern of variation among the lines evokes the induction of a rule requiring that each entry in a row contain a line.    Note that this is not the final form of the rule.    The pattern of variation among the other figures in correspondence, namely the diamond, square and triangle, evokes the induction of a distribution-of-three-values rule, such that each row contains one each of a diamond, square and triangle in its three entries.

After these two rules have been induced, there is a second iteration of inspecting the entries in the first row.    In the second iteration, the variation in the texture of the lines is noted and this evokes the rule that each set of lines in a row has a texture that is either black, striped or clear.    On this second and subsequent iterations, one attribute (and its

36

17

value) per figure is perceived.   Thus, the total number of iterations on a row depends on the maximum number of attributes possessed by any of the figures. As the variation in each additional attribute is discovered, one or more additional rules are induced to account for the variation. Thus, the perceptual and conceptual analyses are temporally interwoven.

The order in which the various attributes are processed is determined by the order in which they are encoded, which in turn is determined by their order in the stimulus description file, which in turn was guided by their order of mention by the subjects who only described the entries.    So on the next iteration. FAIRAVEN encodes the orientation of the line.    The value is vertical for each line, so FAIRAVEN hypothesizes a constant in a row rule.    The final (null) iteration reveals no further percepts to be accounted for. so FAIRAVEN proceeds to the second row.    Note the similarity of FAIRAVEN’s processing to the protocol of the human subject shown in Table 2. reflecting the incremental re-iterative nature of the processing.    For both the model and the subject, there are multiple visual scans of the first row. and in both cases, there is a considerable time interval between the induction of the different rules.

The processing of the second row closely resembles that of the first row. in that the lines and geometric shapes are encoded, and the correspondence among the lines and among the shapes is noticed.    The rules governing the geometric shapes, line textures and line orientation are induced.    In addition, the correspondences between the geometric shapes in the first two rows is noticed, as is the correspondence between the lines, and a mapping is made between the rules for the two rows.    It is noted that the rules governing line orientation are different in the two rows (constant vertical orientation in the first row. horizontal in the second row). Note that the subject’s eye fixation protocol in Table 2 shows a scan of Row 2 interspersed with scattered inspections of Row 1, which may reflect the mappings from one row to another.

FAIRAVEN proceeds to Row 3 having formulated a generalized form of the rules. namely distribution of the three geometric shapes, distribution of the three line textures, and a constant orientation of lines in all the entries in a row.    The inspection of the geometric figures in the first two columns of Row 3 indicates which one of the triplet of shapes is missing (the square). Inspection of the line textures indicates which is missing (the black). Finally, the orientation of the lines in the first two columns indicates that the constant value of line orientation will be slanted from upper left to lower right.

The application of the three rules to the knowledge about the first two entries of Row 3 is sufficient to correctly generate the missing entry: a square and a line. Only the three response alternatives that contain a square and line (#2, #5, and #8) are given any further consideration. The generated missing entry contains a black slanted (from upper left to lower right) line which matches alternative #5, which is chosen as the answer.

FAIRAVEN solved 23 of the 34 problems it was given, the same as the median score of the 12 Carnegie Mellon students in Experiment la.    Like the median subjects it is intended to simulate. FAIRAVEN solved the easier problems and could not solve most of the harder problems.    The point-biserial correlation between the error rate for each problem in Experiment la and a dichotomous coding of FAIRAVEN’s success or failure on the problem was r(32) = .67. g <.01. indicating that the model was more likely to succeed on the same problems that were solved by more of the human subjects.    FAIRAVEN’s performance on each problem is given in Appendix A. However, we will postpone a detailed analysis of the errors until Part III.

For the present purposes, the important point is that FAIRAVEN performed credibly. but at the same time, it had several limitations that prevented it from solving more problems,    ^irst. FAIRAVEN had no ability to induce rules that do” not contain corresponu.ig arguments (figures or attributes) in all three columns.    Consequently, FAIRAVEN could not solve the problems involving the distribution-of-two-values rule.

37

18

Second. FAIRAVEN had difficulty in problems in which the correspondence among figural elements is not found by either the matching-names heuristic nor the matching-leftovers heuristic, such as correspondences based on location or texture.    In these cases, the initially hypothesized correspondences based on figure names did not result in a correct rule, but FAIRAVEN had no w&y to backtrack.    Third. FAIRAVEN had difficulty when too many high-level goals arose at the same time, and FAIRAVEN tried to pursue them concurrently. This situation occurred in problems with three or four rule tokens, when the perceptual evidence to support the multiple rules emerged simultaneously.    FAIRAVEN tried to confirm all the rules in parallel, as CAPS permits, but the resulting bookkeeping load was unmanageable.    In spite of these limitations, it is important to note that this program was able to perform on an intelligence test as well as some college students, using strategies similar to theirs, and exhibiting similar behavior to theirs.

BETTERAVEN

The higher-scoring subjects in our experiments performed better than FAIRAVEN: what psychological processes distinguish them from the median-scoring subjects and from FAIRAVEN? The BETTERAVEN model is our best current answer. The development of BETTERAVEN used FAIRAVEN as a starting point and did as little reorganization and addition as possible. The resulting model. BETTERAVEN. exercises more direct strategic control over its processes. Also. BETTERAVEN can induce more abstract rules based on more abstract correspondences (permitting null arguments).

BETTERAVEN’s improved strategic control necessitated the addition of a fourth category of productions, as shown in the block diagram in Figure 10.    The new category is a goal monitor that sets strategic and tactical goals, monitors progress towards them, and adjusts the goals if necessary.    In addition, the control structure of BETTERAVEN. as governed by the goal monitor, is somewhat changed.    In BETTERAVEN. only one category of productions can be operating at a given time.    BETTERAVEN also had some changes made to the perceptual and conceptual analyzers.    The correspondence-finding processes are more sophisticated, allowing BETTERAVEN to handle rules applying to null arguments, such as a distribution-of-two-values rule. The conceptual analyzer also has more rules in its repert’.jic nnd uses the goal monitor to control the order in which rules are induced.    The responder is effectively ur ‘ nnged from FAIRAVEN.

Insert Figure 10 BETTERAVEN modules

The goal monitor

A module containing 15 productions sets main goals and subgoals for the model.    The main purposes of the goal monitor are to ensure that higher-level processes (namely, rule induction) occur serially and not concurrently, to provide an effective serial order for inducing rules (i.e. conflict resolution), to maintain an accounting of the model’s progress towards its goals, and to appropriately modify its path to the solution when a difficulty is encountered. The goal monitor has a knowledge base that contains the goal structure for this task.    For example, when starting to work a new problem, the goal monitor might set the following goals and subgoals. and keep a record of their satisfaction or non-satisfaction:

38

GOAL MONITOR

/T\

J

Л

Stimulus DescriDtion

List of Fixations

£

*

»

Perceptual Analysis

1) Encoding

2) Finding correspondences

3) Pairwise comparison


<>

Ж.

WORKING MEMORY

Goal Memory

Current Representation

^

Conceptual Analysis .

1) Row-wise rule induction

2) Generalization


<

*

(fig 1 (fig 1 (fig 1 (percl (percl (регсЗ (rule 1 (rule 1

:pos (1 i)) :attri percl) :attr2 perc2) :desc big) :diff регсЗ) :diff perc5) :val distr.) :perc 1,3,5)

• • • •

*

Response Generation and Selection

i—>

• • • •

Figure 10. A block diagram of BETTERAVEN. The distinction from FAIRAVEN visible from the block diagram is the inclusion of a goal monitor that generates and keeps track of progress in a goal tree.

39

19

Top Goal: Solve problem

Subgoal 1: Find all rules in top row

Subgoal 2: Do a first scan of top row

Subgoal 3: Compare adjacent entries

Subgoal 4: Find what aspects are SAME. DIFFERENT,

or NO-RELATION

To attain these goals, each row is re-iteratively scanned and rules are induced to account for the variation, with the number of iterations increasing with the complexity of the entries.    This behavior of the model is motivated by the re-iterative nature of the eye fixation data and by the concurrent verbal protocols.

The management of the goal stack is under the exclusive control of the goal monitor. When it is appropriate to change the model’s level of analysis, the goal monitor changes the current goal to either a parent goal or a subgoal.    The consequence of setting a particular goal is to evoke some subset (module! of productions, such as the perceptual analysis module or the response generation module. The monitor keeps a record of which goals have been set. and what the current goal is.    This knowledge makes it possible to backtrack where necessary.    Four back-tracking productions take back specific hypothesized rules that have been proven unfruitful, as well as taking back hypotheses about what the relevant attribute is and which elements correspond to each other.    It is important to note that both BETTERAVEN and FAIRAVEN have goal management capability, but that BETTERAVEN’s capability was enhanced as described.

Changes in the perceptual analyzer

The major change to the perceptual analyzer is that the heuristics for finding correspondences among figures are more genera’   overcoming several difficulties encountered by FAIRAVEN’s heuristics. One type of difficulty arose when the number of figures per entry was not the same in each of the entries in a row. This difficulty occurs in problems containing a distribution-of-two-values rule, as well as figure addition and subtraction, in which a figure in one entry has no counterpart whatsoever in another entry.    Since FAIRAVEN insisted on assigning a counterpart to every figure in every entry, it would err in such problems (as did many of the lower-scoring subjects). To deal with such rules, BETTERAVEN’s new correspondence-finding productions in the perceptual analyzer assign a leftover element in one of a pair of entries to a null counterpart in another entry.

A second type of difficulty arose when the correspondence was based on an attribute other than the figures’ name (such as two different figures having the same texture or positionl.    When the matching-names (or any other) heuristic fails to lead to a satisfactory rule. BETTERAVEN’s goal monitor can backtrack, postulate a correspondence based on an alternative attribute, and proceed thenceforth. By contrast. FAIRAVEN kept no record of choosing a correspondence heuristic and had no way of backing up to it if the choice turned out incorrect.

40

20

Rule induction

BETTERAVEN’s rule-induction was improved over FAIRAVEN’s by virtue of serial rule induction (imposed by the goai monitor), the presence of a new ruie Idistribution-of-two-valuesl. and more general rules for figure addition and possible (enabled by the improved correspondence finding).    Furthermore, the goal monitor permits BETTERAVEN to backtrack when a postulated rule fails to account for the variation.

Enforcing seriality in rule induction. In FAIRAVEN’s solving of the easier problems. it did no harm to hypothesize all the rules concurrently, because the rules were different enough and few enough that the processing consequences were manageable.    However, in problems containing more difficult rules and a larger number of rules, the concurrent postulation of several rules led to several Jifficulties.    First, the’? were competing attempts to simultaneously account tor the same variation with two or more rules, which made the bookkeeping requirements unacceptably large in FAIRAVEN.    Second, in problems with many figures, there v»s so much variation in figures that some of the more arcane variation did not become evident unless the more mundane variation was first accounted for. or. in some sense, removed.    For example, in one of the problems containing two rules, it is much easier for the program land human subjects) to induce a distribution-of-two-values rule after the other figures have been accounted for with a figure addition rule.    Finally. tb       man verbal protocols strongly suggested that the subjects attempted to fit only one ruL i с a tb :e to the figures.    Although CAPS permits parallelism at all levels, attempts гч parallelism at FAIRAVEN’s higher conceptual levels Inamely rule induction) wreaked havoc. while parallelism at the lower perceptual levels caused no difficulty.

To improve BETTERAVEN’s performance. BETTERAVEN was per..  c-.d to induce only one rule at a time, and furthermore, productions from the differ.;       dules were not permitted to fire concurrently. So the perceptual and conceptual modules -л BETTERAVEN differ from each othe. in two respects: the time at which they dominate learly in the trial for the perceptual module, versus late for the conceptual) and whether they can tolerate concurrence (concurrence for the perceptual, seriality for the conceptual).

The seriality of rule-induction and consequent processing in BETTERAVEN is enforced by conflict-resolution rules chat arbitrate between any of the rule types that are hypothesized concurrently. The priorities prevent the later rules from tiring until the earlier rules have had a chance to try to account for the variation.    The priority among the rule types in the model is the following.

  1. Constant in a row
  2. Quantitative pairwise progression
  3. Distribution-of-three-values
  4. Figure addition or subtrai   on 5   Distribut’on-of-two-values

BETTERAVEN’s design required that there be an ordering, so that only one rule would be induced at a time, as it was in the human performance.    However. BETTERAVEN’s design did not dictate what that ordering should be.    Three partial orderings were derived, based largely on several empirical results and logical considerations. First, the priority accorded to the constant in a row rule is based on the fact that it accounts for the most straightforward, null variation, and is so relatively easy that it sometimes goes unmentioned in the human protocols. However, recall that the data do not

41

21

eliminaii the possibility that this rule can be induced in parallel with others, so the ordering; of this rule type should not be ovei interpreted.    Second, figure addition/subtraction h’z priority over distribution-of-two-values because it accounts for more figures in a row (each of the addends plus the sum, for a total of four figural components), while distribution-of-two-values accounts for only two figural components.    Finally, quantitative pairwise progression is given priority over the distribu< >n-of-two-values by human subjects. as we learned from a study briefly described below.

Jan Maarten Schraagen performed a study in our laboratory that compared the relative time of mention of quantitative oairwise progression rules versus distribution-of-two-values rules. To control for the possibility that the order in which rules are induced depends primarily on the relative salience of the figural components to which they apply, ovo isomorphs of each problem were constructed, differing in which rule applied to which figura! elements.    For example, in one isomorph a quantitative pairwise progression rule might cipply to the numerosity of lines, and a distribution-of-two-values rule might apply to some trangles.    In the other isomorph. the quantitative pairwise progression rule would apply to the triangles, whereas the distribution-of-two-values rule would apply to the numerosity of lines.    There were 86 observations (interpretable verbal protocols in correctly solved problems), and in 83% of these observations, the pairwise quantitative rule was induced before the distribution-of-two-values rule.    This empirical finding confirms that at least part of the order in which the simulation induces the rules corresponds to the order in which people do.

PART III: COMPARING HUMAN PERFORMANCE TO THE THEORY

In this section, we compare the human performance to the simulation models for three types of performance measures: (1) error patterns. (2) the content of the rules that were induced, and (3) on-line measures, specifically, patterns of eye fixations and verbal reports.

1. Error patterns

As described earlier. FAIRAVEN solved 23 of the 34 problems, which is the median score of the 12 subjects in Experiment la.    (Recall that only 32 of the problems were classifiable within our taxonomy).    BETTERAVEN lived up to its name, solving all but the two unclassifiable problems, similar to the performance of the best subject in Experiment la.    Thus, the performance of FAIRAVEN and BETTERAVEN resembles the median and best performance respectively. The patterns of human errors will be analyzed in more detail below, to determine what characteristics of * e problems are associated with the variation in error rates. Following this analysis, a more detailed comparison will be made between the human error patterns and those of the simulation models.

Interpretable patterns of errors emerge when the problems are grouped according to the properties in our taxonomy.    The error rates of problems grouped this way are given in Tab’;-* 3.    The rows of the table correspond to different problem types that are distinguished by the type of rule involved, the number of different types of rules, and the total number of rules (of any type) and whether some of the problems in that group involved difficult correspondence-finding.    The error patterns in Experiments la and lb are generally consistent with each other, even though the two experiments are not exact replications, because only half of thp problems in Experiment lb are from the Raven Advanced Progressive Matrices test and half are similar problems from the Standard Progressive Matrices test.

42

22

Insert Table 3 – problem char, table

In general, the error rates increase down the column as the number of rules in a problem increases.    The lowest error rate. 6% in Experiment la and 9% in Experiment lb, is associated with problems containing only a pairwise quantitative progression rule, indicating how easy this rule type was for our sample of subjects.    Problems with pairwise quantitative progression rules may oe relatively easy because, unlike all the other rules, this rule can be inferred from a pairwise comparison of only two figures.    Repeated pairwise fixations between adjacent entries occurred frequently, even for lower-scoring subjects. Pairwise comparison may be a basic bvilding block of cognition, and consequently, it was made a basic architectural feature of the simulations.

The next lowest error rate is associated with problems that contain a single token of a figure addition or subtraction rule, or a distribution-of-three-values rule, shown in the second and third rows of Table 3. The rules relating the three entries in these problem types require that the subject consider all three arguments simultaneously, rather than only generalize one of the pairwise relations. To induce these types of rules, the subject must reason at a higher level of abstraction than that needed for pairwise similarities and differences. The verbal protocols in t.iese problems indicated that the subjects who were having difficulty often persisted in searching for a single pairwise relation that accounted for the variation among all three entries.

The number of rule tokens appears to be a powerful determinant of error rate.    The effect is seen clearly in the contrast between the relatively low error rate for problems with only one token (in the first three rows), averaging 16%. versus the error rate for problems with three or four tokens (in the last three rows), averaging 59%.    One reason why it is harder to induce multiple rule tokens is that it requires a greater number of iterations of rule-induction to account for all of the variation.    Moreover, keeping track of the variation associated with a first rule while inducing the second rule (or third rule) imposes an additional load on working memory. Approximately 50% of the errors on problems with multiple rules may arise from an incomplete analysis of the variation, as indicated in the ongoing verbal reports by a failure to mention at least one attribute or rule.7 Such incompleteness may be partially attributed to failing to maintain the goal structures in working memory that keep track of what variation is accounted for and what variation remains unexplained.    Another process made more difficult by multiple rules is correspondence finding.    As the number of rules increases, so does the number of figural elements or the number of attributes that vary across a row.    This, in turn, increases the difficulty of conceptually grouping the elements that are governed by each rule token.

The difficulties of correspondence finding were particularly apparent for problems with multiple possible correspondences and Misleading cues to correspondences (like the problem in Figure 5 described earlier).    An analysis of the subjects’ verbal reports in all the problems identified as having misleading or ambiguous correspondence cues indicates that the correspondence finding process was a source of significant difficulty. The reports accompanying 74% of the errors in these problems indicated that the subject had either postulated incorrect correspondences among figural elements, or was not able to determine which elements corresponded. Sometimes subjects reflected this latter difficulty by saying that they couldn’t see a pattern, even after extensive visual search or after having initially postulated and retracted various incorrect correspondences and rules.

In contrast to the types of rules whose impact is evaluated in Table 3. the presence of a constant in a row rule had a small or negligible impact on performance.    The mean error rate and response time for six problems containing the constant rule (involving distribution-of-three-values or figure addition/subtraction) was 30% and 38.9 seconds respectively, which is similar to those measures for eight comparable problems that did not

43

Table 3

Error rate (X) for different problem types

Number  Number                                                                     Experiment

la

lb

(n=12)

(n=22)

6

9

17

13

29

25

29

21

48

54

56

42

59

54

66

77

of Rule of Rule Types   Tokens     Rule Type

1               1         Pairwise progression

1               1         Addition/Subtraction

1               1         Distribution of 3 values

1             2        Distribution of 3 values

2             2        Two different rules12

1        3,4  Distribution of 2 values’

о

2        4   Distribution of 2, 3 values’

1      3    Distribution of 3 values

This category is a miscellany of problems that contain two different rule types, such as addition and distributior.-of-three-values, or quantitative pairwise progression and distribution-of-three-vaiues.

Corresponding elements are ambiguous or misleading for some or all of the problems in these categories.

44

23

involve a constant rule (28%. 41.9 seconds). One possible reason for the minimal impact of a constant in a row rule is that unlike any other type of rule, it requires storing only one value li.e. the constant) for an attribute.

The analysis of the human error patterns above can be compared to those of the simulation models. To make this comparison, the problems shown in Table 3 were grouped further, dividing the table into the first four rows consisting of the easier problems and the last four rows consisting of the harder problems, namely, those involving multiple rules. more abstract rules, and/or misleading correspondences.   The subjects to whom FAIRAVEN should be most similar are those with scores close to the median.    The six subjects in Experiment la whose total score was within 10% of the median had a 17% error rate on the easier problems, and a 70% error rate on the harder problems.    In comparison, FAIRAVEN has ь 0% error rate on the easier problems, and a 90% error rate on the harder problems.   Thus, the FAIRAVEN model has a similar error profile to the subjects it rt‘as intended to simulate, appropriately matching the difficulty these subjects have with problems containing multiple rule tokens and difficult correspondences. The BETTERAVEN model and the subjects to whom it should be similar (namely, the best subjects) can solve almost all of the problems, so they have similar (essentially null) error profiles. Appendix A indicates the performance on each problem of Experiment la by the human subjects and by the two simulation models.

Modifications of BETTERAVEN

In addition to comparing FAIRAVEN and BETTERAVEN to the human performance, it is possible to degrade various abilities of BETTERAVEN and examine the resulting changes in performance.    A demonstration that degraded versions of BETTERAVEN account for intermediate levels of performance between the levels of FAIRAVEN and BETTERAVEN can provide converging support for the present analysis of individual differences.    Graceful degradation of BETTERAVEN also provides a sensitivity analysis that can indicate which of the new features of BETTERAVEN contributed to its improved performance.    “Cognitive lesions” were made in BETTERAVEN to assess how its added features contributed to its superiority over FAIRAVEN.    The two features of BETTERAVEN that were modified pertained to (1) abstraction, in particular, the ability to induce the distribution-of-two-values rule and (2) goal management.

Lesioning abstraction ability. One source of BETTERAVEN’s advantage over FAIRAVEN is its ability to form abstract correspondences (involving null arguments) and hence induce the distribution-of-two-values rule.    BETTERAVEN used this rule in nine of the eleven most difficult problems; these were all problems that FAIRAVEN did not solve and BETTERAVEN did.    Because the abstraction ability was firmly enmeshed with BETTERAVEN’s processing, it was not possible to lesion it without disabling BETTERAVEN entirely.    However, it was possible to lesion (eliminate) the distribution-of-two-values rule from BETTERAVEN’s repertoire, in a model called BETTEFAVEN-without-distribution-of-2-rule. Not surprisingly, this modified model did not correctly solve the nine problems in which the rule had been used by BETTERAVEN (as shown in Appendix A), degrading its performa    _. со the level of FAIRAVEN. However, it would be incorrect to conclude that this rule is the only property on which BETTERAVEN’s superiority over FAIRAVEN is based, for two reasons.    First, the ability to correctly induce the distribution-of-two-values rule depends on BETTERAVEN’s ability to induce abstract correspondences, including the absence of an element. Second, this rule was svoked in pnblems involving multiple rules, and consequently, problems that taxed BETTERAVEN’s goal management.    As the next section demonstrates, the ability to manage goals also played a central role in BETTERAVEN’s improvement over FAIRAVEN.

Lesioning goal management. To examine how BETTERAVEN’s performance is

*5wa^      дг

24

influenced by goal management capabilities, impaired versions of BETTERAVEN were created in which goa! management competed with the ability to maintain and apply rules. to the extent that goal information was displaced from working memory.    For example, in one of the lesioned models, if the problem required more than three rules to be induced and applied to the last row. then the extra rules (beyond three) displaced some of the remaining subgoals stored in the goal tree, and resulted in an erroneous response, in which only three rules were used to generate the response.    This behavior corresponds to the human errors which are based on an incomplete set of rules. The modified versions of BETTERAVEN. which could maintain and apply either three, four or five rules before displacing goals from working memory, are called BETTERAVEN-3-rules. BETTERAVEN-4-rules and BETTERAVEN-5-rules. respectively.    The performance of these modified versions is shown in Appendix A. along with the performance of the unmodified BETTERAVEN. In general, as the goal management information in BETTERAVEN is increasingly displaced by information about the rules, its ability to solve problems was degraded. BETTERAVEN-3-rules solved 11 fewer problems than the unmodified BETTERAVEN. BETTERAVEN-4-rules solved 8 fewer problems and BETTERAVEN-5-rules solved 4 fewer problems than the unmodified BETTERAVEN.    The failures of the modified versions occurred primarily on problems with more rule tokens, namely the problems that require more goal management.

The cognitive lesioning experiments produced intermediate levels of performance. accounting for the continuum of performance that lies between FAIRAVEN and BETTERAVEN. Moreover, the relation between the particular lesions and the resulting patterns of errors confirms the importance of abstraction and goal management in performing the Raven test.

2. The rules that were induced

The simulations can be evaluated in terms of the specific rules that they induce, in comparison to the rules of the subjects in Experiment lb. who were instructed to try to solve each problem and then explicitly describe the rules they induced. The main comparison is based on rule descriptions provided by a plurality of the 12 (out of 22) subjects modeled by FAIRAVEN and BETTERAVEN. namely those 12 who attained at least the median score.    Across the 28 problems in Experiment lb. there was a total of 59 attiibutes for which at least one subject gave a rule that was classifiable by our taxonomy.8

The main finding is that for 52 of the 59 attributes, BETTERAVEN induced the same rule as the plurality of the subjects.    Four of the seven disagreements arose in cases where BETTERAVEN induced a distribution-of-two-values rule whereas the subjects induced figure addition or subtraction.9 The fit for FAIRAVEN was similar, except for problems involving the distribution-of-two-values rule, which FAIRAVEN did not solve.    Thus, the simulation models match the subjects not only in which problems they solve, but also in the rules that they induce.

Alternative rules to account for the same variation. In problems in which alternative rules can account for the same variation, there is a suggestion that higher-scoring subjects induced different rules than lower-scoring subjects.    Consider again the earlier example of how two different rules might describe a series of arrows pointing to 12 o’clock. 4 o’clock and 8 o’clock; the variation can be described as a distribution-of-three-values or as a pairwise quantitative progression of an arrow’s orientation, namely, a clockwise rotation of 120 degrees beginning at 12 o’clock. Although both rules are sufficient to solve the problem, the transformational rule is preferable because it is typically more compact and generative: knowing the transformation and one of the values of an attribute is sufficient to generate the other two values (in the case of a quantitative progression rule) and the transformational rule usually applies more directly to successive rows.    The verbal protocols

46

———————————————————————————————— I

i

25

were examined to determine whether transformational rules were more closely associated with correct solutions than distributional rules in the particular problems in which they were induced, and whether more generally, higher-scoring subjects were more likely to use transformational rules than distributional rules, compared to lower-scoring subjects.

Twenty-one of the 34 problems in Experiment la (Set I-#12. II-l. 3. 8. 10. 13, 16, 17. 22. 23. 26. 27. 29. 31-36) evoked a mixture of transformational and distributional rules from different subjects. Each protocol for these problems was categorized as describing a transformation or distribution of values, including partial descriptions. A description that had both transformational and distributional characteristics was counted as transformational. There were 156 transformational responses. 90 distributional responses, and 6 that could not be classified in Experiment Aa. For the problems in question, the transformational responses were associated with considerably better performance (error rate of 31%) than were the distributional responses (53% error rate). In a separate analysis limited to only those problems :n which a correct final response was made. 71% of the problems were accompanied by a transformational rule, while 29% were accompanied only by a distributional rule.    Transformational descriptions were not only associated with success in the problem in which they occurred, they were also associated with subjects who did well in the test as a whole.    Higher-scoring subjects were more likely to give transformational lules and less likely to give distributional rules. The ratio of transformational descriptions to distributional was 3.6:1 for the highest scoring subjects, but only 1:1 for the lowest scoring subjects.   These results associate transformational rules with better performance.

The rule-ordering in BETTERAVEN (e.g. giving precedence of the pairwise quantitative progression rule over the distribution-of-three-values) provides a tentative account for the finding that a transformational rule was strongly associated with better performance     It is possible that only the higher-scoring subjects have systematic preferences for some rule types over others, as BETTERAVEN does. By contrast, the choice among alternative rules may be random or in a different order for the lower-scoring subjects.    Thus, the differences in preferences among alternative rules between the higher and lower-scoring subjects can be accommodated by an existing mechanism in BETTERAVEN.

3. On-line measures

The preliminary description of the results in Experiment la indicated that what was common to most of the problems and most of the subjects was the incremental problem-solving. The incremental nature of the processing was evident in both the verbal reports and eye fixations.    In problems containing more than one rule, the rules are described one at a time, with substantial intervals between rules.   Also, the induction of each rule consists of many small steps, reflected in the pairwise comparison of related entries.    We now examine the incremental processing in the human performance in more detail in light of the theoretical models, and compare the human performance with the simulations’ performance.    The analyses focus on the effects of the number of rules in a problem on the number and timing of the re-iterations of a behavior.    To eliminate the effects of differences among types of rules, the analyses are limited to only those problems that contained one. two or three tokens of a distribution-of-three-values rule, and no other types of rules.

Inducing one r».le at a time: verbal statements. The first way in which the rule induction is incremental is that in problems with multiple rules, only one rule is described at a time.    The subjects appear to develop a description of one of the attributes in a row of entries, formulate it as a rule, verify whether it fits, and then go on to consider other unaccounted for variation. This psychological process is a little like a stepwise regression, accounting for the variance with one rule, then returning to account for the remaining variance with another rule, and so on.

47

26

Insert Figure 11 – time of statements of rules

An analysis of the times at which the subjects report the rules in their verbal protocols strongly supports the interpretation that the rules are induced one at a time.    In problems involving multiple rules, subjects generally stated each rule separately, with an approximately equal time interval separating the statements of the different rules.    In the scoring of the verbal protocols, if a subject stated only the value of the attribute specified by the correct rule (e.g. “need a horizontal line”) without stating the rule itself, this was counted as a statement of the rule.    The descriptive statistic plotted in Figure 11 indicates the elapsed time from the beginning of the trial until the statement of the first rule, the second rule, and if there was one. the third rule.    The verbal reports show a clear temporal separation between the statements of successive rules.    The interval is much longer than the time needed to just verbalize the rules and seems most likely to reflect the fact thai*; subjects induce the rules one at a time. The statement of a rule may lag behind the induction processes, but the long time between the rule statements strongly suggests that induction processes are serially executed.    The time from the beginning of the trial until the first rule was stated was approximately 10 seconds for the five problems that had two rules per row: it then took another 10 seconds, on average, until the subject stated the second rule.    Thus, it took an approximately similar amount of time to induce each of the rules.    For the two more difficult problems, those involving three rules, the average time between each statement was close to 24 seconds.    The fact that the inter-statement times were longer for the latter group of problems indicates that a rule takes longer to induce if there is additional variation among the entries (variation that eventually was accounted for by the additional rules). Several of the processes would be made more difficult by the additional variation, particularly correspondence-finding and goal management.

In contrast to the 33 observations described above, there were four other trials in which subjects stated two rules together.    In three of these cases, the time interval preceding the statement of the two rules together was approximately twice the time interval preceding the statement of single rules. We interpret this to mean that even when two rules are stated together, they may have still been induced serially, although we cannot rule out parallel processing of two rules at a slower rate on these four occasions.

The assertion that the rules are induced one at a time must be qualified, to allow for the possibility that a constant in a row rule might be processed on the same iteration as another rule.    Most of the problems in the subset analyzed above contained a constant in a row rule, but there was no systematic difference discernible in this small sample between those problems that did or did not contain a constant rule. (Recall that a linear regression accounted for more of the variance among the mean error rates of problems if the count rf rules excluded any constant rule).    Moreover, a constant in a row rule was verbalized far less often than the other types of rules.    The structure of the stimulus set does not permit us to draw strong conclusions about the way the constant in a row rule was processed.

BETTERAVEN is similar to the human subjects in inducing one rule at a time, in that there is a separation between the times at which the rules in a problem are induced. On average, there are 23 CAPS cycles (with a range of 22-24) between the time of inducing successive rule tokens. However. BETTERAVEN is unlike the students in several ways. First, the time between inducing rules is not affected by the number of rules (i.e. the amount of variation) in a problem: the 23 cycle interval applies equally to problems with two rule tokens and those with three rule tokens. By contrast, human subjects take longer to state a rule in problems with three rule tokens than in problems with two rule tokens, as shown in Figure 11.    This difference suggests that BETTERAVEN’s goal management is too efficient, relative to the human subjects. BETTERAVEN also differs from the students in its non-parallel induction of a constant rule (the 23 cycle time between rules disregards

48

Problems with 3 rule tokens
Problems with 2 rule tokens

SERIAL POSITION OF RULE IN VERBAL PROTOCOL

Figure 11.   The elapsed time from the begiiuiing of the trial to the verbal description of each of the rules in a problem.

49

27

any induction of constant rules). In this respect. BETTERAVEN seems less efficient than the human subjects, who may be able to induce a constant rule in parallel with another rule.

Inducing one rule at a time: Eye fixation patterns. Another way to demonstrate that the rules are induced one at a time is to compare the eye-fixation performance on problsms containing increasing numbers of rules, looking for evidence of re-iterations for problems with different numbers of rules.    One of the most notable properties of the visual scan was its row-wise organization, consisting of repeated scans of the entries in a row.    There was a strong tendency to begin with a scan of the top row and to proceed downward to horizontally scan each of the other two rows, with only occasional looks back to a previously scanned row. (This description applies particularly well to problems involving quantitative pairwise progression rules or addition or subtraction rules, and slightly less well to the problems in the subset that is being analyzed here, involving multiple distribution-of-three-values rules.    In the latter problems, subjects also used a row organization, but they sometimes looked back to previously scanned rows).    So it is reasonable to ask whether there is a dependence between the number of scans through the rows and the number of rules.

The data indicate that in general, the number of times that subjects visually scanned a row (or a column, or occasionally, a diagonal) increased with the number of rules in the problem.    A scan of a row was defined as any uninterrupted sequence of gazes on all three of the entries in that row. allowing re-fixation of any of the entries (and was similarly defined for a column scan)10.    The analysis showed that as the number of rule tokens in a problem increases from 1 to 2 to 3. the number of row scans increases from 7.2 to 11 to 25. as shown in the upper panel of Figure 12.    It is likely that during the multiple scans associated with each rule, the rule is being induced and verified.

Insert Figure 12 -row scans and pairwise scans

Incremental processing in inducing a rule. There are many small steps in inducing each rule.    For example, in a problem containing a quantitative pairwise progression rule, BETTERAVEN can induce the rule in a tentative form after a pairwise comparison between the entries in the first two columns in the row.    Then the second and third columns can be compared and a tentative rule induced, followed by a higher-order comparison that verifies or disconfirms the correctness of the tentative rules.    In the case of disconfirmations, all of the preceding processes must be re-executed, generating additional pairwise comparisons.    Thus, there are гз-iterative cycles of encoding stimulus properties, comparing properties between entries, inducing a rule, and verifying the rule’s adequacy.

As the number of rules increases, so should the number of pairwise similarities and differences to be encoded, and consequently, the number of pairwise comparisons.    The eye fixation data provide clear evidence supporting this prediction.    A pairwise scan was defined as any uninterrupted sequence of at least three gazes alternating between any two entries, excluding those that were pail of a row or column scan because they had already been included in the row-scanning measures described above.    Consistent with the theoretical prediction, as the number of rule tokens in a problem increased from 1 to 2 to 3. the mean number of pairwise scans (of any length) increased from 2.3 instances to 6 to 16.2, as shown in the upper panel of Figure 12.

We can also determine whether the difficulty of making a pairwise comparison (as indicated by the sequence length of a pairwise scan) also increases in the presence of additional variation between the entries (as indicated by the number of rules). As shown in the lower panel of Figure 12, the number of rules in the problem had no effect on the mean sequence length of the pairwise scans. Thus, the pairwise scans may reflect some

50

30

Row scans
Pairwise scans

26 Ь

20

от и о

2S

ОТ

Ь   15 О

Й И

w 10

И ЕО

И О

со

5  ~

3 –

1 h

Pairwise scans

NUMBER OF RULE TOKENS

Figure 12.   The upper panel shows that the number of row scans and pairwise scans increases with the number of rule tokens in the problem. The lower panel shows that length of the pairwise scans (i.e. the number of alternating gazes between a pair of entries) is unaffected by the number of rule tokens.

51

28

primitive comparison process that pertains to the induction of a single rule token and is uninfluenced by the presence of additional variation between the entries. This result is consistent with a theory that says that difficult problems are dealt with incrementally, by decomposing the solution inco simple subprocesses. So some subproceoses. like the comparison of attributes of two elements, should remain simple in the face of complexity las shown in the lower panel of Figure 12). even as other performance measures do show complexity effects (as shown in the upper panel).    The decomposition implied by the various forms of incremental processing observed here is probably a common way of dealing with complexity.

Limitations of the model

At both the micro and macro levels. FAIRAVEN and BETTERAVEN perform comparably to the college students that they were intended to model.    They solve approximately the same subsets of problems as the corresponding students, and they induce similar sets of rules.    Also, the simulations resemble the students in their reliance on pairwise comparisons and in their sequential induction of the rules.    The simulations are both sufficient and plausible descriptions of the organization of processes needed to solve these types of problems.    The commonalities o* the two programs, namely, the incremental. re-iterative processing, express some of the fundamental characteristics of problem solving. The differences between the programs, namely, the nature of the goal management and abstraction, express the main differences among the individuals with respect to the processing tapped by this task. Although the simulations match the human data along many dimensions of performance, there are also differences.    In this section, we address four such differences and their possible relation to individual differences in analytic intelligence.

Perhaps the most obvious difference between the simulations and the human performance is that the simulations lack the perceptual capabilities to visually encode the problems.    However, as we argued earlier, this does not compromise our analysis of the nature of individual differences because numerous psychometric studies suggest that the visual encoding processes are not sources of individual differences in the Raven test.    This is not to say that visual encoding and visual parsing processes do not contribute to the Raven test’s difficulty, but only that such processed are not a primary source of individual differences.    In addition, the success of the simulation models suggests that the strictly visual quality of the problems is not an important source of individual differences; analogous problems in other modalities containing haptic or verbal stimuli would be expected to similarly tax goal management and abstraction.

A second di   .rence is that the simulations, unlike the students, don’t read the instructions and organize their processes to solve the problems.   Although this mobilization of processes is clearly an important part of the task and an important part of intelligence, it is an unlikely source of individual differences for this population.    All of the college students could perform this task sufficiently well to solve the easier, quantitative pairwise comparison problems.    Moreover, even though the meta-processes that assemble and organize the processes lie outside the scope of the current simulation, they could be incorporated without fundamentally altering the programs or their architecture (see. for example. Williams. 1972).    .

A third feature that might appear to differentiate the simulations from human subjects is the difference between rule induction and rule recognition.    FAIRAVEN and BETTERAVEN are given a set of possible rules and they only have to recognize which ones are operating in a given problem, rather than induce the rules “from scratch.” However, with the notable exception of the distribution-of-two-values rule, the other rules are common forms of variation that were correctly verbally described by all subjects in some

52

29

problems. Hence, the individual differences were not in the knowledge of a particular rule so much as in recognizing it among other variation in problems with multiple rule tokens. By contrast, knowledge of the d;stribution-of-two-values rule did appear to be a source of individual differences.    We account for its unique status in terms of its abstractness and unfamiliarity.    In fact, we express the better abstraction capabilities of BETTERAVEN both in terms of its ability to handle a larger set of patterns of differences and in its explicit knowledge of this rule.    Thus, the difference between the two simulations expresses one sense in which knowledge of the rules distinguishes among individuals. On the other hand. BETTERAVEN does not have the generative capability of inducing all of the various types of abstract rules that one might encounter in these types of tasks: in this sense, it falls far short of representing the full repertoire of human induction abilities.

A fourth limitation of the models is that they are based on a sample of college students who represent the upper end of the distribution of Raven scores and so the theoretical analysis cannot be assumed to generalize throughout the distribution.    We would argue, however, that the characteristics which differentiate college students, namely, goal management and abstraction, probably continue to characterize individual difference-throughout the population.    But there is also evidence that low-scoring subjects sometimes use very different processes on the Raven test, which could obscure the relationship between Raven test performance and working memory for such individuals.    For example. as mentioned previously, low-scoring subjects rely more on a strategy of eliminating some of the response alternatives, fixating the alternatives much sooner than high-scoring subjects (Bethell-Fox. Lohman & Snow. 1984: Dillon & Stevenson-Hicks. 1981).    Moreover, the types of errors made by low-scoring adults frequently differ from those made by high-scoring subjects (Forbes. 1964) and may reflect less analysis of the problem.

If such extraneous processes are decreased and low-scoring subjects are trained to use the analytic strategies of high-scoring subjects, the validity of the Raven test increases. The study, with 425 Navy recruits, found that for low-scoring subjects, the correlation between the Raven test and a wide-ranging aptitude battery increased significantly (from .08 to .43) when the Raven problems were presented in a training program that was designed to reduce non-analytic strategies (Larson. Alderton & Kaupp. 1990).    The training did not alter the correlation between the Raven test and the aptitude battery for subjects in the upper half of the distribution.    ТЬэ fa»:t that the performance of the trained low-scoring and all of the high-scoring subjects correlated with the same aptitude battery suggests that after training, the Raven test drew on similar processes for each group.    Thus, it is plausible to suppose that the current model could be generalized to account for the performance of subjects in the lower half of the distribution if they are given training to minimize the influence of extraneous processes.

Part IV: COGNITIVE PROCESSES AND HUMAN INTELLIGENCE

This section discusses the implications of the model for analytic intelligence.    The first sections examine how abstraction and goal management are realized in other cognitive tasks. These sections focus primarily on goal management rather than abstraction, in part because abstraction is implicitly or explicitly incorporated into many theories of analytic intelligence, whereas goal management has received less attention.    The final section examines what the Raven simulations suggest about processes that are common across people and across different domains.

53

Abstraction

Most intuitive conceptions of intelligence include an ability to think abstractly, and certainly solving the Raven problems involves processes that deserve that label.    Abstract reasoning consists of the construction of representations that are only loosely tied to perceptual inputs, and instead are more dependent on high-level interpretations of inputs that provide a generalisation over space and time.    In the Raven test, more difficult problems tended to involve more abstract rules than the less difficult problems. (Interestingly, it intuitively seems as though the level of abstraction of even the nurt difficult rule, distribution-of-two-values. is not particularly great compared to the abstractions that are taught and acquired in various academic domains, such as physics or political science).    The level of abstraction also appears to differentiate the tests intended for children from those intended for adults. For example, one characterization of the easy problems found in the practice items of Set I and in the Colored Progressive Matrices is that the solutions are closely tied to the perceptual format of the problem and, consequently, can be solved by perceptual processes (Hunt. 1974).    By contrast, the problems that require analysis, including most of the problems in Set II of the Advanced Progressive Matrices, are not as closely tied to the perceptual format and require a more abstract characterization in terms of dimensions and attributes.

Abstract reasoning has been a component of most formal theories of n.telligence. including those of traditional psychometricians. such as Thurstone (1938). end more recent individual difference researchers (Sternberg. 1985).    Also, Piaget’s theory of intelligence characterizes childhood intellectual development as the progression from the concrete to the symbolic and abstract.    We can now see precisely where the Raven test requires abstraction and how people differ in their ability to reason at various levels of abstraction in the Raven problems.

Goal management

One of the main distinctions between higher-scoring subjects and lower-scoring subjects ч the ability of the better subjects to successrmly generate and manage their problem-solving goals in working memory. In this view, a key component of analytic intelligence is goal management, the process of spawning subgoals from goals, and then tracking the ensuing successful and unsuccessful pursuits of the suDg1– Is on the pafIi to satisfying higher-level goals.    Goal management enables the problem-solver to construct a stable intermediate form of knowledge about his progress (Simon, 1969). In Simon’s words “… complex systems will evolve from simp’e systems much more rapidly if there are stable intermediate forms than if there are not.    The resulting complex forms in the former case will be hierarchic …” (p. 98).   The creation and storage of subgoals and their interrelations permit a person to pursue tentative solution paths while preserving any previous progress he has made.    The decomposition cf the complexity in the Raven test and many other problems consists of the recursive creation of solvable subproblems.    The benefit of the decomposition is that an incremental iterative attack can then be applied to the simplified subproblems. A failure in one subgoal need not jeopardize previous subgoals that were successfully attained. Moreover, the record of failed subgoals minimizes fruitless re-iteration along previously failed paths.    But the cost of creating embedded subproblems. each with their own subgoals. is that they require the management of a hierarchy of goals.

Goal management probably interacts vvith another determinant of problem difficulty, namely the novelty of the problem. A novel task may require the organization of high-level goals, whereas the goals in a routine task have already been used to compile a set of procedures tc satisfy them, and the behavior can be much more stimulus-driven (Anderson, 1987).    Th’i use or organization of goals is a strategic level of thought, possibly involving

54

31

meta-cog.nition. or requiring reflection.    In the BETTERAVEN model, additional goal management mechanisms like selection among multiple goals, a goal monitor, and backup from goals, had to be .included to solve the more difficult problems.    However, if people had extensive practice or instruction on Raven problems, the goal management would become routine, and the problems thereby easier.    Instruction of sixth graders in the use of the type of general strategy used by FAIRAVEN and BETTERAVEN improves their scores on Set I of the Raven test (Lawson & Kirby. 1981).

This analysis of the source of individual differences in Raven test should apply to other complex cognitive tasks as well.    The generality of the analysis is supported by Experiment 2. which found a large correlation between the leaven test and the execution of a Tower of Hanoi puzzle strategy that places a large burden on goal generation and goal management.    The present analysis is also consistent with the high correlations among complex reasoning tasks with diverse content, such as the data cited in the introduction (Snow. Kyllonen & Marshalek. 1984: Marshalek. Lohman & Snow. 1983). These researchers and others have suggested that the correlations among reasoning tasks may reflect higher-level processes vhat are shared, such as executive assembly and control processes (see also Carroll. 1976: Sternberg. 1985).    The contribution of the current analysis is to specify these higher-level processes and instantiate them in the context of a widely used and complex psychometric test.

The RAVEN test’s relation to other analogical reasoning tasks

The analogical nature of the Raven problems suggests that the Raven processing models should bear some resemblance to other models of analogical reasoning.    One of the earliest such AI projects was Evans’ ANALOGY program (1968). which solved geometric analogies of the form (A:B ::    C:|five choices]).    Evans’ program had three main steps. The program computed the spatial transformation that would transform A into В using specific knowledge of analytic geometry.    It then determined the transformation necessary to transform С into each of the five possible answers.    Finally, it compared and identified which solution transformation was most similar to that for transforming A into B. and returned the best choice.    A major contribution of ANALOGY was that it specified the content of the relations and processes that were sufficient to solve problems from the American Council on Education examination.    Although ANALOGY was not initially intended to account for human performance. Mulholland. Pellegrino & Glaser (1980) found aspects of the model did account for the pattern of response times and errors in solving 2 x 2 geometric analogies.    Both errors and response times increased witn the number of processing operations, which Mulholland et al. attributed to the increased burden on working memory incurred by tracking elements and transformations.    Thus, much simpler analogical reasoning tasks can reflect working memory constraints.11

Analogical reasoning in the context of simple 2×2 matrices has also been analyzed from the perspective of individual differences.    The theoretical issue has been whether individual differences in the speed of specific processes (such as inferenc.ng. mapping. verifying) account for individual differences in more complex induction tasks, like the Raven test.    For example. Sternberg and Gardner (1983) found that a speed measure based on a variety of inference processes used in simple analogical and induction tasks was correlated with psychometrically-assessed reasoning ability.    However, several other studies have failed to find significant correlations between the speed of specific inference processes and performance in a more complex reasoning task (Mulholland et al. 1Э80; Sternberg. 1977). The overall pattern of results suggests that the speed of any specific inference process is unlikely to be a major determinant of goal management.    This conclusion is also supported by the high correlation between the Raven test and the Tower of Hanoi puzzle, a task that required very little induction.      .evertheless, some degree of   niciency in the more task-

55

32

specific processes may be a necessar,  (if not sufficient) condition to free up working-memory resources for goal generation and management.    The analysis of reasoning in simple analogies illuminates the task-specific inference processes, but is unlikely to account for the individual differences in the more complex reasoning tasks.

What aspects of intelligence are common to everyone?

The Raven test grew out of a scientific tradition that emphasizes the analysis of intelligence through the study of individual differences.    The theoretical goal of the psychometric or differential approach (in contrast to its methodological reliance on factor analysis) is to account for individual performance, not simply some statistical average of group performance. The negative consequence of this approach is that it can conceptually and empirically exclude those processes that are necessary for intelligent behavior, but are common to all people, and hence not the source of significant differences among individuals. Computational models such as the Raven simulations must include both the processes that are corr.mon across individuals and those chat are sources of significant differences. Consequently, the models provide insights into some of the important aspects of intelligence, such as the incremental and re-iterative nature of reasoning.

Cognitive accounts of other kinds of ability, such as models of sp tiai ability (e.g. Just & Carpenter. 1985: Kosslyn. 1980: Shepard & Cooper. 1982) and language ability (e.g. Just & Carpenter. 1987: van Dijk & Kintsch. 1983) also contribute to the characterizations of intelligence. Newell has argued that psychology is sufficiently mature to warrant the construction of unified theories of cognition that encompass all of the kinds of thinking included in intelligence (as well as some others), and offers the SOAP   nodel as his candidate (Newell. 1987).    Although the collection of models for diverse tasks that we have developed is far more modest in scope, all of the models have been expressed in the same theoretical language (the CAPS production system), making the commonalities and differences relatively discernible.    All of these models share a production-system control structure, a capacity for both seriality and parallelism, a representational scheme that permits different activation levels, and an information accumulation function (effectively, an activation integrator). One interesting difference among tasks is that some types of processes are easy to simulate with parallelism, while others are not (easy in the sense that the models can perform the task and still retain essential human performance characteristics). The processes that seem to operate well in parallel in the simulation models are highly practiced processes and lower-level perceptual processes.    The simulation of higher-level conceptual processes is accomplished more easily with seriality, unless extensive increments to goal management are included.

What the theory postulates about the commonalities of different people and different tasks reflects some of the observed performance commonalities.    Many of the performance commonc ities occur at the microstructure of the processing, which is revealed in the eye fixation patterns. The time scale of this analysis is about 300-700 milliseconds per gaze. Such processes are too fast for awareness or for including in a verbal report.    The eye fixation analysis reveals iterations through small units of processing; the task is      “omposed into manageable units of processing, each governed by a subgoal.    Then, the subgoals are attacked one at a time.    The problem decomposition and subgoaling reflect how people handle complexity beyond their existing operators in a number of domains, including text comprehension, spatial processing and problem solving.    For example, in a mental rotation task, subjects decomposed a cube into smaller units that they then rotated one unit at a time (Just & Carpenter. 1985).    Similarly, in the Raven test, even the simplest types of figural analogies were decomposed and incrementally processed through a sequence of pairwise comparisons.    This segmentation appears to be an inherent part of problem-solving, and a facet of thinking that is common across domains in various tasks requiring analytic

56

33

intelligence.

Thus, what nnfe intelligence test measures, ac.ccrding to the current theory, is the common ability to decompose problems into manageable segments and iterate through them, the differential ability to manage the hierarchy of goals and subgoals generated by this problem decomposition, and the differential ability to form higher-level abstractions.

57

34

References

Anderson. J. R. (1087). Skill acquisition:    OompilnHon of wpnk-method problem solutions. Psychological Review. 94. 192-210.

Becker. J. D. (1969).    The modeling of simple analogic and inductive processes in a semantic memory system. IJCAI. 655-668.

Belmont. L.. к Marolla. F. A. (1973) Birth order, family size. & intelligence.    Science. 182. 1096-1101.

Bethell-Fox. С E.. Lohman. D.. & Snow. R. E. (1984). Adaptive reasoning:    Componential and eye movement analysis of geometric analogy performance.    Intelligence. 8. 205-238.

Binet. A.. & Simon. T. (1905). The development of intelligence in children. UAnnee Psychologique. 163-191: (Also in T. Shipley (Ed).    (1961).  Classics in psychology. New York: Philosophical Library.)

Burke. H. R. (1958).    Raven’s progressive matrices: A review and critical evaluation. Journal of Genetic Psychology. 93. 199-228.

Carroll. J. B. (1976). Psychometric tests as cognitive tasks:    A new “structure of

intellect”.    In L. Resnick (Ed.).  The Nature of Intelligence. Hillsdale. NJ: Erlbaum.

Cattell. R. B. (1963). Theory of fluid and crystallized intelligence:    A critical experiment. Journal of Educational Psychology. 54. 1-22.

Court. J. H.. & Raven. J. (1982).    Manual for Raven’s Progressive Matrices and

Vocabulary Scales [Research Supplement No. 2. and Part 3. Section 7]. London: Lewis & Co.

Cronbach. L. J. (1957).    The two disciplines of scientific psychology.    American Psychologist. 12. 671-684.

Dillon. R. F.. & Stevenson-Hicks. R. (1981). Effects of item difficulty and method of test administration on eye scan patterns during analogical reasoning.    Unpublished Technical Report (No. 1): Department of Psychology. Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.

Egan. D. E.. & Greeno. J.I1974).    Theory of rule induction:    Knowledge acquired in

concept learning, serial pattern learning, and problem solving.    In L. W. Oregg (Ed.), Knowledge and cognition. Hillsdale. NJ:    Erlbaum, 43-103.

Evans, T. G. (1968).    A program for the solution of a class of geometric analogy

intelligence test questions.    In M. Minsky (Ed.), Semantic information processing. MIT Press:    Cambridge, Mass., 271-353.

Forbes. A. R. (1964). An item analysis of the advanced matricrs.    British Journal of Educational Psychology. 34. 1-14.

Forgy. C. & McDermott. J. (1977).    OPS: A domain-independent production system language.    Proceedings of the 5th International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence. 933-939.

Centner. D. (1983).    Structure-mapping: A theoretical framework for analogy. Cognitive Science. 7. 155-170.

Oick. M. L.. & Holyoak. K. J. (1983).    Schema induction and analogical transfer. Cognitive Psychology, 15. 1-38.

Hall. R. P. (1989).    Computational approaches to analogical reasoning:    A comparative analysis.    Artificial Intelligence. 39, 39-120.

Holzman. T. G., Pellegrino, J. W., & Glaser, R. (1983).    Cognitive variables in series

58

35

completion.    Journal of Educational Psychology. 75. 603-618.

Hunt. E. B. (1974). Quote the raven? Nevermore! In L. W. Gregg (Ed.). Knowledge and cognition (pp. 129-158).    Hiilsdaie. NJ: Eribaum.

Jacobs. P. I.. & Vandeventer. M. (1972).    Evaluating the teaching of intelligence.
*        Educational and Psychology:al Mcasurement.32. 235-248.

Jacobs. P. I.. & Vandeventer. M. (197C].    Information in wrong responses.    Psychological Reports. 26. 311-315

Jensen. A. R. (1987).    The g beyond factor analysis. In R. R. Ronning. J. A. Glover,

J. С Conoley. & J. C. Witt (Eds.). The influence of cognitive psychology on testing (pp. 87-142).  Hiilsdaie. NJ: Eribaum.

Just. M. A.. & Carpenter. P. A. (1976).    Eye fixations and cognitive processes.  Cognitive Psychology. 8. 441-480.

Just. M. A.. & Carpenter. P. A. (1979).    The computer and eye processing pictures: The implementation of a raster graphics ddvice.    Behavioral Research <£ Instrumentation. 11. 172-176.

Just. M. A.. & Carpenter. P. A. (1985). Cognitive coordinate systems:    Accounts of mental rotation and individual differences in spatial ability.    Psychological Review. 92, 137-172.

Just. M. A.. & Carpenter. P. A. (1987).    The psychology of reading and language comprehension. Newton. MA: Allyn and Bacon.

Just. M. A.. & Thibadeau. R. H. (1984).    Developing a computer model of reading times. In D. E. Kieras & M. A. Just (Eds.), New methods in reading comprehension research (pp. 349-364).    Hiilsdaie. NJ: Eribaum.

Klahr. D.. Langley. P.. & Neches. R. (Eds.). (1987). Production system models of learning and development. Cambridge. MA: The MIT Press.

Kosslyn. S. M. (1980).    Image and mind. Cambridge. MA: Harvard University Press.

Kotovsky. K.. Hayes. J. R.. & Simon, H. A. (1985).    Why are some problems hard? Evidence from Tower of Hanoi. Cognitive Psychology. 17. 243-294.

Kotovsky. K.. & Simon. H. A. (1973).    Empirical tests of a theory of human acquisition of concepts for sequential patterns. Cognitive Psychology, 4. 399-424.

Laird, J. E., Newell, A., & Rosenbloom. P. S. (in press). Soar: An architecture for general intelligence. Artificial Intelligence.

Larson. G. E., Alderton, D. L., & Kaupp, M. A. (1990). Construct validity of Raven’s Progressive Matrices as a function of aptitude level and testing procedures. Unpublished manuscript. Testing Systems Department. Navy Personnel Research and Development Center. San Diego. CA 92152.

Lawson. M. J.. & Kirby. J. R. (1981).    Training in information processing algorithms. British Journal of Educational Psychology. 51. 321-335.

Marshalek. В.. Lohman. D. F.. & Snow. R. E. (1983).    The complexity continuum in the radex and hierarchical models of intelligence.    Intelligence. 7. 107-127.

Matarazzo. J. D. (1972).     Wechsler’s measureuient and appraisal of adult intelligence (5th ed.).    New York: Oxford University Press.

McDermofct. J. (1979).    Learning ro use analogies.    IJCAI. 568-576.

Mulholland, Т. M., Pellegvino, J. W.. & Glaser. R. (1980).    Components of geometric analogy solution.    Cognitive Psychology. 12. 252-284.

59

36

Newell. A. (1973).    Production system: Models of control structures.    In W. G. Chase (Ed.).  Visual information processing (pp. 463-526).    New York: Academic Press.

Newell. A. (1987).    Unified theories of cognition. The 1987 William James Lectures, Harvard University.

Newell. A.. & Simon H. A. 11972).    Human problem solving. Englewood Cliffs. NJ: Prentice-Hall.

Raven. J. С (1962). Advanced Progressive Matrices. Set II. London: H. K. Lewis & Co. Distributed in the USA by The Psychological Corporation. San Antonio, Texas.

Raven. J. С (1965).    Advanced Progressive Matrices. Sets I and II. London: H. K. Lewis & Co.    Distributed in the USA by The Psychological Corporation. San Antonio, Texas.

Rosch, E. (1975). Cognitive representations of semantic categories.    Journal of Experimental Psychology: General. 104. 192-233.

Shepard. R. N.. & Cooper. L. A. (1982).    Mental images and their transformations. Cambridge. MA: The MIT Press.

Simon. H. A. (1969).  The sciences of the artificial. Cambridge. MA:    The MIT Press.

Simon. H. A. (1975).    The functional equivalence of problem solving skills.    Cognitive Psychology. 7. 268-288.

Simon. H. A.. & Kotovsky. K. (1963). Human acquisition of concepts for sequential patterns. Psychological Review. 70. 534-546.

Snow. R. E.. Kyllonen. P. С & Marshalek. B. (1984).    The topography of ability and

learning correlations. In R. J. Sternberg (Ed.). Advances in the psychology of human intelligence. Vol. 2 (pp. 47-103).    Hillsdale. NJ: Erlbaum.

Spearman. С (1927).    The abilities of man. New York: MacMillan.

Sternberg. R. J. (1977).    Intelligence, information processing and analogical reasoning: The componential analysis of human abilities Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

Sternberg. R. J. (1985).    Beyond IQ: A triarchic theory of human intelligence. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Sternberg. R. J.. & Gardner. M. K. (1983).    Unities in Inductive Reasoning.    Journal of Experimental Psychology: General. 112. 80-116.

Thibadeau, R., Just, M. A., & Carpenter, P. A. (1932).    A model of the time course and content of reading.  Cognitive Science, 6, 157-203.

Thurstone, L. L. (1938).    Primary mental abilities. Chicago, IL:    The University of Chicago Press.

Thurstone. L. L.. & Thurstone. T. G. (1941).    Factorial studies of intelligence. Chicago: Univer^’ty of Chicago Press.

van Dijk. T. A.. & Kintsch. W. (1983).    Strategic, of discourse comprehension. New York: Academic Press.

Williams. D. S. (1972).    Computer program organization induced from problem examples. In H. A. Simon & L. Siklossy (Eds.). Representation and meaning: Experiments with information processing systems. Englewood Cliffs. NJ: Prentice-Hall.

60

37

Appendix A

Correct solution by model
X Error                                          Lesioned Models

Number Experiment                                                     Working

No               Memory

Raven  Taxonomy of Rules of Rule la   lb  FAIR- BETTER- Distri.                    Limit

-of-

Number    in a row      Tokens (n=12)(n=22) AVEN  AVEN 2-Rule                   3  4  5

2

0

N/A

2

8

N/A

2

42

14

2

17

18

3

42

5

15

14

1

42

9

3

8

9

2

0

9

2

8

5

2

8

0

2

0

0

1

17

14

2

17

18

I- 2 Pairwise, Constant

I- 6 Pairwise, Constant

I- 7 Dist. of 3, Constant

I- 8 Dist. of 3

I- 9 Dist. of 3, Constant

1-10 Addition, Constant

1-12 Subtraction II- 1 Dist. of 3, Constant II- 3 Pairwise, Constant II- 4 Pairwise, Constant II- 5 Pairwise, Constant II- 6 Pairwise, Constant II- 7 Addition II- 3 Dist. of 3

61

Append

ix A (continued)

2

0

9
2 17 5
1

0

9
3 50 32
2

8

9
1 17 41
2 17 23
N/A 42 N/A
N/A

33

N/A
3 42 45
4 S3 32
2

50

67
2

42

36
3

75

95
4

42

55
4

75

73
2

50

63
4

58

73
4

67

27
5

83

N/A

II- 9 Addition, Constant

11-10 Pairwise, Constant

11-12 Subtraction

11-13 Dist. of 3, Constant

11-14 Pairwise, Constant

11-16 Subtraction

11-17 Dist. of 3, Constant

11-18 Unclassified1

11-19 Unclassified

11-22 Dist. of 2

11-23 Dist. of 2

11-26 Pairwise, Dist. of 3

11-27 Dist. of 3

11-29 Dist. of 3

11-31 Dist. of 3, Dist. of 2 4

11-32 Dist. of 3, Dist. of 2 4

11-33 Addition, Subtraction  2

11-34 Dist. of 3, Constant

11-35 Dist. of 2, Constant

11-36 Dist. of 2, Constant

Problems 11-18 and 11-19 were not classifiable by our t

62

39

Author Notes

This work was supported in part by contract number N00014-89-J-1218 from ONR, and Research Scientist Development Awards MH-00661 and MH-00662 from NIMH.    The simulation models described in the paper were programmed by Peter Shell and Craig Bearer.    Requests for reprints should be addressed to. Dr.    Patricia A. Carpenter Department of Psychology. Carnegie-Mellon University. Pittsburgh. Pa.    15213.

We are grateful to Earl Hunt. David Klahr. Kenneth Kotovsky. Allen Newell, James Pellegrino. Herbert Simon, and Robert ^ternberg for their constructive comments on earlier drafts of the manuscript.    We also want to acknowledge the help of David Fallside in implementing and analyzing the Tower of Hanoi experiment,

63

40

Footnotes

1.  Tn protect the .security of the Raven problems, none of the actual nrohlpms from the test are depicted here or elsewhere in this paper.    Instead, the test problems are illustrated with isomorphs that use the same rules but different figural elements and attributes.    The actual problems that were presented to the subjects are referred to by their number in the test, which can be consulted by readers.

  1. This analysis is row oriented.    In most problems, the rule types are the same regardless of whether a row or column organization is applied: in our experiments, we found most subjects analyzed the problems by rows.    Two of the problems on the test were unclassifiable within our taxonomy because the nature of their rules differed from all others.
  2. This taxonomy finds some converging support from an analysis of the relations used in figural analogies (both 2×2 and 3×3 matrices! from 166 intelligence tests (Jacobs & Vandeventer. 19721.    Jacobs and Vandeventer found that 12 relations accounted for many of the analogical problems.    Five of their relations are closely related to rules we found in the Raven:    addition and added element (addition/subtraction), elements of a set (distribution of

3 values), unique addition (distribution of 2 values) and identity (constant in a row).    Some of the remaining relations, such as numerical series and movement in a plane, map onto our quantitative progression rule.    The Jacobs and Vandeventer analysis suggests that relatively few relations are needed to describe the visual analogies in a large number of such tests.

4.    A control study showed that the deviations from conventional administration did not
alter the basic processing in Experiment la.    A separate group of 19 college students was
given the test without recording eye fixations or requiring concurrent verbal protocols. This
control group produced the same pattern of errors (r(25) = .93) and response times (r(25)

= .89) as the subjects in Experiment la. for the 27 problems from Set II that both groups were presented.    Furthermore, the error rate was slightly higher in Experiment la (33%) than in the control group (25%). demonstrating that the lower rate in Experiment la (and lb) than in Forbes’ sample is likely due to our sample being comprised exclusively of college students, rather than to increased accuracy in Experiment la because of eye fixation recording or generation of verbal protocols.

  1. As expected, subjects with low Raven test scores (between 12-17 points) made more errors than other groups as the number of subgoals to be generated increased (their error rate was .13, .66 and .59, for moves involving the generation of 0, 1, and 2 or more subgoals, respectively).    Their data was better fit by a model that assumed a more limited capacity working memory and more goal generation, even for the smallest sub-pyramid. Also, the lowest-scoring subjects were mor~ likely to make multiple errors at a single move than other subject groups.    The lowest-scoring subjects made an average of 17.2 while solving the 5 puzzles, compared to only 4 such errors by the next lowest-scoring group (those with Raven test scores between 20-24 points).    Multiple errors at a move suggest considerable difficulty in executing the strategy because only two errors were possible at each move and one of the two consisted of retracting the previous correct move.    Later in the paper we will discuss evidence that subjects in the bottom half of the distribution are more influenced than those in the upper half by extraneous processes while performing the Raven test as well.
  2. This list also omits another rule, so obvious as to be overlooked in our task analyses and the subjects’ verbal reports, but not by the simulation model. The overlooked rule that is a constant everywhere rule. An example of this rule can be found in the probltm shown in Figure 4b. in which every entry contains a diamond outline.    In this particular example.

64

41

the constant everywhere rule does not discriminate among the response alternatives because they all contain a diamond outline. Both FAIRAVEN and BETTERAVEN used a constant everywhere pule where applicable, but we wiP not discuss it further because of the minor role it plays in problem difficulty and individual differences.

7.    This estimate is based on problems containing either two or three tokens of the
distribution-of-three-values rule.    On 20% of the correct trials and 59% of the error trials.
the verbal reports contained no evidence of the subject having noticed at least one of the
critical attributes: that is. neither the rule itself nor any attribute or value associated with
that rule was mentioned.    We assume that 20% is an estimate of how often the verbal
reports don’t reflect an encoded attribute.    Consequently, we can estimate that 80% (the
complement of 20%) of the 59% of the error trials with incomplete verbal reports (or
approximately 50%) may be attributed to incomplete encoding or analysis, not just an
omission in the verbal report.

  1. The 12 subjects fully described a classifiable rule in only 51% of the 708 (12×59) cases. The agreement among those subjects who described a rule for a given attribute was very high (only 7% of the 708 cases were disagreements with a plurality): however, in 37% of the cases, the rule descriptions were absent or incomplete, so the pluralities are sometimes small.
  2. The reason for BETTERAVEN not using figure addition or subtraction in these cases is that they required a more general form of addition or subtraction than BETTERAVEN’s could handle.    In one problem, the horizontal position of the figural element that was being subtracted was also being changed (operated on by another rule) from one column to the next.    In the other problem, some figural elements had to be subtracted in one row. but added in another row. so both types of variation would have to have been recognized as a form of a general figure addition/subtraction.    Because BETTERAVEN’s addition and subtraction rules were too specific to apply to these two situations, its distribution-of-two-values rule applied instead.    The human subjects’ ability to use an addition or subtraction rule testifies to the greater generality of their version of the rule compared to BETTERAVEN.

10.   The gaze analyses of the problems containing different numbers of tokens of
distribution-of-three-values rules was applied to the protocols of 6 of 7 scorable subjects (who
happened to be the higher-scoring subjects), eliminating those trials on which subjects made
an error, or when the eye fixation data were lost due to measurement noise. The seventh
scorable eye fixation protocol was excluded because it came from the lowest scoring subject,
who had too few correct trials to contribute.   The data in Figure 12 are from 10
obsen/ations of problems Set I-#7, Set II-#17. each of which contains 1 rule. 25
observations of problems Set I-#8. 9, Set 11-01. 13 and 27. which contain 2 rule tokens,
and 5 observations of problems Set II-029 and 34. which contain 3 rule tokens.

11.    Although there has been a large amount of subsequent artificial intelligence research
on analogical reasoning, most of the work has focused on knowledge representation.
knowledge retrieval and ‘/.nowledge utilization rather than inferential and computational
processes (see the summary by Hall. 1989).    Analogical reasoning is viewed as a
bootstrapping process to promote learning and the application of old information in new
domains (Becker. 1969; McDermott. 1979).    In psychology, this view of analogical reasoning
has resulted in research that examines the conditions under which subjects recognize
analogous problem solutions (Gick & Holyoak. 1983) and the contribution of analogical
reasoning to learning (Gentner. 1983).

R5

л д р в <     <

э д

в и

н

о о

•н

s г»

01 А

>

1Л

го о

S ее

Q       4J

ч

«Ч

о о

£       3

ф

1

О ГО <-Ч

о

1Л

о

о о ><
44            (Л

«н

-4 О >4

г
О

СП

1Л

о 2

И

с

а.

>4   -^ »
5ч -<

н

ГО О

2 л: г~
4J »Ч

4J

о

fO >* JC Ч CV
Н Н

ел

01

о» jc

ОZ ч

О о

п г

ГО

ф

СО Li

О JC о >< О
Ч

•н

н

О О

О Ч » >4 •н
О

(N

>*

•н о .* 3

> д

о

•н

*->

>4 Ч ГО 3

Ф >4

и и

VO

я

**>  2   ?

>4 О О ф Z 2

С ч

1Л

с

О Ф

2   3 > о 2

Р <в

00

W1

Г*

о

а.    -2

ф о *

о

ГО

01

т

н

чр

со .*

– 2   3 –ч 5ч JC

и

•Н

Q

о

4J

ЧГ

о и о

JC ф ф 4J Ч

С Ф

ГЧ

£

я

1Л

И D.

”    – Z >4 э

•и О

о (К

О

S

и

со

*-> ? U.

О Ф 2 С

01   >4
п» н

»

г

3

>н о

ч* 2   (Л

>4    3       – Ф ч
о

JJ ф

<

ф

о С

*г

ш Й *

С ч –        >

О 3
о

я >

£

«.

4Г Ы

1Л   I-)

сод m

J Oi <

> ф
,-4

U И

о

и

О 1Л

со 2

СО .Ж Ll   VO

Ф > О ч •ч 2
О 3 4J

■0 я

ф н ч

ел

>

О 1Л со »

О 01

о

о и а)

и х

a < -4 о л: ц. X ч с

р

<

Ы 3

4Q

ГО

о

fN  VD

^4 О

*-i С

“)  ?  ? о

д о

4J
£

44 ig

о

И 00

в

с ч Ш О

21Л н

•Н

2 О

jj

2 и ф еа с 2 Ф 4J д 3 X

U 44 4J ф

Я ф и ф

» «ГО

о >

14 ГО

и

О

X

О JJ

о со >

1Л

. Ф

э

f*l

Я и аэ 2        1Л

J3 ч

JJ о

ГО ы

JJ -4 3

о

о «т » о ч

СО

с и

>, Ll » Ф

о

»ч Ь« «-I Г*

В 4J

И о

.4 О

S           <N

ъ

<

ъ

Н U ^г

*т

<Г U1 С Ф

о

о с

ч со >i *J

о

о« » » »н *ч

3 от

Li г-4

о оо

(в О

£

о

U и г*

1Л

1Л со о т и

•н

«н

4J и

? ел э

кН

1Л ф ф О . 4

»4

Ф О

О -4 С

и

н

(Л

jj а.

СО СО О 4J 2

<т

э

т

© Li

ч ? ои

о

С Ч> О и О О 4J
Л

Д о я

СО <

ел

»

3

* о г*

о

о ф “0

1Л

2

«н

1Л

t> 0*

JJ Ф •—]  –н

О Я Я »н »

U (Л

в <

и го –        £

ГО »Н

О

о

VO

С Ф о

<-> ос

со

т

со

с

Ч 2 О JJ

<

4J « »4   *-4 Ч

•н

< £

и

« <     –

« 5ч со •н

«Л

м

S

о

Ф с

э

->  2 С С я

о

»

1Л

о

и

О J3 И

£

СП 4J О* Oi >4 ф

» ГЧ

4J

£ и

ГЧ 4J М »

п ЕЧ

«н

«н

> е *-i

2

2 но

С

со

Li >,

И * и С

се 2 4J

Ф -4

««

4J

и

О И #Н ф о

f*

<л

о

VO

ч о 2 «г

Ч 4J Д

э

о

о

*->

0. JJ

Н И >|Н

*

и ф а с с

С»

01 4J

ф Дч

01 (N ?Л СЛ

«

Li

fN

.V

о

аг и г*

••

С 04 Ф о

2

4J

2

и

CU Э (Л

JJ

д в о о а

Ф 4J

4J и

и

U   4J   4J

<  ^ оО п

< <N

J3

о

и

– <Л

с

СО U ч

ф

*->

и

ашг

W

01 4J   4J   4J   JC    U

г*

-4     01

X) Ч

3

14 И ф

£ Ф ин

£ ю

В

D-

н

? »ИГ

о

О ис я

*

и

2

■0 Li

* в и

Li

Я ч СП СП ч

ГЧ

-4 ф

о о

А

а и s

>   < U   (N

о

Ч

СО

ы

и

Ф Сн о

•н

4J

f О >|Н j

С

с

с

Ч Ф

VO Ч 4J    Li

ф

5 я с с о ч

о

о г

01 А

и

ф ф о

•н ЕЛО

– 1

и

т

ей

о

г ф *)

1Л

ф

ф (J   4J Ч 01

о

н

«н

»

о

О >

(NU О «

л

О,-4 И >4 ф

о

о

3 Е

а

я д д

ос е

ф о

ся

«н

*

> аг >->

V

и

U С и 04 ф

4J

ч

*г

с

4J

Си и

(N Ф

S vo О Л Л и

•н

ш

д <

и

ф е и

№Э « <

СЛ «н

м

*

с

о

Ч 2

СО

с

Сн 01        (К

о

04

1Л

о

Ф

-4 С

ЬС Л И

<

О 01  (Л 3 с

01 .*ч
и

и

« < 5чо ф и £

а ы

о

о

о

Li

С S   >i

о

•н

Ы Ьл 1л

и

СО

JJ

и

о ф Э

н О jJ ф

Я Я ф я

м

ч 1Л

(Я

я

и

и -0 н

н

и

л

о

о л *

ч

Ч 04 ф “0     ■>

с

О

ф

•н

С

о >н

I (Л OiOi

>> 5ч S  S 2 U

2

ф

и и

£

с * о*

u и О » »

ч В

<

с

и

%4

И ? Li «н

э

04

04            > Я 4J

•н

•н

н

о

и

V

•и

о ел с

< 3 Ф

01

4J СП д »

ии

о с

J3 (в и >, ф

л о

ы

£

о

ел

JJ

JJ Ф Ll 1

2

НОС

ч*

V

ч

•н Я

>-)

С

ш

Ll

1 –о о

>* ю а sh jj

и О Ч) 43 » »

*

U 5ч

я и

44

И О 44

S > u  4J Сл

В О

о

Li

Ч 2 Эи

»

* ф с os ф

m

1Л

04

43» О

2

и

аэ

«н

0*

1 Ф 4J

о« в

4J

01   >Н 4J СП JC

Я 4J

£ о

О

4J И О

(в и Д и -0

а ей

£

*

и

«н

ч

и £ а

*

ф

5ч U Р 8

СО

аэ

л (К

«Н

Li

О

■v

ТИФ

* » Ll

ф

Ч О > » Ф с

ч

фи

и

Я 4J

U (в Е 01 и

и

о

>

ч

гс

W *

с

и

41 Н ф ф

о

о

»

СО

*

Ч*

0«

m

»

in о и

* Sh и <

01

Ф Д 5ч 5ч Ф и

о

IV” 01

44   3

3 Я 5ч

33 « 14 и

ъ

о

«Л

о

и

Sh * >i

о

н

н > е >ч ч

о

О ф

С

1Л

-)

со

н

со в: с

ф JJ 3

3

> О 4J *.» Ч Ч

>4

ч

о д

>

•Н О 14

и в Л

» 01

чэ

о

Li

и

«

ф JJ ч

4J

>

01 ч о Я 3

-)

э

я

•н

О

СО

*

2

о

1

о и

го О «и О*

д

н 5ч н Н 4J ф

ф

и

И

а з о

–     > в

> а

«н

и

О*

о

о

1 Н Ф Li

ф

ч

ч ф 4J *а 01

2

2

о

Р-) я

JJ

О

н

ГО

» Li

Ш Q (Л g (Л

о

С 01    01    01   1Л 4J

3

е >

в

С

>   “0 4J

4J »ч »и ч

о

о

Li

о

ХР

Ч (Л ,*> Li

и

ф

ф С/1 ф ф я

(К

В “0

ф

1

*->

о

f~3 ф 0*

Г* -! Li    flj

я

Р О* Ч Ч 4J

ф

О и

> и

Р

UU я

И -4   >■ С U

о с

1

Л

>

£

ф

>* ti < з

а

1Л

> U 01 ф

*

*

Ф

и

*->

ГО

С

2

2 U

со 0. ф U Э

01

Ф Ф Д Ф

2

•н с

и и

14

а 4J Э

>н ф

о

е

>1

>ч

ф £

н

и сп с О £

с

с

ф

» 01

с

2

о

О

О*

и

о >

01

jc ф > > jj а

4J Р

с я

ъ

» 44 О

С 9В и

О и

«н

ч

JJ

л

«н

< > с

ч

СП

С С н (К

о

о

•н

С о

•н

4J

О

*  > –н

Ф И Ll

я

Ч 4J И >Н О |

»

я

Р £

•Н

о о .а

О 01 “0

д и

ы

и

И

4J

С

•ни *н *

04

с

Р .и Ч 44

4J

4J

я

О (К

Ll

*

СЬ

Ф

с

4J

Сии

*-i JJ С Ф ф

£

О Я С С гч С

>

и я

•н

С я

4J 01 и и Е*

U >л

(Л

3

и

-4 С «

н

4J О* «О

ф

S

о

4J

Си

С

О

и

о

VI

О Ф ч

2 Ч Э В О

>4   3 Е) Р я

н

3 и

» 44

Q

Ян tj

•н ф о ig ><

о

«

Li

о

Р 4J ф

*

4J

С 01 ф

и

и

ф

ф

О

JJ

с

JJ

JJ  W 32

Li _| И

44

“0 4J О

е х) л

•н О

г

о

3 В >   > м

01 ф

о

О

в

>,

X с >

ф

01

О Фи с

с

с

01

О f4

JJ

VJ

•н

ф

«Н

ф

* О И И 1Ы

о

3 Я Jd JC (Л >н

a

ы в
•Н

о о

О (Я И 14       –

04      >

и

4J

>

JJ

jj

О Ф 3  <

и

ф

4J Нн н о

н

•н

о

С 1

Ф

ф

ч

и

•И

U №С

ti СЬ Li 5Й UJ

ф Ч Ч ч О 1Л

3

(в

с

Н Д 01

£ >-> с а £

н

с

VI

•И

Li

•н

m -4 о

н

н

Ф         -1    > н

ч

ч

(К

н «н

и

и

«н

Oi

с

ч

С С Ф

Ф Li ф О

2 О О О S

я

0   -4

S >

и

Ч О 4J

Р S

44 4J

о

С

ч

С

а £ с

>

О »ч я ч и

04

Oi

Ч ГЧ

и

с

и

и

£

И И Ф

> О СЛ

>

>4   >4            -4

н

с о

н

Л

4J 1Л 4J

о в

О и

и

JJ

=>

а

•н

–  >4 И

ч

•н

с я г ф и

*

Oi

>

и

ч

»

Li

Li   JJ    Ll

И U   4J   4J

н

ъ * о я

л

я и

С С

О

Ф Ф

in ig а * >,

С

и

JJ

Li

>< о а

ф

а

НС и >

»

»

ф

»

Ll

Ll

£

ф

0«

»

0« И О

fi£ 3 -U С

с

5ч Д 3   3 1- rt

в

и Р

н

Е –  01

н Li >, XJ* 4J Сл 1/1

О

С

»

Н

СЛО 4J

1Л

с

ч о С н

ф

ф

и

ф

Ф

си

и

ф

Ф

ЧЭ СИ ф О

р

СП и О ф ч

3

» *
Л

О 01   3

»н fi и> о

с о

и

?

>1

О 5ч чэ с

о

о* и ф сп а

и

и

н

ф и

VI

*

н

»

и

* н *

И -! и

О ч и 2 О

•н

01 Ф

О

«

Д 4J Д

С -4     > О -4

ф (J

о

?

о

Li

-4 ел э

СЛ

н

4J ф С

н

и

>

U н

»

ф

>

ф

и

Ф >i

S » »Hi»

*

•н я 01 В

о

С сп

Н 5-

5ч

О 4J   U

(Я «И U ~4 О

е

>

ч

Li

о и

>1

о оо

с

4J

« я ч .н »

>

>

ч

и >

«Л

Ф

и

ч

и

>

и И сл

О Л ShИ ч

5ч

О ф *    *   01 ф

и

О Ф

>|С 4

В S « о д

4J О

и

Ll.

СО

*Г 4

Л *н и £

н

«

5ч U О 4J   4J

ч

ч

ф

> ч

С

и

•н

ф

и

Li

•НЛО

н и СЛ н с

сп Д 01   5ч 5ч Ф £

И -4

О

О

01    01    01

3 s д и

ч С

JJ

<л –<

О

о О ф

4J

и

СП 3            01    01

ф

ф

1Л

Ч ф

и

и

>

1Л

>

Ф

> Сн

Li ОИ

о

О ф С** сп ч

*

4J -1

5ч*-1

•н

04     3     01

ф » и >,

ig а

и

О

«

(N Л

«н

5чД и о

01

3

О “0 » Ф и

ел

1Л

ф 1Л

4J

>

ч

Ll

VI

Li О О

* ч -! а» “0

•н

5ч 03 о О О.    –

ф

я о

СП О

о

Д я

2   >,    – >, 01

а

с

г*

>lO    U

О

п и ч о

ф

о

ни >,HU

СП U)

(Л

Li

ф

СП

ф

Фи «С

4J Ф О « Ll

о

01       .4-4        5ч

СП

о и

О А

д

44 U £

ХТ> О 01   0*

ф »

«Л

«Л

>l£

Ot 5н о «о

н

ы

О СП с

СП

СЛ

с

СП

Ф

Ф

1Л

С

ел

СП (Л 4J     U

Li   n jC .Л о

д

04 -4 о О 5ч ч

ф

и

-4 U

и

о а о о *4 о«

о с

о

»

о

Ы (Л

и

01 4J

,0 О *4 Ф

с

с

•и

сп С

Н

VI

н

С

<в >,

Э Ф и о

и

Я Д Д 4J о

•н

С oi

О 5ч

5ч

(Л 44

С .Н Ф 44

н

и

и

«н

Р. о*

>,*М 0« 4     –

•н

*

U Лч Яи

•н

•н

4J

С н

СП 4J

!Л

<-|

СЛ U (Л

О OS   Sh » и

5ч *4 н о U н4J

-4

3 ч

А и

(Л

5ч 01 о

« О N 44 О

» «

о

о

Ю

О Ч 01

«

с

5ч 3 О С U

4J

4J

(Л

И 4J

«н

«Л

С

(Л

С

4J

С Э 0*

U И Sh

ю

О U 5ч 5ч а м

о

в ф

и 0.

0.

ч Я

д о

> ч

«

и

Л

« *м

си

44 О ф

с

о

01 о д о и

<д

01

ф

4J (Л

Ч

С

•н

ф

•н

И

и -0

w cw JJ ф

Oi

О (Л 01 ч ч

и

а д
5ч

О £   5ч JC   U  JJ         4J

д ш

41

Li

О

4J О

4J о Л и

о

н

0< ч ии

ф

ф

н

01 ф

С

и

4J

н

4J

Ф

JJ Ы %4

>: сни

4. 0J 04    04 О

о и

ю <и

44

±> 4J

ф >, U 4J С

и

О

>1

Ll

%4

с я ч

•н

(Л

О 5ч 4J Д

н

н

Ф н

о

4J

to

И

Н

«1 О

tl О 44 Ю с

44

С > .О

U

и я

о* о

О

Я 44  .Н

С U Ф С ф

Ф *4

с

JJ

(Л

О *J

О

Ф 4J   J О

4J

н

44            01 Я U

•н

н

и

(Л

Ф

»н

Ф

о

ФИ О Li

о

О ч 44 44 –н я

ч

ф ф

14 О 01

ПАП* в

н о

и

3

с^

О* с

Я С 4J

«

>

О О. U ч

•н

•н

я

•н

4J

Ф

Н

я

н

«н

Ь* ейи

44 JJ ф *-*

С О О О С J

ф

-4 ГН

<U   4J

4J

О 14

U О В 4J

4

Li

Э Ф

и

4J Ф Ф «J

и

•н

> 3 Я

я

я

с

•н я

<«

t<

с

«

1 С

■0 в 4J > U

4J

4J 44 Э

д

ф

о с

С Л 5ч Ф

ф 44 Ч 4J   U

44 4J

kl

О

%4

s а

С

ч а с ч

3

о

4J ф 44  “0 Ф

с

с

о

я с

О

•Н

о

«н

С

но Ф

О U Си С/)

с

Ч 4J   4J (Л

U Н

о

Я 4J >

m о 0< ч а

О С

а

Л

О

ги

ф

« 4J о о

о

С О О ы 01

о

о

•н

с о

3

«н

Я

н

4

О

вн В

О и ф С

ф

Я -4 С С Ф U

я

*г

XJ   S

В

|J Н Н

я а

ф

4

Ll

а

а ч д ja

ы

д

ф ф

•н

•н

4J

О и

о

4

С

4J

С

•н

С 4J

^ с a d с

в

Qi О Ф Ф слн

«

44 СО

С 4J

JJ

01 С

4J *0 Qi Ф

В

<м

*Л

и

■* <

4J

Ф 4 Qi id

и

В 4J «

4J

4J

я

И 4J

ы

С

О

я

О

4J

о •• и

э jj <в

4J

ф о а во 4J

н

О -4

О ч

14

*   14 Р

4J С »4 ф О

4J   4J

о

с

ф о*

Ll

о а ф >j

*

ч

4J С 4J Н

я

я

и

и я

О

•н

и

и

Ч

и СЬ ч

о В и и ф

ч

Q Д 4J   4J И (Л

Е IX.

Я

С Ф •н ф ч а

01 Ч

г

о

ел о

4

Ф ~4

ы

я

ч ф о,   | ч

и

и

3

я и

и

4J

3

jj

и

jJOCbco В nj   Li СЬ

я

и ч ч ч >н

*

X

JJ    Q,

а

Я >     –

о в >

с а

со

S

v а

О*

О Ф -4

1

ф

Я В Ф го О

3

3

о

О 3

Li

jj

Я

о

ч

о

Ч JJ Ф

ГЧ О СЬ Ф О

а

« я я л и

СО

4J О

U ф

Ф Ди с

m 4j 14    – –о

и а.

JJ

со

jj

«н

ф

СЛ f4 -4

•н

01

о* ф а о и

•о

о

ы

эо

ф

ч

и

ы

и

о

о w а

>н U Ф СЛ Li

ф

ф Oi О* В Я

о, m

я О

о

4J С О

ч « с -4

ф

о*

Li

•н »

а

Ч » ф

го

ф

Ф ч с

ы

ы

а ы

J£

и

3

3

ы

э

а jj э

о

С 3 Ф Ф Я 4J

X

ф
а

я р jj

* « га sh «

01 а

о

»

Ч

О 4

ф ч -4 m

(К

О 3    – Ф

«

ы

О

э

о

»

о

-0 –н *

– –н р ы

и ф о а и oi

о

о

о

»

С Ф

01 о>      –НС

01

а

(Л

а и сл

»

Л Ф и

а.

01 ч о ел

»

*

5ч

*

и

о

ы

о

ы

ЫИ Li

(Л «ней

*

я 2 О

m

СП

О с

с

и » »ч

С ф » 01 о

(Я *

Е

о

и

jj

со Ф

о

*

» Я Ф 4J

СП

5ч

ф

– –о

Li

ы

ч

ч

Ч Ф

Ф Ф и

4J

Ч » » * и

ч

о

о

В TJ Л

и О ч 01 О

£ ч

»

ч

о

l-i с

о

ч з m ч

4J

ф

сп ф »ч о »

ч

ф

•н

5ч С

JJ

»

о

»

J£

£ –ч

С еа им

•н

m ч с £, m

«

44    3

» 4J

1»

я и е

~4 ф О U

ф

Li

о

4 Ч

с

ф О ф

1Л

«-4.

Ч £ ~4 В СП

н

•н

Д

> я

VI

»

СП »-3

Ll

О

И -!

О « J£ jj

я

Ч ф О СП

JC

ал

U 41

•н

3 О в

~4     * С &£   (в

» jj

О

<

»

г n

ч

4J Ч «3

о

ф и я с

JC

с

01

Фн

Li

с

Ф

э

ии

Р-) . И Li Ч

£

ф N    01   3 »

и

2 г ее

О н

ч

и 44 г

о 01 –а £

54 4J

л:

(Л

N

«н

V)  U С lo-

*

ф

J3 £ Е н

и

н

я

•Н ^4

ф

я

С

(Л

? L. £

СЛ (5 ч «

от с е с о ел

я

с -4

Q

44

U ф ч

Ф о

С

«

Ч Ч

Ll

rd о

о

ф

01 с я с

о

К

04

01 О

>”)

в

г

£

и

4J

Ф ч с в

3 Я О S с

~4

5’3 tC-

5ч и

и

Си .

4J а £ с

Ч 04

•н

*->

В

Ч (5

Ф

СП с

и

ч

л: я X с

4J

и

н S

о

ч

Ч

J (-»

SO и

и

Ч -4 Ч О

а

Q

я и ы:

01 о Ф

Q

D-

и

>

-Q

>->   (5 Ы <8

ч

ц.

Он < ф

1Л

£

£

Ф

JJ

и

и

г

Н

ф <

QJ О (Л

О СО (5 я s

о

(К и

и

S ы с -4

и

с

ы

чн

4

J

га

з с о г

-)

и

и

ф

и

ел а (Л 2

я

< и

ейи

Ф

PS

а оа

d Фн

и

С

>1

2 о

S

4J   4J 01

S

•н о Ф ч

я

4J

*J S

с

О

£

Ll

о

и

ф ф

ч и -0 С

ч

С Ф 5ч Ф

m

Ll

д -<

Д О -4

С ч Д ф

с

О

«н

Li

ч

ч ч .н

о

О О СП Я 4J

д

Ч

ч

Li

ф

1

ф

Li

В

и U №н ИНД о

я

и В Я 01 Я СП

JJ ф

4J Ч

•н

и н я

« 4й « О, >,

« 5ч

>

•н

О

л

«н

« ф С 4й

5ч

Ч 4J С

4J

ф

ф

ф 1

Li

?

сп-0

Ч

3

li а li

СЛ 1 О JJ   JJ

л

4J О ЧИИ Ч

с

(Л -Q

•И (в

н

ч с с

-4             3 ф Ч

01 ч

о

Li

JJ

>i и

Li

Л л с

ч

5ч

В В О С я

ч

4Q

4J

л э

?

ф

д

ф

?

J£

ч ч о

д

С ti

Ф А

Ф

я а о

-4   . о 4J а

3 а

4J

Ч

О

Li .Н

«

О О ф

а

о

Я О Ф Ф ч

я

о

Ф

о ч

ч

Li

н

Ll

О

И

Л и ф

О Ф b  TJ.H

я

я ф 3 О 3 Ф

о

Ll ф

а и

г

33 “> «

< S SB И £

и £

VI

£

D-

ч £

Li

Ьй

<к к а н

о

(К

ино^о

£

(К

04

Си Си

.J

а

£

Ll.

X

Ьй

U и О

a s < ы £

m

£ ►) £ О -) О

э

Ы S
LlLiLiLiLlLlLiLlLlLlLlLlLlLlLlLl<

LlLiLlLlLlLlLiLlLlLiLlLlLlLiLlLlLlLlLlLlLlLlLiLlLlLlLiLiLlLiLlLlliLlLlLlLinLlLlULl

aQQQaaQQOaaQQaaaaQQaQQQaaQQQaaQQQaQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQaQQQXOaOQ

Dr. Lynn A. Cooper, Department of Psychology, Schermerhorn Hall, Colui. la University, New York, NY 10027

Dr. Julian tlochberg, Department of Psychology, Columbia University, New York, NY 10027

Dr. David Swinney, CUNY Graduate Center, Psychology of Linguistics, Room 1403, 33 W. 42nd Street, New York, NY 10036

Dr. John M. Carroll, I*M Watson Research Center, User Interface Institute, P.O. Box 704, Yorktown Heights, NY 10598

Dr. Leon J. Kamin, Department of Psychology, Northeastern University, 360 N. Hur’-ington Ave., Boston, Eh 12115

Dr. Margaret Matlin, Department of Psychology, State Univ. of New York, Geneseo, NY 14454

Dr. Michael K. Tanenhaus, Department of Psychology, Meliora Hall, University of Rochester, Rochi .ter, NY 14627

Dr. Sharon Carver, Graduate School of Education, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY 14627

Dr. Frank C. Keil, Department of Psychology, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853

Dr. James E. Cutting, Departaent of Psychology, Uris Hall, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853-7601

Dr. Clark Glymour, De[artaent of Philosophy, Carnegie-Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA 15213

M. Diane Langston, Information Technology, Center, Carnegie-Mellon University, Schenley Park, Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Dr. Robert Glaser, LRDC Building, 3939 O’Hara St., Pittsburgh, PA 15260

Dr. Walter Schneider, LRDC, Univ. of Pittsburgh, 3939 O’Hara St., Pittsburgh, PA 15260

Dr. Alan M. Lesgold, LRDC Building, University of Pittsburgh, 3939 O’Hara Street, Pittsburgh PA 15260

Dr. Lauren Resnick, LRDC Building, 3939 O’Hara St., Pittsburgh, PA 15260

Dr. Saul Sternberg, Department of Psychology, University of Pennsylvania, 3815 walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104

Dr. Henry Gleitman, Department of Psychology, 3815 Walnut St., Univ. of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104

Dr. Jonathan Baron, Department of Psychology, Univ. of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19174

Dr. S. Farnham-Diggory, Dept. Educational, Foundations, College of Education, University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19711

Dr. James Hoffman, Department of Psychology, University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19711

Dr. Ratna Nandakumar, Educational Studies, Willard Hall, Room 213E, University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19716

Carol Weissbrod, Chair, Departaent of Psychology, The American Universi’y, Washington  DC 20015

German Military Representative, ATTN: Wolfgang Wildgrube, Streitkraefteant , D-5300 Bo>in 2, 4000 Brandywine Street, NW, Washington, DC

Wayne M. °atience, American Council on Education, GED Testing Service, Suite 20, One Dupont Circle, NW, Washington, DC 20036

Dr. Anit_ Lancaster, Accession Policy, OASD/MIbL/MPiFM/AP, Pentagon, Washington, DC 20301

Assistant for Training and, Personnel Technology, Office of the Under Secretary of, Defense for Research t Engrg., 3D129, The Pentago

Dr. Myron Fischl, U.S. Army Headquarters, DAPE-MRR, The Pentagon, Washington, DC 20310-0300

Personnel Analysis Division,, AF/MPXA, 5C360, The Pentagon, Washington, DC 20330

Dr. Alfred R. Fregly, AFOSR/NL, Bldg. 410, Boiling AFB, DC 20332-6448

Dr. John Tangney, AFOSR/NL, Bldg. 410, Boiling AFB, DC 20332-6448

Assistant for Manpower, and Training, Office of the CNO (OP-987H), 5E683, The Ponta >n, Washington, DC 20350

Assistant for Planning and, Technology Development, Office of the DCNO(MPT) (OP-01B2), Department of the Navy, Washington, DC 20350-2

Dr. Clessen J. Martin, Office of Chief of Naval, Operations (OP 13 F), Navy Annex, Room ‘2832, Washington, DC 20350

OASDfManpower l Reserve Affairs), 5D800, The Pentagon, Washington, DC 20350-1000

Assistant for Training Technology, and Human Factors, Office of the DCNO(MPT) (Op-llBl), Departaent of the Navy, Washington, DC 20350

Head, Manpower, Personnel,, and Training Branch, Office of the CNO (OP-813), 4A478, The Pentagon, Washington, DC 20350-1000

Dr. Robert M. Carroll, Chief of Naval Operations, OP-01B2, Washington, DC 20350

LCDR Frank C. Petho, Office of the Chief of, Naval Operations, OP-111J1, Washington, DC 20350

Deput”‘Director Manpower,, Personnel and Training Div., Naval Sea Systems Command, ATTN: Code CEL-MP63, Washington, DC 20362

Deputy Director Military, Personnel Policy Division, Office of the DCHO(MPT) (OP-13B), Depa’cment of the Navy, Washington, DC 20370-2

Head, Leadership Branch, Naval Military Personnel Command, ATTN: LCDR E. Marits, NMPC-621, Department of the Navy, Washington, DC 203

Head, Military Compensation, Policy Branch, Office of the DCNO(MPT) (OP-134), Department of the Navy, Washington, DC 20370-2000

Deputy Director Total force, Training and Education Div., Office of the DCNO(MPT) (OP-11B), Department of the Navv, Washington, DC 20

Dr  .andall Shumaker, NavAl Research Laboratory, Code 5510, 4555 Overlook Avenue, S.W., Washington, DC 20375-5000

I.i’.arian, Naval Center tor Applied Research, in Artificial Intelligence, Naval Research Laboratory, Code 5510. Washington, DC 20375-

Headquarters U.S. Marine Corps, Code MA, Washington, DC 20180-0001

Headquarters Marine Corps, Code MPI-20, Washington, DC 20380

Commanding Officer,, Naval Research Labora. ry, Code 2627, Washington, DC 20390

Science and Technology Division, Library of Congress, Washington, DC 20540

Dr. Joseph L. Young, National Science Foundation, Room 320, 1800 G Street, N.W., Washington, DC 2Э550

Dr. Hilda Wing, federal Aviation Administration, 800 Independence Ave, SW, Washington, DC 20591

Dr. C. M. Dayton, Department of Measurement, Statistics l Evaluation, College of Education, University of Maryland, College Park, HD

Dr. Ralph J. DeAy.ila, Measurement, Statistics,, and Evaluation, Benjamin Bldg., Rm. 4112, Un;verslty of Maryland, College Park, MD 20

Dr. John Eliot, Institu e for Child Study, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742

Dr. George B. Masready, Department of Measurement, Statistics i Evaluation, College of Educa’ ?n, University of Maryland, College Рас

Naval School of Health Sciences, National Naval Medical Center, Bldg. 141, ATTN: CDR J.M. Lai -co, Washington, DC 20814-5033

ERIC Facility-Acquisitions, 2440 Research Blvd, Suite 550, Rockville, MD 20850-3238

Dr. Dennis F. Fisher, Behavioral Research Directorate, U.S. Army Human Engineering Lab., Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD 2.JOS

R8 89

Dr. Richard A. Monty, Behavioral Research, Human Engineering Lab, Averdoen PRVG GD, MD 2100S

Dr. Alfonso Caramazza, Department of Psychology, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD 21218

Ms. Carolyn R. Crone, Johns Hopkins University, Department of Psychology, Charles & 34th Street, Baltimore, MD 21218

Mr. Thomas J. Thomas, Tohns Hopkins University, Department of Psychology, Charles t 34th Street, Baltimore, MD 21218

Dr. Howard Egeth, Department of Psychology, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD 21218

Dr. Bert F. Green, Department of Psychology, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD 21218

Dr. Louis Buffardi, Department of Psychology, George Mason University, 4400 University Drive, Fairfax, VA 22030

Director, Research & Analysis Div., Navy Recruiting Command (Code 223), 4015 Wilson Blvd., Room 215, Arlington, VA 22203-1991

Dr. Marshall J. Farr, Consultant, Cognitive & Instructional Sciences, 2520 North Vernon Street, Arlington, VA 22207

Dr. Jerry Lehnus, Dofense Manpower Data Center, Suite 400, 1600 Wilson Blvd, Rosslyn, VA 22209

Chief, Survey and Market, Analysis Division, Defense Manpower Data Center, 1600 Wilson Blvd., 6400, Arlington, VA 22209

Director. Rec. Services Dept., Naval Military Personnel Command, N-651C, 1300 Wilson Blvd., Room 932, Arlington, VA 22209

Head,, Family Support Program Branch., OP 156, 1300 Wilson Blvd., Room 828, Arlington, VA 22209

Office of Naval Research,, Code 1142CS, 800 N. Quincy Street, Arlington, VA 22217-5000, (6 Copies)

Director, Applied Research Division, Code 1ГЛ, OCNR, Arlington, Va 22217-5000

Dr. Steven Zornetzer, Office of Naval Research, Code 114, 800 N. Quincy St., Arlington, VA 22217-5000

Office of Naval Research,, Code 1142PS, 800 :,. Quincy Street, Arlington, VA 222X7-5000

Chairman, MPT R4D Committee, Office of the Cbief, of Naval Research (Code 2:2), 800 N. Quincy Street, Arlington, VA 22217-5000

Office of Naval Research,, Code 1142BI, 800 N. Quincy Street, Arlington, VA 22217-5000

Dr. Stanley Collyer, Office of Nav».l Technology, Code 222, 800 N. Quincy Street, Arlington, VA 22217-5000

Office of Naval Research,, Code 1142, 800 N. Quincy St., Arlington, VA 2221/-5000

Director of Research Programs, Office of Naval Research (Code 11), 800 North Quincy Street, Arlington, VA 22217-5000

Dr. Charles Davis, Office of Naval Research Code 442, 800 N. Quincy St., Arlington, VA 22217

Program Manager, Statistics and, Probability (Code llllSP), Office of Naval Research, 800 North Quincy Street, Arlington, VA 22217–

Dr. Peter Stoloff, Center for Naval Analysis, 4401 Ford Avenue, P.O. Box 16268, Alexandria, VA 22302-0268

Dr. Dattprasad Divgi, Center for Naval Analysis, 4401 Ford Avenue, P.O. Box 16268, Alexandria, VA 22302-0268

Dr. Robert Lockman, Center for Naval Analysis, 4401 Ford Avenue, P.O. Box 16268, Alexandria, VA 22302-0268

Asst. for Long Range Reqts., CNO Executive Panel (OP-00K), 4401 Ford Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22302-0268

Director, Manpower Program, Center for Naval Analyses, 4401 Ford Avenue, P.O. Box 16268, Alexandria, VA 22:02-0268

Director,, Manpower Support and, Readiness Program, Center for Naval Analysis, 2000 North Beauregard Street, Alexandria, VA 223×1

Dr. Jesse Orlansky, Institute for Defense Analyses, 1801 N. Beauregard St., Alexandria, VA 22311

Defense Technical, Information Center, Cameron Station, Bldg 5, Alexandria, VA 22314, (12 Copies)

Dr. Brian Waters, HumRRO, 1100 S. Washington, Alexandria, VA 22314

Dr. H. Wallace Sinaiko, Manpower Research, and Advisory Services, Smithsonian Institution, 801 North Pitt Street, Suite 120, Alexan

Dr. Judith Orasanu, Basic Research Office, Army Research Institute, 5001 Eisenhower Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22333

Dr. Michael Kaplan, Office of Basic Research, U.S. Aruy Research Institute, 5001 Eisenhower Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22333-5600

Technical Director, ARI, 5001 Eisenhower Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22333

Dr. Michael Kubovy, Department of Psychology, Gilxer Hall, University of Virginia, Charlottesvilla, VA 22903-2477

Dr. Marcy Lansman, Univerbity of North Carolina, The L. L. Thutstone Lab., Davie Hall CB 13270, Ch-lpel Hill, NC 27514

Dr. Samuel Fillenbaum, Department of Psychology, Univ. North Carolina, Davie Hall 013 A, Chapel Hill, NC 27514

Dr. Jack Carroll, 409 Elliott Rd. North, Chapel Hill, NC 27514

Dr. Lynn Hasher, Department of Psychology, Duke University, Durham, NC 27706

Dr. Ruth Day, Department of Psychology, Duke University, Durham, NC 27706

Dr. Gregory Lockhead, Department of Psychology, Duke University, Durham, NC 27706

Dr. J. Ryan, Department of Education, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208

Dr. Robert Jannarone, Elec. and Computer Eng. Dept., University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208

Dr. Huynh Huynh, College of Education, Univ. of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208

Dr. Steven Hv’nka, 3-104 Educ. N., University of Alberta  Edmonton, Alberta, CANADA T6G 2G5

Dr. William F. Johnson, Search Technology, Inc., 4725 Peachtree Corners Circle, Norcross, GA 30092

Dr. George Englehard, Jr., Division of Educational Studies, Emory University, 210 Fishburne Bldg., Atlanta, GA 30322

Dr. Lawrsn<.e W. Barsalou, School of Psychology, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA 30332

Dr. T. Govindaraj, Georgia Institute of, Technology, School of Industrial, and Systems Engineering, Atlanta, GA 30332-0205

Director, Instructional Developnent Ь, Educational Program Support Dept., NETPMSA, Pensacola, FL 32509

Dr. James Algina, 1403 Norman Hall, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32605

Dr. Ira Fischler, Department of Psychology, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611

Dr. Arthur S. Blaiwes, Code N712, Naval Training Systems Center, Orlando, FL 32813-7100

Library, Naval Training Systems center, Orlando, FL 32813

Head, Human Factors Laboratory, Naval Training Systems Center, Code 71, Orlando, FL 32813-7100

Dr. Eduardo Salas, Human Factors Division (Code 712), Naval Training systems Center, Orlando, FL 32813-7100

70

71

*.

Dr. Kent E. Williams, Inst. for Simulation and Training, University of Central Florida, P.O. Box 25000, Orlando, FL 32816-0544

Attn: Dr. David E. Daniel, Deputy Director, RbD Department, NTSC (Code 7A), 12350 Research Parkway, Orlando, FL 32826-3224

Dr. Robert Breaux, Code 281, Naval Training Systems Center, Orlando, FL 32826-3224

Dr. Stephen K. Reed, Department of Psychology, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, Florida 33431

Dr. Isaac I. Behar, RT 3, Box 418, Enterprise, AL 36330

Dr. Susan Goldman, Department of Psychology, Peabody College, Box 45, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN 37203

Dr. James Pellegrino, Department of Psychology, Peabody College, Box 45, Nashville, TN 37203

Dr. John D. Bra.-xsford, Department of Psychology, 134 Wesley, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN 37240

Dr. Timothy P. McJamara, Department of Psychology, 301 Psychology Bldg., Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN 37240

Dr. Fumiko bamejima, Department of Psychology, University of Tennessee, 3iOB Austin Peay Bldg., Knoxville, TN 37916-0900

Academic Progs, t Research Branch, Naval Technical Training Command, Code N-625, NAS Memphis (75), Millington, TN 38054

Dr. Arthur Gracsser, Department of Psychology, Memphis State University, Memphis, TN 38152

Dr. Lester E. Krueger, Human Performance Center, 404B W 17th Ave., Columbus, OH 43210

Dr. Neal F. Johnson, Department of Psychology, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio 43210

Dr. Laura L. Barnes, College of Education, University of Toledo, 2801 W. Bancroft Street, Toledo, OH 436J6

Dr. Douglas K. Detterman, Department of Psychology, Case Western Reserve Univ., Cleveland, OK 44106

Dr. D. James Dooling, Department of Psychology, Kent State University, Kent, Ohio 44242

Dr. Joseph H. Danks, Department of Psychology, Kent State University, Kent, Ohio 44242

Dr. Richard J. Koubek, Department of Biomedical, t Human Factors, 139 Engineering t Math Bldg., Wright State University, Dayton, OH 4

Dr. Margaret J. Peterson, Department of Psychology, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47401

Dr. David B. Pisoni, Department of Psychology, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47401

Dr. Paul Cobb, Purdue University, Education Building, W. Lafayetta, IN 47907

Dr. Gary M. Olson, Department of Psychology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Dr. John Jonides, Department of Psychology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Dr. David E. Meyer, Department of Psychology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Dr. Edward E. Smith, Department of Psychology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Dr. Douglas Medin, Department of Psychology, University of Michigan, Perry Building, 330 Packard Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Dr. David Kieras, Program in Technical Communication, College of Engineering, 1223 E. Engineering Building, University of Michigan, Л

Dr. J. Kathryn Bock, Department of Psychology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824

Dr. Meg Gerrard, Psychology Department, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50010

Dr. James V. Hinrichs, Department of Psychology, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52240

Dr. Stephen Dunbar, 224B Lindquist Center, for Measurement, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242

Dr. Frank L. Schmidt, Department of Industrial, Relations and Human Resources, College of Business, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA

Lowell Schoer, Psychological t Quantitative, Foundations, College of Education, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242

Dr. Leonard Feldt, Lindquist Center, for Measurement, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242

Dr. I. Gormazano, Department of Psychology, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242

Dr. Judy Spray, ACT, P.O. Box 168, Iowa City, IA 52243

Dr. Mark D. Reckase, ACT, P. O. Box 168, Iowa City, IA 52243

Dr. Robert Brennan, American College Testing, Programs, P. O. Box 168, Iowa City, IA 52243

Dr. Timothy Davey, American College Testing Program, P.O. Box 168, Iowa City, IA 52243

Dr. Richard L. Ferguson, American College Testing, P.O. Box 168, Iowa City, IA 52243

Dr. Michael T. Waller, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Educational Psychology Department, Box 413, Milwaukee, WI 53201

Dr. Thonas Leonard, University of Wisconsin, Department of Statistics, 1210 West Dayton Street, Madison, WI 53705

Dr. Joel R. Levin, Department of Educational Psychology, Educational Sciences Building, 1025 West Johnson Street, Madison, Wisconsin

Dr. Arthur M. Glenberg, Department of Psychology, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53706

Dr. David Vale, Assessment Systems Corp., 2233 University Avenue, Suite 440, St. Paul, MN 5Ы14

Dr. Charles R. Fletcher, Department of Psychology, University of Minnesota, 75 East River Road, Minneapolis, MN 55455

Dr. Paul van den Brcnk, Department of Education, Burton Hall, 1789 Pillsbury Drive S. E., Minneapolis, MN 55455

Prof. David W. Johnson, Cooperative Learning Center, University of Minnesota, 150 Pillsbury Drive, S.E., Minneapolis, MN 55455

Mr. Steve Reiss, N660 Elliott Hall, University of Minnesota, 75 E. River Road, Minneapolis, MN 55455-0344

Dr. William M. Bart, University of Minnesota, Dept. of Educ. Psychology, 330 Burton Hall, 178 Pillsbury Dr., S.E., Minneapolis, MN 55

Dr. Irv Siederman, Department of Psychology, University of Minnesota, 75 East River Road, Minneapolis, MN 55455

Dr. David J. Weiss, N660 Elliott Hall, University of Minnesota, 75 E. River Road, Minneapolis, MN 55455-03^4

Dr. Phillip L. Ackerman, Department of Psychology, Elliott Hall, University of Minnesotta, Minneapolis, MN 55455

Di. Michael Maratsos, Department of Psychology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455

Dr. Clarence С McCormick, HQ, USHEPCOM/MEPCT, 2500 Green Bay Road, North Chicago, IL 60064

Dr. Carl Ross, CNET-PDCD. Building 90, Great Lakes NTC, IL 60088

Dr. Gail McKoon, Department of Psychology, Northwestern University, Dresge Hall, Evanston, IL 60201

Dr. Roger Ratcliff, Department of Psvchology, Northwestern University, 1859 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60202

73

Mr. Anthony R. Zara, National Council of State, Boards of Nursing, Inc., 625 North Michigan Avenue, Suite 1544, Chicago, IL 60611

Dr. Robert D. Gibbons, Illinois State Psychiatric Inst., Km 529W, 1601 W. Taylor Street, Chicago, IL 60612

Dr. Той Trabasso, Department of Psychology, University of Chicago, 5835 S. University Avenue, Chicago, IL 60tJ7

Dr. Nancy Stein, Department of Psychology, University of Chicago 5835 S. University Avenue, Chicago, IL 60637

Dr. Lance Rips, Department of Behavioral, Sciences, 5848 S. University Ave., University of Chicago, Chicago, IL 60637

Dr. Janellen Huttenlocher, Departaent of Education, University of Chicago, 5600 S. Kimbark Ave., Chicago, IL 60637

DC. Kenneth D. Forbus, Departaent of Computer Science, University of Illinois, 1304 West Springfield Avenue, Urbana, IL 61801

Dr. Bruce Williams, Department of Educational, Psychology, University of Illinois, (Trbana, IL 61801

Dr. Michael Levine, Educational Psychology, 210 Education Bldg., University of Illinois, Champaign, IL 61801

Dr. Terry Ackeraan, Educational Psychology, 210 Education Bldg., University of Illinois, Champaign, IL 61801

Mr. Alan Mead, c/o Dr. Michael Levine, Educational Psychology, 210 Education Bldg., University of Illinois, Champaign, IL 61801

Dr. Maurice Tatsuoka, 220 Education Bldg, 1310 S. Sixth St., Champaign, IL 61820

Dr. Ledyard Tucker, University of Illinois, Department of Psychology, 603 E. Daniel Street, Champaign, IL 61820

Mr. Christopher McCusker, University of Illinois, Department of Psychology, 603 E. Daniel St., Champaign, IL 61820

Dr. Fritz Drasgou, University of Illinois, Department of Psychology, 603 E. Daniel St., Champaign, IL 61820

Dr. George McConkie, Ctr. for Study of Reading, University of Illinois, 51 Gerty Drive, Champaign, I! ‘1820

Dr. Richard C. Anderson, Center for the Study, o£ Reading, 51 Gerty Drive, University of Illinois, Champaign, IL 61820

Dr. Robin Shealy, University of Illinois, Departaent of Statistics, 101 Illini Hall, 725 South Wright St., Champaign, IL 61820

Kr. Gary Thomasson, University of Illinois, Educational Psychology, Champaign, IL 61820

Dr. Deluyn Harmsch, University of Illinois, 51 Gerty Drive, Champaign, IL 61820

Mr. Rodney Lib, University of Illinois, Department of Psychology, 603 E. Daniel St., Champaign, IL 61820

Dr. Lloyd Humphreys, University of Illinois, Departaent of Psychology, 603 East Daniel Street, Champaign, IL 61820

Dr. Ed Shoben, Departaent of Psychology, 603 E. Daniel Street, University of Illinois, Champaign, IL 61820

Mr. Hua Hua Chung, Univetsity of Illinois, Department of Statistics, 101 Illini Hall, 725 South Wright St., Champaign, IL 61820

Dr. William F. Brewer, Psychology Building, University of Illinois, Chaapaign, IL 61820

Dr. William Stout, University of Illinois, Departaent of Statistics, 101 Illini Hall, 725 South Wright St., Champaign, IL 61820

Dr. Bri’.n Junker, University of Illinois, Department of Statistics, 101 Illini Hall, 725 South Wright St., Champaign, IL 61820

Dr. Dedre Gentner, University of Illinois, Department of Psychology, 603 E. Daniel Street, Champaign, IL 61320

Dr. Gary S. Dell, Departaent of Psychology, University of Illinois, 603 E. Daniel St., Champaign, IL 61320

Dr. John B. Best, Department of Psychology, Eastern Illinois Univ., Charleston, IL 61920

Dr. Paul Feltovich, Southern Illinois University, School of Medicine, Medical Education Department, P.O. Box 3926, Springfield, IL 62

Dr. Robert Tsutakaua, University of Missouri, Department of Statistics, 222 Math. Sciences Bldg., Columbia, MO 65211

Dr. David Thissen, Department of Psychology, University of Kansas, Laurence, KS 66044

Dr. James Juola, Department of Psychology, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS 66045

Dr. Susan Embtetson, Departaent of Psychology, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS 66045

Dr. Janet McDonald, Psychology Departaent, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA 70803

Dr. Frank Durso, Department of Psychology, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK 73019

Dr. Thomas A. Warm, ГАА Acadeay AAC934D, P.O. Box 25082, Oklahoma City, OK 73125

Dr. Jeffery L. Kenmngton, School of Engr. t Applied Sciences, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, TX 75275

Dr. Roy Lachman, Department of Psychology, University of Houston, Houston, TX 77004

Major John Welsh, AFHRL/MOAN, Brooks AFB, TX 78223

Dr. Benjamin A. Fairbank, Operational Technologies Corp., 5825 Callaghan, Suite 225, San Antonio, TX 78228

LT COL Bill Ercoline, AFHRL/MOE, Brooks AFB, TX 78235

Dr. Sheme Gott, AFHRL/MOMJ, Brooks AF3, TX 78235-5601

Dr. James A. Earles, Air Force Huaan Resources Lab, Brooks AFB, TX 78235

Dr. William Howell, Chief Scientist, AFIIRL/CA, Brook’ AFB, TX 78235-5601

Dr. Patrick Kyllonen, AFHRL/MOEL, Brooks AFB, TX 78235

Dr. Ray.iond E. Christal, UES LAMP Science Advisor, AFHRL/MOEL, Brooks AFB, TX 78235

Dr. Malcclm Ree, AFHRL/MOA, Brooks AFB, TX 73235

Technica1. Director,, Air Force Huaan Resources Lab., Brooks AFB, TX 78236-5601

Dr. William Koch, Box 7246, Meas. and Eval. Ctr., University of Texas-Austin, Austin, TX 78703

Dr. Donald J. Foss, Department of Psychology, Mezes 312, University of Texas, Austin, TX 78712

Dr. Philip B. Gough, Departaent of Psychology, University of Texas, Austin, TX 78712

Dr. George R. Potts, Departaent of Psychology, University of Denver, Denver, CO 80208

Dr. Janice Keenan, Departaent of Psychology, University of Denver, Denver, CO 80208

Dr. Patricia Baggett, Departaent of Psychology, University of Denver, 2030 S. York, Denver, CO 80208

Dr. Marshall Haith, Departaent of Psychology, University of Denver, Denver, Colorado 80210

Dr. Anders Ericsson, Psychology Department, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309

Dr. Stephanie Doane, Institute of Cognitive Science, Caapus Box 3-iS, Boulder, CO 80309-0345

74

75

Dr. Robert L. Linn, Campus Box 249, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309-0249

Dr. Peter G. Poison, Department of Psychology, University of Colorado, Bouldor, CO 80309

Dr. James B. Olsen, WICAT Systems, 1875 South State Street, Orem, UT 84058

AZ 85721

Dr. Nancy Eldredge, College of Education, Civision of Special Education, The University of Arizona, Tucson,

Эг.

Dr. Eva ь. Baker, UCLA Center for the Study, of Evaluation, 145 Moore Hall, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90024

Dr.

Dr. ________     ________ ,   .   –                                     .      -.                                           .                                                  .

Dr. Harold F. O’Neil, Jr., School of Education WPH 801, Department of Educational, Psychology & Technology, University of Southern

Dr.

Dr.

Dr.

Dr. ____

Dr. Mary Schratz, 905 Orchid Way, Carlsbad, CA 92009

Dr. Paul Horst, 677 G Street, #184, Chula Vista, CA 92010

Di

Di

Dt

Dr.

Di

Dr.

Dr.

Те

Head, Training Technology Department, NPRDC (Code 15), San Diego, CA 92152-6800

Mr. Paul Foley, Navy Personnel R&D Center, San Diego, CA 92152-6800

Mr. John H. Wolfe, Navy Personnel R&D Center, San Diego, CA 92152-6800

Dr. Leonard Kroeker, Navy Personnel R&D Center, Code 62, San Diego, CA 92152-6800

Library, NPRDC, Code P201L, San Diego, CA 92152-6800

Dr. William E. Montague, U.S. Naval Personnel &, Training Research Laboratory, San Diego, CA 92152

head, Fleet Liaison Department, NPRDC (Code 03), San Diego, CA 92152-6800

Dr. Wallace Wulfeck, III, Navy Personnel R&D Center, Code 51, San Diego, CA 92152-6800

Mr. Brad Sympson, Navy Personnel R&D Center, Code-62, San Diego, CA 92152-6800

Mr. Joe Silverman, Code 61, Navy Personnel R&D Center, San Diego, CA 921C2-6800

Ms. Kathleen Moreno, Navy Personnel R&D Center, Code 62, San Diego, CA 92152-6800

Dr. P-A. Fedenco, Code 51, NPRDC, San Diego, CA 92152-6800

Naval Ocean Systems Center, Command Support Technology Division, Attn: Mr. J. Grossman, Ci’de 440-, Bldg. 334, San Diego, CA 92152-5P0

Head, Personnel Systems Department, NPRDC (Code 12), San Diego, CA 92152-6800

Technical Director,, Navy Personnel R&D Center, San Diego, CA 92152-6800

Head, Testing Systems Department, NPRDC (Code 13), San Diego, CA 92152-6800

Commanding Officer,, Navy Personnel R&D Center, San Diego, CA 92152-6800

Head, Manpower Systems Department, NPRDC (Code 11), San Diego, CA 92152-6800

Dr. Frank L. Vicino, Navy Personnel R&D Center, San Diego, CA 92152-6800

Dr. Douglas Wetzel, Cod< 51, Navy Personnel R&D Center, San Diego, CA 92152-6800

Dr. Dan Segall, Navy Personnel R&D Center, San Diego, CA 92152

Dr. Gerald E. Larson, Navy Personnel Resoarch, and Development Center, Testing Systems Dept., San Diego, CA 92152

Dr. Richard C. Sorensen, Navy Personnel R&D Center, San Diego, CA 92152-6800

Ms. Rebecca Hetter, Navy Personnel R&D Center, Code 63, San Diego, CA 92152-6800

Mr. Drew Sands, NPRDC Code 62, San Diego, CA 92152-6800

Head, Training Systems Departaent, NPRDC (Code 14), San Diego, CA 92152-6800

Dr. Richard Mayer, Department of Psychology, Univ. of California, Santa Barbara, CA 93106

Dr. Russell Revlin, Department of Psychology, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA 93106

Mr. Richard J. Shavelson, Graduate School of Education, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA 93106

Dr. Roberta Klatzky, Departaent of Psychology, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA 93106

Dr. Mary Hegarty, Department of Psychology, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA 93106

Dr. Ronald A. Weitzman, Box 146, Carmel, CA 93921

Dr. Martin F. Wiskoff, PER5EREC, 99 Pacific St., Suite 4556, Monterey, CA 93940

Director, Center for Personnel, Security Research, Suite E, Building 455, 99 Pacific Street, Monterey, CA 93940-2481

76

77

«.   •

Dr. Wendy Yen, CTB/McGraw Hill, Del Monte Research Paik, Monterey, CA 939-10

Department of Operations Research,, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA 93940

Dept. of Administrative Sciences, Code 54, Naval Postgi i.’uate School, Monterey, CA 939-13-5026

Dr. Bruce Bloxom, Defense Manpower Data Center, 99 Pacific St., Suite 155A, Monterey, CA 93943-3231

Prof. Edward Haertel, School of Educatnn, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 9-1305

Dr. David Rumelhart, Department of Psychology, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 9-1305

Dr. Roger Shepard, Department of Psychology, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305

Dr. Robert Calfee, School of Education, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 9430?

Dr. Jim Greeno, Department of Education, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305

Dr. Gordon H. Bower, Department of Psychology, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305

Dr. Richard E. Snow, School of Education, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305

Dr. Herbert H. Clark, Department of Psychology, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305

Dr. Amos Tversky, Department of Psychology, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305

Dr. Barbara Tversky, Department of Psychology, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305

Dr. Daniel Kahneman, Department of Psychology, Univ. of Calif., Berkely, Berkeley, CA 94720

Dr. Stephen E. Palmer, Department of Psychology, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720

Dr. Andrea A. diSessa, School of Education, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720

Dr. Perry W. Thorndyke, FMC Corporation, Central Engineering Labs, 12C5 Coleman Avenue, Box 580, Santa Clara, CA 95052

Dr. Patricia Goldman-Rakic, Neuroanatomy Department, Vale Medical School, 333 Cedar St., Now Haven, CT 96510

Dr. James Paulson, Department of Psychology, Portland State University, P.O. Box 751, Portland, OR 97207

Dr. G. Gage Kingsbury, Portland Public Schools, Research and Evaluation Department, 501 North Dixon Street, P. 0. Box 3107, Portland,

Dr. M. I. Posner, Department of Psychology, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403

Dr. Douglas Hintzman, Department of Psychology, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon 97403

Dr. Morton A. Gernsbacher, Department of Psychology, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403-1227

Dr. Geoffrey Loftus, Department of Psychology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195

Dr. Баг1 B. Hunt, Department of Psychology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195

Dr. Wallace E. Lambert, Department of Psychology, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada II ЗА 1B1

Dr. Alinda Friedman, Department of Psychology, Univers-.ty of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2E9, CANADA

Dr. Fernanda Ferrena, Department of Psychology, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta T6G2E1, CANADA

Dr. Albert S. Btegman, Department of Psychology, 1205 McGregor Ave., Montreal, Quebec, CANADA

Prof. John A. Keats, Department of Psychology, University of Newcastle, N.S.W. 2308, AUSTRALIA

Prof. Donald Fitzgerald, University of Now England, Dep-.traent of Psychology, Armidale, New South Wales 2351, AUSTRALIA

Dr. Gerhard Fischer, Liebiggasse 5/3, A 1010 Vienna, AUSTRIA

Dr. Norman Segalowitz  Department of Psychology, Concordia University, 7141 Sherbrooke St. West, Montreal, Quebec, CANADA H4B 1R6

Cdt. Arnold Bohrer, Sectie Psychologisch Onderzoe*, Rekruterings-En Selectiecentrum, Kwartier Koningen Astrid, Bruijnstraat, 1120 Bru

Dr. Erling B. Andersen, Department of Statistics, Studiestraede 6, 1455 Copenhagen, DENMARK

Dr. Peter Dixon, Department of Psychology, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada T6G 2E9

Michael Habon, DORNIER GMBH, P.O. Box 1420, D-7990 Frledrichshafen 1, WEST GERMANY

Dr. Menucha Birenbaum, School of Education, Tel Aviv University, Ramat Aviv 69978, ISRAEL

Dr. Jane Oakhill, Experimental Psychology Department, University of Sussex, Brighton BN1 9QG, GREAT BRITAIN

Dr. Alan Garnham, Experimental Psychology Department, University of Sussex, Brighton BN1 9QG, GREAT BRITAIN

Dr. Kazuo Shigemasu, 7-9-24 Kugenuaa-Kaigan, Fujisawa 251, JAPAN

Mr. John F. Hodgkiss, SPIN), Room 429A, ABS, Old Admiralty Buildings, Spring Gardens, London SWlA 2BE, UNITED KINGDOM

Dr. Meredyt-h Daneraan, Department of Psychology, University of Toronto, Erindale Campus, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada L5L 1C6

Dr. Neil Charness, Psychology Department, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario,, Canada N2L 3G1

Dr. Erik De Corte, Educational Psychology Dept., Vesalivsstraat 2,, B-3000, Leuven, BELGIUM

Dr. Hans F. Cronbag, Faculty of Law, University of Limburg, P.O. Box 616, Maastricht, The NETHERLANDS 6200 MD

Dr. Gustav M. Ilabermann, Budapest 13, P.O. Box PF/6S, 1253 HUNGARY

Dr. Lesley Hall, School of Education, Deakin University, Vines Road North Geelong, Victoria 3217 AUSTRALIA

Dr. Helmut M. Niegemann, Bayernstrasse 12, D-6670 St. Ingbert, WEST GERMANY

Dr. Reyes Vazquez Lazo, Colegio Uni versi tar ю de, La Coruna, Seccion de Psicologia, Caitipus de La Zapateiia s/n, 15008, La Coruna, ESP

Dr. Murray Singer, Department of Psychology, University of Manitoba, P40S Duff Roblin, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada R3T 2N2

Dr. Alan D. Baddeley, MRC Applied Psychology Unit, IS Chaucer Road, Cambridge, ENGLAND CB2 2EF

Prof. G. Flores d’Arcais, Psychology Department, University of Leiden, The Netherlands

Dr. Willem Levelt, Max-Planck Institute, for Psycholinguistics , Wundtlaan 1, NL-6S2S 😄 Nijmegen, The Netherlands

Dr. G. d’Ydewalle, Department of Psychology, University of Leuven, D-3000 Leuven, Belgium

Dr. lleinz Mandl, Deutsches Institut, fur Fe rnst udi en,, der Universitat Tubingen,, Bei der Fruchtschranne 6, 7400 Tubingen, West Germany

Professor Dr. G. Luer, Psychology Institute, Georg-August University, Gosslerstrasse 14, D 3400 Gottingen, West Germany

78

79

Psychological tests

September 29, 2009

Psychological tests

Psychological tests

Intelligence, Aptitude and special aptitude test

Intelligence

The purposes of intelligence testing can be broadly divided into educational, research, vocational and medical (Whitla 1968).

Educational

  • For measuring the general learning readiness .We know that intelligence quotient scores are correlated with school achievement
  • For identifying gifted children .The essence of educational guidance is in providing for all children instructions that is interesting in content and suitable to their level of intellectual development
  • For identifying mentally retarded children so as to make adequate provisions for them
  • For homogenous grouping of children for educational effectiveness

Research

  • For indicating the extent of differences of intelligence quotient among children of the same calendar age. This indicates the need for providing teaching materials at the different levels of difficulty
  • To study mental growth. Mental abilities develop in a sequential order from birth onwards. We can use intelligence test to see the direction of individuals and group curves

Vocational

  • For vocational guidance. Different vocations call for different aptitudes

Medical

  • To define accurately the degree of mental retardation or defects so as to evolve adequate management strategies

Aptitude test

Aptitude test is defined as the test of suitability to determine whether an individual is likely to develop the skills required for a particular kind of work (Encarta dictionary, 2008). Aptitude tests are used to calculate abilities over a long period of time, as well as to envisage future learning performance. Example of aptitude tests are the Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) and the American College Testing (ACT)).These tests are both college admission tests explored in the prediction of college success.

Special aptitude tests

The purpose of special aptitude test raises the concept of fidelity and bandwith.Bandwith determines the breath of the traits that is being evaluated while fidelity refers to the extent to which a particular measure focuses on a particular attribute or quality. These tests are explored to prognosticate on the future performance in a subject that the person in question is not currently trained.Goverment parastatals,institutions and business organization often will apply specific aptitude tests  when  handing over specific privileges to certain individuals. .Furthermore, vocational guidance counseling may involve aptitude testing to help clarify individual career goals (Microsoft Encarta, 2008). If a person has a similar score in comparison to that of individuals already functioning in a particular profession, the probability of success in that occupation can be predicted by the use of aptitude tests. Certain aptitude tests have a wide coverage that includes skills germane to many different professions. The General aptitude test, for instance aside measuring the general reasoning ability also covers the areas of form perception, motor coordination, clerical perception as well as manual and finger dexterity. Other tests may concentrate on a single area such as the Art, Engineering and modern languages (Microsoft Encarta.2008). One of the examples of special aptitude tests is the sensory or perceptual test and this concentrates on the discrimination of color and visual acuity. It also involves the auditory senses.

Another example of special aptitude test is the mechanical test which includes the test of spatial relations and this demands manual dexterity as well as space visualization. There is also the paper and pencil test which includes the Bennet Mechanical comprehension Test and the Minnesota Paper Formboard.

Other special aptitude tests are listed below.

The clerical test

This includes the Minnesota clerical test that consists of 200 pairs of numbers and 200 pairs of

names. It also includes the clerical abilities which is an embodiment of 7 other tests like test of

proofreading and copying etc.

The art and musical test.

The Art ability test includes the Art judgment test in which the participant judges between two pictures and chooses the one that is better. In aesthetic perception test, the participant gives an orderly ranking of 4 versions of the same project. The grave design judgment test also allows the participant to adjudicate the best among a group of abstract pictures.

Musical ability test

The musical ability test gives an analytical assessment of musical ability and it makes use of tones as well as notes to evaluate 6 components of auditory discrimination. The wing standardized test of musical intelligence explores recorded pianoic songs to assess about 8 areas which include the memory, chord analysis and rhythm.

Validity, Reliability and standardization of test

Analyzing validity and reliability is the foundation to identifying whether an experiment makes use of proper instrumentation, attain sensible results and appropriate procedure.

Why validity?

Validity is a useful research tool which is necessary to carry out any worthwhile project and it is a must for both the quantitative and qualitative research as the objective is to estimate the truth to the maximum degree as possible.

Validity of a test

A well-designed test is that which is both valid and reliable. Validity is in some ways the most fundamental consideration.  “A test is said to be valid if it measures what it claims to measure” (Kline, 1986).  The Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing  put forward by American psychological Association, the American Educational Research Association, National Council of Measurement in Education (Standards for educational and psychological testing, 1999)  opine  that validity “ is a measure of the  meaningfulness, usefulness and appropriateness of the specific inferences  drawn  from test scores.  Test validation is therefore the process of gathering evidence to corroborate such inferences.”

Validity is often measured in the context of the purposes for which a test score will be used. There are a number of measures of validity. For a psychological test to be valid, the test must first be reliable, but not all reliable tests demonstrate validity.  In Greenland & Linn, 1990 “Reliability is a necessary but not sufficient condition for validity.”  There exist different measures of validity depending on the purpose of the test.  Most common types of validity include the construct validity, content validity, predictive validity, face validity. As opposed to reliability, there is no particular singular statistical approach that is used to demonstrate validity.

Construct validity

This implies “the degree to which one can infer certain construction in a psychological theory from the test scores.”(Haladyna, 2002) The concept was at first  used in relation to psychological testing that pertains to individual differences such as assessment of the level of  hostility and anxiety(Mehrens&Lehman,1987;Mehrens, 2002).It has now become part and parcel of the discussion about the  validity of the achievement test (Cronbach  &Mehrens,1955;Cronbach,1989;Mehrens,2002)

Predictive validity

This is realized by finding a link between test and subsequent criterion ,for instance by looking into the correlation between a test administered at age 10 with outcomes and performances on subsequent test of academic success such as college classes, one can establish the validity of an intelligence test(Kline 1986).Nevertheless, problem arises in validating variables in this manner.    One, for the problem of getting suitable subsequent criterion and two, the challenges posed by collection of statistics (Kline 1986)

Face validity.

Face validity is the least effective type of validity.  It refers to how well the test “on the face of it” appears like it measures what it is supposed to measure.  A psychological test made up of psychological problems is regarded to have face validity.  This type of validity is pivotal to test takers.

Content validity.

This is the most valuable type of validity for assessment of student learning.  Content validity indicates the extent to which the test items correspond to what is learned in a particular course or perhaps in a similar knowledge framework.  In order words, to what range are the test items indicative of the types of content or skills that were taught? Content validity can be facilitated by watchfully manipulating with the view to reflecting what was taught.   In order to realize this, many test makers explore a test design or medium where the rows or columns are the pivotal elements of the content and the boxes represent the related test items. The test item is a representative of the universe of accomplishments within the framework, hence the items must be the appropriate samples (Mehrens&Lehman, 1987)

Reliability

Reliability is a term that refers to the consistency of the scores.  In order words, the possibility to obtain the same or similar scores supposing the test was administered at a different time of day, or perhaps if different raters scored the test?  Reliability also indicates how internally consistent the test is.

Reliability can be simply defined as “the degree of consistency between two measures of the same thing” (Mehrens & Lehmann, 1987).Reliability is commonly influenced by strength of the test,the speed of the test and group homogeneity. A large test test is generally more reliable as test speed increases estimating reliability with equivalency or test-retest approach becomes more significant. The more heterogeneous a group is, the better the reliability and this is because of the increasing variability of group scores despite stability of standard error. Amidst difference score, the test with a little variability will be less reliable all other things being equal(Haladya,2002;Mehren&Lahman 1987) Reliability coefficient should be at least 85 and 65 respectively for tests with individual consequences and that used for making decisions about groups(Mehrens&Lehman 1987).Several methods are used to estimate test reliability and they include the interrate,test-retest,alternate forms, split- halves,Kinder-Richarson(K-R) method ,Cronbach’salpha method and Improving reliability method.

Standardization

Standardized tests are administered to assist in appropriate academic placement, to assess academic achievement, to identify individual aptitudes, to explore vocational interests, and to examine personal characteristics. Standardized tests are used also to identify gifted students and those with special learning problems. (Microsoft Encrata, 2008)

Test standardization involves the use of established rules in the administration as well as the interpretation of test. Here, standard measures are used for the assessment of the tests as well as the interpretation of the results. Test administrators and proctors being used in all classrooms when the test is given. Standardization of test gives description of a test prepared by learned individuals and administered to large group of students under certain prescribed conditions .It has a low correlation with short term classroom learning as seen in grading period.Standadized test are expansive survey of accrued learning as might occur over numerous years of instructions (Pophan, 2000; Halagyna2002).Standardized tests include aptitude test, intelligence test, entry/exit tests, achievement test. Test standardization helps to measure knowledge with ease and  to do this in a better way than assessment of skills (Haladyna 2002)

Misuse and misinterpretation of Psychological tests

Psychological tests are often used inappropriately and are misinterpreted and over interpreted in the forensic setting.  This harms the person being evaluated and interferes with the course of justice.  It also does a disservice to the reputation of psychologists and the science of psychology (Harris quoted in Ralph and Hallida).Commonly misinterpreted psychological tests are:

Drawing and projective tests

In the case of children drawing test, interpretation are often not backed up by experimental and empirical evidence. No standard data showcases validity as well as reliability .In a situation where drawing is used, to avoid misinterpretation, the interpretation should be conservative in order to generate hypothesis to be explored. Projective test also lack any appreciable validity and reliability. In a review of the Draw-A-Person test in the Seventh Mental Measurements Yearbook, it was said that there appears to be very little evidence for the use of “signs” as valid indicators of personality characteristics.   With children’s drawings there is so much variability from drawing to drawing that particular features of any one drawing are too unreliable to say anything about them (Harris quoted in Ralph and Hallida).

Rorschach test

Here, certain recommendations and conclusions about people lives are made based on misinterpretation of this test having failed to recognize its limitation as there is no empirical support for the validity of this test and therefore it becomes limited in its clinical use. Here, people should rather be evaluated on the basis of what they do as opposed to what they are feeling, their thoughts or inclinations  as seen in Rorscharch.The responses  given in Rorschach  is not a true reflection  of an evidence of a real psychopathology. The interpretation is therefore subjective and quirck.It is unscientific as it makes inferences based on supposed reality of unconscious process in the mind.

The MMPI

This is also often misinterpreted test. It gives a quirck misinterpretation without support from empirical books .Its interpretation does not just stem from differences in opinions. More often than not, it makes use of computerized interpretation without any particular characteristics.

K scale

This is also usually misinterpreted. For instance, its elevation in individuals taking MMPI in prison and courts though frequent does not necessarily mean defensiveness as personality attribute on this is usually an adaptive reaction and need not be overinterpreted

Multiphasic sex inventory

This is a self report questionnaire comprising statements about the experience, difficulties, and sexual escapades. It is a scalar assessment of openness as regards sexual attitudes. Its use sometimes to find out individuals who denies   being abused sexually to elicit whether such persons actually abuse is a misplacement of purpose and often lead to its misinterpretation.

Penile plethysmograph

This is a method designed to fashion out individual’s treatment programmes for sexual offenders. This is subject to error when it is applied to find out the truthfulness when an individual denies ever committed a sexual offence as it generates a false plosive results and lead to its misinterpretation (Ferral qtd in Ralph and Hallida)

What is item analysis?

A list of statistics that is explored in the evaluation of whether a particular test is adequately performing the job of measuring the same variable that is being measured and assessed by other test items. The individual who understands the items pick the right or correct answer and the one who does not have a response that will be evenly distributed across the answers that are wrong

What then is the objective of item analysis?

It enhances the test by first recognizing the good items. Furthermore, it identifies the item that needs to be revised or discarded. It also determines what people do and do not understand. Item analysis in the hand of instructors is a veritable tool in assisting on the ways to improve as well as give guidance to instructors. The criteria for achieving this is such that the items analyzed must be valid assessment of the instructions as contained in the objectives. In the same vein, such items must be indicative. In order words, the information of incorrect options that student pick must be a guide to the natural history of the misunderstanding and therefore regulatory of necessary remediation.

Item analysis provides the item writer with a record of student reaction to items. It gives us little information about the appropriateness of an item for a course of instruction. The appropriateness or content validity of an item must be determined by comparing the content of the item with the instructional objectives (Academic technology service).

Item analysis reports contain students score and the response to each test items and this is further processed to generate what is known as the item analysis report file. It provides score distribution which can be in the order of percentile ranking, student number, or alphabetical order. It can also be arranged in order of total percentage points. Item analysis statistics gives the fraction of the total group that gets an item wrong with high index interpreted as difficult item and vice versa. In item analysis, the group is divided into upper, middle and lower based on the test scores. Item analysis also provides information about the index of discrimination which is obtained by subtracting the fraction that got answer right in the upper group from those that got it right in the lower group (Academic technology services).

In conclusion, item analysis provides information about maximum discriminating value, discriminating efficiency and the biserial correlation (Academic technology services)

References

Academic technology services. “Introduction to item analysis.”

Retrieved from www.ats.msu.edu on June 16, 2009

Cronbach, L. J., & Meehl, P. E. (1955). Construct validity in psychological tests. Psychological Bulletin, 52, 281-302.

Cronbach, L. J. (1989). Construct validation after 30 years. In R. L. (Ed.) ,

Intelligence:  Measurement theory and public policy (pp. 147-171). Urbana: University of

Illinois Press.

Guilford J.P. (1968). “The Structure of intelligence.” In D.K. Whitla(Ed) Handbook of Measurement and assessment in the Behavioral Sciences, Reading, Mass: Addison-Wesley.

Haladyna, T. (2002). Essentials of Standardized Achievement Testing:  Validity and Accountability. Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.

Kline, P. (1986). “A Handbook of Test Construction:  Introduction to Psychometric Design.” NY Methuen, Inc.

Mehrens, W. A., & Lehmann, I. J. (1987). Using Standardized Tests in Education. White Plains, NY: Longman, Inc.

Ralph, U& Hallida, W. “Misuse of psychological test in forensic settings, some horrible examples.

Retrieved from www.parentingplan.net on 16th June, 2009.

Schnitzer, Phoebe Kazdin. “Psychological Testing.” Microsoft® Student 2008 [DVD]. Redmond, WA: Microsoft Corporation, 2007

Psychological tests

Psychological tests

Intelligence, Aptitude and special aptitude test

Intelligence

The purposes of intelligence testing can be broadly divided into educational, research, vocational and medical (Whitla 1968).

Educational

  • For measuring the general learning readiness .We know that intelligence quotient scores are correlated with school achievement
  • For identifying gifted children .The essence of educational guidance is in providing for all children instructions that is interesting in content and suitable to their level of intellectual development
  • For identifying mentally retarded children so as to make adequate provisions for them
  • For homogenous grouping of children for educational effectiveness

Research

  • For indicating the extent of differences of intelligence quotient among children of the same calendar age. This indicates the need for providing teaching materials at the different levels of difficulty
  • To study mental growth. Mental abilities develop in a sequential order from birth onwards. We can use intelligence test to see the direction of individuals and group curves

Vocational

  • For vocational guidance. Different vocations call for different aptitudes

Medical

  • To define accurately the degree of mental retardation or defects so as to evolve adequate management strategies

Aptitude test

Aptitude test is defined as the test of suitability to determine whether an individual is likely to develop the skills required for a particular kind of work (Encarta dictionary, 2008). Aptitude tests are used to calculate abilities over a long period of time, as well as to envisage future learning performance. Example of aptitude tests are the Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) and the American College Testing (ACT)).These tests are both college admission tests explored in the prediction of college success.

Special aptitude tests

The purpose of special aptitude test raises the concept of fidelity and bandwith.Bandwith determines the breath of the traits that is being evaluated while fidelity refers to the extent to which a particular measure focuses on a particular attribute or quality. These tests are explored to prognosticate on the future performance in a subject that the person in question is not currently trained.Goverment parastatals,institutions and business organization often will apply specific aptitude tests  when  handing over specific privileges to certain individuals. .Furthermore, vocational guidance counseling may involve aptitude testing to help clarify individual career goals (Microsoft Encarta, 2008). If a person has a similar score in comparison to that of individuals already functioning in a particular profession, the probability of success in that occupation can be predicted by the use of aptitude tests. Certain aptitude tests have a wide coverage that includes skills germane to many different professions. The General aptitude test, for instance aside measuring the general reasoning ability also covers the areas of form perception, motor coordination, clerical perception as well as manual and finger dexterity. Other tests may concentrate on a single area such as the Art, Engineering and modern languages (Microsoft Encarta.2008). One of the examples of special aptitude tests is the sensory or perceptual test and this concentrates on the discrimination of color and visual acuity. It also involves the auditory senses.

Another example of special aptitude test is the mechanical test which includes the test of spatial relations and this demands manual dexterity as well as space visualization. There is also the paper and pencil test which includes the Bennet Mechanical comprehension Test and the Minnesota Paper Formboard.

Other special aptitude tests are listed below.

The clerical test

This includes the Minnesota clerical test that consists of 200 pairs of numbers and 200 pairs of

names. It also includes the clerical abilities which is an embodiment of 7 other tests like test of

proofreading and copying etc.

The art and musical test.

The Art ability test includes the Art judgment test in which the participant judges between two pictures and chooses the one that is better. In aesthetic perception test, the participant gives an orderly ranking of 4 versions of the same project. The grave design judgment test also allows the participant to adjudicate the best among a group of abstract pictures.

Musical ability test

The musical ability test gives an analytical assessment of musical ability and it makes use of tones as well as notes to evaluate 6 components of auditory discrimination. The wing standardized test of musical intelligence explores recorded pianoic songs to assess about 8 areas which include the memory, chord analysis and rhythm.

Validity, Reliability and standardization of test

Analyzing validity and reliability is the foundation to identifying whether an experiment makes use of proper instrumentation, attain sensible results and appropriate procedure.

Why validity?

Validity is a useful research tool which is necessary to carry out any worthwhile project and it is a must for both the quantitative and qualitative research as the objective is to estimate the truth to the maximum degree as possible.

Validity of a test

A well-designed test is that which is both valid and reliable. Validity is in some ways the most fundamental consideration.  “A test is said to be valid if it measures what it claims to measure” (Kline, 1986).  The Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing  put forward by American psychological Association, the American Educational Research Association, National Council of Measurement in Education (Standards for educational and psychological testing, 1999)  opine  that validity “ is a measure of the  meaningfulness, usefulness and appropriateness of the specific inferences  drawn  from test scores.  Test validation is therefore the process of gathering evidence to corroborate such inferences.”

Validity is often measured in the context of the purposes for which a test score will be used. There are a number of measures of validity. For a psychological test to be valid, the test must first be reliable, but not all reliable tests demonstrate validity.  In Greenland & Linn, 1990 “Reliability is a necessary but not sufficient condition for validity.”  There exist different measures of validity depending on the purpose of the test.  Most common types of validity include the construct validity, content validity, predictive validity, face validity. As opposed to reliability, there is no particular singular statistical approach that is used to demonstrate validity.

Construct validity

This implies “the degree to which one can infer certain construction in a psychological theory from the test scores.”(Haladyna, 2002) The concept was at first  used in relation to psychological testing that pertains to individual differences such as assessment of the level of  hostility and anxiety(Mehrens&Lehman,1987;Mehrens, 2002).It has now become part and parcel of the discussion about the  validity of the achievement test (Cronbach  &Mehrens,1955;Cronbach,1989;Mehrens,2002)

Predictive validity

This is realized by finding a link between test and subsequent criterion ,for instance by looking into the correlation between a test administered at age 10 with outcomes and performances on subsequent test of academic success such as college classes, one can establish the validity of an intelligence test(Kline 1986).Nevertheless, problem arises in validating variables in this manner.    One, for the problem of getting suitable subsequent criterion and two, the challenges posed by collection of statistics (Kline 1986)

Face validity.

Face validity is the least effective type of validity.  It refers to how well the test “on the face of it” appears like it measures what it is supposed to measure.  A psychological test made up of psychological problems is regarded to have face validity.  This type of validity is pivotal to test takers.

Content validity.

This is the most valuable type of validity for assessment of student learning.  Content validity indicates the extent to which the test items correspond to what is learned in a particular course or perhaps in a similar knowledge framework.  In order words, to what range are the test items indicative of the types of content or skills that were taught? Content validity can be facilitated by watchfully manipulating with the view to reflecting what was taught.   In order to realize this, many test makers explore a test design or medium where the rows or columns are the pivotal elements of the content and the boxes represent the related test items. The test item is a representative of the universe of accomplishments within the framework, hence the items must be the appropriate samples (Mehrens&Lehman, 1987)

Reliability

Reliability is a term that refers to the consistency of the scores.  In order words, the possibility to obtain the same or similar scores supposing the test was administered at a different time of day, or perhaps if different raters scored the test?  Reliability also indicates how internally consistent the test is.

Reliability can be simply defined as “the degree of consistency between two measures of the same thing” (Mehrens & Lehmann, 1987).Reliability is commonly influenced by strength of the test,the speed of the test and group homogeneity. A large test test is generally more reliable as test speed increases estimating reliability with equivalency or test-retest approach becomes more significant. The more heterogeneous a group is, the better the reliability and this is because of the increasing variability of group scores despite stability of standard error. Amidst difference score, the test with a little variability will be less reliable all other things being equal(Haladya,2002;Mehren&Lahman 1987) Reliability coefficient should be at least 85 and 65 respectively for tests with individual consequences and that used for making decisions about groups(Mehrens&Lehman 1987).Several methods are used to estimate test reliability and they include the interrate,test-retest,alternate forms, split- halves,Kinder-Richarson(K-R) method ,Cronbach’salpha method and Improving reliability method.

Standardization

Standardized tests are administered to assist in appropriate academic placement, to assess academic achievement, to identify individual aptitudes, to explore vocational interests, and to examine personal characteristics. Standardized tests are used also to identify gifted students and those with special learning problems. (Microsoft Encrata, 2008)

Test standardization involves the use of established rules in the administration as well as the interpretation of test. Here, standard measures are used for the assessment of the tests as well as the interpretation of the results. Test administrators and proctors being used in all classrooms when the test is given. Standardization of test gives description of a test prepared by learned individuals and administered to large group of students under certain prescribed conditions .It has a low correlation with short term classroom learning as seen in grading period.Standadized test are expansive survey of accrued learning as might occur over numerous years of instructions (Pophan, 2000; Halagyna2002).Standardized tests include aptitude test, intelligence test, entry/exit tests, achievement test. Test standardization helps to measure knowledge with ease and  to do this in a better way than assessment of skills (Haladyna 2002)

Misuse and misinterpretation of Psychological tests

Psychological tests are often used inappropriately and are misinterpreted and over interpreted in the forensic setting.  This harms the person being evaluated and interferes with the course of justice.  It also does a disservice to the reputation of psychologists and the science of psychology (Harris quoted in Ralph and Hallida).Commonly misinterpreted psychological tests are:

Drawing and projective tests

In the case of children drawing test, interpretation are often not backed up by experimental and empirical evidence. No standard data showcases validity as well as reliability .In a situation where drawing is used, to avoid misinterpretation, the interpretation should be conservative in order to generate hypothesis to be explored. Projective test also lack any appreciable validity and reliability. In a review of the Draw-A-Person test in the Seventh Mental Measurements Yearbook, it was said that there appears to be very little evidence for the use of “signs” as valid indicators of personality characteristics.   With children’s drawings there is so much variability from drawing to drawing that particular features of any one drawing are too unreliable to say anything about them (Harris quoted in Ralph and Hallida).

Rorschach test

Here, certain recommendations and conclusions about people lives are made based on misinterpretation of this test having failed to recognize its limitation as there is no empirical support for the validity of this test and therefore it becomes limited in its clinical use. Here, people should rather be evaluated on the basis of what they do as opposed to what they are feeling, their thoughts or inclinations  as seen in Rorscharch.The responses  given in Rorschach  is not a true reflection  of an evidence of a real psychopathology. The interpretation is therefore subjective and quirck.It is unscientific as it makes inferences based on supposed reality of unconscious process in the mind.

The MMPI

This is also often misinterpreted test. It gives a quirck misinterpretation without support from empirical books .Its interpretation does not just stem from differences in opinions. More often than not, it makes use of computerized interpretation without any particular characteristics.

K scale

This is also usually misinterpreted. For instance, its elevation in individuals taking MMPI in prison and courts though frequent does not necessarily mean defensiveness as personality attribute on this is usually an adaptive reaction and need not be overinterpreted

Multiphasic sex inventory

This is a self report questionnaire comprising statements about the experience, difficulties, and sexual escapades. It is a scalar assessment of openness as regards sexual attitudes. Its use sometimes to find out individuals who denies   being abused sexually to elicit whether such persons actually abuse is a misplacement of purpose and often lead to its misinterpretation.

Penile plethysmograph

This is a method designed to fashion out individual’s treatment programmes for sexual offenders. This is subject to error when it is applied to find out the truthfulness when an individual denies ever committed a sexual offence as it generates a false plosive results and lead to its misinterpretation (Ferral qtd in Ralph and Hallida)

What is item analysis?

A list of statistics that is explored in the evaluation of whether a particular test is adequately performing the job of measuring the same variable that is being measured and assessed by other test items. The individual who understands the items pick the right or correct answer and the one who does not have a response that will be evenly distributed across the answers that are wrong

What then is the objective of item analysis?

It enhances the test by first recognizing the good items. Furthermore, it identifies the item that needs to be revised or discarded. It also determines what people do and do not understand. Item analysis in the hand of instructors is a veritable tool in assisting on the ways to improve as well as give guidance to instructors. The criteria for achieving this is such that the items analyzed must be valid assessment of the instructions as contained in the objectives. In the same vein, such items must be indicative. In order words, the information of incorrect options that student pick must be a guide to the natural history of the misunderstanding and therefore regulatory of necessary remediation.

Item analysis provides the item writer with a record of student reaction to items. It gives us little information about the appropriateness of an item for a course of instruction. The appropriateness or content validity of an item must be determined by comparing the content of the item with the instructional objectives (Academic technology service).

Item analysis reports contain students score and the response to each test items and this is further processed to generate what is known as the item analysis report file. It provides score distribution which can be in the order of percentile ranking, student number, or alphabetical order. It can also be arranged in order of total percentage points. Item analysis statistics gives the fraction of the total group that gets an item wrong with high index interpreted as difficult item and vice versa. In item analysis, the group is divided into upper, middle and lower based on the test scores. Item analysis also provides information about the index of discrimination which is obtained by subtracting the fraction that got answer right in the upper group from those that got it right in the lower group (Academic technology services).

In conclusion, item analysis provides information about maximum discriminating value, discriminating efficiency and the biserial correlation (Academic technology services)

References

Academic technology services. “Introduction to item analysis.”

Retrieved from www.ats.msu.edu on June 16, 2009

Cronbach, L. J., & Meehl, P. E. (1955). Construct validity in psychological tests. Psychological Bulletin, 52, 281-302.

Cronbach, L. J. (1989). Construct validation after 30 years. In R. L. (Ed.) ,

Intelligence:  Measurement theory and public policy (pp. 147-171). Urbana: University of

Illinois Press.

Guilford J.P. (1968). “The Structure of intelligence.” In D.K. Whitla(Ed) Handbook of Measurement and assessment in the Behavioral Sciences, Reading, Mass: Addison-Wesley.

Haladyna, T. (2002). Essentials of Standardized Achievement Testing:  Validity and Accountability. Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.

Kline, P. (1986). “A Handbook of Test Construction:  Introduction to Psychometric Design.” NY Methuen, Inc.

Mehrens, W. A., & Lehmann, I. J. (1987). Using Standardized Tests in Education. White Plains, NY: Longman, Inc.

Ralph, U& Hallida, W. “Misuse of psychological test in forensic settings, some horrible examples.

Retrieved from www.parentingplan.net on 16th June, 2009.

Schnitzer, Phoebe Kazdin. “Psychological Testing.” Microsoft® Student 2008 [DVD]. Redmond, WA: Microsoft Corporation, 2007

Near Death Experience

September 28, 2009

Death as Transition:

A Study of the Psychological Implications of Near-Death Experiences

Chapter 1: Introduction

After undergoing surgery for injuries from a car accident sixteen years ago, I found myself I recalling experiences which had occurred during the surgery.  As the anesthesia induced unconsciousness began to take me, I intuited a tension among the doctors and nurses in the operating room. With the doctor’s words echoing in my mind, I found myself in darkness. Greeted by an unknown being, I experienced feelings of love emanating from the being. At peace and without pain, I felt both surprise and freedom to find myself using what had been seriously injured limbs as though I’d never experienced the tragedy of the accident. With this being by my side, feeling contented with my life I began to walk down a long, dark hallway. Not unlike the satisfaction one feels after finishing a book, my life seemed somehow complete. Like the ending of a book, at this the ending of my life, I could experience the whole of the years I’d lived rather than simply concentrating on the moments and individual experiences.  I realized my life was like a novel made up of individual pages and now with a broadened sense of understanding there was little need for a life review as the feeling of resolution was  so complete as to leave me feeling comfortable with my present journey down the hallway.

The hallway ended with a dead end, the wall comprised of black and red bricks. Standing at the wall, I experienced my first feelings of discomfort.  Told to touch the wall, at first I failed to respond. It was only after the third request and the physical urging of the being, by taking my arm in its and placing my hand against the wall that I conceded to this request.  With fear I asked the being, “If I do, will I die?”  Laughing, it replied, “You know that death is just an illusion; life is eternal.  Now, touch the wall, I cannot do it for you.”   Perceiving my deceased paternal grandmother on the other side of that wall, whispering to me to not touch the wall – telling me it was not my time to go and that I should turn back I pulled my hand away from the being, denying this new illusion. With my refusal, I felt a rushing sensation as my etheric body moved backward, hearing as I went the assertion that I would heal completely, and opened my eyes to the sight of the hospital recovery room. And I did heal but the experience left me bewildered. Never questioning the reality of the situation, I nonetheless questioned my own reaction.  Anxiously, I wondered if I had rejected an offer of heaven?  If yes, would I be given another chance at paradise?  With this experience and the resulting questions, I began a journey that has eliminated my fear of death and has piqued my interest in near-death experiences.

Abstract:

It seems to be almost human nature, this fascination with death and what possibilities lie beyond.  Since the nature of death is to leave behind the experience of living and not return, we do not know what happens after we die. The unknowable nature of the afterlife has seen the study of it relegated largely to spiritualists and shaman who have historically served as intermediaries between the world of the living and dead. To many, we liken the experience of dying to a fall into an eternal sleep.  Corpses are commonly described as similar in appearance to a sleeping person and the terminally ill patient is said to be going to his or her final resting-place.  This play with words to express that which we cannot make sense of has been transposed to describe chemical euthanasia practiced on animals, as it is generally called, “putting them to sleep.”  All this talk of sleep is meant to carry the implied meaning of a complete extinguishing of consciousness.  As a society, we attempt to cope with death through comparing it to what we can know but knowing it to be a finality that cannot be undone or woken from. It is the end of consciousness and self-awareness, essentially an end to being.

In this research, I hope to present evidence that will allow us to view this in an alternate light.  The experiences of men and women who have walked the line between life and death provide growing accounts of the afterlife and what it holds. These people, who have brushed close with their own mortality and have seen life beyond what is known, are often described as having had a near-death experience or an NDE. The near-death experience is a self-reported encounter with death.  These individuals describe experiences in which they travel beyond the plains of an Earthly realm to one outside the limits of physical reality. Upon return, they believe they have died and been returned to life for a greater purpose as yet unclear to them.

As modern medicine and science have progressed, so too have reported occurrences of NDE. Those reporting near-death experiences have often been revived as having been pronounced clinically dead for some time. It may be only minutes but for all the physical laws of the known universe, they are dead. During this short period of time, these individuals report having begun a journey to the other side feeling that what awaits them is the new reality of death.  Reports vary on general experiences as some feel a separation from their bodies, encounters with other beings and a general review of their lives. What they all have in common is the perception of not being able to stay within that realm or move onto the next and will report a feeling of being called back to their bodies. There are many restrictions to any certainty we can give to what happens after we die but in those individuals who have experienced near-death experiences we can perhaps better understand what occurs between life and death. Have these individuals born witness to the mysteries of passage to the world beyond? Can these experiences allow for a spiritual maturity in our present life?  What lessons can we glean about the collective unconscious of humanity within these experiences? In this study, I will address these issues, along with assert a better understanding of life and death.

Methodology and Research Goals:

Method:  A Phenomenological Study

Near death experiences are unique to each individual but for this research we are able to draw conclusions around general common themes. Due to the subjective nature of the material for this dissertation, a phenomenological approach has been chosen in examining the data.  Since we perceive the data through a lens of individual knowledge, the method chosen can heavily affect the results of the research itself.  The methodology applied to any research is strongly affects the information that is available and helps to set the stage for our final conclusions.  Specific methodology places the research within distinct boundaries, limiting our subjectiveness and helping reduce any anxiety created by the topic.

Phenomenological methodology allows for research into the lived experience of that which is being studied.  It is a description of the lived experience.  “To do justice to the lived aspects of human phenomena . . . one first has to know how someone actually experienced what has been lived”  (Giorgi, 1985, p. 1).  As with any model of research, this method research into the mysteries and commonalities of near-death experiences confronts the reader and the researcher with an array of limitations, strengths and common assumptions. For this reason, a study on any topic is inherently flawed.  As a result, we are affected and changed by the topic or methods we choose.

Phenomenological Research Aims

Keeping in mind the limitations of any research methodology we can see that the utilization of a phenomenological methodology, which employs qualitative research tools, we can best approach the topic study of near-death experiences. Defined as the “study of phenomena, or things or events in the everyday world.  Phenomenological study situations in the everyday world from the viewpoint of the experiencing person” (Becker, 1992, p. 7);a phenomenological method allows us to achieve an understanding of the experience of an NDE through experiencing and knowing the experience. This approach allows us to enter a process of “understanding on a personal level the motives and beliefs behind the people’s actions” (Taylor & Bogdan, 1984, p. 2). Psychological phenomenology finds its roots in phenomenological philosophy, which dates from around 1900.  Having failed to yet break away from philosophical phenomenology, psychological phenomenology has had a very brief history and according to Giorgi (1985) who states that “phenomenology is understood primarily as a philosophy… which has implication for psychology rather than actually developing into a phenomenological psychology”  (p. 5).

Due to this perspective, the development of psychological phenomenological research methods has been geared largely towards quantitative methods of study.  As with all research tools, a history of research has to be developed and tested over time before becoming an acceptable and recognized means of research. I intend, through this research, to assist in contributing to the body of information on phenomenological research leading towards general acceptance. While some are critical of the personalized approach inherent to phenomenological research, Giorgi (1985) points out that research science is filled with descriptions.  One need look no farther than early volumes of the American Journal of Psychology for descriptive examples of scientific discussions (Giorgi, 1985, p. 2).  Consequently, the results of descriptive research have long been accepted in the field of psychology as legitimately enhancing our perception of experience and information.

When phenomenological research is recognized and legitimized that those who prefer a qualitative model for research oppose its legitimacy.  Despite critic’s assertions that the method of phenomenological research is not scientific, at this time, we have no better way of exploring and understanding the meanings of streams of consciousness (Giorgi, 1985). This method is particularly appropriate for psychological research, as the majority of discussion that takes place in therapy room is primarily descriptive in nature. In trying to understand the world of our patients, we ask them to describe their experiences. As Giorgi explains,  “Descriptions have pervaded and continue to pervade, psychology” (Giorgi, 1985, p.3).

Combining Qualitative and Phenomenological Methodology:

Qualitative methodology will be used in conjunction with the phenomenological approach. Data for this research will be gained from subjects’ descriptions of their own experience.  Through the interview, the researcher will gain information surrounding near-death experiences that may reveal archetypal patterns of a rite of passage.  The purpose of the interview is to explore the subjects’ experience in as much depth as possible and to gain detailed information surrounding the subject’s personal perspectives, experiences, and relationship to their near-death experience.  Interviews help lend to the overall methodology as “phenomenologist study people’s experience of everyday life within a definite philosophical context that generates specific assumptions about human nature and human living” (Becker, 1992, p. 9).  In achieving the level of depth expected in qualitative research, it is important the researcher’s biases toward the subject not be brought into the interview process.  It is assumed that when using qualitative research “the participant’s perspective on the social phenomenon of interest should unfold as the participant views it, not as the researcher views it” (Marshall & Rossman, 1989, p. 82).  Qualitative study is a metaphorical approach to understanding another’s point of view or experience; Becker quotes Romanyshyn in stating, “A metaphor, then is not essentially a way of seeing how one reality is like another.  It is a way of seeing one reality through another” (Becker, 1992, p. 20).

Qualitative research is inductive and since researchers develop concepts, insights, and understandings from patterns in the data, a disruption in the way we have viewed the topic is created, and it causes us to be aware of what we are swimming in.  In other words, we become aware of those issues we were once unaware of by viewing them from a different perspective.  The  relationship to the topic is now changed and continues to change with each piece of new information received.  Through this we become aware that we are swimming in a metaphor as, “Phenomenology takes us to metaphoric consciousness.  It is a way of knowing and being” (Romanyshyn, 1995, May). Just as in alchemy where the chemist is changed by his work, so too does the phenomenological study change the views and perspectives of the researcher. The topic changes the perception of the researcher just as the researcher changes the future perception of that topic. There is change for both the researcher and the topic as knowledge and understanding are revealed to both participants during the process. In this process, the researcher finds himself or herself as an “agent for what might otherwise be invisible,” giving “voice to what might otherwise be silent” (Romanyshyn, 1995).   The same can be said in a qualitative study.  As we engage in our research, we become moved by the work.  Questions arise from within the process itself, as the researcher is influenced by the direction the material takes them. These combined processes allow for a greater, more intimate understanding of the near-death experience.

Over the past millenia, research has attempted to remain objective involving its subjects.  This objectivity has been perceived as a way to keep the researchers own biases from acting against the desired knowledge. However, in adopting this perspective researchers removed the subject from the complexities of the environment, which has led to the uniqueness of experience and thereby contaminating the overall effort as it comes to appear ingenuine in the isolation of the subject. A strength of qualitative research is that its subjects are studied within their natural surroundings.  By allowing them to remain in a more naturalized setting, the results are less likely to be affected by artificial influences.

Instead of separating individuals from their everyday setting for the study, phenomenology studies individuals within their environment and is “more faithful to the total phenomenon”  (Giorgi, 1985, p. 37).  As near-death experiences are better understood within the context of the individuals subject’s thoughts, feelings, experiences, and beliefs qualitative research presents itself as the most apt research method. To separate out their components for individual study in qualitative research would be to lose the essence of what a near-death experience is.  It is spoken in the context of their experience that the components have meaning.  Morse and Perry made a similar observation in 1990, when they noted,

near-death experiences appear to be a cluster of events so that that one cannot understand the total by looking at its various parts.  One cannot understand music by studying the various frequencies of sound that generate each note, nor does one need to have a deep understanding of acoustical physics to enjoy Mozart.  The near-death experience remains a mystery.  (Morse & Perry, 1990, p. 193)

In 1992, Becker lent to this assertion that phenomenologically oriented researchers study phenomena as people within their own worlds experience them and these empirical studies highlight events from within an individual context. According to William F. Fischer, “in adopting a phenomenological mode of doing research, a psychologist seeks to reawaken, to the matize and to eidetically understand the phenomena of everyday life as they are actually lived and experienced” (1974, p. 405).

In my study, I will explore the stories of eight individuals who have experienced a near-death experience.  The qualitative approach will allow me to explore the effects of these experiences on the daily lives of these individuals. Through this I will explore the changes  in perception that accompany the near-death experience and which might otherwise be unquantifiable.  For this reason, the qualitative researcher must rely on validity for the result as “It is not possible to achieve perfect reliability if we are to produce valid studies of the real world” (Taylor & Bogdan, 1984, p. 7).

Through the observation of subjects within their natural environment, the qualitative researcher, is aware of the transference that may be taking place with the subject.  This self-awareness does not acknowledge transference as contaminating results, but rather helpful for the qualitative researcher to acknowledge any transferential issues that could have an effect their observations. Another assumption is the role of qualitative researchers as complex knowers.  As complex knowers, they are required to immerse and blend with the material.  Required to be patient knowers, the researchers must spend time with the subject and attempt to understand the experience through the subject’s perspective and place in life.  By spending time with the topic of NDEs, the researchers  “eat the text just as the text eats at [them] with its insistent gnawing… . The image of eating the text which also eats at [them] also indicates how this way of reading is a slowing down by taking in and chewing over ruminating the text” (Romanyshyn, 1991, p. 20).  Qualitative research uses an inductive style of knowing where the knowledge comes slowly as an awakening or a gradual understanding.  Through the using qualitative research, “we learn about concepts such as beauty, pain faith, suffering, frustration, and love whose essence is lost through other research approaches” (Taylor & Bogdan, 1984, p. 7). Because of this data in qualitative research does not come from hard and solid facts but instead arises from a connectedness to the world of the subject.  Through understanding the subject within its world, we gain a more complete and whole understanding of the subject.  Qualitative research does not study an isolated aspect of the subject, which may or may not have validity when applied to the complexity of the whole in its natural surroundings.  It is rather a challenge to rational thinking.

Based upon this, it is assumed qualitative research will enable us to gain experiential meaning about the subject being studied.   According to Becker, there are two premises upon which the phenomenological viewpoint is based;  the first is that “experience is a valid and fruitful source of knowledge” (Becker, 1992, p. 10) and the second  is “that our everyday worlds are valuable sources of knowledge” (Becker, 1992, p. 10).  According to these premises phenomenology provides experiences as the basis for understanding and knowledge.

Within the context of this methodology it is key to account for any effect the research may have on the individual being interviewed. To effectively question the subject the researcher must be able to put aside their own tranferential issues to accurately report the subject’s experiences. Certain assumptions are at the basis of this approach, inducing a subject’s ability to clearly relate their experiences and the researcher’s capabilities at analyzing these experiences to gain insight. This study will be based in a cooperative relationship between myself, the researcher, and the individuals interviewed. In approaching this topic through such a relationship is, as Greyson explains,  “What we are studying is not the NDE itself, but a voluntary recounting of a memory of the NDE” (Greyson, 1981, p. 89). The phenomenological approach assumes that meaning will be gleaned from the surface information gained through interviews. From this standpoint, the relationships of the subjects to the topic become that of co-researcher, as through their experiences they have a gained greater understanding of near-death encounters than I had felt within my own experience. All research data for this study was compiled through interview, whereby each interviewee  is assumed to have a typical association of the world as the majority of the population who has experienced near-death occurrences. Since this topic is difficult to disassociate from the general context of the interviewee’s life, studying the individual within the context of their natural environment is a primary strength of qualitative research.

Understanding the human experience is what makes qualitative research so valuable and because of this precept, I will generally enter the environments of the interviewees in an attempt to understand  how the individual’s world effects the information revealed. This research is not and cannot be separated from the interviewees’ individual worldviews, as it allows the researcher an awareness the need to account for transference issues and/or biases. The results of this study will come from a synthesis of the information gained through interviews and my own analysis as the key components to the development of conclusions. Due to this, it will be necessary for me to fully understand the limitations of this approach within my own biases.

Limitations of Research:

As with any form of research, the qualitative approach has limitations; results can be  affected by a researchers lack of attention give to their own biases which can often affect word choice in the interview altering the information revealed.  A researcher’s failure to address their own limitation  can cause a study to become shallow and one-sided; Fischer describes the ability to overcome biases, “When a phenomenological psychologist understands and acknowledges that his approach prefigures his questions, methods and results, then he is obliged to reawaken the issue of objectivity” (1974, p. 407).

A qualitative approach to the subject allows the researcher to realistically confront and address the limitations and fully approach the subject with more objectivity. Identifying personal bias is as simple for quantitative researchers who are purposely seeking “objective” results.  In removing the subject from their environment, the quantitative researcher becomes less aware of their own personal bias and can in fact subconsciously manipulate the conclusions to their preported thesis. Through isolationary measures, they are attempting to remove the subject’s limitations while commonly imposing their own.

The fluctuating nature of phenomenological analysis is a challenge (Giorgi, 1985).  The individual’s interpretation is subject to change in environment, introduction of new ideas and analysis. Truth as a perception can change, making it difficult to replicate the same results at in a later study. Therefore the subjects for this study were carefully selected based on their descriptions of near death experiences. The individual’s interest in the subject as well as willingness to discuss their individual experiences is a major presumption of this study and will be used as a tool in helping to evaluate responses.  The subject’s interest in the topic of NDE may assist in preventing them from giving false information that could affect the results of this  study. The researcher also bears a responsibility in not manipulating the information it suit personal  bias; this behavior signifies a lack of connection between the researcher and the topic and adversely affects the overall application of the information. Another challenge in the selection of interviewees is the closeness of the experience to the subject’s personal identity and the important role it has come to play in their life. The sharing of such experiences in a group or one-on-one basis with other individuals having gone through near-death experience may have the negative effect of having influenced or altered the subject’s own story. This is particularly true in the cases of those individuals with a strong desire to belong to a group.

The lack of isolation of the subject from their individual environment, is a major strength of qualitative research as it allows the researcher a greater understanding  of the information within a practical concept. However, it is also limited by the questions asked and their relevance to the proposed topic. I may not know the proper line of questioning to reveal the most information on the topic. Adding to this is  the challenges created by the interviewee failing to be clear and open in their responses (Marshall & Rossman, 1989, pp. 82-83). Since the real-world setting of the qualitative researcher’s working conditions are in constant  fluctuation, there  is no ideal by which to measure a standard of qualitative standards, as Patton explains, “There are always trade-offs.  These trade-offs are necessitated by limited resources, limited time, and limits of the human ability to grasp the complex nature of social reality” (1980, p. 95).  The approach also has many strengths, such as the relatability of the research to real life since by definition this approach is constructed to illustrate life as part of the individual’s day-to-day experience. Through this, the reader is more able to relate to and understand reports of near-death experience within the context of real life rather than the confines of laboratory study. Qualitative research supplies us the norms that guide everyday experience.

From the research, I hope to extract information concerning the archetypal qualities of near-death experiences as a rite of passage towards spiritual maturity.  I will also pay close attention  to the personal changes in the lives of the subjects as a result of their experiences including interpersonal relationship changes and the participants’ relationship to death before and after the experience. In analyzing the information, I will seek to relate any feelings of fear and/or guilt that may have arisen from the individuals’ near death experiences.

Research Process:

Gathering Volunteers

The subjects interviewed for this study, were contacted using a variety of options available to me, including contacting IANDS, The International Association for Near-Death Studies, and contacting local chapters to advertise for volunteers. Other subjects were contacted through national branches of IANDS via the Internet. As members of IANDS are interested in the subject, simply by virtue of belonging to the group, this approach proved to be a good choice in  seeking out individuals for the research. Local hospital staff was also consulted in an attempt to contact prospective participants as they may have experienced contact with the subjects near the time of the initial experience and could prove to be a fresher source of subjects who had not had time to further explore their experiences within a group setting. An announcement was also place on appropriate Internet message boards, requesting individuals who’d experienced NDE to contact me for interview.

After compiling a list of potential subjects, the participants were narrowed down based on the appropriateness of their experience to the study topic. As precursors for selection, subjects must have experienced a life-threatening physical disorder or trauma and have experienced their NDE in accordance to at least one of the common points established by Dr. Kenneth Ring.  These common points include a feeling of separation from the body, seeing a dark tunnel, seeing a light, stepping into the light, and feeling a sense of peace (Ring, 1984).  These guidelines established a general criterion from which samples could be drawn.

Administering the Interviews

The participants were interviewed  based on  claims of NDE and  were asked to verbalize any changes they’d perceive as a result of their near-death experience. A prepared list of questions were asked to each participant to assist the researcher in gaining a sufficient understanding of  NDE on a personal as well as more general understanding of the  phenomenon through comparison and contrast. Interviews were performed at the convenience of the individual and lasted approximately an hour and a half.  Local volunteers were given the option of meeting at a convenient location of their choosing or my office. Non-local volunteers were interviewed via telephone with each interview being recorded with the volunteer’s permission. One individual declined to be taped and the interview was recorded using written notes  while another refused a telephone interview in favor of prepared questions answered via Internet.  After each interview, the tape was then transcribed and  studied extensively. Case histories were written for each participant describing their NDE experiences and subsequent responses.  Data was analyzed to discern common themes, which were present in the reports of more than one individual. Each volunteer was given the opportunity to read his or her case history and make corrections or additions.  This procedure helped to insure the accuracy of my perceptions and once corrected, the case histories were again given to the participants for additional review.

Assumptions and Limitations

This study is based on several assumptions and limitations. The main  assumption is the fact of the participants  near-death experience as well as an understanding that the interview will be conducted with full honesty and a lack of collusion with other volunteers. The limitations of the study lie in the assumption that the volunteers do not necessarily represent the general population  in their reports of near-death experiences.  Furthermore, it is assumed that participants may be reluctant to discuss the full details of their experiences, leaving the study incomplete.  Since the results  of the research are largely based in the subjective responses by the volunteers to the questions, which are based in memory and emotion, the results are non-verifiable and we must trust in the honesty of the participants. Finally, the nature of the questions are suggestive and could be viewed as having led the participants in their answers. As researcher, I tried to downplay this limitation in gearing the questions toward an effect of reflection in the individual participant.

Consent Forms and Precautions

APA guidelines for research using human volunteers were followed carefully in this research. Volunteers were required to sign an informed consent form, which is included in Appendix A. The participants had the option of terminating the interview at will and confidentiality was closely guarded to insure material the individual wished to keep personal was not published. All names have been change. Volunteers were made aware of the lack of direct benefit of participation in the study. After the completion of the study, all participants were provided with a full description of the study upon their request.

Chapter 2: Researching Near-Death Experiences

Case Study Investigation:

Matthew

The Physical Separation

Matthew is a 42 year-old self-employed entrepreneur, founder and president of a company, which refurbishes industrial equipment. He chose to be interviewed in his home in California.  At the age of 37, while being examined in his doctor’s office, he experienced a heart attack.  Though revived and sent to the hospital, he experienced a second heart attack nine days later when undergoing a procedure to remove a blood clot from his heart. With the first heart attack, they were able to revive him with a since fibrillation however, this time, it took seven. During each immediate loss of unconsciousness, Steven claims to have experienced a near-death experience.

The Near-death Experience

The first experience, before a conscious feeling of pain and then an awakening to another place preceded being revived in his doctor’s office.  According to Matthew, both of his near-death experiences were identical.  Within both accounts, he noted the temperature as being perfect and he did not feel pain. At the beginning of the NDE, he found himself in what seemed to be a large, dark warehouse.  Surrounded by darkness, he became aware that a single corner of the space was lighted and figures resembling people where standing beneath. Unaware of having a physical body, he nonetheless felt himself being physically drawn to the group beneath the light. In a motion more similar  to gliding than walking,  he found himself among these people who did not seem to have physical bodies and who therefore he was unable to recognize. Though having engaged in conversation with the ethereal crowd, he was unable to recall during the interview the details of this interaction.

During the first experience, he recalled beginning to have a conversation with one of the beings when he was called away and revived in the doctor’s office.  During the second, Matthew found himself engaged in a long and profound conversation with these beings and reported having a strong sense that these beings were family members but was unable to specifically identify any of them. Emitting a vibrant blue, he described the beings as being captivatingly brilliant with a surrounding non-directional light of a similar hue. Matthew perceived that he was dealing on a  soul level with these beings and that at this level the soul had physical properties.  He also claims that during the time he was present with the beings, he had a profound sense of peace and a stronger sense of clarity of thought than he had ever experienced before.

The Return and Reintegration

In the period prior to his near-death experience, Matthew found himself struggling with issues of religious faith. Born and raised Catholic, he attended religious school  until junior high and in high school found himself rejecting Christianity.  As an adult, he found his way back through a religious program which led to a greater focus on religion and an involvement in the study of scripture. Until his NDE, Matthew felt the role of the church to be a type of guardian to biblical study. Before his experience, Matthew was judgmental of those who did not share beliefs similar to his own. He was unaccepting of those who did not share in his beliefs.  His near-death experience assisted in the letting go of his judgmental qualities and has felt closer to God who comes to him through meditations and instructs him in what to do. Matthew now follows these requests and feels more willing to closely follow God’s commands. Moving from a hard-line Christian belief, he is now more open to the spirituality of God and is able to recognize the presence of God in  all religions. This has resulted in more openness and questioning in the study of the nature of God.

His near-death experience also drastically effected Matthew’s personal behavior in that he was once being overweight and lacking in physical fitness.  He stated that living in comfort was his priority at that time.  Self-discipline was non-existent. Things came easily to him, but when “the going got tough, he was gone.”  As a result of the near-death experience, he began to put his health in order and has since come to believe that his life is focused on hard work. He now pays attention to the present moment and tries to live it to the fullest.  Tying into this is Matthew’s increased involvement as a father and the new value he places on relationships with others. He is more open and prone to understanding.  Matthew’s primary focus has changed from that of religion to the individual. Since the NDE, he now listens to his inner voice, which he perceives as God speaking to him.  He does this when making important decisions in his life, and he feels that the decisions that he makes are never wrong as a result.  There have been times when the voice has told him to be friends with an individual whom he would not choose on his own.  As a consequence of this new openness, his study of religion has broadened and he no longer limits his religious study to the bible but instead seeks a more expansive understanding of life.

Matthew’s views of death have also been altered; it is not seen as a transition from one level to another.  Death, he reported, is not something to fear; however, it is not something to rush towards either.  Matthew fears God, not death since God, he stated, is in full control of his life and can take it away at any time.  Matthew views his NDE in the perspective of God attempting to gain his attention and to teach him the nature of the soul.  The near-death experience left him with a stronger commitment to God.  Not only has is general perception of death as an end of life changed but he also claimed a new understanding of the after life. Owing to his strong Christian beliefs, Matthew had always believed in the traditional Christian constructs of heaven and hell. Through his experience, he has come to perceive the afterlife as a better place though no longer the archetype of a heavenly plane.

Denise

The Physical Separation

Denise, a 57-year-old licensed psychotherapist and single parent in Los Angeles, California, chose to be interviewed in her office. A divorced mother of two, at the time her  daughter was 20 and her son 17. Considering herself a spiritual individual, she nonetheless did not adhere to traditional religious beliefs.  Her near-death experience took place during her early 20’s in the Philippines where she was a volunteer with the Peace Corps. On an afternoon excursion with a friend to swim in the collection  pool of a nearby waterfall, it began to rain.  As it rained, the runoff from the higher ground emptied into the stream that fed the waterfall.  The added water from the rain caused the flow of the waterfall to grow more powerful, and thus the natural whirlpool action created by the waterfall hitting the pool was increased. Deciding to exit the water, Denise  found she had difficulty fighting the surging motion of the whirlpool.

The Near-death Experience

A combination of panic and weakening strength caused each pass of the whirlpool to pull harder at Denise. Passerbys attempted to extract her from the water but failed and she sank into the water. At this moment she felt the inevitability of death.  She recalled that at that moment, she felt a profound sense of peace and acceptance of her fate.  Denise calmed and stopped fighting the water.  It was at that moment she saw tunnel with a light at the end filling her with a sense of deep tranquility.  While in this place, she had the sense of her mother who had died when she was an infant.  Seeing the tunnel, Denise felt a distinct separation from her body.  She claimed to have been able to identify the moment of transition because she had been fighting the current with everything she had, and when she entered the tunnel, she lost the sensation of struggle in her body.  At the moment she felt she was going to die, she relaxed and lost awareness of her physical body.

Entering the tunnel with a profound sense of well-being and clear thought, Denise felt peaceful without memory of breathing in water. Not fighting the sensation, she experienced full cooperation of her self. Her vision of the tunnel lacked periphery, and she had only the feeling of moving toward the light, which she viewed as a representative source of peace. Her movements resembled a gliding motion.  Focused on the light, everything else was in darkness.  The glowing light contained a  full spectrum of color while having the brilliance of sunshine without hurting her eyes. Aside from the feeling of closeness to her mother’s presence, Denise does not recall meeting with anyone or reviewing her life. She felt at peace. Suddenly, a physical jolt upwards shocked her out of the tunnel.  Someone had grabbed a hold of her blouse and pulled her out of the water, dragging her to the edge of the pool.

The Return and Reintegration

During the interview, Denise described her present feeling of emotion in discussing her experience. When she spoke of her mother’s presence in the tunnel, she became teary. She expressed the feeling of   her near-death experience as wonderful and allowing her to grow as a therapist.  The wonder and confusion which surrounds her own experience with NDE has allowed her to be empathetic with others who have had experiences that are difficult to explain.  To this end, Denise has introduced her own experience in dialogue with clients when it has proven to be appropriate and useful.

Denise claims the NDE had a drastic  effect on her life; she lost her fear of death and this acceptance has allowed for increased boldness.  Before her experience, Denise was introverted; afterwards, she found herself more daring.  Despite her new extrovertedness, it should be noted that the experience is something she has kept largely to herself, viewing it as a personal  She claims that she does not trust others to hold this intimate experience with the respect and reverence it deserves.

Denise’s childhood was difficult. Her  father remarried when she was 2 and Denise did not get along with her stepmother. In her adolescence, her stepmother was diagnosed with schizophrenia.  She felt lost and entered into the Peace Corps to find herself.  She referred to this experience as “running away” to join the Peace Corps.  As a result of her experiences with the Peace Corps in the Philippines, Denise became critical of the consumerism of the American culture.  She returned home with ideas of living more simply.  She attributes these changes not only to the cultural experience of living in the Philippines but also to her near-death experience which helped to solidify these ideals and give her confidence in living them.

The NDE changed Denise’s spiritual perspective as well.  Born to a fundamentalist Christian family, she regularly attended church until college. She views her obligation to this version of religion appear as a result of fear rather than faith. Before her near-death experience, her spiritual views were in flux.  Since the experience, Denise has changed her view of spiritual reality and now views all individuals as souls who come to earth to have lives and then return to where they had come from.  She described death as a doorway to the continuation of life.  However, she related feeling some fear around pain that she might experience before death as well as fear concerning her inability to know the full story about death.

Denise remains afraid of drowning, due not only the near-drowning experience that resulted in her near death experience but two other near-drowning incidents besides. Interestingly, she has lost all of fear of spiritual retribution resulting from leaving fundamentalist religion, something she had experienced since college.  She now feels that she will be safe in death.  She has lost all fear of God as a punishing entity and feels that God accepts her as she is.

Paul

The Physical Separation

A 35 year old financial planner living in Los Angeles, CA, Paul was diagnosed with cancer in late 1997. A 1998 hospitalization for a laser surgery to remove the carcinoma resulted in major weight loss and an overall deterioration in his physical condition. One afternoon, the monitor tracking his vital signs sounded an alarm and he flat lined.  At that moment,  Tom became aware of an increase in the activity of the staff.  He found his focus drifting away from the room and his mind quietening. Feeling the sensation of being rising above the bed, he felt a state of complete peace as he believed he was being raised into heaven.

The Near-death Experience

On each side of his body, Paul sensed two doves supporting and lifting his body upward. He experienced the sounds of tranquility, akin to music and reported feeling as if a magnetic force were behind his being raised. The movement of upward descent was smooth and gliding. Paul found himself entering into a deeper state of peace, likening the music to a calming hum, which continued through the entire rising part of the experience. During this time Paul reported feeling both calm and clear, as he felt in possession of the knowledge that he was transcending to a more beautiful place. Consequently, he felt a desire to go where he was being taken. As he continued to rise, he perceived a soft, glowing light which though brilliant did not hurt his eyes. The light appeared to be beckoning him to enter. Before he could each the light, Paul was revived. He does not recall how he was revived, only the nurse running from the room for the doctors. He recalled re-entering his body with a sudden startle and opening his eyes to see a nurse looking down at him.

The Return and Reintegration

Although not consciously recalling anyone speaking with him during the near-death experience, Paul returned with a strong sense of God instructing him to more closely look at his life. In order to fulfill this request, Paul took it upon himself to delve more deeply into the type of person he was and as a result felt more empathy toward the experiences of others.  He described himself, prior to the experience, as being arrogant towards others and as having taken his health for granted. Prior to the diagnosis of cancer, Paul experienced no major health concerns nor had he ever been hospitalized.  After the NDE, he began to pay attention to his health and consciously sought to eliminate his own arrogance and become more appreciative of the people in his life.

The experience left Paul feeling an increased desire to return to heaven and was willing to do whatever it took to get there and to be a better person.  In his view, being a better person entails being more forgiving and more willing to share.  He also sought to be less self-centered and attempt to focus his energy towards the helping of others in bettering their lives. Despite feeling a need for change, the actual change in behavior was not a simple transcendent experience that Paul felt upon waking. He found developing this change to be a challenging task as his own stubbornness created an internal battle everyday to do something kind for another. Paul finds that each day this practice becomes easier to accomplish.  During our discussion, he became emotional when describing the near-death experience.  Paul described a  sudden burst of emotion that was a surprise to him as he was generally a reserved person.

Since the near-death experience, Paul’s relationships have changed.  Growing up in a family who did not communicate or discuss personal feelings, he was unused to being open with his emotions. His near-death experience has led him to encourage his family to be more open and sharing of their feelings. As result, he stated a feeling of increased closeness with his family since his NDE.

Paul did not relate this experience to his doctors, feeling it to be a spiritual rather than medical experience in which God was assisting him to change his life and help the lives of others. He stated that he a renewed awareness of the importance of loving others. In Paul’s view, his experience was a way for God to instruct him on the need for change. He felt that if he continued on the path that he followed before the near-death experience, he might not reach heaven.  He now feels that his work here on earth is to help others and in the process has come to a greater understanding of himself.  The experience also  helped him to overcome his fear of death and realize the preciousness of life.

Paul does have one fear resulting from the NDE, and that is the fear of slipping back into his old selfish mindset.  To prevent this, he has made changes to the habits of his life and has attempted to remove the focus from himself to try and understand others. At the time of the NDE, Paul was Catholic and had felt his mind wander  during prayer in the past. Now, having experienced an NDE, he feels a closer communication with God when he prays.  He now feels as if he is truly having a dialogue with God.

James

The First and Second Physical Separation

James was interviewed in Los Angeles, California.  He is 59 years old and claims to have  experienced three NDEs during the course of his life.  The first experience occurred in when he was 7 years old and living in Mexico.  Having fallen from  a moving car, he remembers very little. As he hit the ground, he blacked out experiencing a warm nurturing feelings. That momentary feeling is all he remembers of that first experience. At the age of 13, James attempted to commit suicide with natural gas to escape an abusive family situation.  At the moment of blacking out, he experienced a feeling of rapidly entering a tunnel through a gliding motion.

While James was in the tunnel, he became aware of the presence of other beings, but was unable to determine who they might be.  At the end of this tunnel, he perceived a light and  between himself and the light he saw a vast waterway.  Across this waterway was the figure of an old man standing behind a large closed gate.  When the man saw James, the gates began to open. As James glided through the gates, he entered a garden.  While there he became aware of music and experienced feeling of acceptance. As James looked around, he noticed a pathway leading into a closed area.  There, on the pathway, he could see other people moving towards the area looking at him and then looking away.  Among the group was a beautiful woman, looking at him as though she recognized him and in turn he also felt a knowledge of her. He felt a desire to go towards her, with a feeling of unconditional love emanating from her.  As she came near, the old man explained to James that he could not touch the woman. Nonetheless, he tried to follow her at a distance along the path.  As he did, a golden light descend on him he began to feel guilt over his attempted suicide, realizing that suicide was  not a resolution of his problems. James’s experience in the garden allowed him to feel more compassion towards himself.  This new sense of self-compassion would later help him through a difficult adolescence.  He wanted to remain in that bath of unconditional love, but was also told he could not stay and that he would have to go back.

The Second Return and Reintegration

No sooner had James realized that he would have to return when he found himself blacking out once more and found himself waking in the hospital.  His great-aunt questioned him repeatedly about the woman, instructing him to refrain from speaking about his experience.  He later found out that the woman he described was his grandmother who had died before James was born.  The second near-death experience allowed him to feel a remove from the abuse and to avoid the negativity.  He was given more understanding about his situation and therefore found more compassion for himself and never attempted suicide again.

The Third Physical Separation

James’s third near-death experience was more extensive than the previous two and he found it difficult to describe.  He characterized himself as having become very materialistic as he matured.  He had become a financial planner for a bank and his controlling attitude helped to advance his wealth however it failed to bring him happiness.  Prior to the third experience, James finalized a divorce and as a result was experiencing a serious financial setback. He stated that he had reached a low point in his life and felt he had been pushing himself too hard.  A smoker with unhealthy habits, he was aware of the need for a change in lifestyle he paid little immediate attention to the issues individually.

One morning, James experienced severe pain in his chest, which he reported to his doctor who recommended he be hospitalized for observation.  He refused to go to the hospital, preferring to handle the upset stomach and nausea on his own.  That night he awoke with discomfort in his chest and got up to call the hospital. Walking down the hallway he experienced another sharp, excruciating pain in his chest that caused him to double over.  He remembered hitting his shoulder on the wall as he was falling to the floor but then blacked out.

The Third Near-death Experience

Although Marco had the sense of blacking out, he was still aware of his thought processes.  He found himself in total darkness.  He felt as though he were in a very dark pit.  He described it as being blackest black that could be imagined.  The blackness resulted not only from an absence of color and light, but also from an absence of sound.  A dark feeling of isolation began to creep over his consciousness.  While in this void, James asked himself why he could not hear or see anything.  He remembered trying to yell, but nothing would come out.  It was as though his words went nowhere.  Despite his state of alarm, he realized that he was no longer feeling pain, but he was also aware that he could not feel his body.  The blackness was oppressive and became more frightening.  As his fear gave way to panic, he cried into the darkness for help.  At that moment, he saw a spark of light out in the distance.

Although James was frightened, his thought processes were clear.  He never lost his sense of self-awareness.  He reasoned that if he could get over to the spark, he might feel more comfortable.  However, he felt as if he was being held back from the light by some force.  Again, he thought to himself, “I do not belong here.”  At that moment, a light came on again in the distance resembling the glow of a candle.  Now, he was no longer in total blackness.  Fearing the candlelight might go out, he said to himself, “Oh God, please don’t blow it out.”  His fear continued to build.  He did not know where he was. Two more lights appeared off in the distance of approximate size to the first.  When he saw them, he felt that these lights would protect him.  However, his moment of relief quickly retreated to dread; what terrifying things might exist in the distance between himself and those lights?

James knew that he wanted to join them, but he did not know how.  As he focused on the lights, he began to realize that they were not candles at all; they were beings of light.  Though panic overtook him at this moment, he knew that if he could get to the lights, he would be safe.  With that thought alone, he instantly found himself surrounded by light.  He had the reassuring feeling that the light would not allow him to be lost in the darkness. James felt the sensation of moving upwards while in the light.  It was at this moment he recalls experiencing a past life review.  It was not his entire life, just the important interpersonal portions.  While the life review took place, he continued to rise higher, noticing the little sparks of light as they began to join together and form a snake of light all moving in the same direction.  He was now very high looking down at the column of light.  As the lights came together, they pushed back the darkness, and James felt a sense of joy.  The ribbon of light continued to grow and became a kaleidoscope of color. It was then that he realized that each point of light was a soul and that they were going back to the creator.  The tiny lights soon became an ocean of multicolored brilliance.

One of the light beings directed James to look in the distance towards a mountain of crystal with a golden light and beings inside.  James did not know how to reach it. As his desire to go to the mountain grew, the being communicated a feeling that he could not go to it.   At that moment, a light like a million suns lit up and there was no blackness anywhere.  The beings of light were then behind him and he found himself racing towards the source of light.  As he grew closer, he exploded with emotion and felt himself become the light. Bathed in light, James reported an awareness of history since the beginning of time.  He was shown the beginning of creation with the beginning of light.  He reported that there was no distinction between himself and the light.

The light told him that he had not finished his work and needed to return.  He awoke in pain, sitting in a chair with the telephone receiver in his hand.  He blacked out once more only to awake at the top of his two-story apartment building.  He saw two men running into the building where they picked up a body, he did not at first recognize as his own.  They put the body on a gurney with the left arm hanging off the side.  He tried to tell them to put the arm inside, but to no avail.  The arm fell between the rails and was severely pinched.   While he was observing the rescue scene, he was also listening to the conversations of the onlookers across the street.  His neighbors had gathered to see what was going on.  James was aware of both places at the same time.  He then found himself following the ambulance all the way to the hospital.  He was aware of being both inside and outside of the ambulance.  He remembered hearing the thoughts of the driver and staff in the ambulance.  He did not question any of this but rather absorbed the experience completely.

The Third Return and Reintegration

Upon arrival, James was hooked  to an IV and began to once more feel his body and regain consciousness.  The experience felt as though it had lasted for hours. A month later, James set out to confirm the conversations and visions he experienced during his rescue  In the hospital, a nurse asked him how gotten the large hematoma on the inside of his left arm.  When he told her it was from his arm having been left hanging over the gurney, she expressed  disbelief as he’d been unconscious before being revived at the hospital.

After this third experience, James began to make substantial change to his life; he quit smoking and began to take better care of his health. He began to relax. Before his near-death experience, he had been a banker feeling both impatient and demanding. Since the experience, Marco reported that no longer feeling pressured by time.  He began to place more value on people, becoming less materialistic. His perception broadened, and he has found an ability  to conceive the outcome of an action before it was completed.  These changes happened naturally and effortlessly.

Before the near-death experience, James associated with people who were materialistic and fast paced.  But afterwards, he found himself no longer able to relate to those people, preferring quiet time to the fast-paced life he once lived.  He has also noticed that he did not lose patience with his family members any longer. However, the reactions of the doctors to his account of the NDE led him to be wary of describing the experience to others.

James’s describes his experiences as giving him proof of a higher power, which he refers to as God.  Part of his newfound awareness is the idea that this higher power can be found in all religions. Part of his personal mission, since the near-death experience, has been to raise awareness that there is life after physical death.  This has given new meaning to his earthly experience.  In wanting to help people, he has attempted to erect a bridge of understanding in the concepts of death as a process of consciousness passing from one continuous plane of existence to another. James feels that everyone has a purpose in life and that his personal mission has been revealed to show others a greater understanding of their own power in changing their lives and the presence of the love of the universe.

During the third NDE, James felt he received answers regarding questions he had about politics, values, and beliefs.  He found himself living hand to mouth and feeling secure in it.  He now feels that he is able to give more of himself to others since he is less encumbered by materialist desires.  He wants to help people become aware of their goodness and has strong desire to be of service to others. During his experience, James learned that each act we perform, no matter how insignificant, can have a dramatic effect on another, and can actually change the world.  He took away from the experience an understanding of the oneness of the universe.

Since his third near-death experience, James has volunteered in hospices to assist those who are dying.  He has frequent opportunities to witness individuals making the transition through death.  He claims to see a swirling kaleidoscope of color leaving the body as a person dies. He stated that it gives him great joy to witness such an event.  James finds himself excited for individuals as they embark on what he refers to as their journeys.  His enthusiasm for life beyond is contagious and is an apparent source of strength for those in their final moments.  He talks with those who are open to what he has to say and he feels that they benefit from his experience.  James stressed that the worthiness of each individual’s existence is important.  The most important things we can do in this existence is to love and be a service to others.  In his life review, he saw how his existence was able to change another’s life simply due to his resemblance to another. James noted that as individuals we do not realize the importance of our existence and he feels that his NDE has given him a gift of that understanding.

Lorraine

The Physical Separation

Lorraine was a 27-year-old woman from Kentucky at the time of her interview, which was obtained through online correspondence. Her responses were gained through a written form of the verbal interview questions, which were completed by her and returned via mail. Kimberly completed the interview through corresponding on the Internet. The following is a compilation of her correspondence. Lorraine’s near-death experience took place in August of 1991 when she was 19 and has since been diagnosed with a heart-valve disorder. Her experience began while traveling as a passenger on a trip from Los Angeles to Oakland, California. Without reason, her heart began to race and she experience subsequent dizziness. Nausea and a visual occurrence of brilliant colors followed the dizziness.  As she slipped into unconsciousness, her awareness drifted away from the car.

The Near-death Experience

Upon reawareness, Lorraine found herself in a dense and oppressive blackness. She described it as a terrifying dark, damp cloud that came over her. and felt greater fear at this nothingness than anything else she has ever experience.  Alone, she called out “Jesus” in her fear and confusion. She described the following event as a “battle” between white light and the surrounding darkness.  Immediately following the battle, the light overtook the darkness  and through the presence of this being, she felt a measure of warmth and intense love.

Lorraine next found herself above the moving car looking down at her body in the back seat.  She  sensed a being floating beside her adorned in a white garment. Despite not looking directly at the being, she was able to describe what he looked like and  understood that his identity should remain a mystery. Together, they began above the earth and eventually into outer space; traveling at an accelerated speed, passing the stars and planets.

Lorraine expressed uncertainty in the sequence of evens, though not the reality of the experience. She next described becoming aware of her presence in a bright white room.  The room seemed to be enclosed, but it did not have walls.  While in the room, she saw a man in a white robe standing behind a podium with a book on it.  He emitted a brilliant white light.  As she approached him, his light grew brighter.  She believed the book to be the Book of Life from the Bible.  In the presence of the being, Lorraine began to realize that the God she had been presented with through her religious upbringing was not anything like the reality.  She understood that the name given to this being was not of great importance, it was the same spirit of power within all beliefs.

While she was in the room, Lorraine was given a life review.  She stated that she did not remember being shown her entire life but instead remembers viewing only part of it. Chief among these scenes were the last weeks of her  life, where she contemplated abandoning her belief in God.  She was shown that her acts of selfishness and insensitivity affected others and was able to witness first hand the injury she had inflicted upon others in her own actions.   The fact of her homosexuality carried no relevance in the review as it was an  atmosphere of non-judgment and acceptance.  She was surprised, given the strict Christian beliefs she was raised with, that her lesbianism that was so difficult for humanity to forgive was not a matter of judgment of condemnation at this juncture of her spiritual life.

Looking to her right, Lorraine perceived a beautiful valley off in the distance. Above the valley sat an individual, who she felt to be the figure of Jesus. She went to move towards him, with the beings explaining that she could not come back if she crossed over. Until that moment, the thought of her dying never crossed her mind.  She had been cooperating with the entire experience without questioning it, which is something that in hindsight seemed unusual for her to do.  Even with her increased sense of awareness, the idea of being separated from her body had not occurred to her until this point. Though she had seen her body in the car, throughout the experience she had felt physically complete. She understood that she should return.

The Return and Reintegration

The next thing Lorraine remembered was regaining consciousness in the car, all the while hearing the most beautiful music and perceived she could hear angels singing as she opened her eyes.  She did not tell anyone of her experience and retained a feeling of wanting to return to that place. However, she instinctively knew she was not to do anything to bring that about on purpose.  This was a direct reference to not committing suicide whether it be accidental through a mistreatment of her body of a direct action against her life. She later tried to recall what she had learned as part of the “all knowledge” she’d experienced but could remember nothing.

Lorraine’s life changed after the near-death experience.  She reported a lifestyle of drugs and partying prior to her NDE.  As an employee of a large circus, she planned nothing more than to remain with the show until retirement.  After the near-death experience, Lorraine lost interest in partying and drugs. She explained it was not a conscious decision but rather this self-described “cleaning up my act” was an indirect result of her NDE and came naturally.

During the NDE, she remembered being told to move to Virginia, which she did.  She was not told why she should move but looking back on it, she stated it was time for her to move on.  She said that she felt she was to move there to experience spiritual growth.  As a result of the move, she became involved in the horticulture industry in Virginia. At the time of the interview she had complete a degree in entomology and was working towards a master’s degree through research on honeybees, a honeybee pest, and transgenic corn. Lorraine described her actions as tender of a large garden of the university farm where she grew and canned many of the vegetable served at the school. This is her way of sharing and being of service to others.

Due to Lorraine’s near-death experience, her relationships with others have changed.  She has grown increasingly sensitive to how her actions affect those around her and takes great care in handling them with respect.  Her experience has left her with the belief that interpersonal relationships take a greater importance than she’d previously treated them and now feels that the purpose of life is to care for and love others.  Feeling an increased responsibility for her life, understanding what comes after life has given her more accountability for her actions.

Growing up, Lorraine believed that in being a lesbian she was damned in the afterlife and from this grew a fear of dying. The idea of standing before a vengeful and judgmental god at the moment of death was disturbing to her.  Her near-death experience has caused her to view death in a totally different light and knows that her sexual preference is of no importance in the greater scheme of things.  Her views on the death of others has also changed.  Before, she would pray for their souls, concerned about what punishment may befall them.  Now, she feels that she has seen a glimpse of where they are headed, and it brings her joy.  Her fear of death is gone completely; she now refers to death as going home and thought she would miss her family; Lorraine is comforted and drawn to the heavenly experience she feels awaits her.  Prior to the experience, she wavered between fundamentalist Christianity and atheism. Feeling left out of Christianity’s views of humanity and God because of her homosexuality, Lorraine was determined to not have any part of a God who would not accept her as she was. After her experience, she stated she is confident the Creator is omnipresent.  She expressed no interest in in whether others believed her story or not.

Joe

The First Physical Separation

At the time of his interview, Joe was a 49-year-old man in early retirement from a Sheriff’s department in Michigan, where he had been a highly decorated Assistant Sheriff.  His interview was conducted by phone, from his home on a ranch in Idaho. He related two experiences over the course of his life with first near-death experience taking place when he was 3 years old, and the second when he was 20.

Joe’s first NDE took place while vacation with his parents at a lake. Joe was playing down by the water near a device that was used to keep minnows and other bait alive in a holding pond.  He and the other children made a game out of playing with the intake pipe.  They would go into the lake and swim near the intake pipe to let the suction pull them down and then they would push away and swim back up to the water’s surface.

On this particular occasion, Joe was not strong enough to free himself from the pipe and remained under water.  He does not remember breathing in any water or feeling any pain.  His next moment of  awareness was seeing his father pull him from the lake.  While watching his father give him CPR, he experienced a golden light above and felt the presence of children playing around him. Joining in the children’s game of double jumping, he found himself being instructed in the rules of the game as his father struggled to resuscitate him. He remembers that the idea of the game is to jump up as hard as you can.  When you do, you go up and up, and up, and then, when you begin to slow down, you are allowed to jump again.  It was great fun, and when it was over, you ended up where you started.

The First Return and Reintegration

Many years later, Joe attended a speaking engagement on NDEs where the speaker described children who had experienced NDEs as reporting a phenomenon called double jumping. This proved to be a validating experience for Joe. Due to his youth, Joe accepted the experience without question. It did not frighten him but rather seemed to him to be a natural and common experience.  Later, when he tried to explain the NDE to his family, they did not believe him.  One of the reasons they did not believe him was because he told his mother that during the experience he remembered looking up at the sun and it was so beautiful and warm.  She dismissed his story because when he’d been found he was faced down in the mud. When he grew older, he realized that it was not the sun he was looking at, but the light that is so often mentioned by others who have experienced an NDE.

The Second Physical Separation

Joe’s second NDE occurred in while he was working as a lab assistant in the mollusk division at the University of Michigan.  Married with a 6 month old son, one day his Jeep had broken down, and he had to hitchhike a ride home and was picked up by a van that was going in his direction.  Sitting on the back bench was a silent man who did not acknowledge Joe as  he  sat on the side bench behind the driver.  Driving down the road in silence, Joe noticed another man sitting to his left on the bench. They soon struck up a conversation.

The man beside Joe began to explain the events of Joe’s life as they would happen over the next several hours. Joe called this one of the most serious and forthright discussion he had experienced in his life.  The man  questioned both Joe’s willingness and understanding of these future events and when he received affirmation from Joe, he felt the van suddenly stop. The man foretold him of a sequence of events that he would have to endure for this event to happen.  He cannot remember the exact sequence or why he was willing to go through them.  When he responded back, the silent man in the back questioned who he was speaking with. The driver also questioned who he had been talking to, when Joe told him of the man, the driver turned on the interior light to reveal the van was empty except for the driver, Joe and the man in the back.  The driver of the van also chimed in with his inquiry.  Bill said, “To this man right here.”

Joe exited the van and began to walk home. As the van left sight, he saw a child on a bicycle. Suddenly, a car came up behind the child, swerving with the intent to hit him, and missing  when child himself had swerved to miss a mud puddle. A man in the backseat swung a pipe at the child’s head but the child ducked. In response, Joe stepped out into the road and waved his arms so the people in the car could see him.  They then drove directly toward him.  As they did, he picked up a handful of gravel and threw it in the direction of the car.  The driver slammed on the breaks and three passengers exited and began to run towards Joe. Trying to run away, Joe tripped and fell.  They caught up with him and started hitting him.  While two of them hit him with pipes, he felt an extreme pain and shock to his simultaneously to his back and stomach. When he looked down and touched his hand to his stomach, he saw his hand was covered with blood and believed he’d been shot. The men ran and only later did Joe realize he’d been stabbed rather than shot.

The Second Near-death Experience

Alone, in the dark, and bleeding to death, his body began to go into shock and shake uncontrollably.  When again conscious of his surroundings, Joe found himself looking down at hid body from a vantage point devoid of paid.  When he looked around himself, he saw other people standing there. Translucent, they emitted a glow in the darkness and they urged him not to go into the light. At first, not knowing which light they referred to Joe looked up and saw a brilliant light, which became his whole focus. The light radiated a feeling of absolute love and as he focused on it was drawn forward in a gliding motion through what could be perceived as a tunnel, at the end of which he stopped.

At the end of the tunnel stood a being, who placed his hand on Joe’s shoulder while in front of Bill there persisted a tremendously beautiful orb of light, wisdom, and understanding.  He described himself as being totally absorbed by its presence and felt no  fear.  The man was able to communicate to him through thought.  The communication was very clear and concise, and all took place through mental images.  Off to the left, Joe saw what appeared to be a town or city.  Looking at the town, he felt himself accelerating forward and began a process of re-living interpersonal experiences within the context of his life to that point. In situations where he had caused pain to others, he felt their pain and realized how his actions had caused harm to others. Despite the emotional pain involved in the review, Joe wanted to experience it and felt the process as being without judgment. Without fear, he allowed himself to be surrounded by love and acceptance.

To the right of the being, Joe could see unidentifiable structures.  Before he could discern what the structures could be he was told that it was time to go to the next place. At that moment, he found himself in the presence of another being of light that would serve as a guide. A smaller light than Joe’s previous guide, it also emanated a feeling of love and understanding.  This guide escorted him to 12 very tall beings, who dwarfed his 6’3″ figure.  With large eyes and heads as well as no mouths, they were dressed in high collared silver garments. Communication passed through their hands and they spoke to him of the past, present, and future.  Each one had something different to impart.  He could not remember what they told him excepting the last. It was this last entity who gave him the reason to return to living. Joe was shown an image of a young man with his head back in pain.  He had the impression that there was something wrong with his neck.  They then told him that it was his son, Billy. Billy was his 6-month-old son at home.  They told him no, that it was his other son.  Before he could ask any more questions he was being returned to his body.

The Second Return and Reintegration

Once more aware, Joe found himself back in his body attempting to pull himself up.  The child on the bicycle was there and Joe instructed him to find help.  Shortly after he left, a car came by and took him to the hospital.  At the hospital, they discovered that the knife had punctured his lung and had cut half way through the portal vein in the liver.  Too weak to go through surgery, the doctors instructed him that he would bleed to death. Left on the table to die, with periodic checking of his vitals, he did not die. When his family arrived, Joe described his experience to his wife, she viewed his descriptions as delirium. Encountering disbelief and negativity when trying to explain his experience, he eventually stopped attempting to verbalize it.

Years later, at a seminar on near-death experiences, Joe attempted to gain a better understanding and acceptance of his experiences. From that point forward, he would not back down from anyone who tried to tell him his experience was not real.  He found himself empowered in relating the experience. Though he did not undergo any personal changes immediately after the NDE, he did over the course of time realize the effects it was having on his choices. The NDE did not make life easier.  He claims that it actually made it more difficult as he found problems  in relating to people and his newfound sense of reality.

His second son was born in 1978.  As a teenage, the boy took part in a rodeo and was seriously injured by a horse. While on the emergency room table, he lay with his head back and when Joe entered the room he recognized this pose as the scene he’d been shown during his NDE. The doctor was unable to if there was a fine fracture in his neck as it did not show on the x-ray. His son decided to go back out to finish the rodeo but Joe would not allow it. Joe told him that he could be seriously injured if he went back out there in his condition.  His son listened to him and did not go back out.  He believes he saved his son’s life.

Joe did not know if preventing his son’s death was the only reason he was to come back or if it was only part of the reason.  However, since that experience with his son, his his life has changed.  It was as if his near-death experience was coming full circle in this experience of prophecy.  Leaving his job in law enforcement, Joe entered hospice work where he visited homes of seriously ill patients and takes over the role of primary caregiver. While working in this setting he encountered an incapacitated man who had an inoperable brain tumor who could barely blink his eyelids.  The family talked of the man as though he were already I the past tense and in response the man could only lie unmoving and non-responsive.  Joe spoke to the nurse about his near-death experience and found himself discussing the experience later with the man’s wife. With the man sitting in his wheelchair nearby, Joe began to tell his story attempting to include the man in the telling of his death.  As Joe l was telling his story, the man lifted his hands from his lap. Joe reached out for the man’s hands, and brought it to his mouth to kiss it. The man died 6 hours later and Joe feels that he may have helped the man lose his fear of death..

As Joe has integrated the near-death experience into his life, he has found a new sense of inner peace.  However, he is angry at the way things are headed in this country and around the world.  He feels that religion is teaching people to fear God and they are behaving more selfishly than ever.  His own experience had opened his eyes to a universal love that he regrets the rest of the world does not always feel or recognize.

Joe’s work with the animals on his ranch in Idaho has brought him into contact with death on new levels. His many animals include donkeys, horses, dogs, cats, and pigeons but he noted a favorite dog name Sadie who was mortally wounded by a car. Dragging herself back to the house, when Joe found her she was bleeding severely and death was imminent. As she lay dying, he told her he loved her.  She looked at him and wagged her tail.   Joe saw a glowing multicolored light like that of a shooting star leave her and come towards him.  As it passed through him, he felt a deep sense of love. Through his understanding of death and this feeling of love, he was able to forego mourning her death as he understood it to be a transition only.

Before leaving the sheriff’s department Joe received a visitation from another officer with whom he had had frequent spiritual conversations.  Joe had not seen this man in many years, and the conversation happened in a dream. As the conversation turned serious he felt a pain in his chest, forcing in him to wake himself up. He went back to sleep, and again his friend entered the dream.  They talked and laughed and again the conversation turned serious and he had another pain in his chest, only this time he held onto the pain until he could not take it any more. The third time it happened Joe got out of bed to call his friend.  His wife told him to wait until Sunday because it was so late and besides, the rates would be cheaper.  When Sunday arrived, he received a call from a mutual friend who had some bad news.  It was about the friend he had been dreaming of.  The same morning he was having the dream of his friend was the morning that he died of congestive heart failure.

Joe stated that since his NDE, he has learned to listen to his internal voice more closely.  He said that he has found its guidance to be valuable.  There have been situations where he will associate with someone, even if he does not want to, because his internal voice will tell him that he needs to.  When he listens, he finds that he is rewarded by this new personal connection.  This is exampled in his meeting with a man named Bob with whom he did not feeling comfortable. But following his internal voice he chose to become friends with the man. A serious alcoholic, Bob suffered  from cirrhosis of the live. One night Joe awoke with a lucid dream of Bob where Joe asked and the man responded, that he did not know and only wanted another drink.  He then proceeded to goad Joe into drinking a beer.  Joe began to reach for a beer when he confronted the Bob for using him as an excuse to drink himself. He must have spoken aloud, for the commotion awoke his wife who asked who Joe was speaking with.  He said it was Bob, and she wanted to know if he were dead.  By this time, she had accepted the reality that he had unexplainable experiences concerning death.

Joe didn’t answer her but rather they both went back to sleep where Bob returned and told him of his fear of going to the light and his guilt at the people he’d killed in Vietnam. The next day, when Joe went to visit the man, Bob asked, “I suppose you thought I died last night, didn’t you?”  Turned out that Bob had become ill from drinking that night and was taken to the hospital unconscious.  Joe asked him if he could remember anything from his unconscious state, and Joe only said he had a dream about many issues, then saying, “the only beer I could find was beer in green bottles.”  The only beer in Joe’s house was in the basement in a refrigerator and it was Micky’s Beer, in green bottles.  Joe recounted for him what he could remember from his lucid dream which helped prompt Bob’s own memory. Bob stopped drinking.

The NDE helped Joe to achieve greater understanding in his life.  Raised in a conservative Presbyterian household, as a child Joe avoided church. At the time just before the near-death experience, he was an atheist and since the experience maintains a disbelief in the God espoused by his childhood religion.  For Joe, God is not a separate entity outside of ourselves ruling over us but instead a compilation of existence in its entirety.  He believes in and stated he “knows” that there is a Creator which is the source of all love, wisdom, knowledge, and understanding.  He has fears of how he is going to die as he does not want to  die in pain, but not a fear of death itself.

Joe views living as a destiny of experience and service to others. Our bodies act as vehicles for human experience.  For Joe, NDE removed the mystery of what happens after death which he feels we are not meant to fully know while we are still in human form. The ignorance allows us to have the full human experience and to become more creative.  He wishes he could remember what the 12 beings had to say to him.  He would like to remember in better detail what happened.  He was curious why the people at the beginning of the NDE told him not to go to the light.  He went to the light anyway and it was not the wrong thing.  They seemed to be wrong.  They seemed to be out of their bodies, but not into the tunnel.  It felt to him that they were not accepting the love in themselves, and they were afraid that God would not accept them because of the things they had done wrong in their lives.

Claire

The Physical Separation

Living in Idaho, Claire was 28-year-old rapid eye movement therapist at the time of her  telephone  interview. She reported that she was 21 when she had the near-death experience which took place during a hospital stay while she was being treated for anorexia.   At the time of the NDE, her weight was down to 76 pounds and her body was no longer strong enough to maintain life as her organs began to fail.  At several points during the stay, Claire felt herself close to leaving her body. When she expressed these feelings of death to the nurses, the responded by interpreting her statement as a desire to commit suicide and removed all.  sharp objects from her room. When she once more felt she would slip away, she let herself go.

The Near-death Experience

Claire experienced a feeling of weakness before closing her eyes, but as she began to slip away she felt herself leave her physical  body. Finding herself conscious but alone in a  dark tunnel, she felt fear and disorientation. Initially, Claire had difficulty in relating her NDE as the experience called up feelings of latent anxiety in connection to the tunnel. Being afraid of the dark, this portion of the experience proved to be especially difficult.  At the end of the tunnel, she saw a light.  She described it as a living light.  When she entered into it, she felt a profound peace and a separation from her physical body. Feeling light and free, she remembers her though process during this time as being particularly clear. At this time, she first became aware  of the light being which acted as her guide throughout the NDE.

Claire recalled an area intended for a life-review, and she moved toward it. The review did not show her entire life but instead only portent pieces.  From time to time, she still recalls occasional scenes from the life review that she had forgotten.  She encountered several tall beings with large gray eyes and small mouths. Resembling to her extraterrestrials rather than light beings, she felt soothed  while in the presence of the tall beings. Each being had something different to impart to her and they explained to her the causes of experiences in her life. Through this she was able to gain a better understanding of her life.

The Return and Reintegration

Having been anorexic since age 4, the beings explained that her experience was meant to help in instructing others. Claire was told that when she returned, she would be able to recover from the anorexia.  After 5 years, she made a complete recovery from anorexia. During that time she experienced dreams instructing her on ways to heal. Claire’s recovery was done without medical or mental-health treatment and she now holds classes where she imparts this knowledge to others. She feels that it is important to reach out and help as many people as possible.  Her experience left her with a strong desire to be in service to others.

Instructed on Rapid Eye Therapy while conferencing with the beings, they explained the mechanics of the treatment and that she would eventually use it in helping to treat others. It took 6 years before she found someone who could teach her the technique and soon afterwards she began her work. She now has a practice specializing in Rapid Eye Therapy and helps individuals in healing  their own emotional injuries of which Claire herself was familiar through her own experiences.

Having grown up in an alcoholic home, Claire eventually married an alcoholic and found herself in a pattern of relationships with alcoholics. After the near-death experience, she realized that she could break that pattern.  Since that time, she ended her codependent relationships with alcoholics and made other changes that allowed her to become a more differentiated individual. The changes enacted in her personal  life as a result of her near-death experience have assisted  in walking away from these bad relationships. Feeling she was not being positively guided, she found these changes easier to enact. Since the experience, she has felt much more self-confident.  She stated that she now knows what happens after death, she no longer fears it.

Claire no longer views herself as a victim, but as a conscious and willing participant in the process of life. Prior to the experience, she was locked in an ongoing battle with her mother.  Since the experience, she and her mother have become good friends.  Having harbored resentment towards her mother in the role her mother took in bringing her into the world and the situations she found herself in as a child as a result of her mother’s choice, she realizes now that the choice was her own and she can now forgive her mother.

Claire attempted to relate her experience to the doctors but was told that because of the medications she was on that in medical opinion she was simply hallucinating. After this she did not tell anybody about her NDE in an effort to avoid being verbally attacked by those who would not understand or who accused her of making up the story as a means of seeking attention. The dramatic changes that took place in her life since the NDE helped to validate her story and make people more accepting of her experience. As an agoraphobic, as well as an  anorexic, the experience of the tunnel was particularly traumatic for her but since the experience she has stopped experiencing this phobia and gives lectures and workshops on the topic.

Before the near-death experience, Claire believed in a literal interpretation of the Bible.  As a fundamentalist Christian she believed that failure to obey the Ten Commandments led to literal damnation. Prior to her NDE, she had become divorced and broken other commandments, convincing her that she would go to hell.  During her near-death experience, none of that seemed to matter.  She did not remember the commandments being an issue, nor did she have the sense of being judged.  She no longer fears God’s judgment but rather feels an increased closeness in her relationship to God. While she was having the NDE, she experienced the idea that there may be variations of hell that some individuals experience, but not in the biblical sense as taught in religions.  Claire understood hell to be an erroneous perception that an individual might have as being separated from spirit. As a result of her experience, Claire feels herself to be a kinder individual and no longer harbors feelings of anger and bitterness. Since the experience, she has become increasingly tolerant of others and is now able  to view things with an eye toward acceptance.  Before the experience, she no longer desired to live but since has worked on improving the quality of life for herself and others.

Lou

The First Physical Separation

When interviewed, Lou was a 39 year old national sales representative of machinery and was living in a small town in Kentucky. During the course of his life, Lou claimed to have experienced three separate instances of near-death experience during his adulthood. The first occurred when the subject was 24 years old, the second at the age of 30 and the third when Lou was 37.  In the interview, which was conducted by phone, Lou experienced the most difficulty of all of the interviewees in remembering the actual NDE.  However, the resulting affects of his experiences were quite similar to those of the others.

The first experience occurred as Lou worked at hauling hay. Wearing a hat which had been a Christmas present from his brother, it blew off his head as he sat in the back of the truck. Alerting the driver, he jumped from the truck to find it. Not realizing Lou had gotten out of the truck, the driver began to back up. Lou found the hat on the road and as he was bending to pick it up was knocked down by the truck and fell under the oncoming wheel. Leaving his body felt much like the actions of a powerful suction pulling until he was released from his body.  He reported a sense of oneness with everything as the experience progressed.  It felt to him as if he had entered a state of universal consciousness. However, at the thought of leaving his wife and baby, he was prompted to return to his body where shortly after an ambulance arrived to take him to the hospital.

The Second Physical Separation

The second experience took place when Lou and several of his friends were exploring a reputedly haunted house.  Boisterously shouting from the third story of the house, Lou felt a presence push him through two floors where he landed by hitting his head, causing a skull fracture. During the ambulance ride, his EKG flat lined, and Lou experienced his second NDE.  This time his perspective was of looking down at his body in the ambulance and was able to not only see other individuals in the vehicle but could sense their thoughts as well as a general knowledge of their past and future. Lou claimed to actually experience and feel their emotions as he perceived a sense of them each stemming from one consciousness.  Lou began to feel his insignificance in the scheme of things but was able to conclude that he also possessed a sense of importance as well.  As he began to sense that he was moving away from the ambulance, he was brought back to his body with a sudden shock as fibrillation restarted his heart.

The Third Physical Separation

Lou’s third and most recent NDE happened while hunting with family members. While in pursuit of the same rabbit, Robert and his brother-in-law took separate paths. As he ran, he felt a sudden sense of a blinding white light and perceived a presence near which caused his senses to stand on end.  The being seemed to take over his body.  For an unknown reason, he reached behind himself and with one arm grabbed his 12-year-old nephew, and pulled him behind his body as if to shield him from something.  At that moment, it felt as if a sledgehammer hit him.  He then heard silence and dropped to his knees.  Lou found out later that, his brother-in-law who by virtue of his own path of pursuit had come out ahead of him. Tripping and falling, his brother-in-law’s laded shotgun discharged and the bullet had ripped through Robert’s face. By instinctively shielding his nephew, he acted as a human shield for a bullet which would have likely killed the boy. The bullet hit him in the face and went through his neck.  His entire face was peppered with shot; however, the shot missed both of his eyes completely.  Again, he briefly felt himself leave his body and return.

The Return and Reintegration

Though each NDE was brief, Lou described each successive experience as filling him with a sense of greater understanding and knowledge of life which defied popular explanation. He recalled brief life reviews during each experience but did not remember a light or the sight of another being. However, he remembered sensing the presence of an unknown being explaining the reasons behind his life experiences. This same being, aided him in understanding God as a collection of consciousness. At the time of his NDE, Lou was a practicing Southern Baptist but immediately after his first experience he left the church as he no longer perceived of God in the same way. He now felt God to be all loving and accepting, feeling that all of life worked towards creating the collective makeup which was God.

The NDE that Lou experienced in the ambulance was the longest of the three.  At that time, he reported having experienced a sense of total consciousness.  Accepting the entire experience without questions, he felt a desire to cooperate with the experience. The life reviews he experienced during each NDE, were contractions in the length of duration for each. While they seemed at the time to be experienced in a flash, he was later able to recall details of each scene. Time and space did not exist during the experiences.

Throughout the life reviews, he was shown situations from his past in which he was ashamed. Through reviewing these scenes, Lou stated that he felt he had become a better person. However, he did not review his entire life.  Each time Lou had a life review, it would go over particular highlights of his life.  The life review of the second NDE was the longest and more detailed. As part of the reviews, he was shown why each event in his life took place and realized that everything happens for a reason. Learned experiences are meant to progress and enrich an individual’s life. With this new understanding, he became more accepting of others within the perspective that everyone follows a path of personal development from which they are meant to learn.  At the time of Lou’s first experience when he was run over by the truck, he desired to do something new with his life as he was bored with being a day laborer and felt his life was going nowhere. After the NDE, he decided to make the change and went back into the Navy where he was given a position in computer training. As one of only 12  people chosen for the program, Lou felt a renewed pride in his work.

Lou has founded an increased optimism since his NDEs and now feels a renewed desire to help others. This was not a conscious realization but rather a gradual development of his growing awareness. He found himself being more generous towards people, in contrast to his initial behavior prior to his first NDE.  The experiences helped Lou to improve his relationship with his mother, who suffered from bi-polar disorder and who had been hospitalized throughout his childhood. From this experience grew shame at her illness and anger at her abandonment of him. After his NDE, he began to feel more accepting of her and understanding due to the life reviews which helped him to understand the path his mother had needed to follow in her own life. Through this understanding Lou found himself able to feel compassion for her and expressed the belief that without the experiences he would not have made an effort to become close to his mother.

Fear also stopped being an issue after each NDE, the only fear remaining for Lou is feeling an inability to accomplish everything before he dies. He also expressed a desire to speak openly with his daughter and stepson about his experiences but felt that this may not come to fruition due to their own spiritual development.

Review of Literature

“Healing Images and Symbols in Non ordinary States of Consciousness”

Nearly eight million Americans claim or admit to having a near death experience. It is no surprise then that this phenomenon has gained a great deal of attention from the medical community, religious people, the so-called “new age” thinkers, and, psychologists. Historically, Americans have tended to be uncomfortable with the uncertainty of death. With the proliferation of stories of people who have had insight to what the experience of death is really like, millions of people have rushed to buy the latest “guide” that promises to help them “prepare”.
One of the authors whose work is explored in this article, Jeanne Achterberg (1994), notes that the current interest in ritual, myth, and multicultural use of symbolic healing is an additional reason to took more deeply into the nature of imagination. “Glib interpretations of symbols and the placement of universal meaning based on a limited sample of cultures may not serve to benefit the person who is seeking knowledge and healing. On the other hand, a broad knowledge of the way symbolic healing is used world wide, as well as a sensitive understanding of a person’ s personal interpretation, will lend strength to the therapeutic encounter (Achterberg, 1994). Although it is possible for one to be critical and say that her words may be applied to numerous psychological experiences, her comments are indeed related to near death experiences, images and their symbolism as created by “non ordinary” states of consciousness.
Achterberg’s research and experience with people in the midst of life-threatening or life-changing crises form a great deal of the background for the observations in her article. Her work, entitled “Healing Images and Symbols in Non ordinary States of Consciousness (Revision, 1994) draws heavily on both cultural symbolism and the collective definition of symbolism most often accepted in the psychological field from the theories and beliefs of Carl Jung (Jung, 1954). She carefully examines the biological, psychological, and transpersonal bases of an individual’s experience of nearly dying. She also explains why symbols are important to the healing process. For example, she notes that symbols are what serve as links between the known and the unknown and “between the inner mysterious worlds of experience and the conscious expression of those experiences. As such, it is like a midwife who assists at the birth of meaning.” (Achterberg, 1994) Giving meaning to a life crisis is, once again according to Achterberg, a healing (or “making whole”) function, as the crisis is rewoven back into the fabric and flow of a person’s life.
Overall, Achterberg does a superb job at expressing how the use of symbols to represent what cannot be seen, yet deeply felt is the most basic form of all medicines. Her article is by far, the most scientifically-based and clinically detached of the three articles reviewed. It appears that through her writing she has neatly assembled the parts and parcels of a near death experience, explained them in terms of cultural symbolism, and moved on to why an individual would experience this “symbolic” death in the first place.

“Using Ketamine to Induce the Near-Death Experience”
In stark contrast to the first article, Karl Jansen’s “Using Ketamine to Induce the Near-Death Experience”, asserts that near-death experiences(NDE’s) are a matter of chemical processes. He attempts to show this through the drug ketamine. As he states “near-death experiences can be induced using the dissociative drug ketamine”(Jansen 55). By going through chemical processes, one step at a time, he proves that induction of a NDE can be reproduced, and therefore, NDE can be explained, rather than a metaphysical phenomenon. He notes that advances in neuro-science have provided new insights into the mechanisms involved at the mind-brain interface. For instance, on the “brain” side, NDE’s are due to drug binding sites for the neurotransmitter glutamate.

If we compare both articles at this point, neither has adequately proven that the other side is wrong. Jansen’s article only covers one viewpoint, however, it fails to discover any scientific fact for the existence of NDE’s and so is therefore convinced that they do not exist. He says, “Philosophical and theological issues are beyond the scope of the present discussion, which is based within the scientific paradigm and is thus best assessed from within this paradigm. Recent advances in neuroscience are bringing us closer to a brain-based under standing [sic] of the NDE as an altered state of consciousness. This discussion does not address the issue of whether there is life after death, but does argue that NDE’s are not evidence for life after death” (Jansen 55).

Jansen’s article is a good example of the many prevailing opinions among those who believe that the NDE does not exist. He maintains that the NDE can be induced with the dissociative drug ketamine, and that recent advances in neuroscience have provided “new insights as to the mechanisms involved at the mind-brain interface” (Jansen 55). Of these new insights, Jansen maintains that “it is now clear that these NDE’s are due to blockade of brain receptors (drug binding sites) for the neurotransmitter glutamate” (55), and that conditions that predispose an NDE are those of low oxygen, low blood flow and low blood sugar. In fairness, all of those conditions would most likely be present at the time of impending death.
Jansen goes on to state that the foregoing should be obvious if based solely on logic, and turns to the Oxford-English Dictionary in order to prove his scientific point: death is final. Death is the irreversible cessation of all life function, according to the dictionary, and so the logical conclusion based on that assumption is that anyone “returning” from the dead was not truly dead, after all. Points that Jansen does not discuss in his conclusion of the validity of NDE’s, however, are: (1) a dictionary normally is not a definitive authority on scientific investigation; (2) “NDE” is an acronym for “near-death experience” and does not apply to those who do not return-those have indeed experienced the final solution; and (3) the entire area could well lie beyond what we know to be the body of scientific knowledge. When Jansen insists that all investigation be done within “the scientific paradigm” (55), he gives no allowance for the fact that the knowledgeable of Newton’s, Galileo’s, Pasteur’s or even Einstein’s times could very well have made the same claim (and often did) in regard to their work.
What Jansen and others sharing his views refuse to examine, however, is the universal nature of reports of the NDE, regardless of cultural background, socioeconomic status, religious affiliation or life experience. By limiting themselves only to an educated guess as to just how the brain works and to physical ramifications only, Jansen and his ilk miss the entire point of the fascination of the NDE.

“Is there Life After Death?”

In the U.S. News & World Report, “Is There Life After Death”, by  Brendan Koerner and Joshua Rich, reminds us that whether or not one supports the existence of near death experience(NDE), lives are touched, and that may be the most important thing. Koerner thinks that what we can justifiably believe is rudimentary understanding of the physical structure of the stars, we also have that same sort of understanding of NDE’s. From talk shows to books expressing the same message, the numbers of people willing to say they have indeed had an NDE may be as high as 15 million Americans alone (Koerner 58). The NDE phenomenon is not limited to millions of other people of even more diverse backgrounds and culture have testified to the same type of experience.
One researcher, Bruce Greyson, is a psychiatrist at the University of Virginia Medical School “who has spent much of his professional life investigating these events as possible `peepholes’ into a world beyond”(Koerner 58), and reports that those with NDE’s “become enamored with the spiritual part of life, and less so with possessions, power, and prestige”(Koerner 58). Nancy Bush, past president of the International Association for Near-Death Studies, says, “Most near-death survivors say they don’t think there is a God. They know” (Koerner 58; Grosso 26).
The routine is very close to universal. Though the popular press and the dawn of the electronic age has made the story more accessible to those who have not experienced the events for themselves, the NDE phenomenon is far from new. As far as we know, Plato is the first to have reported on the omniscient, loving light, and that was more than 2,000 years ago. Plato told the story of a seriously wounded soldier’s journey toward “a straight light like a pillar, most nearly resembling a rainbow, but brighter and purer”(Koerner 58). Thirteenth-century monks reported much the same; more recently, formerly-committed agnostics such Betty Eadie are telling anyone who will listen, along with some who won’t, the unfolding of their personal NDE.
Raymond Moody was the first to report that “those who had undergone NDEs became more altruistic, less materialistic, and more loving” (Koerner 58). Since Moody’s 1975 publication, dozens of psychiatrists and neuroscientists have attempted to expose the roots of these NDE’s that have so changed peoples’ lives. Researchers are absent while the event is taking place, so they must necessarily rely on hearsay, which not only cannot be corroborated but also cannot be replicated. In accepted scientific investigation, replication ability reigns supreme: if it can’t be replicated, it must not be true.
Despite the limits of what we know of scientific investigation, the facts remain. “No matter what the nature of the experience, it alters some lives. Alcoholics find themselves unable to imbibe. Hardened criminals opt for a life of helping others. Atheists embrace the existence of a deity, while dogmatic members of a particular religion report feeling welcome in any church or temple or mosque” (Koerner 58). Even without the “traditional” NDE qualities, those who have brushed death normally decide that “it’s a matter of having discovered a secret place in ourselves-a place that everyone has, but only a few are lucky enough to penetrate” (Johnston 146).
Despite the debate that has been going on for years, one glaring truth remains: we have no clear explanation for the NDE, whether for purpose, inclination or the type of person most likely to experience an NDE. We also have no definitive answers as to the causes of cancer, but our lack of knowledge does not prevent its claim of thousands of lives each year. We cannot deny the reality of the NDE simply to be able to preserve every ounce of human arrogance we can muster.

Discussion:

.

Rites of Passage

Each of the individuals interviewed appear to have experienced the three phases in a rite of passage as described by Van Gennep (Turner, 1982, p. 24) which include a separation from their bodies, separation from their environments and found themselves in an otherworldly experience far different from the one they experienced in their day-to-day lives.

Redirected away from physical reality, Matthew, Denise, James, Lorraine, and Claire experienced a dark void or tunnel before embarking on their near-death journey.  For each, it was a traumatic experience.  The darkness at the beginning of their experiences created for them an intense sense of separation from life and reality resulting in feelings of alienation.  It is interesting to note that by the end of their experiences, once they have returned and reintegrated to their normal lives, they each felt more connected to life and God.

The Initial Phase of Separation

The initial phase of separation was dramatized for each an alienation from life and in itself marks an important rite of passage. Through this experience they felt an exaggerated sense of aloneness, which caused feelings of personal longing and connection to others. Through an initial sense of disconnection they were able to first truly understand a connection to humanity.  This disconnection was a result of the beginning darkness of their NDEs, where they subsequently felt alone and forced to call for a deeper connection.  In each recollection, this call for help were answered but only after the desire to not be alone was recognized.  This realization of fear and reaching towards connection rather than withdrawing into themselves expresses a need, which was fulfilled when they received an answer.

Of the eight participants, three failed to experience this darkness and fear or the answering voice at the onset of their experience.  Joe, Paul, and Lou began their experiences in the presence of others.  However, it may be noted that Joe’s experience began in the back of a dark van speaking to a stranger he could not see when he was still fully conscious and possessed of his bodily form. This in itself presents a bit of an anomaly in the experiences; however, it more clearly falls under a matter of psychic premonition or intervention than that of a NDE.  Paul’s proved to be different as well as his began not with people but with doves while alone in the hospital room.  Lou’s experiences began with sensing the presence of a being bathed in or constructed of white light neither were central themes in his experiences.

The Second Phase of a Liminal State

As the experiences continued, each interviewee progressed into the second phase of the rites of passage.  Entering a liminal state, or a state of in-between statuses, they each felt a sense of being outside their bodies and separated from the physical world. However, they were not part of this new plane and were not allowed to remain, but instead remained in a state of physical and emotional limbo. Five of the eight participants experienced direct visual contact with ritual leaders while in the liminal state.  The ritual leaders appeared as guides, generally distinct from other light beings and able to communicate through mental telepathy. Though neither Paul, Denise, nor Lou reported direct visual contact with guides, they still describe the presence of another being. Paul’s experience took the form of doves on either side of himself, and Denise experienced the presence of her mother.  Lou experienced the presence of another being during each of his NDEs and the presence of a being during all his life reviews but it was not a distinct figure.  All those interviewed stated they felt the presence of a Creator and felt surrounded by a powerful unconditional love at all times during their experience, excepting the initial phase of darkness reported in some of the recollections.

All experienced profound personal and spiritual awakening during the second stage of their NDEs. Claims were consistent in the clarity of the interviewee’s thought process during the experience as well as relating the events from a seemingly clear memory. Those parts that were indefinite tended to be the same for each individual and included primarily the recounting of exact conversations or the actual events related during their life review experience.  During the liminal stage, they experienced a variety of phenomena such as life reviews, prophecies of the future, revelations concerning their personal history, and cures for illnesses.  During this phase some reported an intensification of color and sound.  Some of the volunteers reported having seen colors that do not exist in our reality and exceed any spectrum relatable in.  For some, color and sound began to lose their boundaries and blend; James reported an instance where his senses affected the attributes of other senses such as the sensation of “hearing” color.

Life reviews were also a common occurrence among some of the participants during this phase. There is a commonality in the review itself as those who experienced this particular event noted that they did not experience a review of their entire life but rather only important highlights, generally centered on interpersonal connections. Without exception, those reporting life reviews explained that they felt no judgment based upon the events reviewed but instead a comfortingly sensation of love. Each accepted the review, as an opportunity for contemplation which emphasized the notion of being a service to others.

The life review is akin to a great dream within the power dream of the NDE, which signals the readiness of the initiate to enter the third stage in a rite of passage.  Jung describes “big” dreams as those that “employ numerous mythological motifs that characterize the life of the hero, of that greater man who is semi-divine by nature”  (Jung, 1974, p. 79).  Those that had the life review were prepared upon return and reintegration to move their lives in a new direction; at times these paths were explicitly addressed in the life review sequence and in others they had simply developed a need from the situation to redirect their energies in service to others.

The Third Stage of Reintegration

Changed by feelings of deeper understanding and intimacy within their individual worlds, each individual entered into the third stage of the rite of passage in their reintegration into society. The new insights gained through the experience and a feeling of being touched by the divine, allowed these individuals to experience a new relationship with life. As a direct result to this new outlook and feeling of connection, arose feelings of connectedness and being a service to humanity

Spiritual transformation was a commonality for each of the individuals interviews. Dogmatic beliefs became less rigid as a result the individuals found themselves more open of respecting of others beliefs. In fact, they found themselves turning completely from organized religion. The atheists and agnostics of the group became more accepting of a spiritual reality and began, as a result of their NDEs, to believe in a creator/God delving more deeply into spiritual understanding. It is interesting that those individuals who prior to their NDE were at opposite ends of the faith spectrum  moved toward a similar understanding of divinity and spirituality after they’re experience. This change in religious affiliation is another way of observing their change in status within society after having had the near-death experience. All who believed in God and a hard-line Christianity, with the exception of Steven, lost their fear of God. All subsequently lost their fear of death itself, as having confronted what they perceived as the afterlife they lost the fear of the unknown generally connected with death.

Matthew, Paul, James, Lorraine, Joe, Denise, Lou, and Claire all expressed that their near-death experience caused them to make personal changes in their lives due to the similar feeling of the experience re-directing them onto a different life path. Within the context of their experiences with NDE, they came to make different life choices. As a helpful precursor to these changes are the life reviews; each who experienced this phenomenon found it easier to make the necessary changes to their lives, having been confronted by their past decisions.  All  who were interviewed experienced a spiritual and emotional transformation that they attributed to their near-death experiences.  They were able to confront and resolve long-standing issues or doubts, while also reevaluating what they had once viewed with certainty such as long held religious beliefs or their method of living. I propose their near-death experiences, described by all as pivotal, fall within the definition of a rite of passage and that all of these people were truly transformed by their experience.

Life Reviews and Judgment

Among the general population today there is a widely held cultural myth that our lives may be judged by the heavens on the actions that define our lives while on earth.  Promoted in literature and entertainment, this myth carries a preponderance of good overcoming evil to save the day. The subtext of these stories implies that the universe supports right action and not wrong action; these archetypes of good and evil, right and wrong, are determined by culture, religion, and history. Following this line of thought is the assumption that for right action to be supported a judgment must be exacted as a determination of what actions are assigned as right and what is wrong.  This pervasive belief has subtly settled into our cultural consciousness which transposes individual belief in its spiritual value, as on a cultural level they respond to these definitions.

We have all heard the joke about lightening striking the individual who has acted in a manner defined as wrong. Most people will laugh as a defense against even the slight possibility that this may be true even if their religion does not support such a preposition such as a vengeful God.  Somewhere in the back of our minds, we wonder if it might be true.  This is a belief which appears across all persuasions of religions as it is  based in cultural rather than religious belief. When a person’s life is described as having flashed before their eyes, it is culturally understood to mean that person had a close brush with death. Not officially taught in Bible-based religion, it is pervasive in the culture and absorbed by being part of this culture. The judgment that goes hand in hand with this belief of our lives flashing before our eyes is a commonly connected eventuality.

Desiring to avoid the wrath of God provides a major motivating factor in peoples adherence to their religions. Both historically and in the modern world, there have been cultures which sacrifice or make offerings to please their god or goddess and avoid punishment.  One need only to watch Sunday morning television programming for modern examples of televangelists playing into this fear and raising the specter of God’s retribution for displeasing Him. For centuries, those in power have exploited the fear of God’s judgment and wrath within religion and governments to motivate and manipulate whole populations.  It has been used to attain, retain, and extend their own privileges and power.  They have shared a strong desire in not wanting this belief to change, as without it they run the risk of not being able to motivate their followers in the name of a fearful and vengeful God. With it they can lend the power of divinity to their assertions of control and oppression.  The belief that we may be judged by God on our past actions upon death is very frightening.

The myth of the life review holds within it, no matter how small, some fear of being judged before God.  Those who report having had a life review during their NDE assert that in fact the opposite is true.  The interviewees who experienced a life review during their NDE have come to understand it as simply a review and not a moment of judgment.  The actual experience of a life review appears to have a profound effect on the individual beyond the actual experience.  The experience of having a life review during the NDE seems to affect later spiritual and vocational choices. James, Lorraine, Joe, Lou, and Claire all experienced life-reviews during their NDEs.  They stated that these life reviews were not of their entire lives including the minutia, but rather a review of the more important relational experiences that they had up until that point.  Each felt significantly moved by their life review experience, so moved in fact, that upon return and reintegration they were moved to make profound life-changing decisions. During the actual review, they described a presence of a separate being who held them in love and did not shame them for the choices enacted previously in their lives.  In direct opposition of the popularly held belief of a final judgment, they related a feeling of total acceptance. The only judgment took place within their own consciousness whereby they were able to understand and assess their missed opportunities. It is likely that those who experienced life reviews, gained firsthand experience with the mythology of the moment of judgment through religious and cultural vehicles. Therefore, their experience of being surrounded by love and acceptance directly contrast with the cultural belief of judgment and retribution.  This in turn caused them to question and change their old beliefs of being judged by God.  Consequently they were able to let go of their old fears of being condemned by God for actions that displeased Him. Those who did not experience the life review did not challenge the myth of being judged at the moment of death.  Consequently, they held onto their old belief structures of judgment and condemnation. For the individuals, their spiritual paths still contained a belief in possible condemnation.

Those who experienced the life review changed their entire perspective on being judged.  The review of these experiences impressed upon them the importance of loving interpersonal relationships through a visceral experience.  During the review, they were able to experience how their actions affected another individual.  They related that they were able to feel the actual pain of the other, and this brought home for them their interconnectedness with all people.

Results of the Life Reviews

All of the individuals who had a life review left their respective organized religion.  They stated that their NDE was the reason for leaving.  They felt that their churches were not presenting the concept of God accurately and were misusing their influence.  In leaving their organized religions, they also left the dogma and were free to follow their own spiritual path.  All of the individuals interviewed, with the exception of Paul, felt that their religions were too restrictive about the concept of God.

Matthew and Paul did not have a life review and continued to hold onto their deeply ingrained belief about being judged by God and therefore held onto the dogmatic beliefs of their religions.  Both of those individuals retained some form of fear of being judged by God.  Although their perspectives on spirituality changed, their fear of God did not.  They found themselves more open to others and new ideas as a result of their NDE experience; however, their motivation for doing the “right” action still contained elements of fear.  Matthew stated that he had lost his fear of death as a result of the near-death experience; however, he retained his fear of God.

All of the individuals in the study made significant changes in their personal lives as a result of their NDE.  Some of the individuals retained the fear of God’s judgment, and others lost that fear.  Since both groups made significant life improvements, it appears that losing the fear of God’s punishment does not lead one into a hedonist lifestyle.  Rather, the experience of profound compassion they felt at a moment of vulnerability seems to have directed them down a path of sharing that compassion with others as well as with themselves.

Those who had the life review appeared to be more self-directed in doing what they considered the right thing.  Their sense of obligation came from their connection to all life rather than a sense of obligation to God.  They also stated that the personal changes that they implemented in their lives generally came very easily.  They did not have to think consciously about them.  Those that had the life-review tended to view God as a part of all of life.  Matthew and Paul, however, retained the view that God existed as an entity outside of themselves.

Both Matthew and Paul described having a difficult time in applying the changes to their lives that they felt were asked of them by the NDE.  They both mentioned that their experience of the NDE made life more difficult for them.  They consciously tried to remain aware of their need to make different choices in life.  They were conscious of each choice they made in regard to being more open and tolerant and in changing life style behaviors.

Absence of a Life Review

Though Matthew and Paul expressed a new sense of what they were “supposed” to do, they did not have the benefit of the life review that allowed them to view past missed opportunities in an air of acceptance and compassion.  However, still associating with the idea of being punished for not doing what they were “supposed” to be doing their motivation still carried a sense of being directed from the outside by God, rather than internally through their own desires.  Their dogmatic religious beliefs, fundamentalist Christian and Catholic, are both highly organized through spiritual ritual and rules. As a result, their believes did not fully change but rather Matthew found himself delving deeper into the Bible, and Tom attended church more frequently after their experiences. Since both fundamentalist Christianity and Catholicism both come from a perspective of glorifying struggle on earth, these are the terms by which discussed the fundamental changes that they enacted as a result of their NDEs.  For them, the changes they made have become a burden and a struggle in their daily lives.

Presence of a Life Review

James’s, Lorraine’s, Joe’s, Denise’s, Lou’s, and Claire’s behaviors and lifestyles changed as profoundly as Matthew and Paul’s, with the exception that they felt that their changes were made easily. Without the reported feelings of struggle, they described these changes in their lives as natural.   The experience of the life review, therefore, appears to have a profound effect on the spiritual views of an individual who experiences a near-death experience.  However, the absence of the life review does not appear to have the opposite influence.  The life review seems to affect dogmatically ingrained beliefs, whereas the absence of a life review does not cause one to become more dogmatic as exampled in the case of Denise. Though she did not experience a life review, it did not cause a fear of God or feelings of being burdened by the near-death experience.  She was neither religiously dogmatic or afraid of God at the time of her NDE and found herself even less so afterwards.

Career Changes

Overview

It is interesting to note that all of the individuals in the study who experienced a life review also experienced a vocational change inspired by their near-death experience.  James, Joe, Lorraine, Lou, and Claire changed from banker, police officer, concession-stand worker, day laborer and incapacitated adolescent, respectively, into hospice volunteer, home-care worker, entomologist, Navy computer trainer, and rapid-eye therapist following their NDEs.  All of their post-NDE careers involved an increase in the level of service to others in positions that are by nature more nurturing than those held previously.  Being of service to others helped them to satisfy a basic desire developing as a result of their NDEs.  They found a way of extending nurturing service to others while maintaining their lives financially.  Being of service has become a focal point in their lives.

Those interviewed who did not have the life reviews did not change their vocations.  They did, however, stress the importance of being in service to others and chose to do so through directing their efforts toward improving the lives of others on an individual basis.  Their service role was ancillary rather central to their careers.

Though neither of the individuals who experienced childhood NDEs experienced life reviews during these experiences and later went on to become a forensic scientist and a banker, respectively.  Later in life, as they experienced their second NDEs (or third in James’s case) their experienced gained the insight of the life review experience. It was after this experience that both of these individuals changed their vocations to hospice workers and became intimately engaged in the care of terminally ill individuals.

Career Change as a Recognizable Change of Status

Due to the failure of our society to recognize the change in status for those who have experienced NDEs, it may be that those who have experienced life reviews appear to be more included to create a new recognition from society by changing their vocations.  Traditionally in our society, a change in vocation has been used to receive recognition of a change in societal status. However, each individual experienced a personal change of status in their own eyes as each made personal changes that involved altering the way they related to society and life in general. Their NDEs allowed them to see themselves as part of a larger existence and no longer viewed themselves as separate and isolated. They now exacted a worldview of the interconnectedness of the world.

NDE as a Bottoming-Out Experience

Addiction vs. NDE

Near death experiences, as exampled in the interviews conducted for this study, may be perceived as closely aligned with what is commonly called a bottoming out experience.  All of these individuals had reached a point in their lives where they were feeling a sense of stagnation, loss, and desperation.  Desperately needing to make changes in their lives, they were unable to move forward. Their NDEs represent a pivotal force for the change of these lives.  Many of them found that they were able to make changes in their lives after the NDE that they were not able to make before the NDE. This is not unlike the bottoming-out one experiences through addiction.  At some point in addicts’ lives, they reach a transitional phase where they must either change their behavior or die.  Like the bottoming-out experience of the addict, those who experienced the near-death experience were fare with the choice between change or death.

Matthew, Paul, Denise, James, Lorraine, Lou, and Claire had all reached a point in their lives where they were experiencing a state of stagnation in their lives.  Their near death experiences helped to give them a feeling of bottoming out without the need for an addiction. Through this experience, they were able to redirect their energies towards living a healthier lifestyle. In their NDEs, individuals face a very real physical threat to their bodies. Addicts and those experiencing near-death experiences given themselves fully to a higher bow. And life an addicts’ experience of bottoming-out, the near death experience leads to a deer understanding of life that did not exist prior to the experience. This new sense of clarity and greater understanding can lead toward life-altering patterns.  The bottoming-out experiences of both addiction and the NDE direct people to travel on new and more fulfilling paths.

All rites of passage are intended to set people on paths that are believed to be more fulfilling.  Twelve-step programs have their own rites of passage to assist their participants in changing to a healthier lifestyle.  The near-death experience, as a rite of passage, appears to do the same. Addicts in 12-step programs, organized self-help programs devoted to addiction recovery, will discuss their struggle for sobriety openly and with candor, in much the same way as Matthew and Paul spoke of their struggle after their NDEs.  The recovering addict and the newly reintegrated near-death experiencer must remain conscious of his or her behavior to remain sober.  Both Matthew and Paul described having to remain conscious of the changes that they made in their lives in order for those changes to be integrated.  Much like the alcoholic recovery program of taking life one-day-at-a-time basis, Matthew and Paul expressed the need to make changes on an individual day basis. The recovery process of turning to a higher power for healing also shares similarities as all of those interviewed expressed a renewed motivation for turning to a higher power after their NDE.

Personal Bottoming-Out: Summarizing Case Studies:

Matthew –  For Matthew, the crisis leading to his near-death experience involved a personal conflict around issues of devotion to his family.  He was also experiences problems with self-discipline which physically manifested in his being overweight. Highly critical and judgmental of others, he found difficulties in having authentic relationships. After his NDE, he found himself not only more devoted to wife and children but more devoted to himself in an increased care for his personal health. As a result of his spiritual growth, he became more open to the views of others, and became more conscious of interpersonal relationships than dogma. He also lost his fear of death.

Denise – The events preceding Denise’s NDE surrounded feelings of being lost, unloved and frightened. Nearing the end of her experience in the Peace Corps, where she’d hoped to find herself, she was soon to return home and was still uncertain of her future. After her NDE experience, she found more courage in life and was less frightened of life’s challenges.  The experience helped her to lose her fear of death that in turn allowed her to be more daring.  This was something that she was not able to do before the NDE.  She felt that she had learned new and healthier ideals from her experiences in the Philippines and that the NDE reinforced her conviction to those ideals.

Paul  – Paul’s personal history of judging others brought about his experience. Referring to himself as arrogant and condescending, the condition left him feeling isolated and lonely. Stuck in his views, nothing seemed to be able to shift him to openness. Where other perspectives failed, the experience of his NDE helped to prompt these changes. After the near-death experience, he found himself a more open person and was more able to communicate feelings with family members.  This was something that he had always wanted to be able to do but was unable to before the NDE.  He also found himself much less self-involved.  As a result of his experience, he lost his fear of death.

James – Material greed and a lack of self-love led to James’s own crisis. Wanting to make changes in his lifestyle, he was still unwilling to make the effort to exact these change. Because of this, he found himself caught in a downward spiral of material greed to satisfy an emotional emptiness in his life. As a result of his near-death experience, Marco quit smoking and improved his diet.  Where previously he had been unable to accomplish these goals, he made them with little or no effort following his NDE. He also let go of his materialistic ways and began to connect to people rather than objects.  As a result, he felt a greater sense of emotional satisfaction in his life.  Consequently, he lost his fear of death.

Lorraine –  Self-loathing and personal stagnation brought about Lorraine’s crisis.  She found herself on a downward spiral of drug use and self-destruction.  The self-acceptance that she desperately wanted felt hopelessly out of reach for her.  Her conflicting feelings of anger and fear with God felt irresolvable.  As a result of her NDE, she lost her fear of death completely.  She easily and effortlessly ended her self-destructive patterns.  She was able to achieve a sense of self-acceptance that once seemed so difficult to obtain.  She was able to resolve her feelings of anger with God and came to see Him as a loving and nurturing entity.

Claire – Claire’s personal crises involved overcoming anorexia and anger.  She was stuck in an unending pattern of blame and self-abuse.  Her body could not take much more, and it was beginning to fail.   After her near-death experience, Claire was able to make a drastic improvement in her interpersonal relationships.  She found herself able to break the cycle of abuse in her relationships and was able to leave bad relationships in which she formerly would have remained.  She made amends with her mother and began to acknowledge and handle her anger.  Over the course of a few years, she was able to overcome anorexia.  She began to take responsibility for herself and her actions, something she had never done before.  Her debilitating agoraphobia had once prevented her from leaving the house, now she found herself able to leave and give lectures on her experience.  Finally, she lost her fear of death.

Joe – Joe’s crisis came about from the emotional pressures of the police force.  He found the anger and hatred on both sides of the law more than he could tolerate.  It left him confused and severely depressed and was later diagnosed with PTSD.  Joe’s bottoming-out experience was different from the others.  Where the others had experienced their NDEs at time of their deepest desperation, Joe did not.  His NDE took place at a time in his life when he was busy and looking forward to the future.  Therefore, he did not make or experience any personal change immediately after the NDE.  He experienced no great revelations.  The seeds of change were planted by the NDE into his subconscious and only realized years later during his darkest period of life. Only after being in law enforcement and experiencing the emotional trauma that took him to the lowest point in his life was he able to integrate his near-death experience and change his life.  It was the realization of the prophecy that he received during his near-death experience that stimulated the change in his life.  It validated his NDE for him.  Immediately afterwards, he began to listen more closely to his internal voice.  He left the police force.  He lost his fears of death and began to do hospice work.  He found himself becoming more accepting of others.

Lou – At a low point and frustrated with his life as a day laborer, Lou found his situation further aggravated by the lack of success in finding another job.  If he were able to get another job, he quickly lost it.  He was beginning to feel like a failure.  Married with a pregnant wife, he felt desperate.  After his first NDE, his life changed completely.  He found that where he was once unable to hold down a job, he was now successful.  Right after the near-death experience, he received a call from the Navy offering him a position to train others on computers.  He had no previous experience on computers, but was trained by the Navy because they felt that he would be good at teaching others.  This was a turning point in his life.  Never again did he have difficulty remaining employed.

Resolution of the Crisis

Each of the participants, experienced personal crisis that needed to be overcome in order for them to move forward in their lives. Through their near-death experiences they were provided with an opportunity to make personal changes to affect profound changes in their lives. All felt the results brought about by their near-death experiences added a significant quality to their lives which placed them on a path towards a more fulfilling life.  In crediting of their near-death experiences with helping to create a spiritual openness lacking previously from their lives, the individuals interviewed represented a consensus. Having each reach a point of spiritual plateau or disillusion at the time of their NDE.  Defined by each as a spiritual experience,  their NDEs seemed to hold answers for all interviewed.

Living in a world where spiritual needs are largely ignored, those entrusted with caring for theses needs are too often corrupt and ego-driven.  Each time we become aware of the abuse of our trust, we become more cynical and drift further from spiritual fulfillment.  Therefore, even in a world full of religions, we are still hungry for the spiritual.  Those people who have had an NDE found themselves back on a spiritual path.  These individuals have each made remarkable changes in their lives as a result of their experiences.  More than anything, they have experienced a spiritual rebirth.  In this process, they have found themselves gaining respect and reverence for all of life shown not only through words but actions.

Childhood NDEs

Having experienced their first NDEs as children, James and Joe did not face the experience of alienating darkness as they would later experience as adults. These childhood experiences also did not contain the presence of archetypal qualities of spiritual rite of passage.  Their childhood experiences did not contain the archetypal qualities of a rite of passage into spiritual maturity that were present for adults either.  Joe was only 3 years old when he experienced his first NDE, and James was 7 and 13.

At age 3, Joe was greeted by other children at the beginning of his first NDE and did not feel threatened. Upon his “death,” he did not instantly become an adult but instead played a  game by himself in the presence of the other children which was age appropriate for his life experiences to that point. Since there were no life issues to deal with, there was no life review. Similar to adult reports of NDE, Joe found himself outside of his body witnessing his father’s attempts as resuscitation. Attesting to his age at the time, Joe felt no fear and felt, as reported later, that the experience seemed perfectly normal. He found the task of reintegration came easily and only later he found his experience to be unique among his childhood peers.

James’s 7 year old experience of NDE, was concentrated more on feeling that any of the traditional senses as he did not recall anything from the experience except the sense of warmth and safety.  He felt no fear during this experience.  He did not recall making any changes in his life at that time because of the NDE.  The stages of a rite of passage were not observed during this experience.  This event did not appear to have been life changing for him, either.

James’s second experience at age 13 provided different from both his previous experience and that of Joe. As an adolescent, James was experiencing issues of self-loathing; however, he was not yet an adult and experienced an NDE which seemed appropriate for his age.  He too did not begin his second experience with any fear or feelings of isolation.  After a brief, non-threatening tunnel experience, he was aware of the presence of others.  He did not experience a life review during this NDE.  This experience did not appear to be a rite of passage into spiritual maturity, either.  The experience assisted him in achieving a greater sense of self-acceptance, helping him to survive his adolescence.  The meeting of a distant relative, who he’d never met in life, assisted him in moving through adolescence. During his NDE, he met with a distant relative, an aunt, whom he had never met in life and gave him a feeling of being supported in his life.

James’s second NDE was realized during a period of a childhood bottoming-out experience as it was triggered by an attempt at suicide.  Having reach the lowest point of his adolescent life because of the abusive family situation, after the NDE he had gained coping skills which seemed to develop intuitively on their own.  The feeling of the unconditional love emanating from this female relative,  was something that he had never experienced in his own family situation, but what he received during the NDE was enough to get him through childhood.

Interestingly, both of these individuals experienced NDEs later as adults resulting from physically traumatic events.  James had a heart attack, and Joe was stabbed.  Both individuals were inspired to leave their respective careers for hospice work as a consequence of their near-death experiences and claim an ability to see the soul as it leaves the body at the time of death and which they experienced similarly as a colored ball of light. Both individuals claimed to have gone through a metamorphosis that has allowed them extraordinary psychic abilities because of their experiences.  Neither individual is aware of the other’s existence.  One lives in California and the other in Idaho.

Adolescent NDE as a Rite of Passage into Manhood

Jung describes the “big” dreams as those that “employ numerous mythological motifs that characterize the life of the hero, of that greater man who is semi-divine by nature”  (Jung, 1974, p. 79).  These dreams often contain adventures that are dangerous and ordeals involving initiation, or both.  The reason children have such dreams, according to Jung, is the developing stasis of their personalities. This lack of development causes them to strive to differentiate themselves from other individuals which is then manifested in their dreams.

Through his 13 years old experience of NDE, James had this archetypal big dream experience.  Finding himself walking through gates symbolizing the entrance to a new world, he encountered an old man reminiscent of the character of Merlin,  the archetypal wise old man who led him through the adventure.  Merlin is “the magician as teacher and guide of souls.  He is comparable…to the guru”  (Snider, 1991, p. 39).  This Merlin image is also a trickster whose intention is to create a new order by creating disorder.  The new order is one of balance and wholeness.  “As the archetypal Wise Old Man, he symbolized the whole person — the Self”  (p. 30). Through listening to the Merlin inside, James is guided to the completion of a balance between  anima and animus.  The routine of his abusive family needed to be shaken to allow him to follow the guidance of the Merlin inside.  The intent of the trickster is to create new possibilities. Through this, the old man represented James’s own internal animus. James’s contact with the female relative, represented a anima character of nurturing and support. The NDE allowed James an opportunity to integrate  the anima and animus of healthy images that were not available to him in his domestic situation. The experience taught him to trust in himself through his intuition from the anima and the assertion of the animus.

After this experience, James’s adolescent self began to leave behind childhood and  childish ways.  No longer viewing suicide as a solution, James’s temper calmed and he learned to dispel his home situation with finesse and avoidance. The changes that took place in James after this experience were similar to those changes one might expect after an adolescent’s rite of passage into manhood.  James’s NDE experience may have been more closely related to a rite of passage into manhood rather than a rite of passage into spiritual maturity. As required for a rite of passage into manhood, there must be a witness.  For James, this witness was his grandmother.  Her warning not to speak of the woman relative, helped to validate his experience. Her warning and emotional response to the woman showed James that the experience had meaning for his grandmother also.  According to Jung, the holding of a secret childhood dream can have a very powerful influence on the development of a character  (Jung, 1974, p. 123).  The holding of a secret adds sacredness to the experience and its contents.  The NDE could therefore be recognized as a meaningful and mystical experience.

Differentiation through the NDE

The Secret

Each of the individuals, confronted by disbelief and lack of understanding when first trying to relate their experiences, related having kept their NDEs secret. For all, the withholding of their experience from others gave an unintentional feeling of sacredness to their NDE.  In the holding of the secret, it became a lesson in privacy and self-control and fostered a respect for the privacy of their own thoughts and beliefs.

Self Care

Prior to their NDE, each individual reported having reached a point in life where they’d lost a measure of respect for themselves. This loss of respect is evidenced by their lack of proper care to their bodies and their interpersonal relationships, sometimes both.  Holding onto their secret allowed the individuals to gain a renewed sense of respect for their private thoughts and experience as well as a new self-respect which allowed them to enact positive changes within their lives.  Not only did they begin to care for their physical bodies more closely through the adoption of a healthy lifestyle but also began caring for their emotional well-being by differentiating from others. Having what they considered a sacred and secret experience proved to be intensely personal while also giving them a feeling for the divine through which they were given a sense of empowerment in their everyday lives.

The Dark

According to Jung, the dreams of the very young are filled with a symbolic content that are often connected with symbolism for the differentiation process  (Jung, 1974, p. 77).  Much like the dreams described by Jung, these individuals’ near death experiences assisted in their own differentiation process. Due to their lack of development, they were striving to be differentiated individuals, and this became manifest in their near-death experience.  Jung describes the first dream as an initiation “into the secrets of the earth . . . it was an initiation into the darkness. . .  intellectual life had its unconscious beginnings at that time”  (Jung, 1989, p.15).

The near-death experience shares elements with Jung’s first dream concept. Four of interviewees began their NDE surrounded by total darkness.  As Jung stated, they became initiated into the darkness literally as it represented a moment of intense fear for the individual. However, it also acted as a pause in the overall initiation; much life the quiet in a darkened theater before the curtain rises, the darkness helped to draw their full attention to the importance of the experience which was only beginning. In their aloneness, they became the shadow with their beingness hidden and they felt a sensation of being disowned from life. This was probably their greatest lesson in life.  It was this feeling of disownment that highlighted their own true desires and connection. It is their desire for and understanding of that connection to life that drives them today in their everyday lives.  Like the myth of Anna, who was saved from imprisonment by the dirt from her fingernails, what would appear to be a worthless experience of darkness rescued these individuals from a sense of alienation from life.

The darkness acts as a metaphor for the unconscious as the individual leaves their physical body to enter into another level of consciousness whereby they become their unconscious. In this, they find their existence within the context of nothingness.  As a representation of undifferentiation, there is no perceived other from whom to differentiate.  The content of the first dream contains symbols of differentiation, according to Jung.  The content present for those who experience darkness during the NDE was nothingness.  What is missing during the initial experience of the NDE is individual symbolism, and through this the nothingness becomes symbolic for what is missing.  What is missing is an other and the experience of differentiation that is derived from that.  The absence if symbols draws attention to the symbols which arise from the nothingness, whereby the individuals reported a struggle between darkness and light. Witnessing the light pushing back the darkness, this same light begins to symbolize consciousness and awareness. The darkness represents unawareness and with the coming of light the place is filled where there once existed only a void.

Containing the Opposites

The struggling described between the darkness and the light contains within it the symbolism of opposites.  The light and darkness are pushed up against one another in stark contrast and this struggle invokes a sense of tension. Though the darkness may be pushed back it is not destroyed but rather continues on the periphery of the light. As an individual grows, he or she must learn to contain the tension of opposites as they are conditions of life which must be addressed.  This tension was symbolically played out before their eyes as the battle between dark and light, with the experience proving representative of a trinity.  There was the darkness, the light, and the observing individual and the trinity symbolizes the wholeness and interconnectedness of the near-death experience. While this appeared to the individual as entering light as darkness remains around the boundaries, in fact  they were no less a part of the darkness than they were of the light.  The individuals contained both.  In finding a way to contain the tensions of the opposites they came to feel whole.

Awareness of Mysteries

For the three individual who experienced darkness, there is also a feeling of having experience an initiation into the secrets of the earth.  Temporarily given the awareness of complete knowledge, they reported that after the darkness they were shown everything since time began.  As with Jung’s first dream, these individuals symbolically and literally experienced an awareness of the greater expansiveness of life. For five of the individuals who did not experience the darkness,  it was reported that they became privy to conversation divulging information to which they have previously been unaware. This divulging of information symbolizes the mysteries in life and an awareness that things remain hidden assists in creating this mystery. That the individuals lost much of the information imparted to them during their experience upon recovery only  intensifies the experience of the mystery.  Each of these individuals returned to physical reality with an awareness that there was more to know by virtue of having had a direct experience with the lost knowledge. From this we can base the assumption that the awareness of the mysteries of life hold more importance that the mysteries themselves. Feeling of mystery creating a sense of awe when viewing life and it is this awe with which each individual interviewed experienced that gave them a renewed respect and appreciation for life.

Regardless of the actual details of the experience, whether they experienced a close conversation with another being during their NDE or not, the NDE proved to be an awe-inspiring and life changing experience. The emotional retelling of their experience by each individual, provides a realism to the pivotal nature of the NDE.  A feeling of profound change accompanies not only the NDE but their lives as continued after the experience as they have each made significant, remarkable, and verifiable changes in their lives as a result of the experience.

While each shared the common result of the experience affecting deep personal and spiritual changes, their backgrounds are a testament to the diversity and widespread nature of this phenomena. The men and women interviewed came from California, Idaho, Oregon, and Kentucky, some with strong fundamentalist Christian backgrounds to agnostics and atheists. Both male and female, their  and came from Christian backgrounds varying from fundamentalist to agnostic.  The precipitating events varied from organ breakdown to attempted suicide to attempted murder.  It is interesting to note that each person came away from the experience with the same conclusions; life continues after death, our life’s purpose is one of service to others, and loving involvement with interpersonal relationships is the most important reason behind our existence.

Having credited their NDEs with the power to change the course of their lives, they each expressed feelings that the experience assisted in diverting them from an otherwise self-destructive path. Acting as a rite of passage, the NDE helped move the individual in the right path as it has been determined by their individual culture. Near death experiences involve three stages: separation, liminality, and reintegration.  Often involving symbolic death and rebirth, the prompt the individuals perceived self-transformation into a new phase of life and living. With each individual interviewed for this study, all three elements have been present. Whether or not the near-death experience is actual or imagined it can be viewed as an authentic rite of passage into spiritual maturity, allowing a narrowly thinking, rigid and self-centered individual to become open, accepting, and spiritually enlightened individual.  The transformative experience of the NDE is legitimate and archetypal regardless of the authenticity of the experience, as to the individual the experience represents a new spiritual maturity and awakening.

Spiritual Maturity

Definition

Maturity is often defined as the process an individual undergoes toward achieving individuation.  Though we hear commonly of emotional and/or physical maturity, rarely is the subject of spiritual maturity discussed. According to Edinger, the first half of life is involved with ego development, “with progressive separation between ego and Self; whereas the second half of life requires a surrender or at least a relativization of the ego as it experiences and relates to the Self”  (1992, p. 5).  He states that “the basic problem for the adult is how to achieve the union with nature and the gods, with which the child starts, without bringing about the inflation of identification”  (p. 11).  Once an individual has achieved this, he or she has entered a state of maturity.

Spiritual Maturity through NDEs

I propose that as a result of the initiation of their near death experiences, that each of the subject in this study have entered a state of spiritual maturity. Having changed their spiritual relationships with God or the Creator, their individual near-death experiences have been catalytic.  Having individuated from their original religions they have achieved a more personal spiritual growth. As a result, their actions have become increasingly selfless and they have aimed to have more intimacy in their lives. Through this they have achieved Edinger’s challenge of realizing a more complete union with nature and spirit without a resulting inflation of identification.

Chapter Three: Findings and Conclusions

In exploring near death experience as a rite of passage into spiritual maturity, we have seen that when individuals integrate a near-death experience, they becoming spiritually altered. They become more open to others, and consciously devote a part of their lives for service to others.  There is also a concerted effort to improve on interpersonal relationships. They also, consequently, lost their fear of death, seeing it as a transition and no longer an ending. When the near-death experience is broken down, the three stages of a rite of passage are clearly seen.  The stages of separation, liminality, and reintegration are all present.  This lends strength to the idea that the near-death experience is an archetypal experience of a rite of passage.

We have also seen the effects of life reviews during NDE on an individual’s spiritual beliefs. The individuals who experienced life reviews more easily let go of religious dogma than those who had not due to the profound effect of their interpretation of God. Those who had a life review began to view God as a benevolent being who does not punish or condemn, and of whom we are all a part.  Those who did not have the life review continued to view God as a separate being from themselves who, although He was viewed as benevolent, would willingly punish them for not following His desires.

Career changes that were made by those who have experienced the NDE were also reviewed.  Changing career may be the individual’s unconscious attempt to reintegrate into society with an acceptable change in status.  It satisfies both society’s need for an acceptable change in status and the individual’s need to have the change in status recognized.

NDE has been considered as a bottoming-out experience.  As in all bottoming-out experiences, the individual must either change or die.  We have observed how these individuals brought themselves to their bottoming-out experience and how the NDE was pivotal in turning it around.

In the examination of the childhood NDEs of two of the interviewees, we have seen how their experiences differed from adult experiences as they did not represent a rite of passage into spiritual maturity. Rather, the childhood experiences soothed and calmed the child.  The NDE gave the children an experience of unconditional love that they were able to integrate into their lives and benefit from.  For the adolescent, it may be integrated as a rite of passage into adulthood.

In addition, we have explored the archetypal images that were present in the interviewees’ NDEs from a Jungian perspective.  The issues that are important to Jung’s concept of the first dream were present in the NDEs of the interviewees.  An individual’s first dream often marks the beginning of progress to maturity and differentiation.  The individuals who experienced a near-death experience became more differentiated in their spiritual beliefs.  We also considered the presence of the Trickster and Merlin in the experience and the maturity that comes with balancing the tension of the opposites.

Personal Impressions

It was obvious that each participant felt passionate about the topic and their experience. The subject requires treatment of respect and reverence by the researcher. The spiritual quality and importance of the topic were always present in the working of the research.  At times, it felt like an enormous task.  The topic was large and at times unwieldy.  The implications of the research are life changing; life does not end with death.  My life and outlook on life changed dramatically as a result of doing the research.

The topic ultimately dealt with understanding the perceptions of reality.  The greater idea lodged in the meaning of the work is that what we consider physical reality is an illusion and what comes after our death is what is real.  That concept has been mind boggling for this researcher and has caused me many hours of internal turmoil.  Through the course of writing this dissertation, my spiritual beliefs began to change.  I began to view my world differently.  I also began to view my work as a therapist differently.

As I write this dissertation, I myself am going through my own rite of passage.  As I have worked the material, the material has worked me.  I am forever changed having done this research. My own near-death experience was not as involved as those of my interviewees.  My own personal encounter left me with questions and doubts about my experience.  I had never met anyone else who had had an NDE.  I had read about them, but never personally met with anyone.  Meeting with others who have had these experiences, I felt a strange and sudden kinship.  The kinship experience seemed to be reciprocal.

During the interviews, I could sense the excitement for the experience that each interviewee held which fueled my own excitement about the topic in turn.  Their zeal was infectious.  All of those interviewed felt it important that this information be made available to others and were generous with their time and support to see that end met.  What started out as a typical research project turned into a passionate personal investment with the goal of helping those who read this to understand and honor the divine selves that they are.  The gentleness and kindness surrounding those individuals who were willing to be interviewed has been an inspiration in my own life.  The participants all seemed to possess a deeper spiritual understanding of like. It is not possible to be in their presence and not be affected by their energy.  I have felt truly honored to be given an opportunity to research and write on this material; I am honored by those people who gave me the opportunity to interview them concerning one of their most intimate experiences.

There have been times when I have questioned the authenticity of my own near-death experience.  At times, I feared that I had fabricated the entire experience.  I did not acknowledge the changes that occurred in my life after the experience as anything connected to the NDE.  I now know differently.  The archetype is a magnet that draws shards of expression to it.  “What the ego wills is subject in the highest degree to the interference, in ways of which the ego is usually unaware, of the autonomy and numinosity of archetypal processes”   (Jung, 1989, p. 353).  This process unfolded in my practice as I was working on the research.

Throughout the research and writing of this dissertation, many remarkable experiences took place within my private practice.  During the last year of researching the topic, I noticed a sudden change in the issues patients were bringing into the therapy room.  The topic of death and loss became the focus of a significant portion of my practice.  The change was mainly attributable to new patients coming into my office presenting these topics.  I also experienced several former patients simultaneously deciding to re-enter therapy with the presenting issue of their own dying or partners who were in the process of dying.

The process began in the spring of 1998 with the sudden and unexpected death of my beloved cat due to cancer.  This experience was followed 3 weeks later by my assisting a friend whose own cat suffered from a similar disease, as a veterinarian put the cat to sleep .  Three days later, I was involved in an emotional deposition for the prosecution over the accidental death of a patient.  It was a draining experience, and I was wracked with grief at his loss.  Three days after the deposition, the building in which my therapy offices were located burned to the ground.  In the process, I lost everything of a physical nature that pertained to my education and work as a therapist.  Three weeks later, a friend of mine lost his mother to cancer, and I offered emotional support throughout the process and after her passing.  One week after her death and 5 weeks after the fire, my golden retriever, who had lived with me for 9 years, died of old age.

Death and loss were present and seemed to be everywhere in my personal life for me at that time.  All the while, I continued doing the research on near-death experiences.  My growing understanding of the research helped me through that difficult time.  I had now begun to interview people who had had near-death experiences.  Listening to their stories lifted me with hope for finding meaning in life.  I began to realize that we were not alone in our tragedies and that grief along with all of our other experiences had meaning in this life and beyond.

Implications for Therapy

The Benefits

Having an awareness of and respect for near-death experiences is beneficial in a  variety of therapeutic situations. The topic is not limited to working only with those who have had the experience. Instead the lessons learned in this type of release lend to situations involving loss and grief occurring from the death of loved ones and as the individual is faced with their our mortality. The individuals interviewed exampled their new desire to be of service of others as the major change resulting from their near-death experience. Being of service to others can pull one out of self-involvement, which can prove beneficial to someone caught in a cycle of depression due to a loss or a personal bottoming-out experience.  The experience also leads to a greater sense of self-empowerment and purpose in life.

The comfort that patients gain from the serious consideration that life might continue after the death of the body is helpful to their emotional well being.  They no longer feel themselves as a helpless victims of their own mortality.  When one is not identifying oneself as the victim, then one can be more accountable for one’s actions.  In several of the cases, individuals mentioned that during their experience they could sense their smallness in the vastness of life and at the same time were aware of the importance of their contributions to the whole.  This realization helped to raise their self-esteem and provided them a sense of belonging.  This alone can be a powerful contributor to lifting an individual out of depression as well as empowering them and should be closely explored with a patient have experienced a NDE.

Further Considerations

There are those who have experienced difficulty integrating their near-death experiences into their lives. Frightened of being ridiculed or considered delusional, many chose to keep their experiences a secret.  Holding onto this type of secret causes anxiety. What these individuals need is someone willing to listen and who has some knowledge of similar experiences. There is a strong possibility individuals who have experienced an NDE might already be in the throes of a bottoming-out experience in their personal life. If this is the case, they may already be feeling disconnected and misunderstood by others.  It is imperative that they not be judged for their near-death experience. The experience should be normalized for them through acceptance and understanding.  They should also be referred to the International Association for Near-death Studies where they can have contact with others who share their experience.

Those having had a near-death experience should be encouraged to give meaning to their experience.  In certain cases, their experiences may be reframe as a rite of passage in spiritual growth.  For some, this will help provide alternative meaning to the experience to help the individual better integrate the positive aspects of the experience into their own personal experiences and in understanding the changes which occur after the NDE. Whether or not the experience is believed to be authentic, it can have authentic value.  All of those interviewed accepted greater personal accountability for their actions after their experience.  They reported feeling more self-directed and confident, becoming dedicated to improving their interpersonal relationships. With a greater respect and sensitivity toward life, they became internally desirous of in helping others. Their concept of and belief in God expanded beyond the narrow views of religious dogma.  They lost their fear of death; however, suicide did not become an option.  Instead, they experienced a generalized improvement in their life condition.

The Responsibility of the Medical Community

With the proper counseling, both in the mental health and medical communities, those who have had NDEs can make adjustments more easily. It is important for the medical community to recognize effects a near-death experience can have on an individual’s life.  Rather than dismissing a patient for having reported such an event by calling it a hallucination or fabrication, the physician should familiarize themselves with the topic and have a list of therapies and/or societies who the patient may contact to better address their experience.

My reasoning for singling out physicians is quite clear, as they generally set the tone of any treatment. In every case I interviewed, professionals from the health-care industry, physicians in particular, were involved at some point in the events surrounding the NDE.  In nearly every case, people were afraid to mention the experience to their doctor.  They were afraid of being confronted with disbelief.  The position of the physician is not to be a judge but rather to assist the patient in his or her recovery.  Many times physical trauma is accompanied by mental trauma, which should be addressed as part of their treatment. Given the resulting changes that individuals attribute to NDEs and the frequent presence of physicians around the precipitating event, I feel that it is imperative that physicians give individuals who report NDEs the respect of validating the experience and helping to direct them toward counseling.

References

Anderson, K.  (1980).  Life, death and beyond.  Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

Achterberg, Jeanne (1994, April). Healing Images and Symbols in Non ordinary States of Consciousness. Revision, Vol. 16. pp 148.

Aries, P.  (1981).  The hour of our death.  (Helen Weaver, Trans.).  New York, NY: Alfred A. Knopf.  (Original work published 1977)

Atwater, P. M. H.  (1994).  Beyond the light: what isn’t being said about the near-death experience.  New York, NY: Avon Books.

Bailey, L., & Yates, J.  (1996).  The near-death experience.  New York, NY:  Routledge.

Bates, B., & Stanley, A.  (1985, October).  The epidemiology and differential diagnosis of near-death experience.  American Journal of Orthopsychiatry55(4), 542-549.

Becker, C. S.  (1992).  Living and relating: An introduction to phenomenology. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications.

Becker, E.  (1973).  The denial of death.  New York: The Free Press.

Chidekel, A.  (1993).  The sociocultural matrix of HIV/AIDS psychotherapy.  The Pacific Center Journal, 1,7-8.

Carrington, H.  (1957).  The case for psychic survival.  New York, NY:  Citadel Press.

Crabbendan, J.  (1992, August/September).  Exploring consciousness: The research of Raymond Moody.  Sunrise:  Theosophic Perspectives, 41(6) 201-206.

Crabbendan, J.  (1993/1994, December/January).  A glimpse of death.  Sunrise: Theosophic Perspectives43(2) 3-86.

Cranston, S., & Williams, C.  (1984).  Reincarnation:  A new horizon in science, religion, and society. New York: Julian Press.

Davy, J. (1979, April 8).  Evidence for life after life.  Observer Magazine, pp. 32-35.

Drab, K.  (1981).  The tunnel experience: Reality or hallucination?  Anabiosis, 1, 126-153.

Edinger, E.  (1985).  Anatomy of the psyche: Alchemical symbolism in psychotherapy.  La Salle, IL:  Open Court.

Edinger, E. F.  (1992).   Ego and archetype.  Boston, MA: Shambhala.

Eissler, K. R.  (1955).  The psychiatrist and the dying patient.  New York, NY:  International Universities Press, Inc.

Evans-Wentz, W.  (1960).  The Tibetan book of the dead.  New York, NY:  Oxford University Press.

Fabricius, J.  (1976).  Alchemy:  The medieval alchemists and their royal art.  Copenhagen:  Rosenkilde and Bagger.

Fischer, W. F.  (1974, Spring)  On the phenomenological mode of researching “being anxious”.  Journal of Phenomenological Psychology, 4(2), 405-423.

Fox, M.  (2002) Through the Valley of the Shadow of Death: Religion, Spirituality and the Near Death Experience. London: Routeledge.

Gallup, G., Jr.  (1982).  Adventures in immortality.  New York, NY:  McGraw-Hill Book Company.

Giorgi, A.  (1985).  Phenomenology and psychological research.  Pittsburgh, PA:  Duquesne University Press.

Grey, M.  (1985).  Return from death: An exploration of the near-death experience.  Boston:  Arkana.

Greyson, B.  (1981).  Toward a psychological explanation of near-death experiences.  Anabiosis1,88-103.

Greyson, B., & Harris, B.  (1987).  Clinical approaches to the near-death experiencer.  American Journal of Near-Death Studies, 6, 41-52.

Grimes, R.  (1987).  Ritual.  In  Eliade  (Ed.),  The encyclopedia of religions.  (pp. 405-425).  New York: MacMillan and Free Press.

Grof, S. & Grof, C.  (1980).  Beyond death:  The gates of consciousness.  New York:  Thames and Hudson.

Grof, S.  (1994).  Books of the dead: Manuals for living and dying.  New York:  Thames and Hudson.

Harris, B.,  & Bascom, L. C.  (1990).  Full circle.  New York:  Simon & Schuster, Inc.

Harris, M., & Harris, B.  (1996).  Like gold through fire:  Understanding the transforming power of suffering.  Alexander, NC:  Alexander Books.

Hemingway, E.  (1929).  A farewell to arms.  New York:  Scribner’s.

Henry, J. (2004) Parapsychology: Reporting on Exceptional Experiences. New York: Routeledge.

Herzog, E. (1966).  Psyche and death.  New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons.

Highwater, J.  (1994).  The Language of Vision.  New York: Grove Press.

Jansen, Karl L.R. “Using Ketamine to Induce the Near-Death Experience: Mechanism of Action and Therapeutic Potential.,” Jahrbuch f. Ethnomedizin, (1995) : April, p. 55.

Jung, C. G.  (1989).  Memories, dreams, reflections.  New York: Vintage Books.

Jung, C. G. (1974).  Dreams.  Princeton, NJ:  Princeton University Press.

Jung, C. G.  (1959).  Aion:  Researches into the phenomenology of the self (R. F. C. Hull, Trans.).  Princeton, NJ:  Princeton University Press. (Original work published 1951)

Jung, C.G.  (1969). The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious (R.F.C. Hull, Trans.).  Princeton, NJ:  Princeton            University Press.  (Original work published 1943)

Kant, I.  (1963).  Lectures on ethics,  (Louise Infield, Trans.).  New York:  Harper & Row.

Kellehear, A.  (1996).  Experiences near death: Beyond medicine and religion.  New York:  Oxford University Press.

Koerner, B.I. and Rich, J. (1997, March 31) “Is There Life After Death?” U.S. News & World Report,  p. 58.

Krier, B. A.  (1990, September 18).  A step toward the light.  The Los Angeles Times,  pp. E1, E4.

Kubler-Ross, E.  (1983).  On children and death.  New York, NY:  MacMillan Publishing Co.

Kubler-Ross, E. (Speaker).  (1988a).  Humana Hospital.  (Video Recording #VC 121).  Headwaters, VA:  Shanti Nilaya.

Kubler-Ross, E.  (Speaker).  (1988b).  Life, death and life after death.  (Cassette Recording #AC 342).  Headwaters, VA: Shanti Nilaya.

Lindley, J., Bryan, S. & Conley, B.  (1981).  Near-death experiences in a Pacific Northwest American population: The evergreen study.  Anabiosis:  The Journal of Near-Death Studies, 1, 104-24.

Mahdi, L. C., Foster, S. & Little, M. (Eds.).  (1987).  Betwixt and between:  Patterns of masculine and feminine initiation.  La Salle, IL: Open Court.

Marshall C., & Rossman, G.  (1989).  Designing qualitative research.  Newbury Park:  Sage Publications.

Moody, R.  (1977).  Reflections on life after life.  New York: Bantam.

Moody, R. A., Jr.  (1975).  Life after life.  New York: Bantam books.

Moody, R. & Perry, P.  (1991).  Coming back:  A psychiatrist explores past life journeys.  New York: Bantam Books.

Moore, R. L.  (1993, September).  Jung and spirituality in rituals of initiation.  Unpublished lecture, Pacifica Graduate Institute, Carpinteria, CA.

Moore, R. L.  (1984).  Space and transformation in human experience.  In R. L. Moore & F. Reynolds (Eds.), Anthropology and the study of religion (pp.  126-143).  Chicago, IL: CSSR.

Morse, M.  (1992).  Transformed by the light.  Villard Books:  Newbury Park, NY:  Sage Publications.

Morse, M., & Perry, P. (1992).  Parting visions: Uses and meanings of pre-death, psychic and spiritual experiences.  New York:  Villard.

Morse, M., with Perry, P.  (1990).  Closer to the light: Learning from the near-death experiences of children.  New York: Ivy Books.

Noyes, R., & Kletti, R.  (1976).  Depersonalization in the face of life-threatening danger: a description.  Psychiatry39,19-27.

Osis, K., & Haraldsson, E.  (1977).  At the hour of death: The results of research on over 1,000 after life experiences.  New York:  Avon Books.

Patton, M. Q.  (1980).  Qualitative evaluation methods (2nd ed.).  Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications.

Peay, P.  (1991, January).  The changing face of death.  Common Boundary9(1)  14-20.

Ring, K.  (1980).  Life at death: A scientific investigation of the near-death experience.  New York: Coward, McCann and Geoghegan.

Ring, K.  (1984).  Heading toward omega.  New York: William Morrow and Company, Inc.

Romanyshyn, R.  (1991).  Complex knowing: Toward a psychological hermeneutics.  The Human Psychologist19 (1), 10-29.

Romanyshyn, R.  (1993, October).  Research designs and methodology I.  Unpublished lecture, Pacifica Graduate Institute, Carpinteria, CA.

Romanyshyn, R.  (1995, May).  Research designs and methodology II.  Unpublished lecture, Pacifica Graduate Institute, Carpinteria, CA.

Romanyshyn, R.  (1995, July).  Research designs and methodology III.  Unpublished lecture, Pacifica Graduate Institute, Carpinteria, CA.

Rossiter, E.  (1979).  The book of the Dead: Papyri of Ani, Hunefer, Anhai. Geneve:  Crown Publishers, Inc.

Sabom, M.  (1982).  Recollections of death: A medical perspective.  New York:  Harper and Row.

Sabom, M. B. (1982).  Recollections of death, A medical investigation.  New York:  Harper and Row, Publishers.

Sardello, R.  (1992).  Facing the world with soul: The reimagination of modern life.  Hudson, NY:  Lindisfarne Press.

Siegel, R.  (1980).  The psychology of life after death.  American Psychologist 35, 911-931.

St. Theresa of Avila.  (1960).  The life of Theresa of Jesus (Allison E. Peers, Trans. and Ed.).  Garden City, NY: Image Books, Doubleday.

St. Theresa of Avila.  (1961).  Interior castle of St. theresa of Avila.  (Allison E. Peers, Trans. and ed.).  Garden City, NY: Image Books, Doubleday.

Tart, C. T.  (1975).  Transpersonal psychologies.  New York:  Harper and Row, Publishers, Inc.

Taylor, S., & Bogdan, R.  (1984).  Introduction to qualitative research methods:  The search for meanings.  New York: John Wiley & Sons.

Turner, V.  (1982).  From ritual to theater: The human seriousness of play.  New York: PAJ Publications.

Turner, V.  (1987).  The anthropology of performance.  New York: PAJ Publications.

Van Mater, I.  (1993, April/May).  Accepting death as part of life.  Sunrise: Theosophic Perspectives42(4), 113-119.

Von Franz, M. (1987).  On dreams and death.  Boston:  Shambhala.

Walker, B.  (1974).  Beyond the body: The human double and the astral planes.  London:  Routlidge.

Zaleski, C.  (1987).  Otherworld journeys: Accounts of near-death experience in medieval and modern times.  New York: Oxford University Press.

Appendix A

Informed Consent Form

Study:  Near-death experiences: Their Effects on the Beliefs and Attitudes of Those who Experience Them.

1.   I understand that this study is of a research nature.  It may offer no direct benefit to me.

2.   My participation in this study is voluntary.  I may refuse to enter it, refuse to answer any question, or withdraw at any time without creating any harmful consequences to myself.  I also understand that the investigator may drop me from the study at any time.

3.  I understand that the purpose of doing this study is to collect information regarding near-death experiences in order to fulfill the requirements of a doctoral dissertation for Pacifica Graduate Institute.  Material gathered during the research process will be used in this dissertation and in other publications.

4.  As a participant in this study, I will be asked to take part in the following procedures:

a.   Complete a brief participant information form.

b.   Agree to have researcher, James E. Walton, ask me a series of questions about my near-death experience.  This process will involve a 1 1/2 to 2 hour audio-taped interview.  I further understand that any information collected about me in this study will remain confidential.

c.   Participate in a final review of information collected where the researcher will share with me what he has written from my interview.  I understand that I will have an opportunity to give input as to the accuracy of what he has depicted concerning my experience.

5.   Information about this study, time and the place of my interview within the study were discussed with me by James E. Walton.  If I have further questions concerning the study or procedures, I can call him at 818-753-4865.

6.   I understand that if, at any time during the study, I feel distressed about my situation or my participation, I may telephone James E. Walton at the phone number above.  He will provide me with appropriate information or referrals for therapy, the cost of which would be my responsibility.

7.   I am not receiving any compensation for participating in this study other than the personal satisfaction for participating in the study.

Date___________________  Signature_____________________________

Appendix B

Questions for the Volunteers.

1.Where and when did you experience the NDE?

2.How did you come to experience the NDE?

3.What did you experience during the NDE?

4.Did you feel separation from your body?

5.Did you experience a peace?

6.Did you have feeling in your body?

7.Did you feel clarity of thought?

8.Did you see a tunnel?

9.Did you see a light?

10.Did you meet with anyone?

11.Did you experience a review of your life?

12.Was there a desired personal change that you were not able to effect before the NDE that you were able to accomplish after the NDE?

13.How easy was it?

14.Has your life changed as a result of the NDE?

15.Have your relationships with your family and friends changed?

16.How did your doctors respond to your experience?

17.How have others responded to you in regard to the NDE?

18.How would you like people to respond to your experience?

19.Why do you think you experienced an NDE?

20.Have your beliefs about death changed as a result of your experience?

21.Do you have any fear of death now?

22.Are you left with any fears as a result of the NDE?

23.Has your experience affected your spiritual beliefs?

24.What were your spiritual beliefs at the time of the NDE?

25.How have you integrated this experience into your life?

26.Have you noticed any changes in your behavior since the NDE?

27.Has your experience affected your attitude toward life?

28.Are you left with any questions about your experience?

———————————-

Death as Transition:

A Study of the Psychological Implications of Near-Death Experiences

Chapter 1: Introduction

After undergoing surgery for injuries from a car accident sixteen years ago, I found myself I recalling experiences which had occurred during the surgery.  As the anesthesia induced unconsciousness began to take me, I intuited a tension among the doctors and nurses in the operating room. With the doctor’s words echoing in my mind, I found myself in darkness. Greeted by an unknown being, I experienced feelings of love emanating from the being. At peace and without pain, I felt both surprise and freedom to find myself using what had been seriously injured limbs as though I’d never experienced the tragedy of the accident. With this being by my side, feeling contented with my life I began to walk down a long, dark hallway. Not unlike the satisfaction one feels after finishing a book, my life seemed somehow complete. Like the ending of a book, at this the ending of my life, I could experience the whole of the years I’d lived rather than simply concentrating on the moments and individual experiences.  I realized my life was like a novel made up of individual pages and now with a broadened sense of understanding there was little need for a life review as the feeling of resolution was  so complete as to leave me feeling comfortable with my present journey down the hallway.

The hallway ended with a dead end, the wall comprised of black and red bricks. Standing at the wall, I experienced my first feelings of discomfort.  Told to touch the wall, at first I failed to respond. It was only after the third request and the physical urging of the being, by taking my arm in its and placing my hand against the wall that I conceded to this request.  With fear I asked the being, “If I do, will I die?”  Laughing, it replied, “You know that death is just an illusion; life is eternal.  Now, touch the wall, I cannot do it for you.”   Perceiving my deceased paternal grandmother on the other side of that wall, whispering to me to not touch the wall – telling me it was not my time to go and that I should turn back I pulled my hand away from the being, denying this new illusion. With my refusal, I felt a rushing sensation as my etheric body moved backward, hearing as I went the assertion that I would heal completely, and opened my eyes to the sight of the hospital recovery room. And I did heal but the experience left me bewildered. Never questioning the reality of the situation, I nonetheless questioned my own reaction.  Anxiously I wondered if I had rejected an offer of heaven?  If yes, would I be given another chance at paradise?  With this experience and the resulting questions, I began a journey that has eliminated my fear of death and has piqued my interest in near-death experiences.

Abstract:

It seems to be almost human nature, this fascination with death and what possibilities lie beyond.  Since the nature of death is to leave behind the experience of living and not return, we do not know what happens after we die. The unknowable nature of the afterlife has seen the study of it relegated largely to spiritualists and shaman who have historically served as intermediaries between the world of the living and dead. To many, we liken the experience of dying to a fall into an eternal sleep.  Corpses are commonly described as similar in appearance to a sleeping person and the terminally ill patient is said to be going to his or her final resting-place.  This play with words to express that which we cannot make sense of has been transposed to describe chemical euthanasia practiced on animals, as it is generally called, “putting them to sleep.”  All this talk of sleep is meant to carry the implied meaning of a complete extinguishing of consciousness.  As a society, we attempt to cope with death through comparing it to what we can know but knowing it to be a finality that cannot be undone or woken from. It is the end of consciousness and self-awareness, essentially an end to being.

In this research, I hope to present evidence that will allow us to view this in an alternate light.  The experiences of men and women who have walked the line between life and death provide growing accounts of the afterlife and what it holds. These people, who have brushed close with their own mortality and have seen life beyond what is known, are often described as having had a near-death experience or an NDE. The near-death experience is a self-reported encounter with death.  These individuals describe experiences in which they travel beyond the plains of an Earthly realm to one outside the limits of physical reality. Upon return, they believe they have died and been returned to life for a greater purpose as yet unclear to them.

As modern medicine and science have progressed, so too have reported occurrences of NDE. Those reporting near-death experiences have often been revived as having been pronounced clinically dead for some time. It may be only minutes but for all the physical laws of the known universe, they are dead. During this short period of time, these individuals report having begun a journey to the other side feeling that what awaits them is the new reality of death.  Reports vary on general experiences as some feel a separation from their bodies, encounters with other beings and a general review of their lives. What they all have in common is the perception of not being able to stay within that realm or move onto the next and will report a feeling of being called back to their bodies. There are many restrictions to any certainty we can give to what happens after we die but in those individuals who have experienced near-death experiences we can perhaps better understand what occurs between life and death. Have these individuals bourn witness to the mysteries of passage to the world beyond? Can these experiences allow for a spiritual maturity in our present life?  What lessons can we glean about the collective unconscious of humanity within these experiences? In this study, I will address these issues in more in trying to assertion a better understanding of life and death.

Methodology and Research Goals:

Method:  A Phenomenological Study

Near death experiences are unique to each individual but for this research we are able to draw conclusions around general common themes. Due to the subjective nature of the material for this dissertation, a phenomenological approach has been chosen in examining the data.  Since we perceive the data through a lens of individual knowledge, the method chosen can heavily affect the results of the research itself.  The methodology applied to any research is strongly affects the information that is available and helps to set the stage for our final conclusions.  Specific methodology places the research within distinct boundaries, limiting our subjectiveness and helping reduce any anxiety created by the topic.

Phenomenological methodology allows for research into the lived experience of that which is being studied.  It is a description of the lived experience.  “To do justice to the lived aspects of human phenomena . . . one first has to know how someone actually experienced what has been lived”  (Giorgi, 1985, p. 1).  As with any model of research, this method research into the mysteries and commonalities of near-death experiences confronts the reader and the researcher with an array of limitations, strengths and common assumptions. For this reason, a study on any topic is inherently flawed.  Consequently, we are affected and changed in relationship to the topic by the method we choose.

Phenomenological Research Aims

Keeping in mind the limitations of any research methodology we can see that the utilization of a phenomenological methodology, which employs qualitative research tools, we can best approach the topic study of near-death experiences. Defined as the “study of phenomena, or things or events in the everyday world.  Phenomenologist study situations in the everyday world from the viewpoint of the experiencing person” (Becker, 1992, p. 7);a phenomenological method allows us to achieve an understanding of the experience of an NDE through experiencing and knowing the experience. This approach allows us to enter a process of “understanding on a personal level the motives and beliefs behind the people’s actions” (Taylor & Bogdan, 1984, p. 2). Psychological phenomenology finds its roots in phenomenological philosophy, which dates from around 1900.  Having failed to yet break away from philosophical phenomenology, psychological phenomenology has had a very brief history and according to Giorgi (1985) who states that “phenomenology is understood primarily as a philosophy… which has implication for psychology rather than actually developing into a phenomenological psychology”  (p. 5).

Due to this perspective, the development of psychological phenomenological research methods has been geared largely towards quantitative methods of study.  As with all research tools, a history of research has to be developed and tested over time before becoming an acceptable and recognized means of research. I intend, through this research, to assist in contributing to the body of information on phenomenological research leading towards general acceptance. While some are critical of the personalized approach inherent to phenomenological research, Giorgi (1985) points out that research science is filled with descriptions.  One need look no farther than early volumes of the American Journal of Psychology for descriptive examples of scientific discussions (Giorgi, 1985, p. 2).  Consequently, the results of descriptive research have long been accepted in the field of psychology as legitimately enhancing our perception of experience and information.

It is only when phenomenological research is named and legitimized that those who prefer a strict qualitative model for research oppose its legitimacy.  Despite critic’s assertions that the method of phenomenological research is not scientific, at this time, we have no better way of exploring and understanding the meanings of streams of consciousness (Giorgi, 1985). This method is particularly appropriate for psychological research, as the majority of discussion that takes place in therapy room is primarily descriptive in nature. In trying to understand the world of our patients, we ask them to describe their experiences. As Giorgi explains,  “Descriptions have pervaded and continue to pervade, psychology” (Giorgi, 1985, p.3).

Combining Qualitative and Phenomenological Methodology:

Qualitative methodology will be used in conjunction with the phenomenological approach. Data for this research will be gained from subjects’ descriptions of their own experience.  Through the interview, the researcher will gain information surrounding near-death experiences that may reveal archetypal patterns of a rite of passage.  The purpose of the interview is to explore the subjects’ experience in as much depth as possible and to gain detailed information surrounding the subject’s personal perspectives, experiences, and relationship to their near-death experience.  Interviews help lend to the overall methodology as “phenomenologist study people’s experience of everyday life within a definite philosophical context that generates specific assumptions about human nature and human living” (Becker, 1992, p. 9).  In achieving the level of depth expected in qualitative research, it is important the researcher’s biases toward the subject not be brought into the interview process.  It is assumed that when using qualitative research “the participant’s perspective on the social phenomenon of interest should unfold as the participant views it, not as the researcher views it” (Marshall & Rossman, 1989, p. 82).  Qualitative study is a metaphorical approach to understanding another’s point of view or experience; Becker quotes Romanyshyn in stating, “A metaphor, then is not essentially a way of seeing how one reality is like another.  It is a way of seeing one reality through another” (Becker, 1992, p. 20).

Qualitative research is inductive and since researchers develop concepts, insights, and understandings from patterns in the data, a disruption in the way we have viewed the topic is created, and it causes us to be aware of what we are swimming in.  In other words, we become aware of those issues we were once unaware of by viewing them from a different perspective.  The  relationship to the topic is now changed and continues to change with each piece of new information received.  Through this we become aware that we are swimming in a metaphor as, “Phenomenology takes us to metaphoric consciousness.  It is a way of knowing and being” (Romanyshyn, 1995, May). Just as in alchemy where the chemist is changed by his work, so too does the phenomenological study change the views and perspectives of the researcher. The topic changes the perception of the researcher just as the researcher changes the future perception of that topic. There is change for both the researcher and the topic as knowledge and understanding are revealed to both participants during the process. In this process, the researcher finds himself or herself as an “agent for what might otherwise be invisible,” giving “voice to what might otherwise be silent” (Romanyshyn, 1995).   The same can be said for qualitative study.  As we move the work through our research, we ourselves are moved by the work.  Questions arise from within the process itself, as the researcher is influenced by the direction the material takes them. These combined processes allow for a greater, more intimate understanding of the near-death experience.

Over the past 500 years, research has endeavored to remain objective concerning its subjects.  This objectivity has been perceived as a way to keep the researchers own biases from acting against the desired knowledge. However, in adopting this perspective researchers removed the subject from the complexities of the environment, which has led to the uniqueness of experience and thereby contaminating the overall effort as it comes to appear ingenuine in the isolation of the subject. A strength of qualitative research is that its subjects are studied within their natural surroundings.  By allowing them to remain within a more naturalistic setting (as opposed to a laboratory setting), the results are less likely to be affected by artificial isolation.

Instead of separating individuals from their everyday setting for the study, phenomenology studies individuals within their environment and is “more faithful to the total phenomenon”  (Giorgi, 1985, p. 37).  As near-death experiences are better understood within the context of the individuals subject’s thoughts, feelings, experiences, and beliefs qualative research presents itself as the most apt research method. To separate out their components for individual study in qualitative research would be to lose the essence of what a near-death experience is.  It is spoken in the context of their experience that the components have meaning.  Morse and Perry made a similar observation in 1990, when they noted,

near-death experiences appear to be a cluster of events so that that one cannot understand the total by looking at its various parts.  One cannot understand music by studying the various frequencies of sound that generate each note, nor does one need to have a deep understanding of acoustical physics to enjoy Mozart.  The near-death experience remains a mystery.  (Morse & Perry, 1990, p. 193)

In 1992, Becker lent to this assertion that phenomenologically oriented researchers study phenomena as people within their own worlds experience them and these empirical studies highlight events from within an individual context. According to William F. Fischer, “in adopting a phenomenological mode of doing research, a psychologist seeks to reawaken, to the matize and to eidetically understand the phenomena of everyday life as they are actually lived and experienced” (1974, p. 405).

In my study, I will explore the stories of  eight individuals who have experienced a near-death experience.  The qualitative approach will allow me to explore the effects of these experiences on the daily lives of these individuals. Through this I will explore the changes  in perception that accompany the near-death experience and which might otherwise be unquantifiable.  For this reason, the qualitative researcher must rely on validity for the result as “It is not possible to achieve perfect reliability if we are to produce valid studies of the real world” (Taylor & Bogdan, 1984, p. 7).

Through the observation of subjects within their national environment, the qualitative researcher, is aware of the transference that may be taking place with the subject.  This self-awareness is strength over quantitative research, which does not acknowledge transference as possibly contaminating results.  This awareness is helpful to the qualitative researcher for acknowledging and accounting for any transferential issues that could otherwise effect their observations. Another assumption is the role of qualitative researchers as complex knowers.  As complex knowers, they are required to immerse and blend with the material.  Required to be patient knowers, the researchers must spend time with the subject and attempt to understand the experience through the subject’s perspective and place in life.  By spending time with the topic of NDEs, the researchers  “eat the text just as the text eats at [them] with its insistent gnawing… . The image of eating the text which also eats at [them] also indicates how this way of reading is a slowing down by taking in and chewing over ruminating the text” (Romanyshyn, 1991, p. 20).  Qualitative research uses an inductive style of knowing where the knowledge comes slowly as an awakening or a gradual understanding.  Through the using qualitative research, “we learn about concepts such as beauty, pain faith, suffering, frustration, and love whose essence is lost through other research approaches” (Taylor & Bogdan, 1984, p. 7). Because of this data in qualitative research does not come from hard and solid facts but instead arises from a connectedness to the world of the subject.  Through understanding the subject within its world, we gain a more complete and whole understanding of the subject.  Qualitative research does not study an isolated aspect of the subject, which may or may not have validity when applied to the complexity of the whole in its natural surroundings.  It is rather a challenge to rational thinking.

Based upon this, it is assumed qualitative research will enable us to gain experiential meaning about the subject being studied.   According to Becker, there are two premises upon which the phenomenological viewpoint is based;  the first is that “experience is a valid and fruitful source of knowledge” (Becker, 1992, p. 10) and the second  is “that our everyday worlds are valuable sources of knowledge” (Becker, 1992, p. 10).  According to these premises phenomenology provides experiences as the basis for understanding and knowledge.

Within this context it is important to take into account any effects of the research on the subject being questioned. In order to competently approach the subject it is assumed the researcher is able to put aside their  own transferential issues in order to study the subject’s reported experiences. There are certain assumptions inherent to this methodological approach, which include the subject’s ability to describe their experiences accurately, and the researchers ability to find meaning in said experiences. The present study is based on a cooperative relationship between myself, as researcher, and the subjects and it must be remembered, as noted by Greyson that,  “What we are studying is not the NDE itself, but a voluntary recounting of a memory of the NDE” (Greyson, 1981, p. 89).   In this methodological approach, it is assumed that meaning need only be extracted from surface information gained through the interview.  From this perspective, I am able to view the subject of the research as a co-researcher, and acknowledge their superior knowledge concerning their own near-death encounters.  Through their interviews, all research data for the study are gained.  I also presume that the individual being interviewed is connected to the world in a typical manner as others facing the near-death experience. Since the near-death experience is difficult to remove from the larger context of the individual’s life, the ability to study the subjects within their natural world is a key strength of qualitative research.

It is the desire of this researcher to understand the meaning of this human experience that makes qualitative research so valuable.   As a qualitative researcher, I will enter the world of the individuals to be researched to attempt to understand how this environment can and does move and change the information revealed as it is tied deeply to the experiences of the individual.  We acknowledge our research as being not isolated from this experience, which allows us to become aware of any transference issues and/or biases in the research to help account for these instances in the actual reporting of the research.

Since my research results will come from synthesizing information I have gathered, my own impressions of the subjects, along with the actual interviews, play an important role in the study’s development. Within this context it is necessary for me to reflect and understand the limitations of this type of approach upon my own observations and bias. In fact, I will be using these within the study as there will be included sections to  describe my own counter-transference to the material that exploit my own responses.  These sections will reflect some of my own feelings and reactions to the subject’s accounts, as well as describing aspects of my own near-death encounter to show how my perspective has developed.

Limitations of Research:

Qualitative research like any form of research has its limitations.  The results can be seriously affected  by the researchers lack of attention paid to his or her own biases. These biases can affect the wording of the interview process, which could greatly alter the affected outcomes.  Without addressing their own bias and limitations, the researcher causes the study to become stymied and one-sided. As Fischer (1974) has stated, “When a phenomenological psychologist understands and acknowledges that his approach prefigures his questions, methods and results, then he is obliged to reawaken the issue of objectivity” (p. 407).

The qualitative approach because it is based in interaction with the subject within their own environment is constructed in a way to make a realistic confrontation by the researcher of their own limitations more viable. Identifying personal bias is not so easy for quantitative researchers who are  looking for “objective” results.  In their efforts to remove the subject from their environment, under a guise to eliminate subjectivity, these researchers are less aware of their personal biases and the means by which they enact experiments to favor the outcomes that they are looking for.  By taking these measures, they are attempting to remove bias when in fact they may have introduced it instead.

Phenomenological analysis is challenging in that the thought processes used in analysis is in constant flux (Giorgi, 1985).  An individual’s understanding of the experience is subject to new ideas and thought processes as well as a changing environment. The truth as perceived by this individual can change overtime making it difficult to reproduce exact results of the study were to be conducted at a later time. Therefore we must rely on the strengths of using qualitative research, which include the selection of the subjects themselves. In this vein, the subjects to be used for this study have been carefully chosen based upon their self-descriptions of near-death experiences. The individual’s interest in the subject as well as willingness to discuss their individual experiences is a major presumption of this study and will be used as a tool in helping to evaluate their responses.  Their interest in the topic may help prevent them from consciously giving false statements that would affect the results of the research.  If someone were to reveal results that are far from the norm in the research, I, as a qualitative researcher,  would have the freedom to remove the results of that participant.  This is not an option available to the quantitative researcher. However, this freedom also constitutes a limitation of the qualitative study.  In this, it is possible for me to manipulate the results to suit my own personal biases by eliminating data that does not compliment my expected results.  When a researcher skews the findings, it serves as evidence that he or she was not affected by the information; rather the opposite took place and a remove occurs  which stunts the overall application of the information and its influence upon the subject.

The freedom of the subject selection process also has limitations on the results as the selected participants self-identify as near-death experiencers, and hold these experiences as important parts of their lives.  That these individuals have been in contact with others sharing similar experiences it may have had the effect of influencing  and/or altering their individual memories. This can be especially true if their desire to belong to this group is strong.

Qualitative research depicts the everyday life of the subject being researched and acts as a strength by not removing or isolating the subject from their personal environment while studying their experiences and allows the researcher to gain a greater understanding of the subject’s experience.       However, this research can be limited  by the questions asked and their appropriateness to the proposed subject matter.  As a researcher with limited knowledge, I may not know the right questions to ask that would reveal more about the subject.  It is likewise a limitation if the subject does not share information freely, does not clearly understand the questions, or is not telling the truth (Marshall & Rossman, 1989, pp. 82-83). Another limitation commonly experienced by qualitative researchers is the lack of ideal working conditions.  As Patton (1980) pointed out, “There are always trade-offs.  These trade-offs are necessitated by limited resources, limited time, and limits of the human ability to grasp the complex nature of social reality” (p. 95).  Therefore, there  is no such thing as a perfect phenomenological study.

A strength of qualitative research is the relatability of the research to be placed within the context of everyday life. By definition of this type of research, the data is constructed to present excerpts of life, which occur as part of subject’s everyday experience. For this study on NDE, this is possibly one of the biggest strength of the qualitative approach as the reader is more able to relate and understand reports of near-death experience within the context of real life rather than the confines of laboratory study.  Qualitative research gives us the norms that guide everyday experience. Due to the inevitability of death for all living things, we may view what is reported as near-death experience to be  everyday experience.

From the research, I hope to extract information concerning the archetypal qualities of near-death experiences as a rite of passage towards spiritual maturity.  I will also be exploring any personal changes that took place for the individuals as a result of their experience as well as interpersonal relationship changes and the participants’ relationship to death before and after the experience. In addressing these, I will also seek information relating to feelings of guilt and/or fear that may have resulted from the near-death experience.  Finally, I will use personal and professional reflection during the interview and writing process to allow the emergence of additional insight into near-death experiences.

Research Process:

Acquiring Volunteers

In obtaining the subjects for this study, I exercised several options open to me. First, I contacted IANDS, The International Association for Near-Death Studies, and requested information on local chapter meetings. From this list, I wrote or telephoned the appropriate meeting chairperson and explained my research project, asking permission to post an announcement for volunteers.  In addition, I contacted several other branches of IANDS through the Internet and requested permission to send flyers explaining my research and requesting individuals to interview who have had an NDE. As members of IANDS are interested in the subject, simply by virtue of belonging to the group, this approach proved to be a good choice in  seeking out individuals for the research.

Local physicians and nurses who could potentially put me in touch with individuals who had experienced NDE and would be willing to be interviewed for the purpose of this study, were also approached. Since they had experienced contact with the subjects near the time of the initial experience, they could prove to be a fresher source of subjects who had not had time to further explore their experiences within a group setting. An announcement was also place on appropriate Internet message boards, requesting individuals who’d experienced NDE to contact me for interview.

After being contacted by potential individuals, volunteers were screened for  appropriateness in inclusion in the study. To qualify, research subjects were required to have experienced a  life-threatening physical disorder and must have experienced an NDE in accordance to at least one of the common points established by Dr. Kenneth Ring.  These common points include a feeling of separation from the body, seeing a dark tunnel, seeing a light, stepping into the light, and feeling a sense of peace (Ring, 1984).  These guidelines established a general criterion from which samples could be taken.

Administering the Interviews

Each participant was interviewed based on this claims of near-death experience and were asked to explore any changes they had perceived in themselves since their experience. experience of the NDE.  Specific questions from a prepared list were asked in hopes of allowing the researcher to gain sufficient understanding of the individual experiences to then compare and contrast responses. Interviews were performed at the convenience of the individual and lasted approximately an hour and a half.  Local volunteers were given the option of meeting with me at a convenient location of their choosing or my office. Non-local volunteers were interviewed via telephone with each interview being recorded with the volunteer’s permission. One individual declined to be taped and the interview was recorded using written notes  while another refused a telephone interview in favor of prepared questions answered via Internet.

After each interview was then transcribed to tape and studied it extensively.  Case histories were written for each participant describing their NDE experiences and subsequent responses.  Data was analyzed to discern common themes, which were presented in the reports of more than one individual. Each volunteer was given the opportunity to read his or her case history and make corrections or additions.  This procedure helped to insure the accuracy of my perceptions and once corrected, the case histories were given again to the participants for additional comments.

Assumptions and Limitations

There are several assumptions inherent to this study. These assumptions include the volunteers’ truthfulness in relating their experiences without collusion with other participants. Chiefly, it is assumed that the volunteers did in fact have an NDE.  However, the limitations of the study lie in the assumption that the volunteers do not necessarily represent the general population  in their reports of near-death experiences.  Furthermore, it is assumed that participants may be reluctant to discuss the full details of their experiences, leaving the study incomplete.  Since the results  of the research are largely based in the subjective responses by the volunteers to the questions, which are based in memory and emotion, the results are non-verifiable and we must trust in the honesty of the participants. Finally, the nature of the questions are suggestive and could be viewed as having led the participants in their answers. However, due to the personal nature of the interview and the need to obtain as honest responses as possible, the questions were geared towards causing reflection on the part of the individual.

Consent Forms and Precautions

All of the APA guidelines for conducting research with human volunteers were followed in carrying out this research.  Approval from Pacifica Graduate Institute’s Ethics Committee was obtained before commencing with human research subjects.  All volunteers were required to sign an informed consent form, which is included in Appendix A.  The volunteers were allowed to terminate the interview at any time.  Confidentiality has been safeguarded so that no material the volunteer does not want published will be published.  The names of all participants were held in confidence and changed within the research report as a measure to protect confidentiality.  All promises made to subjects were adhered to.  The volunteers were informed that no immediate or direct benefit would result from participating in the study.            After the completion of the study, all participants were provided with a full description of the study upon their request.  All information obtained during the course of the interviewing that does not pertain to the study, or that which the volunteer asked to be withheld, remains confidential.

Chapter 2: Researching Near-Death Experiences

Case Study Investigation:

Steven

The Physical Separation

Steven is a 42 year-old self-employed entrepreneur, founder and president of a company, which refurbishes industrial equipment. He chose to be interviewed in his home in California.  In 1994, at the age of 37, while being examined in his doctor’s office, he experienced a heart attack.  Though revived and sent to the hospital, he experienced a second heart attack nine days later when undergoing a procedure to remove a blood clot from his heart. With the first heart attack, they were able to revive him with a since fibrillation however, this time, it took seven. During each immediate loss of unconsciousness, Steven claims to have experienced a near-death experience.

The Near-death Experience

The first experience, before a conscious feeling of pain and then an awakening to another place preceded being revived in his doctor’s office.  According to Steven, both of his near-death experiences were identical.  Within both accounts, he noted the ambient temperature as being perfect and he did not feel pain. At the beginning of the NDE, he found himself in what seemed to be a large, dark warehouse.  Surrounded by darkness, he became aware that a single corner of the space was lighted and figures resembling people where standing beneath. Unaware of having a physical body, he nonetheless felt himself being physically drawn to the group beneath the light. In a motion more similar  to gliding than walking,  he found himself among these people who did not seem to have physical bodies and who therefore he was unable to recognize. Though having engaged in conversation with the ethereal crowd, he was unable to recall during the interview the details of this interaction.

During the first experience, he recalled beginning to have a conversation with one of the beings when he was called away and revived in the doctor’s office.  During the second, he found himself engaged in a long and profound conversation with these beings and reported having a strong sense that these beings were family members but was unable to specifically identify any of them.  Emitting a vibrant blue color, he described the beings as being captivatingly brilliant with a surrounding non-directional light of a similar hue. He perceived that he was dealing on a  soul level with these beings and that at this level the soul had physical properties.  He also claims that during the time he was present with the beings, he had a profound sense of peace and a stronger sense of clarity of thought than he had ever experienced before.

The Return and Reintegration

In the period prior to his near-death experience, Steven found himself struggling with issues of religious faith. Born and raised in a Catholic household, he attended religious school  until junior high and in high school found himself rejecting Christianity.  One afternoon, before his NDE, while watching a televangelist on television and he found the program bringing him back to Christian belief.  This experience, he said, led to a greater focus on religion and an involvement in the study of scripture. Until his NDE, Steven felt the role of the church to be a type of guardian to biblical study. Before his experience, Steven was judgmental of those who did not share beliefs similar to his own. He referred to himself as “acid” in the way he would handle others who did not share in his beliefs and reported a respect for members of his church through rigid  beliefs and his own willingness to defend them.  His near-death experience assisted in the letting go of his judgmental qualities and has felt closer to God who comes to him through meditations and instructs him in what to do. He now follows these requests and feels more willing to closely follow God’s commands. Moving from a hard-line Christian belief, he is now more open to the spirituality of God and is able to recognize the presence of God in  all religions. This has resulted in more openness and questioning in the study of the nature of God.

His near-death experience also drastically effected Steven’s personal behavior in that he was once being overweight and lacking in physical fitness.  He stated that living in comfort was his priority at that time.  Self-discipline was non-existent. Things came easily to him, but when “the going got tough, he was gone.”  As a result of the near-death experience, he began to put his health in order and has since come to believe that his life is focused on hard work. He now pays attention to the present moment and tries to live it to the fullest.  He has also developed a creative side and has since begun to delve into photography, drawing and writing.

Steven became more involved as a father, spending time with his children by taking them to sporting events and helping with homework. He has come to value his relationship with the other individuals in his life and is more open and prone to understanding.  His primary focus has changed from that of religion to the individual. Since the NDE, he now listens to his inner voice, which he perceives as God speaking to him.  He does this when making important decisions in his life, and he feels that the decisions that he makes are never wrong as a result.  There have been times when the voice has told him to be friends with an individual whom he would not choose on his own.  He feels that he is supposed to be friends with that individual for being of service to him or her in life.  He feels that this guidance has been very helpful for those individuals.  As a consequence of this new openness, his study of religion has broadened and he no longer limits his religious study to the bible but instead seeks a more expansive understanding of life.

Steven’s views of death have also been altered, it is not seen as a transition from one level to another.  Death, he reported, is not something to fear; however, it is not something to rush towards either.  Steven fears God, not death since God, he stated, is in full control of his life and can take it away at any time.  Steven views his NDE in the perspective of God attempting to gain his attention and to teach him the nature of the soul.  Prior to the NDE, he wrestled with the story of Abraham.  His confusion arose from Abraham’s ability to offer his son Isaac as sacrifice and the level of faith required for such a gesture. Inherent in the gesture is a commitment to God that Steven could not perceive through such harsh actions. He claimed that the NDE solved this question for him and left him with a stronger commitment to God.  It was a “soul level” experience for him. Not only has is general perception of death as an end of life changed but he also claimed a new understanding of the after life. Owing to his strong Christian beliefs, Steven had believed in the traditional Christian constructs of heaven and hell. Through his experience, he has come to perceive the afterlife as a better place though no longer the archetype of a heavenly plane.

Overall, the experience produced three truths for Steven. The first was to highlight his mortality. A person can die at any time.  He had taken life for granted before his NDE.  The second truth is that his family should be his number-one priority.  The third truth was an understanding that he was not living up to his potential because of his tendency to give up easily when things became difficult. Due to the limits of recollection, Steven was left with questions as well as answers after his near-death experience. The feeling of timelessness connected to the experience, as though it were lasting hours when in fact he was only unconscious for a few seconds. Within the context of this timelessness, what else, he wonders, occurred within that suspension of time? And who were the beings? Were they others like him or family from the other side?

Sally

The Physical Separation

Sally, a 57-year-old licensed psychotherapist and single parent in Los Angeles, California, chose to be interviewed in her office. A divorced mother of two, at the time her  daughter was 20 and her son 17. Considering herself a spiritual individual, she nonetheless did not adhere to traditional religious beliefs.  Her near-death experience took place during her early 20’s in the Philippines in 1967 where she was a volunteer with the Peace Corps.  Her experience was precluded by an afternoon excursion with a visiting friend to nearby waterfall with a collection pool for swimming. She described the waterfall as coming through a rock cliff and creating an inviting, swirling pool below. After swimming for some time, it began to rain which began softly only to build a harder momentum.  As it rained, the runoff from the higher ground emptied into the stream that fed the waterfall.  The added water from the rain caused the flow of the waterfall to grow more powerful, and thus the whirlpool action created by the waterfall hitting the pool was increased. Deciding to exit the water, Sally found she had difficulty fighting the surging motion of the whirlpool. A passerby attempted to help Sally from the water but slipped on the rock when he bent to extract her from the water, falling in himself.

The Near-death Experience

A combination of panic and weakening strength caused each pass of the whirlpool to pull harder at Sally. Other passersby attempted to extract her from the water but failed and she sank into the water. At this moment she “knew” she was going to die.  She recalled that at that moment, she felt a profound sense of peace and acceptance of her fate.  She calmed and stopped fighting the water.  It was at that moment she saw tunnel with a light at the end filling her with a sense of deep tranquility.  While in this place, she had the sense of her mother who had died when she was only 10 days old.  Seeing the tunnel, Sally felt a distinct separation from her body.  She claimed to have been able to identify the moment of transition because she had been fighting the current with everything she had, and when she entered the tunnel, she lost the sensation of struggle in her body.  At the moment she felt she was going to die, she relaxed and lost awareness of her physical body.

Entering the tunnel with a profound sense of well-being and clear thought, she felt peaceful without memory of breathing in water. Not fighting the sensation, she experienced full cooperation of her self. Her vision of the tunnel lacked periphery, and she had only the feeling of moving toward the light, which she viewed as a representative source of peace. Her movements resembled a gliding motion.  Focused on the light, everything else was in darkness.  The glowing light contained a  full spectrum of color while having the brilliance of sunshine. However, it did not hurt her eyes.

Aside from the feeling of closeness to her mother’s presence, Sally does not recall meeting with anyone or reviewing her life. She felt at peace. Suddenly, a physical jolt upwards shocked her out of the tunnel.  Someone had grabbed a hold of her blouse and pulled her out of the water, dragging her to the edge of the pool.  Upon waking, Sally shook for an hour before calming down.

The Return and Reintegration

During the interview, Sally described her present feeling of emotion in discussing her experience. When she spoke of her mother’s presence in the tunnel, she became teary. She expressed the feeling of   her near-death experience as wonderful and that it had allowed her to grow as a therapist.  The wonder and confusion which surrounds her own experience with NDE have allowed her to be empathetic with others who have had experiences that are difficult to explain.  To this end, Sally has introduced her own experience in dialogue with clients when it has proven to be appropriate and useful.

Sally claims that her near-death experience has drastically changed her life. Consequently, Sally has lost her fear of death and this acceptance has allowed for increased boldness.  Before her experience, Sally was introverted and shy; afterwards, she found herself more daring.  Despite her new extrovertedness, it should be noted that the experience is something she has kept largely to herself, viewing it as a personal  She claims that she does not trust others to hold this intimate experience with the respect and reverence it deserves.

Sally’s childhood was difficult. Her mother died when she was 10 days old and her father remarried when she was 2.  This other woman was recognized as her mother from that day forward.  She did not get along with her stepmother.  She was raped when she was 8 years old.  In her adolescence, her stepmother was diagnosed with schizophrenia.  Sally became pregnant at 19.  She felt lost and entered into the Peace Corps to find herself.  She referred to this experience as “running away” to join the Peace Corps.  As a result of her experiences with the Peace Corps in the Philippines, Sally became critical of the consumerism of the American culture.  She returned home with ideas of living more simply.  She attributes these changes not only to the cultural experience of living in the Philippines but also to her near-death experience which helped to puncture these ideals and give her confidence in living them.

The NDE changed Sally’s spiritual perspective as well.  Born to a fundamentalist Christian family, she regularly attended church until college. She views her obligation to this version of religion as a result of fear rather than faith. Before her near-death experience, her spiritual views were in flux.  Since the experience, she has changed her view of spiritual reality and now views all individuals as souls who come to earth to have lives and then return to where they had come from.  She described death as another doorway to a continuation of life.  However, she related feeling some fear around pain that she might experience before death as well as fear concerning her inability to know the full story about death.

Sally remains afraid of drowning, due not only the near-drowning experience that resulted in her near death experience but two other near-drowning incidents besides. Interestingly, she has lost all of fear of spiritual retribution resulting from leaving fundamentalist religion, something she had experienced since college.  She now feels that she will be safe in death.  She has lost all fear of God as a punishing entity and feels that God accepts her as she is.

Tom

The Physical Separation

A 35 year old financial planner living in Los Angeles, CA, Tom was diagnosed with cancer in later 1997. A 1998 hospitalization for a laser surgery to remove the carcinoma resulted in major weight loss and an overall deterioration. Despite being moved to intensive care, he continued to go downhill. One afternoon, the monitor tracking his vital signs sounded and alarm and he flat lined.  At that moment,  Tom became aware of an increase in the activity of the staff.  He found his focus drifting away from the room and his mind becoming very quiet.  Then, he noticed a stifling silence.  Immediately following the silence, he developed a sensation of being raised above the bed.  He found himself in a state of total peace and thought he was being raised to heaven.

The Near-death Experience

On each side of his body, Tom sensed two dozes supporting and lifting his body upward. He experienced the sounds of tranquility, akin to music and reported feeling as if a magnetic force were behind his being raised. The movement of upward descent was smooth and gliding. Tom found himself entering into deeper states of peace, likening the music to a calming hum, which continued through the entire raising part of the experience. During this time Tom reported feeling both calm and clear, as he felt in possession of the knowledge that he was transcending to a more beautiful place. Consequently, he felt a desire to go where he was being taken. As he continued to rise, he perceived a soft, glowing light which though brilliant did not hurt his eyes. The light appeared to be beckoning him to enter. Before he could each the light, Tom was revived. He does not recall how he was revided, only the nurse running from the room for the doctors. He recalled re-entering his body with a sudden startle and opening his eyes to see a nurse looking down at him.

The Return and Reintegration

Although not consciously recalling anyone speaking with him during the near-death experience, he returned with a strong sense of God instructing him to more closely look at his life. In order to fulfill this request, Tom took it upon himself to look deeper into what kind of person he was.  As a result, he felt more empathy for the experiences of others. He described himself as, prior to the experience, as being arrogant in his behavior towards others and as having taken his health for granted. Prior to the diagnosis of cancer, Tom had experienced no major health concerns nor had he ever been hospitalized.  After the NDE, he began to pay attention to his health and consciously sought to eliminate his own arrogance and become more appreciative of people in his life.

The experience left Tom feeling an increased desire to return to heaven and was willing to do whatever it took to get there and to be a better person.  In his view, being a better person entails being more forgiving and more willing to share.  He also sought to be less self-centered and attempt to focus his energy towards the helping of others in bettering their lives. Despite feeling a need for change, the actual change in behavior was not a simple transcendent experience that Tom felt upon waking. He found developing this change to be a challenging task as his own stubbornness created an internal battle everyday to do something kind for another.  He finds that each day this practice becomes easier to accomplish.  During our discussion, he became emotional when describing the near-death experience.  He stated that his sudden burst of emotion was a surprise to him as he was generally a reserved person.

Since the near-death experience, Tom’s relationships have changed.  Growing up in a family who did not communicate or discuss personal feelings, he was unused to being open with his emotions. His near-death experience has led him to encourage his family to be more open and sharing of their feelings. As result, he stated a feeling of increased closeness with his family since his NDE.

Tom did not relate this experience to his doctors as he felt it was a spiritual rather than medical experience in which God was assisting him to change his life and help the lives of others. He desires for others to know the peace he experienced and that life should be a search for obtaining a similar peacefulness. He stated that he returned with an awareness of the importance of loving others and the perception that the light he experienced was a manifestation of that love and a space of absolute peace. In Tom’s view, his experience was a way for God to instruct him on the need for change. He felt that if he continued on the path that he followed before the near-death experience, he might not reach heaven.  He now feels that his work here on earth is to help others and therefore, it will make him a better person. In the process, he has come to have a greater understanding of himself.  He felt that the near-death experience was a true awakening for his own personal growth.  The experience also  helped him to overcome his fear of death and realize the preciousness of life.

Tom does have one fear that resulted from the NDE, and that is the fear of slipping back into his old selfish mindset.  To prevent this, he has made changes to the habits of his life and has attempted to remove the focus from himself to try and understand others. At the time of the NDE, Tom was Catholic and in the past during prayer had felt his mind wonder. Now, having experienced an NDE, he feels a closer communication with God when he prays.  He has found that he stays focused while praying since his experience.  In the past, he just went through the motions.  Now, he feels as if he is truly having a dialogue with God.  For him, the NDE was a transformative experience.

Marco

The First and Second Physical Separation

Marco was interviewed in Los Angeles, California.  He is 59 years old and claims to have  experienced three NDEs during the course of his life.  The first experience occurred in 1946 when he was 7 years old and living in Mexico.  Having fallen from  a moving car, he remembers very little except the sight of the rocks on the road coming up to meet him. As he hit the ground, he blacked out experiencing a warm nurturing feelings. That momentary feeling is all he remembers of that first experience. In 1952 at the age of 13, Marco attempted to commit suicide with natural gas to escape an abusive family situation.  At the moment of blacking out, he experienced a feeling of rapidly entering a tunnel through a gliding motion.

While Marco was in the tunnel, he became aware of the presence of other beings, but was unable to determine who they might be.  At the end of this tunnel, he perceived a light and  between himself and the light he saw a vast waterway.  Across this waterway was the figure of an old man standing behind a large closed gate.  When the man saw Marco, he rose into the air, and as he did so, the gates began to open.  The man  invited Marco in with a simple gesture.   As he glided through the gates, he entered a beautiful garden.  While there he became aware of music and experienced feeling of acceptance and warmth. Marco attempted to discern the source of the music and to his astonishment realized it was emanating from the flowers..  As he listened more closely, he discovered that they were all singing the same song in one chorus, singing through color rather than mouths.  He described the experience as a blending of the senses where he could now hear colors.

As he looked around, he noticed a pathway leading into a cloistered area.  There, on the pathway, he could see other people moving towards the area looking at him and then looking away.  Among the group was a beautiful woman in an old-fashioned dress, looking at him as though she recognized him and in turn he also felt a knowledge of her. He felt a desire to go towards her, with a feeling of unconditional love coming from her towards him.  However, her advancement was halted as the old man came between them.  Expressing without words, the old man imparted an understanding to Marco that he could not touch the woman.  He felt that in this place, communication was gained through understanding and not verbal means.  The old man told him that he would see the woman again at another time.  She then returned to the pathway with the other people.  He tried to follow her at a distance along the path.  As he did, a beautiful golden light distracted him and began to come closer to him.  As it began to descent on him he began to feel guilt over his attempted suicide, realizing that suicide was  not a resolution of his problems. His experience in the garden allowed him to experience more compassion towards himself.  This new sense of self-compassion would later help him through a difficult adolescence.  He wanted to remain in that bath of unconditional love, but was also told he could not stay and that he would have to go back.

The Second Return and Reintegration

No sooner had Marco realized that he would have to return when he found himself blacking out once more and found himself waking in the hospital.  His grandmother questioned him repeatedly about the woman and also warned him to never speak about his experience.  He later found out that the woman he described was an aunt who had died before he was born.  The second near-death experience allowed him to feel a remove from the abuse and to avoid the negativity.  He was given more understanding about his situation and therefore found more compassion for himself and never attempted suicide again.

The Third Physical Separation

Marco’s third near-death experience was more extensive than the previous two and he found it difficult to describe.  He characterized himself as having become very materialistic as he matured.  He had become a financial planner for a bank and his controlling attitude helped to advance his wealth however it failed to bring him happiness.  Prior to the third experience, Marco just finalized a divorce from his wife, and was experiencing a serious financial setback.  In the process of recovering from the emotional and financial traumas inherent to the divorce, Marco moved in with a friend.  He stated that he had reached a low point in his life and felt he had been pushing himself too hard.  A smoker with unhealthy dietary habits, he pushed himself to exhaustion. Though he was aware of the need for a change in lifestyle he paid little immediate attention to the issues individually.

One morning, Marco experienced severe pain in his chest, which he reported to his doctor who recommended he be hospitalized for observation.  He refused to go to the hospital, preferring to handle the upset stomach and nausea on his own.  That night he awoke with discomfort in his chest and got up to call the hospital. Walking down the hallway he experienced another sharp, excruciating pain in his chest that caused him to double over.  He remembered hitting his shoulder on the wall as he was falling to the floor but then blacked out.

The Third Near-death Experience

Although Marco had the sense of blacking out, he was still aware of his thought processes.  He found himself in total darkness.  He felt as though he were in a very dark pit.  He described it as being blackest black that could be imagined.  The blackness resulted not only from an absence of color and light, but also from an absence of sound.  He became frightened.  A dark feeling of total isolation began to creep over his consciousness.  He found himself lost in a vast nothingness.  While in the void, Marco kept asking himself why he could not hear or see anything.  He remembered trying to yell, but nothing would come out.  It was as though his words went nowhere.  Despite his state of alarm, he realized that he was no longer feeling pain, but he was also aware that he could not feel his body.  The blackness was oppressive and became more frightening.  As his fear gave way to panic, he cried into the darkness, “God help me.”  At that moment, he saw a spark of light out in the distance.  It was enough to let him know that he was not totally alone.  There was somebody or something else out there.

Although he was frightened, his thought processes were clear.  He never lost his sense of self-awareness.  He reasoned that if he could get over to the spark, he might feel more comfortable.  However, he felt as if he was being held back from the light by some force.  Again, he thought to himself, “I do not belong here.”  At that moment, a light came on again in the distance resembling the glow of a candle.  Now, he was no longer in total blackness.  Fearing the candlelight might go out, he said to himself, “Oh God, please don’t blow it out.”  His fear continued to build.  He did not know where he was.  Suddenly, two more lights appeared off in the distance of approximate size to the first.  When he saw them, he felt that these lights would protect him.  However, his moment of relief quickly retreated to dread; what terrifying things might exist in the distance between himself and those lights?

Marco knew that he wanted to join them, but he did not know how.  As he focused on the lights, he began to realize that they were not candles at all; they were beings of light.  Although they were at a great distance, he understood one of the light beings to have said, “We have come for you.” Though panic overtook him at this moment, he knew that if he could get to the lights, he would be safe.  With that thought alone, he instantly found himself surrounded by light.  The light induced within him a sense of comfort similar to the feelings one has when embraced by a loved one.  He had the reassuring feeling that the light would not allow him to be lost in the darkness. Marco had the sensation of moving upwards while in the light.  It was at this point that the light beings began speaking to him.  He did not remember what they told him but recalled a feeling of being saved.

It was at this moment he described having a past life review.  It was not his entire life, just the important interpersonal portions.  While the life review took place, he continued to rise higher, noticing the little sparks of light as they began to join together and form a snake of light all moving in the same direction.  He was now very high looking down at the column of light.  As the lights came together, they pushed back the darkness, and Marco began to feel a sense of joy.  The ribbon of light continued to grow and became a kaleidoscope of color. It was then that he realized that each point of light was a soul.  He said that the realization filled him with so much joy that he wanted to jump up and down.  He knew that each soul was going back to the Creator.  He wanted to join them, but there was still an expanse of blackness between him and the other sparks of light.  The tiny lights soon became an ocean of multicolored brilliance.

One of the light beings directed Marco to look in the distance towards a mountain of crystal with a golden light and beings inside.  Emanating a sense of home, Marco did not know how to reach it. As his desire to go to the mountain grew, the being communicated a feeling that he could not.   At that moment, a light like a million suns lit up and there was no blackness anywhere.  The light said to him, “Come to me, you are mine.”  The beings of light were then behind him and he found himself racing towards the source of light.  As he grew closer, he exploded with emotion and felt himself become the light. Bathed in light, Marco reported an awareness of history since the beginning of time.  He was shown the beginning of creation with the beginning of light.  Before he could ask a question, he had the answer.  He reported that there was no distinction between himself and the light.  The light told him that he had not finished his work.  He was told he needed to return.  At that moment, he found himself back in his body in excruciating pain.  Marco thought to himself, “I don’t want this.”  Then he heard a tiny voice off in the distance say, “Hang up, someone will be there.”  He was now sitting in a chair with the telephone receiver in his hand.  He blacked out again.

He then found himself at the top of a two-story building.  It was his apartment building.  He saw two men running into his building where they picked up a body, he did not at first recognize as his own.  They put the body on a gurney and left his arm sticking out.  He tried to tell them to put the arm inside, but to no avail.  The arm fell between the rails and was severely pinched.   While he was observing the rescue scene, he was also listening to the conversations of the onlookers across the street.  His neighbors had gathered to see what was going on.  He was aware of both places at the same time.  He then found himself following the ambulance all the way to the hospital.  He was aware of being both inside and outside of the ambulance.  He remembered hearing the thoughts of the driver and staff in the ambulance.  He did not question any of this but rather absorbed the experience wholeheartedly.

The Third Return and Reintegration

Upon arrival, Marco was hooked  to an IV and began to once more feel his body and regain consciousness.  The experience felt as though it had lasted for hours. A month later, Marco successfully set out to confirm the conversations and visions he experienced during his rescue  In the hospital, a nurse asked him how he ended up with such a large hematoma on the inside of his arm.  He told her that his arm was left outside of the gurney when they transported him.  She questioned how he could have known this as he’d been certified unconscious from the time of rescue until he was revived in the hospital.  During the NDE, he was told the nature of his illness and what needed to be done to remedy it.  It was communicated to him that if he underwent open-heart surgery, he would end up paralyzed.  At the hospital, he was urged to sign a consent form for open-heart surgery.  He refused.  The doctors attempted to explain that what he’d experienced as the NDE was a hallucination and that he needed open-heart surgery.  He told the doctors that there were blockages in his heart , unknown to the doctors.  Three days later, further testing revealed other blockages, which contraindicated surgery.  His doctor asked him how he knew about the other blockages.  When he told him the information came from the NDE, he brushed off the response by saying, “Well, there are some things we don’t understand.”  Marco said nothing more to his doctors.

After this third experience, Marco began to make substantial change to his life; he quit smoking and began to take better care of his health. He began to relax. Before his near-death experience, he had been a banker feeling both impatient and demanding.  As a result oriented person he strove to push the results. Prior to the heart attack, though aware of the need for changes in his life he was adept at finding excuses not to. Since the experience, Marco reported that no longer feeling pressured by time.  He began to place more value on people, becoming less materialistic. His perception broadened, and he has found an ability  to conceive the outcome of an action before it was completed.  These changes happened naturally and effortlessly.

Before the near-death experience, Marco kept in the company of people who were materialistic and fast paced.  But afterwards, he found himself no longer able to relate to those people, preferring quiet time to the fast-paced life he once lived.  He has also noticed that he did not lose patience with his family members as he did before the experience. However, the reactions of the doctors to his account of the NDE led him to be wary of describing the experience to others.

Marco’s experiences have given him proof of a higher power, which he refers to as God.  Part of his newfound awareness is the idea that this higher power can be found in all religions. Part of his personal mission, since the near-death experience, has been to raise awareness that there is life after physical death.  This has given new meaning to his earthly experience.  In wanting to help people, he has attempted to erect a bridge of understanding in the concepts of death as a process of consciousness passing from one continuous plane of existence to another. He feels that everyone has a purpose in life and that his personal mission has been revealed to show others a greater understanding of their own power in changing their lives and the presence of the love of the universe.

During the third NDE, Marco felt he received answers regarding questions he had about politics, values, and beliefs.  He went from being money oriented to altruistic.  He found himself living hand to mouth and feeling secure in it.  He now feels that he is able to give more of himself to others since he is less encumbered by materialist desires.  He wants to help people become aware of their goodness and has strong desire to be of service to others. During his experience, Marco learned that each act we perform, no matter how insignificant, can have a dramatic effect on another, and can actually change the world.  He took away from the experience an understanding of the oneness of the universe.  He learned that all acts that we do to another are ultimately done unto ourselves. As a result of his experience, he does not try to control or influence anything or anyone.

Since his third near-death experience, Marco has volunteered in hospices to assist people who are dying.  He has frequent opportunities to witness individuals making the transition through death.  He claims to see a swirling kaleidoscope sphere of color leaving the body as a person dies.  He then watches it disappear a few feet away.  He stated that it gives him great joy to witness such an event.  He finds himself excited for individuals as they embark on what he refers to as their journeys.  His enthusiasm for life beyond is contagious and is an apparent source of strength for those in their final moments.  He talks with those who are open to what he has to say and he feels that they benefit from his experience.  Marco stressed that the worthiness of each individual’s existence is important.  The most important things we can do in this existence is to love and be a service to others.  In his life review, he saw how his existence was able to change another’s life simply due to his resemblance to another.  Consequently, changes build upon each other and change the world and in this we can see the importance of being.  Marco noted that as individuals we do not realize the importance of our existence and he feels that his NDE has given him a gift of that understanding.

Kimberly

The Physical Separation

Kimberly was a 27-year-old woman from Kentucky at the time of her interview, which was obtained through online correspondence. Her responses were gained through a written form of the verbal interview questions, which were completed by her and returned via mail. Kimberly completed the interview through corresponding on the Internet. The following is a compilation of her correspondence.

Kimberly’s near-death experience took place in August of 1991 when she was 19 and has since been diagnosed with a heart-valve disorder. Her experience began while traveling as a passenger on a trip from Los Angeles to Oakland, California. Without reason, her heart began to race and she experience subsequent dizziness. Nausea and a visual sensation of brilliant colors followed the dizziness.  As she slipped into unconsciousness, her awareness drifted away from the car.

The Near-death Experience

Upon reawareness, Kimberly found herself in a dense and oppressive blackness. She described it as a terrifying dark, damp cloud that came over her. and felt greater fear at this nothingness than anything else she has ever experience.  Completely alone, she called out “Jesus” in her fear and confusion. She described the following event as a “battle” between a being in white light and the surrounding darkness.  Immediately following the battle, the light overtook the darkness and she found herself face down in worship in front of the being of light.  Through the presence of this being, she felt a measure of warmth and intense love, which she described as all encompassing and unconditional.

In the next instant, Kimberly found herself above the moving car looking down at her body in the back seat.  She  sensed a being floating beside her adorned in a white garment. Despite not looking directly at the being, she was able to describe what he looked like and  understood that his identity should remain a mystery.  She reasoned it to mean that his identity did not have importance to what she was about to experience but rather his intention was to serve as a guide.  Together, they began to move up above the earth and eventually into outer space; traveling at an accelerated speed she had the sense of passing the stars and planets.

Kimberly expressed uncertainty in the sequence of evens, though not the reality of the experience. She next described becoming aware of her presence in a bright white “room.”  The room seemed to be enclosed, but it did not have walls.  While in the room, she saw a man in a white robe standing behind a podium with a book on it.  He emitted a brilliant white light.  As she approached him, his light grew brighter.  She believed the book to be the book of life from the Bible.  She remembered thinking to herself , “Uh-oh, that stuff was for real.”  In the presence of the being, Kimberly began to realize that the “God” she had been presented with through her religious upbringing was not anything like the reality.  She understood that the name given to this being was not of great importance. Whether it be called God,  Allah, Great Spirit, or any other name, it was the same spirit of power within all beliefs.  Upon this realization she also came to recognize the small voice within herself that prompted her to goodness came from this Creator.

While she was in the room, Kimberly was given a life review.  She stated that she did not remember being shown her entire life but instead remembers viewing only part of it. Chief among these scenes were the last weeks of her  life, where she had expressed an abandonment of the idea of God.  She was shown that her acts of selfishness and insensitivity affected others and was able to witness first hand the injury she had inflicted upon others in her own actions.   The fact of her homosexuality carried no relevance in the review as it was an  atmosphere of non-judgment and acceptance.  She was surprised, given the strict Christian beliefs she was raised with, that her lesbianism that was so difficult for humanity to forgive was not a matter of judgment of condemnation at this juncture of her spiritual life. Kimberly then remembered entering another room where there were others, though she failed to recognize any of them.

Shown a diagram symbolizing life choices, Kimberly was given the message that each choice leads to another and all actions carry corresponding consequence that effects not only the individual but everyone. Through this she began to receive an awareness of what she called, “all knowledge.”  This information did not come to her as spoken words, but rather as complete thoughts of understanding and hearing with her mind.  As soon as she had a question in her mind, she instantly had a clear answer in the form of words and pictures. In addition to this she was instructed concerning why and how of everything in the entire universe and how they fit together in their greater relationship to the universe.  So impressed with this new awareness, that she remembered thinking in her excitement; “I have to remember this.”

Looking to her right, Kimberly perceived a beautiful valley off in the distance. Above the valley sat an individual, who she felt to be the figure of Jesus. She then looked down and saw a line and with the intention of joining the others, began to step over the line.  She was then told, “If you cross that line you can not go back, it would mean you would have to die.”  Until that moment, the thought of her dying never crossed her mind.  She had been cooperating with the entire experience without questioning it, which is something that in hindsight seemed unusual for her to do.  Even with her increased sense of awareness, the idea of being separated from her body had not occurred to her until this point. Though she had seen her body in the car, throughout the experience she had felt physically complete.  She remembered laughing and thinking to herself that this was not how she pictured death.  She told them she wanted to stay.  She was then told that her friends and her mother would be deeply hurt if she left them.  She understood that she should return.

The Return and Reintegration

The next thing Kimberly remembered she was sitting in the back of the car.  She remembered regaining consciousness in the car, all the while hearing the most beautiful music and perceived she could hear angels singing as she opened her eyes.  She did not tell anyone of her experience and retained a feeling of wanting to return to that place. However, she instinctively knew she was not to do anything to bring that about on purpose.  This was a direct reference to not committing suicide whether it be accidental through a mistreatment of her body of a direct action against her life. She later tried to recall what she had learned as part of the “all knowledge” she’d experienced but could remember nothing.

Kimberly’s life changed after the near-death experience.  She reported a fast-track lifestyle of drugs and partying prior to her NDE.  As an employee of a large circus, she had planned nothing more than to remain with the show until retirement.  After the near-death experience, Kimberly lost interest in partying and drugs.  It was a change that she did not give much thought to; she just lost interest in self-destructive behavior.  She said it was not a conscious decision but rather this self-described “cleaning up my act” was an indirect result of her NDE and came naturally.

During the NDE, she remembered being told to move to Virginia, which she did.  She was not told why she should move.  She stated that looking back on it, it was time for her to move on.  She said that she felt she was to move there to experience spiritual growth.  As a result of the move, she became involved in the horticulture industry in Virginia. At the time of the interview she had complete a degree in entomology and was working towards a master’s degree through research on honeybees, a honeybee pest, and transgenic corn.

Kimberly stated that she entered into entomology by accident as her first foray into education after relocating to Virginia was as a major in physical therapy. When the program was canceled her thoughts turned to horticulture.  However, since many of the classes she’d taken would more easily transferred to the entomology program, she chose this major instead and has found herself in a position to have frequent opportunities at taking exotic insects to elementary schools and delights the children and herself with a new experience. Since childhood, she’d had a fascination with living things from childhood pets to the lives of bird, bugs, and plants. She reflected on the childhood experience of growing corn and  beans on the windowsill of her parents’ apartment.  As she grew, she said that she “lost her way in life” and forgot the things she’d once cared for and felt the NDE brought her back to the things that she loved much earlier in life. Kimberly described her actions as tender of a large garden of the university farm where she grew and canned many of the vegetable served at the school. An adherent to organic gardening, she used pesticides only when necessary and expressed a preference to “to grow a little extra to insure that there is enough to go around.”  This is her way of sharing and being of service to others.

Due to her near-death experience, her relationships with others have changed.  She has grown increasingly sensitive to how her actions affect those around her and takes great care in handling them with respect.  Her experience has left her with the belief that interpersonal relationships take a greater importance than she’d previously treated them and now feels that the purpose of life is to “take care of each other, help each other, and love each other.”  Feeling an increased responsibility for her life, the feeling of understanding what comes after life has given her more accountability for her actions.

Growing up, Kimberly believed that in being a lesbian she was damned in the afterlife and from this grew a fear of dying. The idea of standing before a vengeful and judgmental god at the moment of death was disturbing to her.  She stated, “When a person believes that they are damned, death is never welcomed.”  Her near-death experience has caused her to view death in a totally different light.  She now looks forward to her encounter with death, knowing that her sexual preference is of no importance in the greater scheme of soul.  Her views on the death of others has also changed.  Before, she would pray for their souls, concerned about what punishment may have befallen them.  Now, she feels that she has seen a glimpse of where they are headed, and it brings her joy.  When she grieves for them, it is for herself that she grieves because of the sadness of loss and this sadness is unselfish in that it does not wish to bring them back. Her fear of death is gone completely; she now refers to death as going home and thought she would miss her family; she is comforted and drawn to the heavenly experience she feels awaits her.

Before the near-death experience, she wavered between fundamentalist Christianity and atheism that served as a rebellion against the condemnation of fundamentalism. Feeling left out of Christianity’s views of humanity and God, she was determined to not have any part of a God who would not accept her as she was. After her experience, she stated that she now “knows” we have a Creator who is omnipresent.  She sees him as a loving and caring One who is not accurately portrayed through the organized religions.  In His presence, she felt accepted as a lesbian, which allowed her to greatly accept herself and find a personal peace. She expressed no interest in in whether others believed her story or not.

Bill

The First Physical Separation

At the time of his interview, Bill was a 49-year-old man in early retirement from a Sheriff’s Department in Michigan, where he had been a highly decorated Assistant Sheriff.  His interview was conducted by phone, from his home on a ranch in Idaho where he lived surrounded by his beloved animals.  He related two experiences over the course of his life with first near-death experience taking place in 1953 when he was 3 years old, and the second in 1970 when he was 20.

Bill’s first NDE took place while vacation with his parents at a lake in Michigan. Bill was playing down by the water near a device that was used to keep minnows and other bait alive in a holding pond.  A pipe went out into the lake to pull fresh water into the bait area.  He and the other children made a game out of playing with the intake pipe.  They would go into the lake and swim near the intake pipe to let the suction pull them down and then they would push away and swim back up to the water’s surface.

On this particular occasion, Bill was not strong enough to free himself from the pipe and remained under water.  He does not remember breathing in any water or feeling any pain.  His next moment of  awareness was in looking down at his body in the water and seeing his father pull him from the lake.  While watching his father give him CPR, he experienced a golden light above and felt the presence of children playing around him. Joining in the children’s game of double jumping, he found himself being instructed in the rules of the game as his father struggled to resuscitate him. He remembers that the idea of the game is to jump up as hard as you can.  When you do, you go up and up, and up, and then, when you begin to slow down, you are allowed to jump again.  It was great fun, and when it was over, you ended up where you started.

The First Return and Reintegration

Many years later, Bill attended a speech on NDEs where the speaker described some children who had experienced NDEs as reporting a phenomenon called double jumping but did not know what this meant.  Bill was able to explain to him what double jumping was, since he himself had played the game.  This proved to be a validating experience for Bill. Due to his youth, Bill accepted the experience without question. It did not frighten him but rather seemed to him to be a natural and common experience.  Later, when he tried to explain the NDE to his family, they did not believe him.  One of the reasons they did not believe him was because he told his mother that during the experience he remembered looking up at the sun and it was so beautiful and warm.  She dismissed his story by telling him, “When we found you, you were face down in the mud.”  After receiving this type of response to his story, he stopped talking about it with others.  When he grew older, he realized that it was not the sun he was looking at, but the light that is so often mentioned by others who have experienced an NDE.

The Second Physical Separation

Bill’s second NDE occurred in 1970 while he was working as a lab assistant in the mollusk division at the University of Michigan.  Married with a 6 month old son, one day his Jeep had broken down, and he had to hitch a ride home and was picked up by a van that was going in his direction.  Inside, there was a bench seat running along the side behind the driver and another bench across the back.  Sitting on the back bench was a hippie who did not acknowledge him as Bill sat on the side bench behind the driver.  Driving down the road in silence, Bill noticed another man sitting to his left on the bench. Since it was dark in the back of the van, it would have been easy not to notice another passenger.  They soon struck up a conversation.

The man beside Bill began to explain the events of Bill’s life over the next several hours. Bill called this one of the most serious and forthright discussion he had experienced in his life.  The man asked him if he were willing to go though what was about to happen to him and he told him “yes, I’ll do it.”  The man said back to him, “so you do understand what is about to happen?”  Bill responded, “Yes.”  All of a sudden, the van came to a stop, the man asked one more time, “Are you sure you are willing to do this,” and Bill responded, “Yes.”

The man foretold him of a sequence of events that he would have to endure for this event to happen.  He cannot remember the exact sequence or why he was willing to go through them.  When he responded back, the hippie said to him, “Who are you talking to?”  The driver of the van also chimed in with his inquiry.  Bill said, “To this man right here.”  When the driver turn on the interior light, there was no one sitting beside him.  He was left with an odd feeling and exited the van.

Left on the side of the road, he began  to walk in the direction of his home. With the van barely out of sight, he saw a child on a bicycle coming in his direction.  Suddenly, a car came up behind the child, swerving with the intent to hit him, and missing only because the child himself had swerved to miss a mud puddle.  There was another person in the back seat who was holding a pipe out of the window.  He swung the pipe at the child’s head but the child ducked and it went over his head instead. When Bill witnessed this, he stepped out into the road and waved his arms so the people in the car could see him.  They then drove directly toward him.  As they did, he picked up a handful of gravel and threw it in the direction of the car.  The driver slammed on the breaks and three passengers exited and began to run towards Bill. Trying to run away, Bill was unable to see clearly and he tripped and fell.  They caught up with him and started hitting him.  While two of them hit him with pipes, he felt an extreme pain and shock to his simultaneously to his back and stomach. When he looked down and touched his hand to his stomach, he saw his hand was covered with blood.  He looked up at them and thinking he had been shot  said, “You’ve killed me.”  The men stopped there assault and ran away.  He realized only later that he had been stabbed instead of shot.

The Second Near-death Experience

Alone, in the dark, and bleeding to death, his body began to go into shock and shake uncontrollably.  When again conscious of his surroundings, he found himself looking down at his own body and from a vantage point devoid of paid.  When he looked around himself, he saw other people standing there. Translucent, they emitted a glow in the darkness and they urged him not to go into the light. At first, not knowing which light they referred to he looked up and saw a brilliant light, which became his whole focus. The light radiated a feeling of absolute love and as he focused on it was drawn forward in a gliding motion through what could be perceived as a tunnel, at the end of which he stopped.

At the end of the tunnel was a male being, who placed his hand on Bill’s shoulder while in front of Bill there persisted a tremendously beautiful orb of light, wisdom, and understanding.  He described himself as being totally absorbed by its presence and felt no  fear.  The man was able to communicate to him through thought.  Mentally, he was asked, “Are you ready for your life review?”  The communication was very clear and concise, and all took place through mental images.  Off to the left, Bill saw what appeared to be a town or city.  Looking at the town, he felt himself accelerating forward and began a process of re-living interpersonal experiences within the context of his life to that point. In situations where he had caused pain to others, he felt their pain and realized how his actions had caused harm to others. Despite the emotional pain involved in the review, Bill wanted to experience it and felt the process as being without judgment. Without fear, he allowed himself to be surrounded by love and acceptance.

To the right of the being, he could distinguish unidentifiable structures.  Before he could discern what the structures could be he was told that it was time to go to the next place. At that moment, he found himself in the presence of another being of light that would serve as a guide. A smaller light than his previous guide, it also emanated a feeling of love and understanding.  This guide escorted him to 12 very tall beings, who dwarfed his of 6’3″ figure.  They were very stoic and gave off no expression of feeling.  With large eyes and heads as well as no mouths, they were dressed in high collared silver garments. Communication passed through their hands and they spoke to him of the past, present, and future.  Each one had something different to add.  He could not remember what they told him excepting the last. It was this last entity who gave him the reason to return to living. He felt a general consensus of encouragement of return from the beings.  He was shown a situation in the future that would save another person’s life.  It was an image of a young man with his head back in pain.  He had the impression that there was something wrong with his neck.  They then told him that it was his son.  He responded by saying, “You mean Erin?”  Erin was his 6-month-old son at home.  They told him no, that it was his other son.  Before he could ask any more questions he realized he was being returned to his body.

The Second Return and Reintegration

Once more aware, he found himself back in his body attempting to pull himself up.  The child on the bicycle was there asking if he could help.  They were in the middle of nowhere.  He told him to go off and get help.  Shortly after he left, a car came by and took him to the hospital.  At the hospital, they discovered that the knife had punctured his lung and had cut half way through the portal vein in the liver.  Too weak to go through surgery, the doctors instructed him that he would bleed to death and asked whom they should call. Giving them his wife’s telephone number, they than called her to tell her that he was dying and would likely be gone before she arrived. Left on the table to die, with periodic checking of his vitals, he did not die. When his family arrived, Bill began to tell her of his choice to live or die but she viewed his descriptions as delirium. Experiencing disbelief and negativity when trying to explain his experience, he eventually stopped attempting to verbalize it.

Years later, at a seminar on near-death experiences, Bill attempted to gain a better understanding and acceptance of his experiences. From that point forward, he would not back down from anyone who tried to tell him his experience was not real.  He found himself empowered in relating the experience. Though he did not undergo any personal changes immediately after the NDE, he did over the course of time realize the effects it was having on his choices. The NDE did not make life easier.  He claims that it actually made it more difficult as he found problems  in relating to people and his newfound sense of reality.

His second son was born in 1978.  As a teenage, the boy was in a rodeo and was seriously injured by a horse. While on the emergency room table, he lay with his head back and when Bill entered the room he recognized this pose in the scene he’d been shown during his NDE. The doctor was unable to if there was a fine fracture in his neck as it did not show on the x-ray. His son decided to go back out to finish the rodeo.  Bill told his son, “No, you are not.”  Never had he stopped his son from riding horses before, but he was going to stop him this time.  He told him that he could be seriously injured if he went back out there in his condition.  His son listened to him and did not go back out.  He believes he saved his son’s life.

He did not know if preventing his son’s death was the only reason he was to come back or if it was only part of the reason.  However, since that experience with his son, his entire life changed.  It was as if his near-death experience was coming full circle in this experience of prophecy.  Leaving his job in law enforcement, Bill entered hospice work where he visited homes of seriously ill patients and takes over the role of primary caregiver. While working in this setting he encountered an incapacitated man who had an inoperable brain tumor who could barely blink his eyelids.  The family talked of the man as though he were already I the past tense and in response the man could only lie unmoving and non-responsive.  Bill spoke to the nurse about his near-death experience and found himself discussing the experience later with the man’s wife. With the man sitting in his wheelchair nearby, Bill began to tell his story attempting to include the man in the telling of his death with the wife’s eyes searching his own to determine if his tale of NDE were truth.  As Bill was telling his story, the man lifted his hands from his lap. Bill reached out for the man’s hands, and brought it to his mouth to kiss it. The man died 6 hours later and Bill feels that he may have helped the man lose his fear of death..

As Bill has integrated the near-death experience into his life, he has found a new sense of inner peace.  However, he is angry at the way things are headed in this country and around the world.  He feels that religion is teaching people to fear God and they are behaving more selfishly than ever.  His own experience had opened his eyes to a universal love that he regrets the rest of the world does not always feel or recognize.

Bill’s work with the animals on his ranch in Idaho has brought him into contact with death on new levels. His many animals include donkeys, horses, dogs, cats, and pigeons but he noted a favorite dog name Star who was mortally wounded by a car. Dragging herself back to the house, when Bill found her she was bleeding severely and death was imminent. As she lay dying, he looked at her, and said, “I love you Star.”  She looked at him and wagged her tail.   Bill saw a glowing multicolored light like that of a shooting star leave her and come towards him.  As it passed through him, he felt a deep sense of love. Through his understanding of death and this feeling of love, he was able to forego mourning her death as he understood it to be a transition only. Her death was a special final moment of her sharing love with him that he said he would cherish forever.

With an extensive background in science including marine biology and forensic science, his strong analytical background creates a level of skepticism. Bill stated that if he had not had the experiences himself, he would never believe it from someone else.  His personal experiences with NDEs have changed his whole perspective on life.

He left the Sheriff’s Department on disability with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Just after he left the force, he received a visitation from another officer with whom he had had frequent spiritual conversations.  Bill had not seen this man in 7 years, and the conversation happened within a dream. As the conversation turned serious he felt a pain in his chest, forcing in him to wake himself up. He went back to sleep, and again his friend entered the dream.  They talked and laughed and again the conversation turned serious and he had another pain in his chest, only this time he held onto the pain until he could not take it any more. The third time it happened he got out of bed to call his friend.  His wife told him to wait until Sunday because it was so late and besides, the rates would be cheaper.  When Sunday arrived, he received a call from a mutual friend who had some bad news.  It was about the friend he had been dreaming of.  The same morning he was having the dream of his friend was the morning that he died of congestive heart failure.  His friend was in Michigan and Bill was in Idaho.

Bill stated that since his NDE, he has learned to listen to his internal voice more closely.  He said that he has found its guidance to be valuable.  There have been situations where he will associate with someone, even if he does not want to, because his internal voice will tell him that he needs to.  When he listens, he finds that he is rewarded by this new personal connection.  This is exampled in his meeting with a man named Joe with whom he did not feeling comfortable. But following his internal voice he chose to become friends with the man. A serious alcoholic, Joe suffered  from cirrhosis of the live. One night Bill awoke with a lucid dream of Joe where Bill asked and the man responded, “I don’t know, I just know that I want a beer.”  He then proceeded to goad Bill into drinking a beer.  Bill began to comply and then stopped and said, “Wait a minute, you are not going to use me to get drunk.”  He must have spoken aloud, for the commotion awoke his wife who asked him, “Who are you talking to?”  He said it was Joe, and she wanted to know if he were dead.  By this time, she had accepted the reality that he had unexplainable experiences concerning death.

Bill didn’t answer her but rather they both went back to sleep where Joe returned and told him of his fear of going to the light and his guilt at the people he’d killed in Vietnam. The next day, when Bill went to visit the man, Joe asked, “I suppose you thought I died last night, didn’t you?”  Bill said, “Yes.”  It turned out that Joe had become ill from drinking that night and was taken to the hospital unconscious.  Bill asked him if he could remember anything from his unconscious state, and Joe only said he had a dream about many issues.  He then said, “There is one thing I can tell you, and that is the only beer I could find was beer in green bottles.”  The only beer in Bill’s house was in the basement in a refrigerator and it was Micky’s Beer, in green bottles.  Bill recounted for him what he could remember from his lucid dream which helped prompt Joe’s own memory. Joe stopped drinking.

The NDE helped Bill to achieve greater understanding in his life.  Raised in a conservative Presbyterian household, as a child Bill avoided church. At the time just before the near-death experience, he was an atheist and since the experience maintains a disbelief in the God espoused by his childhood religion.  For Bill, God is not a separate entity outside of ourselves ruling over us but instead a compilation of existence in its entirety.  He went on to state, “That which it is, I am and that which I am, it is.  He is us and we are him.”

He believes in and stated he “knows” that there is a Creator.  He said that the Creator is the source of all love, wisdom, knowledge, and understanding.  “That which it is I am and that which is me will continue to survive and live beyond the death of the body. We have a symbiotic relationship going on with these bodies.  When the body dies, I will continue on, I know that.  I have known that since it happened.”  He has fears of how he is going to die as he does not want to  die in pain, but not a fear of death itself.  His greatest fear arises from  a general lack of understanding of the Creator by the public, “Religion seems to want to take freewill away from you.  They want to take back what was given to you.  They want you to commit your soul.  The Creator would never want you to commit your soul.”

Bill views living as a destination of experience and service to others. Our bodies act as vehicles for human experience.  For Bill, NDE removed the mystery of what happens after death which he feels we are not meant to fully know while we are still in human form. The ignorance allows us to have the full human experience and to become more creative.  He wishes he could remember what the 12 beings had to say to him.  He would like to remember in better detail what happened.  He was curious why the people at the beginning of the NDE told him not to go to the light.  He went to the light anyway and it was not the wrong thing.  They seemed to be wrong.  They seemed to be out of their bodies, but not into the tunnel.  It felt to him that they were not accepting the love in themselves, and they were afraid that God would not accept them because of the things they had done wrong in their lives.

Bill told a story of his days at the Sheriff’s Department where they were housing a hit man for the Mafia.  The prisoner received a life sentence but was under protection because there were contracts out on his life.  He was convicted and sentenced to life for killing his wife.  Witnesses said he walked into a bar and pulled his wife’s head out of a bag and said, “I’ll take a whiskey and give the bitch whatever she wants.” While interviewing the hit man, he revealed that he had had surgery and had left his body during the operation and saw a bluish light.  As he came closer to it, he grew colder and became frightened.  He refused to go to the light because it frightened him.  Bill feels that he experienced the light as cold because at that time he was not able to see the love in himself.  He felt that it was this man’s fear of God that kept him from the light.

Laverne

The Physical Separation

Living in Idaho, Laverne was 28-year-old rapid eye movement therapist at the time of her  telephone  interview. She reported that she was 21 when she had the near-death experience which took place during a hospital stay while she was being treated for anorexia.   At the time of the NDE, her weight was down to 76 pounds and her body was no longer strong enough to maintain life as her organs fought against her self-imposed starvation.  At several points during the stay, Laverne felt herself close to leaving her body. When she expressed these feelings of death to the nurses, the responded by interpreting her statement as a desire to commit suicide and removed all sharp objects from her room. When she once more felt she would slip away, she let it happen and let herself lose consciousness.

The Near-death Experience

Laverne experienced a feeling of weakness before closing her eyes, but as she began to slip away she felt herself leave her physical  body. Finding herself conscious but alone in a  dark tunnel, she felt fear and disorientation. Initially, Laverne had difficulty in relating her NDE as the experience called up feelings of latent anxiety in connection to the tunnel. Being afraid of the dark, this portion of the experience proved to be especially difficult.  At the end of the tunnel, she saw a light.  She described it as a living light.  When she entered into it, she felt a profound peace and a separation from her physical body. Feeling light and free, she remembers her though process during this time as being particularly clear. At this time, she first became aware  of the light being which acted as her guide throughout the NDE.

Laverne recalled that off to her left was an area intended for a life-review, and she moved in that direction though at the time of the interview she had difficulty in recalling the actual life-review experience. She was able to recall that the review did not show her entire life but instead only portent pieces.  From time to time, she still recalls occasional scenes from the life review that she had forgotten.  After she experienced the life review, the being asked if she wanted to go into the conference room.  Responding with a yes, she encountered several tall beings with large gray eyes and small mouths. Resembling to her extraterrestrials rather than light beings, she felt soothed  while in the presence of the tall beings. Each being had something different to impart to her and they explained to her the causes of experiences in her life. Through this she was able to gain a better understanding of her life.

The Return and Reintegration

Having been anorexic since age 4, the beings explained that her experience was meant to help in instructing others. She was told that when she returned, she would be able to recover from the anorexia.  After 5 years, she made a complete recovery from anorexia. During that time she experienced dreams instructing her on ways to heal. Laverne’s recovery was done without medical or mental-health treatment and she now holds classes where she imparts this knowledge to others. She feels that it is important to reach out and help as many people as possible.  Her experience left her with a strong desire to be in service to others.

Instructed on Rapid Eye Therapy while conferencing with the beings, they explained the mechanics of the treatment and that she would eventually use it in helping to treat others. It took 6 years before she found someone who could teach her the technique and soon afterwards she began her work. She now has a practice specializing in Rapid Eye Therapy and helps individuals in healing  their own emotional injuries of which Laverne herself was familiar through her own experiences.

Having grown up in an alcoholic home, she eventually married an alcoholic and found herself in a pattern of relationships with alcoholics. After the near-death experience, she realized that she could break that pattern.  Since that time, she ended her codependent relationships with alcoholics and made other changes that allowed her to become a more differentiated individual. The changes enacted in her personal  life as a result of her near-death experience have assisted  in walking away from these bad relationships. Feeling she was not being positively guided, she found these changes easier to enact. Since the experience, she has felt much more self-confident.  She stated that she now knows what happens after death, she no longer fears it.

Laverne has come to realize being as a willed personal choice and through this realization has come to be more accepting of herself and life in general. She no longer views herself as a victim, but as a conscious and willing participant. Prior to the experience, she was locked in an ongoing battle with her mother.  Since the experience, she and her mother have become good friends.  Having harbored resentment towards her mother in the role her mother took in bringing her into the world and the situations she found herself in as a child as a result of her mother’s choice, she realizes now that the choice was her own and she can now forgive her mother.

Laverne attempted to relate her experience to the doctors but was told that because of the medications she was on that in medical opinion she was simply hallucinating. After this she did not tell anybody about her NDE in an effort to avoid being verbally attacked by those who would not understand or who accused her of making up the story as a means of seeking attention.  When she finally told people of her experience, they looked at her incredulously.  However, the dramatic changes that took place in her life since the NDE helped to validate her story and make people more accepting of her experience. As an agoraphobic, as well as an  anorexic, the experience of the tunnel was particularly traumatic for her but since the experience she has stopped experiencing this phobia and gives lectures and workshops on the topic.

Before the near-death experience, she believed in a literal interpretation of the Bible.  As a fundamentalist Christian she believed that failure to obey the Ten Commandments led to literal damnation. Prior to her NDE, she had become divorced and broken other commandments, convincing her that she would go to hell.  During her near-death experience, none of that seemed to matter.  She did not remember the commandments being an issue, nor did she have the sense of being judged.  She no longer fears God’s judgment but rather feels an increased closeness in her relationship to God.

Believing now that souls yearn in essence for the experience of living, the earthly experience satisfies this urge. People she believes are an extension of the creative force and have a hand in their own experiences whether  they be good or bad.  She feels that in the end, everything equals out.  While she was having the NDE, she experienced the idea that there may be variations of hell that some individuals experience, but not in the biblical sense as taught in religions.  She understood hell to be an erroneous perception that an individual might have as being separated from spirit. As a result of her experience, Laverne feels herself to be a kinder individual and no longer harbors feelings of anger and bitterness. Since the experience, she has become increasingly tolerant of others and is now able  to view things with an eye toward acceptance.  Before the experience, she no longer desired to live but since has worked on improving the quality of life for herself and others.  She expressed a belief in life as a precious thing that she wishes to make the most of.

Robert

The First Physical Separation

When interviewed, Robert was a 39 year old national sales representative of machinery and was living in a small town in Kentucky. During the course of his life, Robert claimed to have experienced three separate instances of near-death experience during his adulthood. The first occurred in 1984 when the subject was 24 years old, the second in 1990 at the age of 30 and the third in 1997 when Robert was 37.  In the interview, which was conducted by phone, Robert experienced the most difficulty of all of the interviewees in remembering the actual NDE.  However, the resulting affects of his experiences were quite similar to those of the others.

The first experience occurred in 1984 as Robert worked at hauling hay. Wearing a hat which had been a Christmas present from his brother, the same head blew off his head as he sat in the back of the truck. Alerting the driver, he jumped from the truck to find it. Not realizing Robert had gotten out of the truck, the driver began to back up.  Robert found the hat on the road and as he was bending to pick it up was knocked down by the truck and fell under the oncoming wheel. Convinced he would not survive, he left his body just before he felt the impact of the oncoming tire. However, from his new viewpoint he was able to see the tires run over his prostrate body. Leaving his body felt much like the actions of a powerful suction pulling until he was released from his body.  He reported a sense of oneness with everything as the experience progressed.  It felt to him as if he had entered a state of universal consciousness. However, at the thought of leaving his wife and baby, he was prompted to return to his body where shortly after an ambulance arrive to take him to the hospital.

The Second Physical Separation

The second experience took place in 1990 when Robert and several of his friends were exploring a reputedly haunted house.  Boisterously shouting from the third story of the house, “We’re going to get you, ghost,” Robert felt a presence push him through two floors where he landed by hitting his head, causing a skull fracture. During the ambulance ride, his EKG flat lined, and Robert experienced his second NDE.  This time his perspective was of looking down at his body in the ambulance and was able to not only see other individuals in the vehicle but could sense their thoughts as well as a general knowledge of their past and future. Robert claimed to actually experience and feel their emotions as he perceived a sense of them each stemming from one consciousness.  Robert began to feel his insignificance in the scheme of things but was able to conclude that he also possessed a sense of importance as well.  As he began to sense that he was moving away from the ambulance, he was brought back to his body with a sudden shock as fibrillation restarted his heart.

The Third Physical Separation

Robert’s third and most recent NDE was in 1997 while hunting with family members. While in pursuit of the same rabbit, Robert and his brother-in-law took separate paths. As he ran, he felt a sudden sense of a blinding white light and perceived a presence near which caused his senses to stand on end.  The being seemed to take over his body.  For an unknown reason, he reached behind himself and with one arm grabbed his 12-year-old nephew, and pulled him behind his body as if to shield him from something.  At that moment, it felt as if a sledgehammer hit him.  He then heard silence and dropped to his knees.  Robert found out later that, his brother-in-law who by virtue of his own path of pursuit had come out ahead of him. Tripping and falling, his brother-in-law’s laded shotgun discharged and the bullet had ripped through Robert’s face. By instinctively shielding his nephew, he acted as a human shield for a bullet which would have likely killed the boy. The bullet hit him in the face and went through his neck.  His entire face was peppered with shot; however, the shot missed both of his eyes completely.  Again, he briefly felt himself leave his body and return.

The Return and Reintegration

Though each NDE was brief, Robert described each successive experience as filling him with a sense of greater understanding and knowledge of life which defied popular explanation. He recalled brief life reviews during each experience but did not remember a light or the sight of another being. However, he remembered sensing the presence of an unknown being explaining the reasons behind his life experiences. This same being, aided him in understanding God as a collection of consciousness. At the time of his NDE, Robert was a practicing Southern Baptist but immediately after his first experience he left the church as he no longer perceived of God in the same way. He now perceived God as all loving and accepting, feeling that all of life worked towards creating the collective makeup which was God.

The NDE that he experienced in the ambulance was the longest of the three.  At that time, he reported having experienced a sense of total consciousness.  Accepting the entire experience without questions, he felt a desire to cooperate with the experience. The life reviews he experienced during each NDE, were contractions in the length of duration for each. While they seemed at the time to be experienced in a flash, he was later able to recall details of each scene. Time and space did not exist during the experiences.

Throughout the life reviews, he was shown situations from his past in which he was ashamed. Through reviewing these scenes, Robert stated that he felt he had become a better person. However, he did not review his entire life.  Each time Robert had a life review, it would go over particular highlights of his life.  The life review of the second NDE was the longest and more detailed. As part of the reviews, he was shown why each event in his life took place and realized that everything happens for a reason. Learned experiences are meant to progress and enrich an individual’s life. With this new understanding, he became more accepting of others within the perspective that everyone follows a path of personal development from which they are meant to learn.

At the time of Robert’s first experience when he was run over by the truck, he desired to do something new with his life as he was bored with being a day laborer and felt his life was going nowhere. After the NDE, he decided to make the change and went back into the Navy where he was given a position in computer training. As one of only 12  people chosen for the program, Robert felt a renewed pride in his work.

Robert has founded an increased optimism since his NDEs and now feels a renewed desire to help others. This was not a conscious realization but rather a gradual development of his growing awareness. He found himself being more generous towards people, in contrast to his initial behavior prior to his first NDE.  The experiences helped Robert to improve his relationship with his mother, who suffered from bi-polar disorder and who had been hospitalized throughout his childhood. From this experience grew shame at her illness and anger at her abandonment of him. After his NDE, he began to feel more accepting of her and understanding due to the life reviews which helped him to understand the path his mother had needed to follow in her own life. Through this understanding Robert found himself able to feel compassion for her and expressed the belief that without the experiences he would not have made an effort to become close to his mother.

Fear also stopped being an issue after each NDE, the only fear remaining for him is feeling an inability to accomplish everything before he dies. He also expressed a desire to speak openly with his daughter and stepson about his experiences but felt that this may not come to fruition due to their own spiritual development.

Review of Literature

Article #1: “Healing Images and Symbols in Non ordinary States of Consciousness”

Nearly eight million Americans claim or admit to having a near death experience. It is no surprise then that this phenomenon has gained a great deal of attention from the medical community, religious people, the so-called “new age” thinkers, and, psychologists. Historically, Americans have tended to be uncomfortable with the uncertainty of death. With the proliferation of stories of people who have had insight to what the experience of death is really like, millions of people have rushed to buy the latest “guide” that promises to help them “prepare”.
One of the authors whose work is explored in this article, Jeanne Achterberg (1994), notes that the current interest in ritual, myth, and multicultural use of symbolic healing is an additional reason to took more deeply into the nature of imagination. “Glib interpretations of symbols and the placement of universal meaning based on a limited sample of cultures may not serve to benefit the person who is seeking knowledge and healing. On the other hand, a broad knowledge of the way symbolic healing is used world wide, as well as a sensitive understanding of a person’ s personal interpretation, will lend strength to the therapeutic encounter (Achterberg, 1994). Although it is possible for one to be critical and say that her words may be applied to numerous psychological experiences, her comments are indeed related to near death experiences, images and their symbolism as created by “non ordinary” states of consciousness.
Achterberg’s research and experience with people in the midst of life-threatening or life-changing crises form a great deal of the background for the observations in her article. Her work, entitled “Healing Images and Symbols in Non ordinary States of Consciousness (Revision, 1994) draws heavily on both cultural symbolism and the collective definition of symbolism most often accepted in the psychological field from the theories and beliefs of Carl Jung (Jung, 1954). She carefully examines the biological, psychological, and transpersonal bases of an individual’s experience of nearly dying. She also explains why symbols are important to the healing process. For example, she notes that symbols are what serve as links between the known and the unknown and “between the inner mysterious worlds of experience and the conscious expression of those experiences. As such, it is like a midwife who assists at the birth of meaning.” (Achterberg, 1994) Giving meaning to a life crisis is, once again according to Achterberg, a healing (or “making whole”) function, as the crisis is rewoven back into the fabric and flow of a person’s life.
Overall, Achterberg does a superb job at expressing how the use of symbols to represent what cannot be seen, yet deeply felt is the most basic form of all medicines. Her article is by far, the most scientifically-based and clinically detached of the three articles reviewed. It appears that through her writing she has neatly assembled the parts and parcels of a near death experience, explained them in terms of cultural symbolism, and moved on to why an individual would experience this “symbolic” death in the first place.

Article #2: “Using Ketamine to Induce the Near-Death Experience”
In stark contrast to the first article, Karl Jansen’s “Using Ketamine to Induce the Near-Death Experience”, asserts that near-death experiences(NDE’s) are a matter of chemical processes. He attempts to show this through the drug ketamine. As he states “near-death experiences can be induced using the dissociative drug ketamine”(Jansen 55). By going through chemical processes, one step at a time, he proves that induction of a NDE can be reproduced, and therefore, NDE can be explained, rather than a metaphysical phenomenon. He notes that advances in neuro-science have provided new insights into the mechanisms involved at the mind-brain interface. For instance, on the “brain” side, NDE’s are due to drug binding sites for the neurotransmitter glutamate.

If we compare both articles at this point, neither has adequately proven that the other side is wrong. Jansen’s article only covers one viewpoint, however, it fails to discover any scientific fact for the existence of NDE’s and so is therefore convinced that they do not exist. He says, “Philosophical and theological issues are beyond the scope of the present discussion, which is based within the scientific paradigm and is thus best assessed from within this paradigm. Recent advances in neuroscience are bringing us closer to a brain-based under standing [sic] of the NDE as an altered state of consciousness. This discussion does not address the issue of whether there is life after death, but does argue that NDE’s are not evidence for life after death” (Jansen 55).

Jansen’s article is a good example of the many prevailing opinions among those who believe that the NDE does not exist. He maintains that the NDE can be induced with the dissociative drug ketamine, and that recent advances in neuroscience have provided “new insights as to the mechanisms involved at the mind-brain interface” (Jansen 55). Of these new insights, Jansen maintains that “it is now clear that these NDE’s are due to blockade of brain receptors (drug binding sites) for the neurotransmitter glutamate” (55), and that conditions that predispose an NDE are those of low oxygen, low blood flow and low blood sugar. In fairness, all of those conditions would most likely be present at the time of impending death.
Jansen goes on to state that the foregoing should be obvious if based solely on logic, and turns to the Oxford-English Dictionary in order to prove his scientific point: death is final. Death is the irreversible cessation of all life function, according to the dictionary, and so the logical conclusion based on that assumption is that anyone “returning” from the dead was not truly dead, after all. Points that Jansen does not discuss in his conclusion of the validity of NDE’s, however, are: (1) a dictionary normally is not a definitive authority on scientific investigation; (2) “NDE” is an acronym for “near-death experience” and does not apply to those who do not return-those have indeed experienced the final solution; and (3) the entire area could well lie beyond what we know to be the body of scientific knowledge. When Jansen insists that all investigation be done within “the scientific paradigm” (55), he gives no allowance for the fact that the knowledgeable of Newton’s, Galileo’s, Pasteur’s or even Einstein’s times could very well have made the same claim (and often did) in regard to their work.
What Jansen and others sharing his views refuse to examine, however, is the universal nature of reports of the NDE, regardless of cultural background, socioeconomic status, religious affiliation or life experience. By limiting themselves only to an educated guess as to just how the brain works and to physical ramifications only, Jansen and his ilk miss the entire point of the fascination of the NDE.

Article #3: “Is there Life After Death?”

In the U.S. News & World Report, “Is There Life After Death”, by  Brendan Koerner and Joshua Rich, reminds us that whether or not one supports the existence of near death experience(NDE), lives are touched, and that may be the most important thing. Koerner thinks that what we can justifiably believe is rudimentary understanding of the physical structure of the stars, we also have that same sort of understanding of NDE’s. From talk shows to books expressing the same message, the numbers of people willing to say they have indeed had an NDE may be as high as 15 million Americans alone (Koerner 58). The NDE phenomenon is not limited to millions of other people of even more diverse backgrounds and culture have testified to the same type of experience.
One researcher, Bruce Greyson, is a psychiatrist at the University of Virginia Medical School “who has spent much of his professional life investigating these events as possible `peepholes’ into a world beyond”(Koerner 58), and reports that those with NDE’s “become enamored with the spiritual part of life, and less so with possessions, power, and prestige”(Koerner 58). Nancy Bush, past president of the International Association for Near-Death Studies, says, “Most near-death survivors say they don’t think there is a God. They know” (Koerner 58; Grosso 26).
The routine is very close to universal. Though the popular press and the dawn of the electronic age has made the story more accessible to those who have not experienced the events for themselves, the NDE phenomenon is far from new. As far as we know, Plato is the first to have reported on the omniscient, loving light, and that was more than 2,000 years ago. Plato told the story of a seriously wounded soldier’s journey toward “a straight light like a pillar, most nearly resembling a rainbow, but brighter and purer”(Koerner 58). Thirteenth-century monks reported much the same; more recently, formerly-committed agnostics such Betty Eadie are telling anyone who will listen, along with some who won’t, the unfolding of their personal NDE.
Raymond Moody was the first to report that “those who had undergone NDEs became more altruistic, less materialistic, and more loving” (Koerner 58). Since Moody’s 1975 publication, dozens of psychiatrists and neuroscientists have attempted to expose the roots of these NDE’s that have so changed peoples’ lives. Researchers are absent while the event is taking place, so they must necessarily rely on hearsay, which not only cannot be corroborated but also cannot be replicated. In accepted scientific investigation, replication ability reigns supreme: if it can’t be replicated, it must not be true.
Despite the limits of what we know of scientific investigation, the facts remain. “No matter what the nature of the experience, it alters some lives. Alcoholics find themselves unable to imbibe. Hardened criminals opt for a life of helping others. Atheists embrace the existence of a deity, while dogmatic members of a particular religion report feeling welcome in any church or temple or mosque” (Koerner 58). Even without the “traditional” NDE qualities, those who have brushed death normally decide that “it’s a matter of having discovered a secret place in ourselves-a place that everyone has, but only a few are lucky enough to penetrate” (Johnston 146).
Despite the debate that has been going on for years, one glaring truth remains: we have no clear explanation for the NDE, whether for purpose, inclination or the type of person most likely to experience an NDE. We also have no definitive answers as to the causes of cancer, but our lack of knowledge does not prevent its claim of thousands of lives each year. We cannot deny the reality of the NDE simply to be able to preserve every ounce of human arrogance we can muster.

Discussion:

.

Rites of Passage

Each of the individuals interviewed appear to have experienced the three phases in a rite of passage as described by Van Gennep (Turner, 1982, p. 24) which include a separation from their bodies, separation from their environments and found themselves in an otherworldly experience far different from the one they experienced in their day-to-day lives.

Redirected away from physical reality, Steven, Sally, Marco, Kimberly, and Laverne all experienced a dark void or tunnel before embarking on their near-death journey.  For each, it was a traumatic experience.  The darkness at the beginning of their experiences created for them an intense sense of separation from life and reality resulting in feelings of alienation.  It is interesting to note that by the end of their experiences, once they have returned and reintegrated to their normal lives, they each felt more connected to life and God.

The Initial Phase of Separation

The initial phase of separation was dramatized for each an alienation from life and in itself marks an important rite of passage. Through this experience they felt an exaggerated sense of aloneness, which caused feelings of personal longing and connection to others. Through an initial sense of disconnection they were able to first truly understand a connection to humanity.  This disconnection was a result of the beginning darkness of their NDEs, where they subsequently felt alone and forced to call for a deeper connection.  In each recollection, this call for help were answered but only after the desire to not be alone was recognized.  This realization of fear and reaching towards connection rather than withdrawing into themselves expresses a need, which was fulfilled when they received an answer.

Of the eight participants, three failed to experience this darkness and fear or the answering voice at the onset of their experience.  Bill, Tom, and Robert began their experiences in the presence of others.  However, it may be noted that Bill’s experience began in the back of a dark van speaking to a stranger he could not see when he was still fully conscious and possessed of his bodily form. This in itself presents a bit of an anomaly in the experiences; however, it more clearly falls under a matter of psychic premonition or intervention than that of a NDE.  Tom’s proved to be different as well as his began not with people but with doves while alone in the hospital room.  Robert’s experiences began with sensing the presence of a being bathed in or constructed of white light neither were central themes in his experiences.

The Second Phase of a Liminal State

As the experiences continued, each interviewee progressed into the second phase of the rites of passage.  Entering a liminal state, or a state of in-between statuses, they each felt a sense of being outside their bodies and separated from the physical world. However, they were not part of this new plane and were not allowed to remain, but instead remained in a state of physical and emotional limbo. Five of the eight participants experienced direct visual contact with ritual leaders while in the liminal state.  The ritual leaders appeared as guides, generally distinct from other light beings and able to communicate through mental telepathy. Though neither Tom, Sally, nor Robert reported direct visual contact with guides, they still describe the presence of another being. Tom’s experience took the form of doves on either side of himself, and Sally experienced the presence of her mother.  Robert experienced the presence of another being during each of his NDEs and the presence of a being during all his life reviews but it was not a distinct figure.  All those interviewed stated they felt the presence of a Creator and felt surrounded by a powerful unconditional love at all times during their experience, excepting the initial phase of darkness reported in some of the recollections.

All experienced profound personal and spiritual awakening during the second stage of their NDEs. Claims were consistent in the clarity of the interviewee’s thought process during the experience as well as relating the events from a seemingly clear memory. Those parts that were indefinite tended to be the same for each individual and included primarily the recounting of exact conversations or the actual events related during their life review experience.  During the liminal stage, they experienced a variety of phenomena such as life reviews, prophecies of the future, revelations concerning their personal history, and cures for illnesses.  During this phase some reported an intensification of color and sound.  Some of the volunteers reported having seen colors that do not exist in our reality and exceed any spectrum relatable in.  For some, color and sound began to lose their boundaries and blend; Marco reported an instance where his senses affected the attributes of other senses such as the sensation of “hearing” color.

Life reviews were also a common occurrence among some of the participants during this phase. There is a commonality in the review itself as those who experienced this particular event noted that they did not experience a review of their entire life but rather only important highlights, generally centered on interpersonal connections. Without exception, those reporting life reviews explained that they felt no judgment based upon the events reviewed but instead a comfortingly sensation of love. Each accepted the review, as an opportunity for contemplation which emphasized the notion of being a service to others.

The life review is akin to a great dream within the power dream of the NDE, which signals the readiness of the initiate to enter the third stage in a rite of passage.  Jung describes “big” dreams as those that “employ numerous mythological motifs that characterize the life of the hero, of that greater man who is semi-divine by nature”  (Jung, 1974, p. 79).  Those that had the life review were prepared upon return and reintegration to move their lives in a new direction; at times these paths were explicitly addressed in the life review sequence and in others they had simply developed a need from the situation to redirect their energies in service to others.

The Third Stage of Reintegration

Changed by feelings of deeper understanding and intimacy within their individual worlds, each individual entered into the third stage of the rite of passage in their reintegration into society. The new insights gained through the experience and a feeling of being touched by the divine, allowed these individuals to experience a new relationship with life. As a direct result to this new outlook and feeling of connection, arose feelings of connectedness and being a service to humanity

Spiritual transformation was a commonality for each of the individuals interviews. Dogmatic beliefs became less rigid as a result the individuals found themselves more open of respecting of others beliefs. In fact, they found themselves turning completely from organized religion. The atheists and agnostics of the group became more accepting of a spiritual reality and began, as a result of their NDEs, to believe in a creator/God delving more deeply into spiritual understanding. It is interesting that those individuals who prior to their NDE were at opposite ends of the faith spectrum  moved toward a similar understanding of divinity and spirituality after they’re experience. This change in religious affiliation is another way of observing their change in status within society after having had the near-death experience. All who believed in God and a hard-line Christianity, with the exception of Steven, lost their fear of God. All subsequently lost their fear of death itself, as having confronted what they perceived as the afterlife they lost the fear of the unknown generally connected with death.

Steven, Tom, Marco, Kimberly, Bill, Sally, Robert, and Laverne all expressed that their near-death experience caused them to make personal changes in their lives due to the similar feeling of the experience re-directing them onto a different life path. Within the context of their experiences with NDE, they came to make different life choices. As a helpful precursor to these changes are the life reviews; each who experienced this phenomenon found it easier to make the necessary changes to their lives, having been confronted by their past decisions.  All  who were interviewed experienced a spiritual and emotional transformation that they attributed to their near-death experiences.  They were able to confront and resolve long-standing issues or doubts, while also reevaluating what they had once viewed with certainty such as long held religious beliefs or their method of living. I propose their near-death experiences, described by all as pivotal, fall within the definition of a rite of passage and that all of these people were truly transformed by their experience.

Life Reviews and Judgment

Among the general population today there is a widely held cultural myth that our lives may be judged by the heavens on the actions that define our lives while on earth.  Promoted in literature and entertainment, this myth carries a preponderance of good overcoming evil to save the day. The subtext of these stories implies that the universe supports right action and not wrong action; these archetypes of good and evil, right and wrong, are determined by culture, religion, and history. Following this line of thought is the assumption that for right action to be supported a judgment must be exacted as a determination of what actions are assigned as right and what is wrong.  This pervasive belief has subtly settled into our cultural consciousness which transposes individual belief in its spiritual value, as on a cultural level they respond to these definitions.

We have all heard the joke about lightening striking the individual who has acted in a manner defined as wrong. Most people will laugh as a defense against even the slight possibility that this may be true even if their religion does not support such a preposition such as a vengeful God.  Somewhere in the back of our minds, we wonder if it might be true.  This is a belief which appears across all persuasions of religions as it is  based in cultural rather than religious belief. When a person’s life is described as having flashed before their eyes, it is culturally understood to mean that person had a close brush with death. Not officially taught in Bible-based religion, it is pervasive in the culture and absorbed by being part of this culture. The judgment that goes hand in hand with this belief of our lives flashing before our eyes is a commonly connected eventuality.

Desiring to avoid the wrath of God provides a major motivating factor in peoples adherence to their religions. Both historically and in the modern world, there have been cultures which sacrifice or make offerings to please their god or goddess and avoid punishment.  One need only to watch Sunday morning television programming for modern examples of televangelists playing into this fear and raising the specter of God’s retribution for displeasing Him. For centuries, those in power have exploited the fear of God’s judgment and wrath within religion and governments to motivate and manipulate whole populations.  It has been used to attain, retain, and extend their own privileges and power.  They have shared a strong desire in not wanting this belief to change, as without it they run the risk of not being able to motivate their followers in the name of a fearful and vengeful God. With it they can lend the power of divinity to their assertions of control and oppression.  The belief that we may be judged by God on our past actions upon death is very frightening.

The myth of the life review holds within it, no matter how small, some fear of being judged before God.  Those who report having had a life review during their NDE assert that in fact the opposite is true.  The interviewees who experienced a life review during their NDE have come to understand it as simply a review and not a moment of judgment.  The actual experience of a life review appears to have a profound effect on the individual beyond the actual experience.  The experience of having a life review during the NDE seems to affect later spiritual and vocational choices. Marco, Kimberly, Bill, Robert, and Laverne all experienced life