Date: 18 September 2009
The Division of Perceptual Studies (DOPS) is a unit of the Department of Psychiatric Medicine of the University of Virginia's Health System. It was founded in 1967.
The Division's main purpose, and the raison d'Ítre for its foundation, is the scientific empirical investigation of phenomena that suggest that currently accepted scientific assumptions and theories about the nature of mind or consciousness, and its relationship to matter, may be incomplete. Examples of such phenomena, sometimes called paranormal, include various types of extrasensory perception (such as telepathy), apparitions and deathbed visions (sometimes referred to as after-death communications or ADCs), poltergeists, experiences of persons who come close to death and survive (usually called near-death experiences or NDEs), out-of-body experiences (OBEs), and claimed memories of previous lives.
Although the University of Virginia is a state university, the State contributes almost no financial support for research conducted within the Division of Perceptual Studies. Each year the Division must obtain funding to support its research and operating costs. The Division's funding comes from the mentioned bequests and from donations from private foundations and donors.