Organizations related to Spiritualism and Spirituality
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, when Dr. Ian Stevenson resigned as Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry to become Director of the Division and Chester F. Carlson Professor of Psychiatry, positions he served in for the next 35 years.
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.
DOPS is one of a little over a dozen University-based research units in the world that investigates similar paranormal phenomena. Some of the other research centers are at Princeton University, the University of Arizona, the University of Edinburgh, the University of Amsterdam, and the University of Hertfordshire in England. The researchers at the University of Virginia's unit have a special interest in studying the evidence for survival after death.