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Near Death Experiences

Research Scales Used to Classify an NDE : the Weighted Core Experience Index

Near Death Experiences Series, Article 13 (Reviewed by the Editorial Board)

In order to allow researchers to differentiate between near death and other experiences, in 1980 Kenneth Ring, an American psychologist, devised a ten-point interview scale which allowed the experiences to be standardized and measured. He named his research scale ‘the Weighted Core Experience Index’ (WCEI) which he presented in his book (1). The WCEI was intended to measure the phenomenological and depth variety of NDEs.
 Ring then went on to analyze the experiences of 102 people who had come close to death. He found that based upon this weighted scale, 48 per cent of his group had experienced an NDE.
The core experience

Having examined the cases, Ring concluded that there was a ‘core experience’ which unfolded in a characteristic pattern. The stages that he described were:

- An experience of peace, well-being and absence of pain
- A sense of detachment from the physical body, progressing to an out of body experience
- Entering darkness, a tunnel experience with panoramic memory and predominantly positive effect
- An experience of a light which is bright, warm and attractive
- Entering the light, meeting persons or figures

 Non-core experiences
Other (non-core) experiences, which he also referred to, include, among others, reviewing one’s life, encountering a presence, encountering deceased loved ones, and deciding to return (1). Ring believed an NDE consists of stages and wrote “In general, the earlier stages of the experience are more common, and the latter stages manifest themselves with systematically decreasing frequency”.
Better identification of near death experiences

Both the WCEI as well as the NDE Scale developed by professor Greyson (2), ((3) have improved consistency in the field, have decreased the ambiguity in descriptions of both the phenomenology and the frequency of the NDE experience, since they have been useful methods to identify NDEs. (3) According to literature (4) it seems that incidence estimates are higher with the WCEI, average score of 37%, than with the NDE Scale which yields 18% incidence average score (with unspecified criterion). (3) 

 ............If you want to find out more, visit the Near Death Experiences section of our web site (5)


 (1) Ring, K. 1980. Life at death: a scientific investigation of the near-death experience. New York : Coward, McCann & Geoghegan.

(2) Greyson, B. The Near-Death Experience Scale : Construction, reliability, and validity. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease 171:369-75.

(3) See article Research Scales Used to Classify an NDE : the Greyson Scale

(4) Holden, JM, Greyson B., James D.  2009. The Handbook of Near-Death Experiences  ABC-CLIO, LLC. California.

(5)  Near Death Experiences

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