Projectarium Project

Few examples of psychic phenomena have raised more debate concerning the characteristics of human consciousness and the nature of the relationship between mind and body than the Out-of-Body Experience (OBE) and the Near-Death Experience (NDE).

The study of the consequences that such phenomena appear to provoke in the individual who experiences them has merited the attention of scientists from all over the world. The vast majority of researchers agree that the Near-Death Experience and the Out-of-Body Experience typically result (almost in the totality of cases) in a positive change in life values, in an improvement in social and interpersonal relations, and in greater value and respect for others (see details in the “Conceptual and Empirical Foundations” in the complete project).

Through theoretical analysis and empirical observation, it can be inferred that the Near-Death Experience (NDE) phenomenon is, technically speaking, an Out-of-Body Experience (OBE) induced by various external factors. In the case of the NDE, these are factors that compromise the health and continuity of the individual’s life. In practical terms, however, many of the existing occurrences of these phenomena, as well as their benefits, are analogous. In this sense, scientific investigation into one of these phenomena promotes an understanding of the other.

Even though the OBE mainly occurs spontaneously, it can also be willfully induced. The NDE, on the other hand, occurs in extreme situations that are independent of the individual’s will. Therefore, the Out-of-Body Experience is the ideal phenomenon with which to realize experiments that try to understand and explain these phenomena. Presently, these phenomena lack consistent empirical experimentation that facilitates a more detailed comprehension of them and of the effects they produce.

In order to fill this scientific gap, IAC has developed experimental research and public survey projects concerning the OBE, which have yielded significant results.

In light of the vast existing theoretical foundations that have been laid by professionals from different areas of expertise (see “Conceptual Foundations” in the complete project) concerning the interaction and influence that the environment has on the human being, an essential question can be formulated: can an environment with technically optimized conditions facilitate the production of psychic experiences and produce consistent benefits for the individual?

Starting from the hypothesis that an environment with optimized conditions for the induction of psychic experiences facilitates the development of these experiences and that these lead to an improvement in the individual’s balance and quality of life, this project proposes the construction of a prototype of such a laboratory, called a Projectarium (term proposed by Vieira, 2002). In this fashion, through an innovative experimental design, we can reach conclusions that validate or refute this hypothesis.

Through the construction of this laboratory, it is intended: (1) to test if an optimized physical environment produces psychic experiences, (2) to verify the character of the results obtained and (3) discover the effective level of benefits obtained by the individuals who register these experiences.

From a psychological and clinical point of view, it is important to better understand the mechanisms and benefits that, according to studies, can be obtained through psychic phenomena such as the out-of-body experience.

Having knowledge that is able to prove and help us understand such conditions will be important for clarifying individuals who experience such phenomena, aiding health professionals in their counseling of subjects who have these experiences, and assisting in the discovery of new therapeutic techniques. We can also speculate about the possible use of the willed OBE phenomenon as a personal resource, and how this may improve the quality of the psychological and social life of those who experience it.

According to Vieira (2002), the scientific method and the several research techniques that have been applied to conscientiology and to the study of the out-of-body experience (projectiology) have the objective of expanding the knowledge of the human being [cognitive objective], increasing their well-being and expanding their power [utilitarian objectives].

Bearing in mind existing knowledge concerning morphogenetic fields (Sheldrake, 1996), it is believed that in relation to the number of experiences that are being realized in the Projectarium, there will be a proportional increase in the level of obtained results, both at the individual level and in the optimization of energetic patterns in the environment (Vieira, 2002), resulting from the accumulation of directed efforts deposited there.

In this manner, using the Projectarium will facilitate psychic experiences, especially the out-of-body experience, even for individuals with no history of such experiences or extrasensory nature.

To verify such hypotheses, a sample will be gathered from volunteers with no previous history of out-of-body experiences from diverse parts of the world. These individuals will be invited to participate in this investigation through invitations published in newspapers with a wide circulation and in specialized scientific magazines that have an international distribution.

A mandatory prerequisite in selecting subjects for the research is to investigate personal and family psychiatric histories. Only individuals with no pathological signs of dissociative phenomena, who do not use drugs presently and have not used drugs in the past will be accepted to participate in this research.

Regarding the research methodology, during five consecutive days, each participant will perform 10 monitored sessions each of 90-minute duration. Participants will have specific tasks to execute during the out-of-body experience to test their psychic capacities. An example of these tasks would be to attempt to see an image randomly selected by a computer, which will be situated in a locked adjacent room, i.e., no one will be able to enter this room during the experiment (double blind experiment).

A control group will perform the same experiments, under the same conditions, with the exception that they will not use the Projectarium to facilitate the generation of psychic experiences. In other words, this control group will perform its experiments in a normal environment, without optimization.

The research is based on a predefined and clearly stated ethical code, so as to orient the team and guarantee the privacy and well-being of the individual (for more details see “Ethical Principles of the Research” in the Methodology section of the complete project). A psychologist will be invited to follow the development of the participants during the research period.

Due to the complexity of the research topic and the object of the study itself – human beings and psychic capacities – this research will use several methods for the gathering and analysis of data.

Though a great part of the data gathered will be analyzed through specific methods of the qualitative kind, statistical studies will be performed based on several analysis indexes of correlation coefficients and validation criteria.

The conclusions of these investigations will be published in Journals and presented in related Congresses (see “Publication of Results” in the Methodology section).

Several future research projects are being contemplated, based on the use of the Projectarium, with the objective of deepening theoretical and empirical knowledge of the phenomena studied. Among them, the physiological monitoring of experiments through apparatus such as EEG can be highlighted. These studies will serve both to replicate other researchers’ previously executed experiments, and also to discover new data related to the physiological condition of individuals experiencing these phenomena.

Projects more related to physical health are also planned, and will be performed under medical supervision, involving participants who submit to regular physical check-ups (i.e. blood tests) before and after the experiments.

The construction and utilization of this laboratory will provide ongoing contributions and will allow, in the future, the realization of longitudinal studies. An example is a future follow-up of subjects who have had significant experiences during this research and a review of their life history subsequent to their participation in the project. The objective will be to evaluate if any significant alteration occurred in their life (from their personal perspective) and in their personal relationships, as well as if their frequency of psychic experiences increased, stabilized or diminished after participation in the research.

The Projectarium will also be a focal point for a multiplicity of other research, conducted by individuals affiliated with diverse organizations, which might be considered pertinent and commensurate with its objectives.

Note: the whole content of the Projectarium project is available in the Journal of Conscientiology.

Lead researchers: Luisa Fernandes and Nanci Trivellato.

Associate researchers: Wagner Alegretti, João Colpo and Paula Sousa.