"Materialism’s truncated understanding of what it means to be human often prevents us from seeing what is staring us in the face."


Mario Beauregard, PhD, is a neuroscientist affiliated with the Department of Psychology at the University of Arizona. Upon completing his BSc in psychology and his PhD in neuroscience from the University of Montreal, Beauregard earned two postdoctoral fellowships in experimental neuropsychology, the first at the University of Texas in Houston (1992-94), and the second at the Montreal Neurological Institute at the McConnell Brain Imaging Centre at McGill University (1994-96). The author of over 100 publications in neuroscience, psychology, and psychiatry, he has been selected by the World Media Net to be among the "One Hundred Pioneers of the 21st Century" due to his considerable research into the neuroscience of consciousness.

Dr Beauregard's groundbreaking work on the neurobiology of emotion and mystical experience at the University of Montreal has received extensive international media coverage, and in 2006 he was the recipient of the Joel F. Lubar award for his contribution to the field of neurotherapy. His books include Expanding Reality (2021), Brain Wars (2012), and The Spiritual Brain (2007). He is a distinguished member of the Institute for Research on Extraordinary Experiences in France and the Lifeboat Foundation in the United States.

Papers of Note

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The Primordial Psyche

Mario Beauregard
Journal of Consciousness Studies, 21, No. 7–8, 2014, pp. 132–57

Abstract: Scientific materialism is still influential in certain academic spheres. In this article, I examine multiple lines of empirical evidence showing that this ideology, while partially true, is woefully incomplete and, therefore, obsolete. This evidence indicates that we humans can- not be reduced to powerless, biophysical machines since the psyche greatly influences the activity of the brain and the body, and can oper- ate telosomatically. Based on this evidence, I introduce the Theory of Psychelementarity (TOP) and present a few predictions. This theory proposes that the psyche plays a role as primordial as that of matter, energy, and space-time. Another central premise of this theory is that the psyche cannot be reduced to physical processes. The TOP accounts for a number of well-studied psychophysical phenomena, which are reinterpreted in light of a post-materialist perspective. This theory also accounts for anomalous phenomena that are currently rejected by materialists.

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Near-death experiences in cardiac arrest: implications for the concept of non-local mind

NataLie Trent-von Haesler, Mario Beauregard
Mind-Brain Series; Archives of Clinical Psychiatry, 40(5), 2013
doi: /10.1590/S0101-60832013000500005

Abstract: Background: Near-death experiences (NDE) are vivid, realistic, and often deeply life-changing experiences occurring to people who have been physiologically or psychologically close to death. NDE sometimes occur during cardiac arrest, in the absence of recordable brain activity. Objective: To review prospective studies of cardiac arrest-induced NDE and examine the implications of these studies for the concept of non-local mind. Method: PubMed was the main database used for this review. Key search terms included “cardiac arrest”, “near-death experiences”, “physiology of near-death experience”, and “veridical out-of-body- -experiences”. Results: Several prospective studies show an average incidence of cardiac arrest-induced NDE of 10%-20%, irrespective of sociodemographic status, sex, religion, or any consistent medical, physiological, or pharmacological measures. NDErs are more likely than non-NDErs to have positive life changes lasting many years following the experience. Discussion: Physicalist theories of the mind cannot explain how NDErs can experience – while their hearts are stopped and brain activity is seemingly absent – vivid and complex thoughts, and acquire veridical information about objects or events remote from their bodies. NDE in cardiac arrest suggest that mind is non-local, i.e. it is not generated by the brain, and it is not confined to the brain and the body

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Mind does really matter: Evidence from neuroimaging studies of emotional self-regulation, psychotherapy, and placebo effect

Mario Beauregard
Progress in Neurobiology, 81 (2007) 218–236
doi: /10.1016/j.pneurobio.2007.01.005

Abstract: This article reviews neuroimaging studies of conscious and voluntary regulation of various emotional states (sexual arousal, sadness, negative emotion). The results of these studies show that metacognition and cognitive recontextualization selectively alters the way the brain processes and reacts to emotional stimuli. Neuroimaging studies of the effect of psychotherapy in patients suffering from diverse forms of psychopathology (obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, unipolar major depressive disorder, social phobia, spider phobia, borderline personality) are also examined. The results of these studies indicate that the mental functions and processes involved in diverse forms of psychotherapy exert a significant influence on brain activity. Neuroimaging investigations of the placebo effect in healthy individuals (placebo analgesia, psychos- timulant expectation) and patients with Parkinson’s disease or unipolar major depressive disorder are also reviewed. The results of these investigations demonstrate that beliefs and expectations can markedly modulate neurophysiological and neurochemical activity in brain regions involved in perception, movement, pain, and various aspects of emotion processing. Collectively, the findings of the neuroimaging studies reviewed here strongly support the view that the subjective nature and the intentional content (what they are ‘‘about’’ from a first-person perspective) of mental processes (e.g., thoughts, feelings, beliefs, volition) significantly influence the various levels of brain functioning (e.g., molecular, cellular, neural circuit) and brain plasticity. Furthermore, these findings indicate that mentalistic variables have to be seriously taken into account to reach a correct understanding of the neural bases of behavior in humans. An attempt is made to interpret the results of these neuroimaging studies with a new theoretical framework called the Psychoneural Translation Hypothesis.

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Brain activity in near-death experiencers during a meditative state

Mario Beauregard, Jérôme Courtemanche, Vincent Paquette
Resuscitation, Volume 80, Issue 9, Sept 2009, 1006–1010
doi: 10.1016/j.resuscitation.2009.05.006

Abstract: Aim: To measure brain activity in near-death experiencers during a meditative state. Methods: In two separate experiments, brain activity was measured with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and electroencephalography (EEG) during a Meditation condition and a Control condition. In the Meditation condition, participants were asked to mentally visualize and emotionally connect with the “being of light” allegedly encountered during their “near-death experience”. In the Control condition, participants were instructed to mentally visualize the light emitted by a lamp. Results: In the fMRI experiment, significant loci of activation were found during the Meditation condition (compared to the Control condition) in the right brainstem, right lateral orbitofrontal cortex, right medial prefrontal cortex, right superior parietal lobule, left superior occipital gyrus, left anterior temporal pole, left inferior temporal gyrus, left anterior insula, left parahippocampal gyrus and left substantia nigra. In the EEG experiment, electrode sites showed greater theta power in the Meditation condition relative to the Control condition at FP1, F7, F3, T5, P3, O1, FP2, F4, F8, P4, Fz, Cz and Pz. In addition, higher alpha power was detected at FP1, F7, T3 and FP2, whereas higher gamma power was found at FP2, F7, T4 and T5. Conclusions: The results indicate that the meditative state was associated with marked hemodynamic and neuroelectric changes in brain regions known to be involved either in positive emotions, visual mental imagery, attention or spiritual experiences.

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EEG activity in Carmelite nuns during a mystical experience

Mario Beauregard, Vincent Paquette
Neuroscience Letters, 444 (2008) 1–4
doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2008.08.028

Abstract: Mystical experiences relate to a fundamental dimension of human existence. These experiences, which are characterized by a sense of union with God, are commonly reported across all cultures. To date, no electroencephalography (EEG) study has been conducted to identify the neuroelectrical correlates of such experiences. The main objective of this study was to measure EEG spectral power and coherence in 14 Carmelite nuns during a mystical experience. EEG activity was recorded from 19 scalp locations during a resting state, a control condition and a mystical condition. In the mystical condition compared to control condition, electrode sites showed greater theta power at F3, C3, P3, Fz, Cz and Pz, and greater gamma1 power was detected at T4 and P4. Higher delta/beta ratio, theta/alpha ratio and theta/beta ratio were found for several electrode sites. In addition, FP1–C3 pair of electrodes displayed greater coherence for theta band while F4–P4, F4–T6, F8–T6 and C4–P4 pairs of electrodes showed greater coherence for alpha band. These results indicate that mystical experiences are mediated by marked changes in EEG power and coherence. These changes implicate several cortical areas of the brain in both hemispheres.

Presentation at the United Nations Symposium

Who's Who in Postmaterialist Science

We gratefully acknowledge the following people for their contributions. Through their research, teaching, writing and speaking we have all benefited. We include important papers, articles, books and videos for many. Some are manifesto signatories; otherwise they are unassociated with this website.