Why and How Afterlife Beliefs Occur

There have been studies showing how and why after life beliefs occur in a person's life.


These studies about After life Beliefs were done by a group of experimental social psychology PhD students, including Nathan Heflick, Joshua Hart of Union College and Jamie Goldberg of the University of South Florida. Conducting four studies allowed the researchers to determine the relationship between salient death and afterlife belief.

According to Heflick, afterlife belief often occurs when a person believes and perceives that a part of himself such as the soul can be independent from the physical body. Given this reasoning, it is possible to affect one's afterlife belief if the physical body is primed. Heflick and his group also concluded that with death salience comes a stronger desire to believe that there is life after death. However, this does not mean that a person facing a salient death actually believes in the afterlife. He only has an increased desire to believe in it.

Moreover, the studies found out that spiritual people tend to perceive themselves as soul-like when the possibility of death is strong, while non-spiritual ones choose to hold on to their physical bodies. Physical experiences such as simple foot massage can also affect one's afterlife belief, as well as dualism and non-dualism.

In the final study, wherein a brain computer interface was used to allow the participants to type death-related terms with the use of their brain waves, the researchers discovered that the perception and value a person has on himself affects his afterlife belief. In the study, those who believe that they have high accuracy in using the machine have a stronger belief that there is life beyond death.

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