Below is a list of research papers on mystical experience.  While not comprehensive, the list includes a number of relevant academic papers published since 2000.


Mystical Experience Research Papers Available Online for Free

Cardena, Etzel.  (2018).  The Experimental Evidence for Parapsychological Phenomena: A Review.  The American Psychologist, 73(5), 663-677.  (Contact the author for access.)

Carhart-Harris RL, Erritzoe D, Williams T, Stone JM, Reed LJ, Colasanti A, Tyacke RJ, Leech R, Malizia AL, Murphy K, Hobden P, Evans J, Feilding A, Wise RG, Nutt DJ.  (2012).  Neural correlates of the psychedelic state as determined by fMRI studies with psilocybin.  Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012 Feb 7;109(6):2138-43.

Elk, Michiel, & Snoek, Lukas.  (2020).  The relationship between individual differences in gray matter volume and religiosity and mystical experiences: A preregistered voxel‐based morphometry study.  The European Journal of Neuroscience, 51(3), 850-865.

Greyson, Bruce.  (2010).  Implications of Near-Death Experiences for a Postmaterialist Psychology.  Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, 2(1), 37-45.

Greyson, Bruce.  (2014).  Differentiating spiritual and psychotic experiences: Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.  Journal of Near-death Studies, 32(3), Journal of near-death studies, 2014, Vol.32 (3).

Greyson, Bruce (2014).  Congruence between near-death and mystical experience.  International Journal for the Psychology of Religion, Vol 24(4), pp. 298-310.

Greyson, Bruce; Broshek, Donna K.; Derr, Lori L. & Fountain, Nathan B. (2015).  Mystical experiences associated with seizures. Religion, Brain & Behavior, Vol 5(3), pp. 182-196. 

Griffiths RR, Hurwitz ES, Davis AK, Johnson MW, Jesse R (2019).  Survey of subjective “God encounter experiences”: Comparisons among naturally occurring experiences and those occasioned by the classic psychedelics psilocybin, LSD, ayahuasca, or DMT.  PLoS ONE 14(4): e0214377. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0214377

Griffiths RR, Johnson MW, Carducci MA, et al. (2016).  Psilocybin produces substantial and sustained decreases in depression and anxiety in patients with life-threatening cancer: A randomized double-blind trial.  Journal of Psychopharmacology, 30:  1181–1197.

Griffiths RR, Johnson MW, Richards W, et al. (2018).  Psilocybin-occasioned mystical-type experience in combination with meditation and other spiritual practices produces enduring positive changes in psychological functioning and in trait measures of prosocial attitudes and behaviors.  Journal of Psychopharmacology, Vol 32(1), pp. 49-69. 

Griffiths, R. R., Richards, W. A., McCann, U., & Jesse, R. (2006).  Psilocybin can occasion mystical-type experiences having substantial and sustained personal meaning and spiritual significance. Psychopharmacology, 187(3), 268-283. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00213-006-0457-5.

James, Edward, Robertshaw, Thomas L, Hoskins, Mathew, & Sessa, Ben.  (2020).  Psilocybin occasioned mystical‐type experiences.  Human Psychopharmacology, 35(5), E2742-N/a.

Khanna, Surbhi, & Greyson, Bruce. (2014).  Near-Death Experiences and Spiritual Well-Being.  Journal of Religion and Health, 53(6), 1605-1615.

Newberg, Andrew B, & Waldman, Mark R.  (2018).  A Neurotheological Approach to Spiritual Awakening.  International Journal of Transpersonal Studies, 37(2), 119.

Palmer, Genie & Braud, William (2002).  Exceptional human experiences, disclosure, and a more inclusive view of physical, psychological, and spiritual well-being.  Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, Vol 34(1), pp. 29-59.

Taylor, S., & Egeto-Szabo, K.  (2017).  Exploring awakening experiences: A study of awakening experiences in terms of their triggers, characteristics, duration and after-effects.  Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 49(1), 45–65.

Woollacott.  (2020).  The mystical experience and its neural correlates.  Journal of Near-death Studies, 38(1), 3-25.  (Email the author for access.)

Yaden, David & Le Nguyen, Khoa & Kern, Margaret & B. Belser, Alexander & Eichstaedt, Johannes & Iwry, Jonathan & E. Smith, Mary & Wintering, Nancy & R.W., Jr, Hood, & Newberg, Andrew.  (2016).  Of Roots and Fruits: A Comparison of Psychedelic and Nonpsychedelic Mystical Experiences.  Journal of Humanistic Psychology. 57. 10.1177/0022167816674625.


Mystical Experience Research Papers Available for Purchase Online

(IMERE receives no compensation for the purchase of any of the papers listed below):

Beauregard, Mario, & Paquette, Vincent.  (2006).  Neural correlates of a mystical experience in Carmelite nuns.  Neuroscience Letters, 405(3), 186-190.  ($35.95)

Jones, Richard H. (2018).  Limitations on the Neuroscientific Study of Mystical Experiences.  Zygon, 53(4), 992-1017.  (From $14.00).

Jones, Richard H. (2019).  Limitations on the Scientific Study of Drug-Enabled Mystical Experiences.   Zygon, 54(3), 756-792.  (From $14.00).

Jones, Richard H.  (2020).  On Constructivism in Philosophy of Mysticism.  The Journal of Religion, 100(1), 1-41.  ($25.00)

Miller, W.R. (2004).  The phenomenon of quantum change.  Journal of Clinical Psychology, 60: 453-460.  (From $14.00)

Schwartz, Gary E, Woollacott, Marjorie, Schwartz, Stephan A, Baruss, Imants, Beauregard, Mario, Dossey, Larry, . . . Tart, Charles.  (2018).  The Academy for the Advancement of Postmaterialist Sciences: Integrating Consciousness into Mainstream Science.  Explore (New York, N.Y.), 14(2), 111-113.  ($35.95)

Woollacott M.H., Kason Y, Park RD.  (2020).  Investigation of the phenomenology, physiology and impact of spiritually transformative experiences – kundalini awakening.  Explore (NY).  2020 Jul 25:S1550-8307(20)30223-8.  ($35.95)

Yaden, David Bryce, Haidt, Jonathan, Hood, Ralph W, Vago, David R, & Newberg, Andrew B.  (2017).  The Varieties of Self-Transcendent Experience.  Review of General Psychology, 21(2), 143-160.  ($37.50).

Yaden DB, Griffiths RR.  (2020).  The Subjective Effects of Psychedelics Are Necessary for Their Enduring Therapeutic Effects.  ACS Pharmacol Transl Sci. 2020 Dec 10;4(2):568-572.  ($40.00)


For additional resources on mystical experience, spirituality in general, and consciousness, please visit our Mystical Experience Resources page.