I am not sure this kind of thing can be studied scientifically since the reports of such experiences are so ad hoc. In any event, scientists are going to try and find out if out of body experiences reported by people who have had full cardiac arrest can be validated: From the story:
People who report seeing bright lights or tunnels as they leave their bodies in near-death experiences are having their claims treated seriously in a hospital study.
Doctors in hospitals in Britain and the US will study 1,500 heart attack patients to see if people with no heartbeat or brain activity can have “out of body” experiences. Some people report being able to soar out of their bodies and look down on themselves and medical staff.
The study at 25 UK and US hospitals will include doctors placing images on shelves that are only visible from the ceiling to test the theory. Dr Sam Parnia, an intensive care doctor who is heading the study, said: “If you can demonstrate that consciousness continues after the brain switches off, it allows for the possibility that the consciousness is a separate entity.
That would certainly challenge materialistic thinking, wouldn’t it? However, I believe such studies have been tried before; no dice. Perhaps this one will be different, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.