Jim B. Tucker
|Occupation||Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences|
Jim Tucker is a child psychiatrist and Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences at the University of Virginia School of Medicine. His main research interests are children who claim to remember previous lives, and natal and prenatal memories. He is the author of Life Before Life: A Scientific Investigation of Children’s Memories of Previous Lives, which presents an overview of over four decades of reincarnation research at the Division of Perceptual Studies. Tucker worked for several years on this research with Ian Stevenson before taking over upon Stevenson’s retirement in 2002.
Tucker has also appeared in print as well as broadcast media talking about his work. His investigation of the case of Cameron Macaulay was featured in the Channel 5 documentary Extraordinary People - The Boy Who Lived Before.
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Tucker attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a B.A. Degree in psychology and a medical degree. He is currently Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences, and in addition to conducting research, he is the medical director of the University of Virginia Child & Family Psychiatry Clinic.
He lives in Charlottesville, Virginia, with his wife, Christine McDowell Tucker, a clinical psychologist, and has presented at academic and public conferences. Tucker felt unfulfilled by his work in child psychiatry, but was open to the possibility that humans are more than their material bodies and wished to investigate the matter further. Though raised as a Southern Baptist, Tucker does not subscribe to any particular religion, and claims to be skeptical about reincarnation, but sees it as providing the best explanation for phenomena associated with the strongest cases investigated to date. After reading Ian Stevenson's work, Tucker became intrigued by children’s reported past-life memories and by the prospect of studying them.
While Ian Stevenson focused on cases in Asia, Tucker has studied U.S. children.
Tucker reports that in about 70% of the cases of children claiming to remember past lives, the deceased died from an unnatural cause, suggesting that traumatic death may be linked to the hypothesized survival of self. He further indicates that the time between death and apparent rebirth is, on average, sixteen months, and that unusual birth-marks might match fatal wounds suffered by the deceased.
Tucker has developed the Strength Of Case Scale (S.O.C.S.), which evaluates what Tucker sees as four aspects of potential cases of reincarnation; "(1) whether it involves birthmarks/defects that correspond to the supposed previous life; (2) the strength of the statements about the previous life; (3) the relevant behaviours as they relate to the previous life; and (4) an evaluation of the possibility of a connection between the child reporting a previous life and the supposed previous life".
Although critics have argued there is no material explanation for the survival of self, Tucker suggests that quantum mechanics may offer a mechanism by which memories and emotions could carry over from one life to another. He argues that since the act of observation collapses wave equations, the self may not be merely a by-product of the brain, but rather a separate entity that impinges on matter. Tucker argues that viewing the self as a fundamental, nonmaterial part of the universe makes it possible to conceive of it continuing to exist after the death of the brain. He provides the analogy of a televisor and the television transmission; the televisor is required to decode the signal, but it does not create the signal. In a similar way, the brain may be required for awareness to express itself, but may not be the source of awareness.
Since taking over the research into claimed past-life memories from Ian Stevenson in 2002, Tucker has been interviewed about reincarnation in print and broadcast media in the United States, United Kingdom and Canada.
In 2006, Tucker investigated the case of Cameron Macaulay as part of the Channel 5 Documentary Extraordinary People: The Boy Who Lived Before. Tucker’s investigation took him firstly to Glasgow to interview the six-year-old boy and his mother Norma about Cameron’s reported recollections of life on the isle of Barra in the Outer Hebrides, around two hundred miles from the family’s home in Glasgow. Tucker then accompanied the family as they traveled to Barra in an attempt to verify Cameron’s statements about life on the island. Cameron's descriptions of his previous family home were entirely accurate; while the family name of "Robertson" also rang true, nothing could be found of the man Cameron recalled as his father on the island.
The documentary also briefly covered another of Tucker’s cases: that of Gus Taylor from the Midwest U.S., who claimed from around the age of a year and a half to be his own grandfather returned to the family. In addition to speaking of a previous life, Tucker notes that both boys speak of falling through a 'hole' or ‘porthole’ from one life to the next.
- Jim B. Tucker, MD- University of Virginia profile
- Division of Perceptual Studies University of Virginia
- Shroder, Tom. Old Souls: The Scientific Evidence For Past Lives. Simon & Schuster. pp. 230–232. ISBN 0-684-85192-X.
- Chopra, Deepak (2008). Life After Death: The Burden of Proof. Three Rivers Press. p. 178. ISBN 1-4000-5235-1.
The most detailed study of such children comes from psychiatrist Ian Stevenson at the University of Virginia, work now being continued there by psychiatrist Jim Tucker.
- Philip Clayton; Zachary R. Simpson (2006). The Oxford handbook of religion and science. Oxford University Press. p. 35. ISBN 0-19-927927-6.
Indirect evidence may be provided by third-person methods, such as the field studies of Ian Stevenson and his scientific successor Jim Tucker.
- Blackwell, Tom (June 2, 2009). "Academics Wrestle With Treating The 'Reincarnated'". National Post. Archived from the original on June 8, 2009.
- Miller, David Ian (June 12, 2006), "Finding My Religion: Psychiatrist Jim B. Tucker studies past-life memories of children", SFGate
- Ellis, James (March 7, 2006). "Have we met before?". Metro. Retrieved 17 July 2009.
- Soul Search Discover Magazine, June 2007.
- The Charles Adler Show CJOB/68. June 2009
- Past Lives: Stories of Reincarnation TLC/Discovery, 2002
- Good Morning America ABC, July 2006
- UK Channel 5 documentary "The Boy Who Lived Before" (2006) follows Jim Tucker’s investigation of the case of Cameron Macaulay
- Rutherford Institutes Summer Speaker Series speakers schedule
- The Unexplained - San Francisco Conference on proof of afterlife
- In the Beginning..., To The Best of our Knowledge, Wisconsin Public Radio, 2006-06-18, archived from the original on 2009-01-09
- Miller, Lisa (Sunday, August 29, 2010). "Remembrances of Lives Past." New York Times
- Coast to Coast AM|Tucker explained that individual cases are investigated and checked for accuracy. For instance, birth-marks of an unusual shape or size might match fatal wounds that the deceased had.
- Tucker, Jim (2000), ‘A scale to measure the strength and weakness of children’s claims of previous lives: Methodology and initial findings’, Journal of Scientific Exploration, 14 (4), pp 571–81.
- Mills, Antonia. ‘Back from Death: Young Adults in Northern India Who as Children Were Said to Remember a Previous Life, with or without a Shift in Religion (Hindu to Moslem or Vice Versa)’, in Anthropology and Humanism, Volume 31. December 2008
- Edelmann, J. Setting Criteria for Ideal Reincarnation Research Journal of Consciousness Studies, 14, No. 12, 2007, pp. 92–101
- Tucker JB. Life Before Life: A Scientific Investigation of Children's Memories of Previous Lives New York: St. Martin's Press, 2005, 256pp. ISBN 0-312-32137-6
- "CNN.com". CNN.
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