The Overview Effect and Transcendental States

Dr. Annahita Nezami

The Psychology of spaceflight and it’s effects on mental health, with Dr. Annahita Nezami. What is the Overview Effect and its mental and physical health benefits? What are the psychological health needs of space participants, particularly during long-duration missions?


Annahita on Instagram: @earthscapevr
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Speaker Bio:

Annahita is a chartered psychologist providing consultation, training and therapy. She is a systems thinker, international speaker, and researcher advocating for positive social change.

Her areas of interest include space health and the Overview Effect, individual, societal and planetary wellbeing, neuroscience, stress and trauma, performance, and altered states of consciousness. Annahita serves as an advisor to multiple organizations and was elected as a fellow of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA). She has been a guest lecturer at various establishments such as Deakin University, Central St Martin’s, and University College London (UCL), invited to talk about mental health and the Overview Effect on BBC Radio 4 and TEDx. She is an active researcher and published papers and articles with Springer and other media outlets.

The Overview Effect, a term coined by space philosopher Frank White, describes a transcendent-like state that can emerge when witnessing remarkable natural landscapes from an expansive vantage point, and Earthgazing from orbit or the Moon is the epitome of this experience. Several years ago Annahita interviewed NASA astronauts to investigate the therapeutic benefits of the Overview Effect, as part of her doctoral research. She soon realised that the Overview Effect offers comparable results to psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy and nature-based experiences in promoting eco-transcendence and eudaemonic well-being.

After completing her doctoral studies, Annahita co-founded EarthscapeVR, where she helps create evidence-led Extended Reality (XR) multisensory experiences based on the Overview Effect. The XR programs can be utilized as an adjunct to psychotherapy, workshops, or as a standalone well-being tool for individuals, groups and organizations. Annahita is now facilitating the integration of the established XR/VR component into therapeutic programs-VROE for Sustainable Leaders and VROE-Ecotherapy (in development). A further aim is to leverage VROE programs to determine via empirical research: 1) if they can trigger self-transcendent states analogous to the Overview Effect and 2) to investigate the potential benefits of VROE programs in the field of applied psychology. Annahita believes VROE programs offer alternative solutions to current challenges in mental health on-world and off.


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