My publications, videos, and projects


Star Sailor: The Overview Effect Chronicles

Welcome to the enchanting world of 'Star Sailor: The Overview Effect Chronicles.' In collaboration with space futurologist Frank White, we have authored a magical children's book designed to inspire both the young and the young at heart. Within our book, we seamlessly blend the excitement of scientific exploration with the thrill of imaginative storytelling, crafting a universe that is utterly captivating.

Our mission is to ignite young minds with the flames of curiosity and a love for adventure. We aim to encourage children to dream big, to gaze up at the night sky, and to contemplate the boundless possibilities that await beyond. We are here to accompany your young readers on an exhilarating journey through the cosmos, where Earth and the stars come alive on every page.

So, come and join us on a magical adventure that spans from our blue planet, which we call home, to the enigmatic mysteries of the cosmos. Through our imaginative tales, we invite children to embark on a celestial voyage that will leave them brimming with inspiration and a profound connection to the beauty of our planet and the marvels of the universe. Brace yourselves for a cosmic journey like no other!

We are currently on tour, offering the opportunity for a reading of "Star Sailor" and an engaging discussion on the Overview Effect. If you wish to arrange this experience for your hospital, school, or as an integral part of a STEAM project you are spearheading (ages 7-11), please don't hesitate to get in touch with us.

children's book Star Sailor front cover, a woman singling from the planet Earth with an owl watching
children's book Star Sailor front cover, a woman singling from the planet Earth with an owl watching
Made of Star Stuff: Overview Effect Therapy In The Digital Age

Welcome to our upcoming book on Overview Effect Therapy, co-authored by myself and the visionary philosopher Frank White, scheduled for release in 2024. This book builds upon Frank's pioneering work, delving deeply into the psychological aspects of the Overview Effect, underpinned by astronaut research and introducing Overview Effect Therapy with a virtual reality component.

We aim to reach a wide-ranging audience, including researchers, artists, designers, influencers, students, leaders, and therapists. Whether you have an interest in applying the Overview Effect to your professional endeavours or personal growth, our two-book series lays the foundation.

Join us as we delve into the therapeutic potential of the Overview Effect, sharing our personal experiences, astronaut quotes, and thought-provoking concepts within the realms of psychology and philosophy that invite meaningful discussions.

a blurry image of a baseball player swinging a bat
a blurry image of a baseball player swinging a bat


The therapeutic value of the overview effect and virtual reality | Annahita Nezami | TEDxEastEnd London

In 2017, I had the incredible privilege of standing on the TEDx stage in London, where I shared my personal insights and experiences with an audience of 700 people. It was an amazing opportunity to delve into some of the ideas I believe can address some of the challenges we face in the field of mental health. I must admit, I was quite nervous, as I had to give this talk amidst the personal challenges I was going through.

During my talk, I delved into the impact of dysfunctional societal systems on our mental health and how they can reveal the darker facets of human nature. I emphasised the importance of psychologists broadening their focus, extending beyond individual well-being to encompass the well-being of entire societies. I also discussed the awe-inspiring 'Overview Effect,' an experience that astronauts encounter when they gaze upon our planet from space. This encounter stirs powerful emotions, ignites positive attitudes and behaviours, and can encourage us to reassess our societal values.

Drawing upon insights from my doctoral research and TEDx talk, I subsequently founded EarthscapeVR—an enterprise dedicated to creating virtual reality-assisted programs, courses, and therapies. Our mission is to apply principles from applied psychology and harness the therapeutic and pro-social benefits embedded in extraordinary nature-based experiences, like the Overview Effect, to deliver distinctive and effective services to people and organisations alike.

The Weekend University

I believe the increase in mental health issues exposes a fundamental societal flaw. While psychiatric medication has its place, I advocate for a departure from a one-size-fits-all approach that relies too heavily on sedation and emotion suppression. I challenge the current state of mental health treatments, envisioning a world where individuals have access to a variety of self-transcendent therapies. In this conversation with Niall McKeever from The Weekend University, I present a case for VR-assisted self-transcendent therapies, sharing research findings, explaining the Virtual Reality Overview Effect, and outlining our mission and achievements.

Our Future in Space

In this talk, I delve into the captivating field of space psychology and its influence on our mental well-being. We delve into the Overview Effect and the remarkable advantages it can provide for both our mental and physical health. Furthermore, we discuss the distinctive psychological requirements of individuals undertaking extended space missions. Join me as we uncover the enigmas of the cosmos and the human mind.

Meeting of the Minds

In this conversation with Niall McKeever from The Weekend University, Frank White, David Yaden, and I explore the therapeutic potential of 'The Overview Effect' and self-transcendent experiences. We'll delve into how these experiences can have a significant impact on individuals and society as a whole, from astronauts gazing at Earth from space to those exploring psychedelics. Our discussion will centre on the therapeutic possibilities of self-transcendence, the inner workings of our brains during such moments, and the exciting potential of modern technology, including Virtual Reality, to offer us the joys of self-transcendence right here on Earth.

Space Education Summit

In this presentation, I take a deep dive into the complexities of large-scale space expansion. We unravel the pivotal role of the Overview Effect and cutting-edge technological applications in bolstering human space exploration and settlement missions. Join me as we navigate the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead in our quest to explore the cosmos. This online summit is free to attend and runs twice per year.

The Weekend University

In this conversation with Niall McKeever from The Weekend University, I explore the therapeutic potential of 'The Overview Effect' and self-transcendent experiences. We'll delve into how transcendent experiences like the Overview Effect can be utilised therapeutically and how, as a psychologist, I aim to translate and apply these experiences to develop novel therapies that aim to address some of the mental health needs of the modern age


three girls in graduation gowns hold their caps in the air
three girls in graduation gowns hold their caps in the air
University of Goldsmiths researchers
University of Goldsmiths researchers
the university of Stirling, Scotland.
the university of Stirling, Scotland.
a black and white logo of University of Amsterdam
a black and white logo of University of Amsterdam
a logo for the sofia university, Palo Alto.
a logo for the sofia university, Palo Alto.

In 2017, I wrapped up my doctoral research in psychology, titled "The overview effect and counselling psychology: astronaut experiences of earth gazing" at City University. I explored the therapeutic potential of the Overview Effect. This experience can foster a deeper connection with nature and can evoke feelings of awe, gratitude, and humility. I suggested that elements of this experience can be replicated through virtual reality and integrated with ecotherapy interventions, offering a potential solution to the ongoing mental health challenges.

In 2019, I initiated an exciting research project in collaboration with researchers from Goldsmiths, The University of Vienna, and Humboldt University of Berlin. Participants underwent a 25-minute EarthscapeVR virtual reality simulation of the Overview Effect. We gathered data through questionnaires and monitored physiological responses. Our aim was to investigate whether the virtual experience could evoke awe and influence connections with nature, others, and self, all while considering the impact of personality traits. Stay tuned for the forthcoming results!

In 2020, I collaborated with researchers from the University of Stirling to investigate the potential of a virtual reality 'Overview Effect' experience, created by EarthscapeVR®, in enhancing human-nature connectedness and whether participants' openness to experience scores played a role in this process. Our study involved 60 student participants. While further research is needed to delve deeper into these findings, our initial results are promising, suggesting that the Overview Effect concept can be utilised within immersive settings to promote human-nature connectedness. Stay tuned for the forthcoming results! More here

In 2021, I teamed up with researchers from the University of Amsterdam and Free University of Amsterdam to explore immersive experiences of the Overview Effect. Our goal was to investigate whether immersing oneself in this effect through VR has a direct impact on pro-environmental behavior. The results showed that the more immersive experience, featuring a longer video with meditative music and a voice-over correlated to higher donation amounts to an eco-NGO and a stronger sense of connectedness with nature. Stay tuned for the upcoming results! More here

In 2022, as part of Dr. Ruben Salinas doctoral study at Sofia University teamed up to explore immersive VR simulations of the Overview Effect to induce awe and measure physiological changes in 120 subjects. We assessed two VR simulations and their impact on the autonomic nervous system. Our goal was to understand whether simulated space viewing could reliably trigger intense awe. You can find the study here.

In 2021, I joined forces with the Neuropsychology and Experimental Psychology Lab at the University of Cadiz, Spain, in collaboration with Sahba El-Shawaa for her Ph.D. research. This study delves into the neuropsychological impact of the Overview Effect and its accessibility through virtual reality simulations. We hypothesise that this experience will lead to differences in brain function and environmental affinity, shedding light on the neural mechanisms underlying the phenomenon.

The Overview Effect, a term coined by Frank White, encapsulates a transcendent state experienced when beholding extraordinary natural landscapes from a distant vantage point. Gazing at the Earth from orbit or the Moon epitomises this phenomenon. During my psychology doctoral research between 2011-2016, I had the privilege of interviewing NASA astronauts to delve into the therapeutic benefits of the Overview Effect. I soon realised that this experience has some parallels with outcomes of psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy and meaningful nature-based encounters, in the way it can foster transcendent emotions and connectedness to nature. After completing my doctoral studies, I co-founded EarthscapeVR®—a hub where we create and research immersive experiences and digital therapeutics inspired by the wonders of nature. Since then, I have initiated Phase One of a three-phase research project and collaborated with several researchers to explore the impact of EarthscapeVR® immersive experiences and digital therapies on emotions, nature-connectedness, and behavior.

For more information, visit EarthscapeVR.

a logo for the university of Cadiz, Spain
a logo for the university of Cadiz, Spain

In 2022, I kicked off an exciting research project with Dr. Dennis Frederiksen from Aalborg University, Denmark. Our mission is to uncover how virtual reality can enhance team cohesion and collaboration among astronauts and individuals facing isolation, confinement, and extreme conditions. We're in the early stages of development, so stay tuned for updates. More here

In 2020, I teamed up with researchers from Deakin University to embark on a multilayered research initiative. Our goal is to conduct transdisciplinary research at the crossroads of space medicine, space humanities, and space design. By applying principles of human-centered design, human-computer interaction, artificial intelligence, digital heritage interpretation, and game design to human space exploration, we aim to tackle the psychological and physiological challenges of long-duration missions to destinations like low Earth orbit (LEO), the Moon, and Mars.

a piece of paper with the words call me written on it
a piece of paper with the words call me written on it


Passion led us here!

Welcome to my Projects section. In my spare time, I'm deeply engaged in an array of passion projects that keep me both inspired and out of mischief. I invite you to take a look below and, as always, your feedback and thoughts are greatly appreciated.

All my projects revolve around four core pillars: mental health and wellbeing, community engagement, inclusive and accessible education, and citizen science. These are the driving forces behind the initiatives you're about to explore. Thank you for being a part of this journey!

The Space Education Summit

Greetings from the Space Education Summit! The enthusiastic minds driving this initiative include Mark Wagner, Ron Rosana, and Gitika Gorthi, and I'm proud to be one of the founding members of this team. Our mission is simple: to make space education accessible, inclusive, and downright enjoyable!

Our FREE online summit takes place twice a year, and it's the perfect platform for educators, space enthusiasts, and professionals from various backgrounds to come together. We explore innovative approaches to prepare humanity for the ever-expanding space economy and the exciting era of multi-planetary exploration.

Motivated by the Overview Effect, our team is committed to sharing its benefits with more people right here on Earth. You can catch up on past sessions and highlights on our YouTube Channel.

Whether you represent a school, have expertise in space matters, or are simply passionate about all things cosmic, we invite you to register your interest for our upcoming summit. Join us in shaping the future of space education and have some interstellar fun along the way!


After completing my doctoral studies, I co-founded the social impact company EarthscapeVR® with my friend and colleague Charlie Perring—a hub where we aim to recreate immersive experiences inspired by the wonders of nature. At EarthscapeVR® we are particularly interested in the Overview Effect, a term used to encapsulate the transformative experiences of astronauts witnessing Earth from the vantage point of space. This encounter is highly nuanced, with each individual's journey being a unique and personal odyssey. Nevertheless, astronauts frequently articulate overwhelming sensations of awe, an intricate comprehension of the interconnectedness of all life, and a shift in their sense of self. Currently, we are working on integrating the virtual reality experience into programs for sustainable leadership, space health, and ecotherapy. Furthermore, we aim to empirically research whether these programs can evoke states and emotions akin to the Overview Effect and explore their potential in addressing mental health challenges on Earth and beyond. My mission is to drive positive social change, and my career has been dedicated to exploring the science and therapeutic value of experiences that promote wellbeing.

Follow our journey on Instagram

Monthly Online Workshop for Holistic Mental Health

Welcome to The Mental Wellness Collective, a unique online offering, designed by mental health experts Dr. Annahita Nezami and Dr. Gurpreet Kaur, in collaboration with My Therapist Online.

Experience an innovative approach to mental wellness from the comfort of your home.