Thursday, July 5, 2018   4:37 PM

Convention Spotlight: Ability of Alleged Mediums to Assess Mortality from Facial Photographs

Can a person discern if someone is dead or alive simply from looking at a photograph? A research team at the Institute of Noetic Sciences devised an experiment to test whether twelve subjects could intuitively gauge mortality based upon a quick glance at photographs. The participants were selected from the San Francisco Bay Area and were required to have been performing professional “readings” for clients. Half of the people in the 404 photos were deceased and half were alive at the time of the experiment. The photographs were transformed into a uniform gray scale and counterbalanced across eight categories: gender, age, gaze direction, glasses, head position, smile, hair color and image resolution. A series of photos were used: very old photos originally taken 75 years prior to the experiment, old photographs taken about 50 years prior and more recent taken 10-20 years prior. Upon viewing each image, participants had a choice between: alive, deceased and don’t know.

The researchers also collected 32-channel electrocortical recordings, and used a random forest and logistic regression machine to compare the participants’ data against machine learning techniques. How did the participants fare?

Come to the 61st Annual Convention of the Parapsychological Association to hear the researchers share their findings!

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