Visual Categorization of Images of Live/Deceased Faces by Intuitive Individuals | Arnaud Delorme

To test if mediums could obtain information of deceased individuals, we ran two experiments. In both experiments, we collected 64-channel electro-encephalography data using a BIOSEMI device.

Experiment 1. We invited 12 mediums to see if they could determine if a person was alive or dead based solely on a brief examination of facial photographs. All photos used in the experiment were transformed into a uniform gray scale and then counterbalanced across eight categories: gender, age, gaze direction, glasses, head position, smile, hair color, and image resolution. Participants examined 404 photographs displayed on a computer monitor, one photo at a time, each shown for a maximum of eight seconds. Half of the individuals in the photos were deceased, and half were alive at the time the experiment was conducted. Participants were asked to press a button if they thought the person in a photo was living or deceased. We presented 404 photos of faces, half of which will be from deceased individuals. All of the photos were standardized in size, luminance and balanced across the live/deceased categories in seven different features (age, gender, face orientation, gaze orientation, hair color, glasses, resolution, presence of smile). The task of the subject was to press a button to indicate if they felt that a given person was alive or had passed.

Experiment 2. We invited 12 mediums and 12 controls to perform an experiment in which participants examined 180 photographs displayed on a computer monitor, one photo at a time, each shown for a maximum of 30 seconds. All of the individuals in the photos were deceased: 1/3 were in a car accident, 1/3 had a heart attack and 1/3 were shot. As in experiment 1, all of the photos were balanced across seven different features and the task of the subject was to press a button (1-3) to indicate the cause of death. The main difference with experiment 1 was the type of classification that the participants were performing and the fact that a control group was present.

EEG data from the 12 professional mediums tested suggests that there is a biological basis for the behavioral data at a latency of about 100 ms, which occurs prior to the mediums’ conscious assessment of the photo.

Both behavioral and electrophysiological data indicated that individuals claiming intuitive abilities were capable of classifying photos of living vs. deceased people above chance levels, and under conditions where the photos were balanced across seven dimensions to reduce visual cues about the health status of the individuals. In conclusion, this study supports the hypothesis that facial photographs contain as-yet unidentified information predicting mortality. Additional research will be required to test if the group of alleged talented participants we selected are able to classify images more accurately than a control population that does not claim to have this particular set of intuitive skills. Additional research is also needed to assess which visual image characteristics the participants used to perform face categorization, if indeed visual cues were the source of the clues. We do not rule out the hypothesis that subjects might have had access to information in ways that are not currently understood by modern physics and could potentially go beyond classical information delivered by facial features.

Presented at the “62nd Annual Convention of the Parapsychological Association” on July 4, 2019, Paris, France; program chaired by Ramses D’Leon. Download the Abstracts at

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Published on September 30, 2019