Research Item – Michael Baker


Since the mid-20th century EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomena) has been the focus of countless debates. Among them is the interpretation of what is truly being spoken within each recording. Since most EVP recordings are low in quality, phonetic analysis is often difficult and therefore most researchers rely on their hearing and audible interpretations to determine the words contained in each file. The purpose of this experiment is to establish the accuracy percentage at which human hearing can identify spoken words in random statements contained in low quality recordings. To perform this experiment we have created twenty simulated EVP recordings, each with similar background noise and vocal styles (normal speech, whispers, mumbles etc.) as those found in purported anomalous recordings. The recordings were created in various environments by three N.E.C.A.P.S. staff members (C. Wong, B. Hantzis, M. Baker) and presented within in two separate online surveys, displaying each recording independently. The volunteers then listened to the recordings and reported the words (if any) they felt were contained in each file. The results (123 for survey 1A and 108 for survey 1B) were downloaded and analysed for grading accuracy and to establish perception patterns. Our findings have shown that none of the volunteers scored above 80% accuracy for survey 1A and 50% for survey 1B. The average accuracy percentage for survey 1A was 49% and survey 1B was 28%. The results of this experiment indicate that human perception is not an accurate methodology for determining non contextual spoken words contained in an EVP recording. Inaccurate interpretations appear to be due to various neurological and psychological obstacles such as various biases, anticipation and pareidolia. These obstacles greatly affect the comprehension and or objectivity of the listener’s perspective


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