Could dead people feel and hear?

Kevin Spencer kspencer at s.psych.uiuc.edu
Wed Apr 5 14:36:04 EST 1995


salda at falco.vslib.cz (George Sulovsky) writes:

>Hi!
>Could anyone say mee, if dead people could hear and fee
>I have heard, that 2 hours after death person could hear and feel, but not understand.
>(In catholic religion, people could be "subcribed" to be beleivable after their death, and that they could be
>cleaned from their "badnessees". It was told to my teacher of psychology by Dr.Dvoracek - teologist and
>docto(r in one person.
>Is that true?

If "death" is defined as "brain dead", which is the accepted definition
in science and medicine, then the simple answer to your question is no --
there won't be any consciousness, the brain won't be processing any
information, and the "dead" person won't be hearing or feeling anything.
This is based on a materialistic viewpoint, of course, that equates
consciousness with the brain and only the brain.

Here's some speculation -- it would be interesting to test the state of
sensory systems (auditory, visual, somatosensory) with evoked potentials
after brain death occurs.  Even if the spontaneous EEG is flat, if the
cells in the sensory systems are still alive, perhaps you could detect
early EPs.  This would depend on the way in which the person died, of
course.

Kevin



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