The noncontextual abstract nature of isolated EVP clips made choosing appropriate examples for the survey difficult. It was tempting to present only class A voices, those that are most easily understood, however, I considered that a range of clips requiring varying levels of auditory acuity would provide a more realistic appraisal of interpretative skill.
There were limitations to the study. The number of participants was very low. Despite good monthly hit rates to the website, only a small percentage of visitors chose to take part. I had expected a drop in numbers for part two as feedback was not overly supportive from the believers group; they did not see a benefit in the analysis of EVP.
In part one of the survey there were 52 participants. Regardless of their belief status, there was little difference in their willingness to attempt a translation to all but the clearest of clips.
Part two had 28 participants. When provided with a cue, listeners are more likely to agree with the given interpretation. All groups were more inclined to attempt a translation if they did not wholly agree with the provided interpretation.
I consider the survey to have been personally helpful even if the outcome was somewhat predictable. I was surprised to find in part one that no group was able to interpret clips 1, 3, 6, 7 or 8; these were at varied speeds and each had a different intonation but I found it easy to suggest a translation. Clips 2, 4 and 5 are more like every day speech and were easier to understand in comparison. Hearing and interpreting EVP is a subjective experience. I cannot assume to provide an agreed interpretation for all voice clips but am confident that the translations I provide for grade A clips are likely to be agreed by other listeners. The ability to understand EVP requires a greater focus than for passive listening and the ability to perceive language presented out of context is harder still.
Fig. 4 Results from the online EVP interpretation survey