Communications of the Dying

Research into the Communications of the Dying

Dr. Erica Goldblatt Hyatt is pleased to announce the creation of a groundbreaking initiative inspired by the best-selling author Dr. Raymond Moody and working with the linguist Lisa Smartt with the goal of exploring the final words of the dying. Research into the Communications of the Dying (RICD) is the first study of its kind to systematically record, transcribe, and analyze deathbed utterances to better understand linguistic and psychological themes at the end of life. Some of the questions Dr. Goldblatt Hyatt and her team will explore include:

  • How do variables such as age, sex, diagnosis and medications influence what the dying say?
  • Do people die as they have lived? For example, do devoutly religious people use language at the end of life that reflects these observances? What about those with no spiritual or religious affiliations?
  • Is personality consistent across the dying process, or do dying people display new, different, or unusual personality characteristics?
  • Do the dying use the same elements of language and speech structure as the healthy living?
  • Do certain themes arise in the language of the dying that are consistent across variables?

It is hoped that this research will provide insight into how to better communicate with the dying and ease anxiety that may arise at the end of life when new or different language is heard at the bedside. The results of the study will contribute to an area of research that appears to have been neglected from an empirical research perspective.

Dr. Goldblatt Hyatt is currently recruiting for the project, and data collection is scheduled to begin in January of 2016, and Dr. Goldblatt Hyatt anticipates enlisting the help of Bryn Athyn College interns from psychology, interdisciplinary, and English majors to help with data analysis.


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