WEST GOSHEN TWP, Pa–A new study published in Applied Psychological Measurement suggests that the obesity epidemic has begun to make quantifiable inroads on the human soul. The study, conducted by a team of researchers from the Johns Hopkins University School of Social Psychometrics, was designed to replicate a century-old study that reported the weight of the human soul as 21 grams.
In that 1907 study, Duncan MacDougall, a physician from Haverhill, Massachusetts, tested the hypothesis that souls possess physical weight by measuring the weight loss of six patients at the moment of death (when the soul “leaves” the body). One of the six subjects lost 21.3 grams.
Dr. MacDougall’s experiment is regarded as flawed owing to its small sample size, its primitive methodology, and the fact that only one of the six outcomes upheld the hypothesis. That won’t get you a prize in even the smallest circus; but despite its rejection by the scientific community, Dr. MacDougall’s experiment took wings, giving birth to the notion that at death we humans lose 21 grams: the weight of the human soul.
Thanks to advances in mattress technology, the Johns Hopkins team was able to measure the weight of 256 randomly selected persons immediately before and after “passing.” Their average weight loss was 27.6 grams—an increase of 6.3 grams (29.5%).
“Honestly,” said Johns Hopkins research chief Edgar Baristodas, “we did not expect a result confirming that the soul possesses weight, much less one suggesting that the soul has apparently gained weight since 1907.”
Dr. Baristodas did not care to speculate as to the reason for the soul’s weight gain.
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