Doctors will study 1,500 survivors to see if they had ‘out of body’ experiences while they had no heartbeat or brain activity.
The three-year study will be coordinated by Southampton University.
As part of the AWARE study, images will be placed on shelves that can only be seen from above.
Study author Dr Sam Parnia said: ‘Death is not a specific moment. It is a process that begins when the heart stops beating, the lungs stop working and the brain ceases functioning – a medical condition termed cardiac arrest, which from a biological viewpoint is synonymous with clinical death.
‘During a cardiac arrest, all three criteria of death are present. There then follows a period of time, which may last from a few seconds to an hour or more, in which emergency medical efforts may succeed in restarting the heart and reversing the dying process.
'What people experience during this period of cardiac arrest provides a unique window of understanding into what we are all likely to experience during the dying process.’