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I may not have expressed myself very clearly in the main post, so here's another go at it.

My guess is that ESP operates best when the mind is in a trancelike state. This state may be something as ordinary as a reverie or daydream, or it may be a meditative state, a state of sensory deprivation, or the hypnogogic state that precedes sleep. (Or it may be the dream state of sleep itself.)

I don't think ESP operates optimally when a person is concentrating on something that's right in front of him. If he's studying a picture, he's probably not going to be receptive to ESP impressions of any kind, least of all ESP impressions of the exact same image he's already staring at.

So, if I am correct in believing that the test subject was shown the picture simultaneous with the "telepathic" sending of the same image, then I would not expect the tests to show positive results.

Someone might say, What about Rhine's card- guessing experiments? Wasn't the test subject concentrating in those tests?

From my limited experience in participating in such tests online, I've found that I tend to coax myself into a dreamy, wordless, mildly trancelike state in order to carry out the experiments, and I suspect that many of Rhine's subjects did the same thing. It seems to be a natural response when attempting to tap into one's "intuitive" side. But it would be much more difficult to enter this meditative state if one is intently studying (concentrating on) an image or any other "stimulus." What's needed is a state of sensory deprivation, not stimulation.

I think it's important to look at the psycholgical effect ESP may or may not have.

Parapsychology is undoubtably a branch of psychology, and it is pretty clear that there are certain situations in psychology where certain experiments might yield specific results in a lab but have completely different results in the field. I think a lot of time people tend to forget about the psychological aspect of the study of PSI, as surely this myst play a part in it.

While I don't condone this website, here is an interesting take on this study http://www.skepticalinvestigations.org/New/Observeskeptics/psi_neuroimaging.html#neuro

Note that at the bottom of the linked page is the paper in which both EEG and fMRI supposedly "validated" PSI.

"If any ESP processes exist, then participants' brains should respond differently to ESP and non-ESP stimuli," explains Moulton. "Instead, results showed that participants' brains responded identically to ESP and non-ESP stimuli, despite reacting strongly to differences in how emotional the stimuli were and showing subtle, stimulus-related effects."

That word identically is suspect. How much research is done that a researcher can use the word identically with his or her data. Variation exists in all phenomena. We might not be able to measure that variation but it is there. If the numbers are too good to be true then expect bias. I suspect these two researchers are very materialistic in their beliefs. Psychology department.

I was unable to bring up on the net the journal they published in for more information. If I learned nothing else in twenty years of consulting working with teams and individuals gathering and analyzing data; if the results don’t show variation or appear to good to be true then what we call the “fudge factor” has almost always been utilized to make a point usually out of fear, cherished beliefs, or paradigms.

There are so many variables involved in a research project like this. Such as the mediumship or psychic abilities of the sitters and the subject receiving the ESP. The person or persons reading the brain scans. Do they explain in their article how they held these and other variables constant? Usually there are two to four significant variables acting upon any research process; did they identify those significant variables. And of course whole hosts of what they thought were “insignificant” variables that one or more of these “insignificant” variables could influence the outcome of their research data.

Also this is a graduate student working with a professor that may be on his committee for his degree. There may be a strong bias to support the beliefs of the professor if the student is interested in getting his or her advanced degree. I.e. confirmation bias and/or peer pressure. Kind of like the scientists in the past that did research for the R J Reynolds company.

And I suspect they ended their research article with the words “more research is needed”.

“This is the best evidence to date against the existence of ESP.”

No bias in that statement from these two researchers. One wonders how much evidence they have researched into the validity of ESP.

Thanks for the link, Mark. In case people have trouble using the long link, here is a shorter version:

http://snipurl.com/pmblo

Among other things, Playfair succinctly makes the same point I tried (more verbosely) to make about state of mind:

"[The test subjects] could not possibly have reached the relaxed state essential for telepathic reception in an hour and a half of non-stop guessing and button pressing."

He makes many other good points, as well.

Thanks for posting about this here Michael. Already some good insights on this, and a good link provided. I'm glad I sent you this information. Makes for good discussion. :D

- Eteponge / Travis

By the way, I recently wrote an updated version of my old article on Psychic Detective Dorothy Allison that I linked you (and you blogged about) several years ago. I present additional cases, additional information, and I tackle what the debunkers have the say about her best cases.

http://eteponge.blogspot.com/2009/07/psychic-dorothy-allison-redux.html

Hi, Prescott

Dean Radin did many comments of this paper (and the authors of the paper too) here:

http://deanradin.blogspot.com/2007/12/japanese-translation-of-entangled-minds.html


Apparently one participant had significant results but the researchers dismissed them as an anomaly. This could have been to one of the participants being more psychic than the other participants.

In research we tend to find the results we believe we will find. When I started my research into life after death believing no such thing existed I knew my biggest obstacle would be finding the results I wanted to find. Most people as I did would like the idea of a life beyond this one.

Dean Radin found many aspects of this research flawed the most flawed being that one experiment did not prove much of anything other than more research is needed.

Thanks for posting that link Vitor, glad to read what Dean Radin has remarked on the study.

- Eteponge / Travis

Apparently one out of 16 participants got what would be called positive results. His results were tossed out as an 'artifact' (experimental error).
If we include the odd result (which of course is what we are looking for in psi research) we would conclude the opposite of what the authors concluded.
Bayesians and their priors!! sheeesh.
(how unself-aware)

Note how much more diplomatic Dean Radin is than I am...

And now for something completely different:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-510762/Could-proof-theory-ALL-psychic.html

Note the rather paradigm-shaking quote by Wiseman about 3/4 of the way through, followed by an absolutely craven walk-back. Still, he's let the djinn out of the bottle

I agree, Tim. The Wiseman quote is remarkable on several levels.

First he says, "I agree that by the standards of any other area of science that remote viewing is proven ..."

But then he adds:

"... but [this] begs the question: do we need higher standards of evidence when we study the paranormal? I think we do. If I said that there is a red car outside my house, you would probably believe me. But if I said that a UFO had just landed, you'd probably want a lot more evidence. Because remote viewing is such an outlandish claim that will revolutionise the world, we need overwhelming evidence before we draw any conclusions. Right now we don't have that evidence."

But why exactly is remote viewing an "outlandish claim"? I think this is what begs the question, to use Wiseman's phrase.

His argument is a variation on the old saw that "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence." There is some truth to this, but the trouble is, who can agree on what constitutes an extraordinary claim?

In a world where consciousness is restricted to the brain, remote viewing would indeed be extraordinary and outlandish. But in a world where consciousness can operate independent of the brain, remote viewing is exactly the kind of thing we would expect to see. We would also expect to see reports of out-of-body experiences, near-death experiences, telepathy, precognition, apparitions, and after-death communication. And we do! In fact, such things have been reported for thousands of years all over the world and are taken for granted by billions of people today, just as they were by most of our ancestors.

So there may be nothing extraordinary or outlandish at all about any of these phenomena. They only appear that way to those who start with the assumption that such things just don't happen.

"In fact,such things have been reported for thousands of years all over the world."

Exactly...."But this is the 21'st(currently) century," 'they' trill(not realising the absurdity of repeating a statement that everbody from year dot has confidently proclaimed in the course of trying to discredit 'something' ...as if ALL previous beliefs can be safely ignored simply because they sound illogical.

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