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About the PA | Member Index Who is Gertrude Schmeidler?
Gertrude SchmeidlerSCHMEIDLER--Gertrude Raffel, on March 9, 2009 at age 96. Resident of Wittier, CA, formerly of Hastings-on-Hudson, NY. Widow of Robert Schmeidler; loving mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. Professor Emerita of Psychology, City University of New York. Services to be held Sunday, March 15, 2009, at 1pm at Bayside Cemetery, 80-35 Pitkin Ave., Ozone Park, NY.
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Past President of the Parapsychological Association (1959, 1971)
Professor of Psychology, City University of New York
Professor Emeritus, City College of the City University of New York.

Iím an experimental psychologist, and my research was primarily in perception and memory - until a seminar changed my life. In 1942 I began a part-time job at Harvard (seven years after my doctorate there), saw a seminar on psychical research was offered, and listened in to find what could be said for this bizarre topic. Gardner Murphyís lectures, and his suggested readings, left me half-fascinated, half-incredulous. Murphy then offered me a stipend from Harvardís Richard Hodgson Fund to experiment on ESP. I accepted, hoping an experiment would tell me what to think about the topic.

The data convinced me. Repeatedly, average ESP scores of subjects who rejected any possibility of ESP success (whom I called goats) were lower than average ESP scores of all other subjects (whom I called sheep). This was inexplicable by the physical laws we knew; it implied unexplored processes in the universe, an exciting new field for research. From then on, naturally, my primary research interest was parapsychology.

In 1947 I became an instructor at City College, and in due course a professor, teaching only standard psychology. After many years, to my surprise, I was asked to give a parapsychology course for doctoral students, then a similar course for M.A. students, then for undergraduates. But from the first, many of the M. A. theses that I mentored were in parapsychology, and so were, later, five of the doctoral dissertations I chaired.

With student volunteers as subjects I did many small-budget ESP experiments; once even a PK experiment with Ingo Swann, financed by a grant from Carlson, inventor of Xerox. (Good PK apparatus is expensive.) The Parapsychology Foundation helped some projects with its grants. Very great help always came from the wisdom and resources of Gardner Murphy, and from cooperative and brilliant students who joined the research.

My experiments tried to address the criticism that ESP is a fact without a theory; four outcomes seem to rebut it. (1) Personality variables have similar effects on scores in ESP and in other tasks. Psychological theory makes effective predictions about ESP; thus it is a part of ESPís theory too. (2) Telepathy not only can transmit information, it can also activate a general readiness to use or to inhibit ESP (1961). This aligns ESP processes with theories of social and cultural influences, which also activate or inhibit the use of particular abilities. (3) Precognition can be effective for information never known by any person (targets are randomized and scored by machine but never printed). This extends psychological and social theory; it shows we have access to a wide, unexplored range of stimuli. (4) PK effects in one area are balanced by compensating physical changes elsewhere (1973). ESP seems to show direct access to distant events; PK a direct influence on them. This research explored how PK operates, implying that our influence shifts the balance of physical processes. (I must add that items 2 and 4 above have not been replicated by others; they thus are weaker than 1 and 3.)

To my regret, I could never think of a method that was both rigorous and practical for research on the most exciting possibilities suggested by ESP and PK: problems of the basic characteristics of consciousness or of the self. They await the research of others.

I also held various offices, including the presidency, in the Parapsychological Association and (while it still did research) in the American Society for Psychical Research.

Throughout I depended on my husbandís cheerful tolerance of my professional activity. We have four children and seven grandchildren.

Selected Publications:
Predicting good and bad scores in a clairvoyance experiment: A preliminary report. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 1943, 37, 103-110.

Predicting good and bad scores in a clairvoyance experiment: A final report. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 1943, 37, 210-221.

Position effects as psychological phenomena. Journal of Parapsychology, 1944, 8, 110-124.

Separating the sheep from the goats. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 1945, 39, 46-49.

with G. Murphy, The influence of belief and disbelief in ESP upon individual scoring levels. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 1946, 36, 271-276.

Rorschach variables in relation to ESP scores. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 1947, 41, 35-64.

with L. W. Allison, A repetition of Carington’s experiments with free drawings. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 1948, 42, 97-107.

Research projects in parapsychology. Journal of Parapsychology, 1948, 13, 23-31.

Personality correlates of ESP as shown by Rorschach studies. Journal of Parapsychology, 1949, 13, 23-31.

Comparisons of ESP scores with Rorschachs scored by different workers. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 1949, 43, 94-98.

Some relations between Picture-Frustration ratings and ESP scores. Journal of Personality, 1950, 18, 331-343.

With L. Eilbert, A study of certain psychological factors in relation to ESP performance. Journal of Parapsychology, 1950, 14, 53-74.

ESP performance and the Rorschach test. Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, 1950, 35, 323-338.

with A. O. Ross and G. Murphy, The spontaneity factor in extrasensory perception. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 1952, 46, 14-16.

Rorschachs and ESP scores of patients suffering from cerebral concussion. Journal of Parapsychology, 1952, 16, 80-89.

Personal values and ESP scores. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 1952, 47, 757-761.

Picture-Frustration ratings and ESP scores for subjects who showed moderate annoyance at the ESP task. Journal of Parapsychology, 1954, 18, 137-152.

A note on the need for rigid testing conditions. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 1955, 49, 118-119.

With E. Frommer, Analysis and evaluation of a pair of presumably telepathic dreams. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 1956, 50, 74-78.

With R. Gerber, An investigation of relaxation and acceptance of the experimental situation as related to ESP scores in maternity patients. Journal of Parapsychology, 1957, 21, 47-57.

Agent-percipient relationships. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 1958, 52, 47-69.

Analysis and evaluation of proxy sessions with Mrs. Caroline Chapman. Journal of Parapsychology, 1958, 22, 137-155.

Additional data on sheep-goat classification. Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, 1959, 40, 63-72.

Exploring the parameters of research variables. Journal of Parapsychology, 1959, 23, 238-250.

ESP in relation to Rorschach Test evaluation. Parapsychology Monographs, 1960, 2, 1-89.

Structures of uncertainty. International Journal of Parapsychology, 1960, 4, 103-108.

Are there two kinds of telepathy? Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 1961, 55, 87-97.

Evidence for two kinds of telepathy. International Journal of Parapsychology, 1961, 3, 5-48.

ESP and tests of perception. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 1962, 56, 48-51.

Note on precognition with and without knowledge of results. Psychological Reports, 1962, 11, 486.

An experiment on precognitive clairvoyance: Part 1. The main results. Journal of Parapsychology, 1964, 28, 1-14.

An experiment on precognitive clairvoyance: Part II. The reliability of the scores. Journal of Parapsychology, 1964, 28, 15-27.

An experiment on precognitive clairvoyance, Part III. Precognition scores related to the subject’s way of viewing time. Journal of Parapsychology, 1964, 94-101.

An experiment on precognitive clairvoyance, Part IV. Precognition scores related to creativity. Journal of Parapsychology, 1964, 28, 102-108.

An experiment on precognitive clairvoyance: Part V. Precognition scores related to feelings of success. Journal of Parapsychology, 1964, 28, 109-125.

An experimentalist’s approach to survival research. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 1965, 59, 156-160.

Quantitative investigation of a “haunted house”. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 1966, 60, 137-149.

Two horns of a dilemma in relating ESP to personality. Corrective Psychiatry and Journal of Social Therapy, 1966, 12, 98-114.

Telepathy and resistance to it. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 1966, 60, 207-209.

With Lindemann, C. ESP calls following an “ESP” test with sensory cues. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 1966, 60, 357-362.

The influence of attitude on ESP scores. International Journal of Neuropsychiatry, 1966, 2, 387-397.

ESP breakthroughs: Paranormal effects in real life. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 1967, 61, 306-325.

A search for feedback in ESP: Part I. Session salience and stimulus preference. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 1968, 62,130-142.

With L. Lewis, A search for feedback in ESP: Part II. High scores after two successes on triple aspect targets. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 1968, 62, 255-262.

With T. Moss, Quantitative investigation of a “haunted house” with sensitives and a control group. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 1968, 62, 399-410.

With L. Lewis, A search for feedback in ESP: Part III. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 1969, 83, 60-68.

High ESP scores after a swami’s brief instruction in meditation and breathing. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 1970, 64, 100-1-3.

With L. LeShan, An aspect of body image related to ESP scores. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 1970, 64, 211-218.

Studying individual psi experiences. Journal of Parapsychology, 1970, 34, 197-209.

With J. Hudesman, ESP scores following therapeutic sessions. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 1971, 65, 215-222.

Mood and attitude on a pretest as predictors of retest ESP performance. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 1971, 65, 324-335.

With L. Lewis, Alpha relations with non-intentional and purposeful ESP after feedback. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 1971, 65, 455-467.

Parapsychologists’ opinions about parapsychology, 1971. Journal of Parapsychology, 1971, 35, 208-216.

With J. G. Craig, Moods and ESP scores in group testing. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 1972, 66, 280-287.

PK effects upon continuously recorded temperature. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 1973, 67, 325-340.

Parapsychology: Out of the ivory tower. Osteopathic Physician, 1974, 41, 34-48.

Using ESP: Science fiction or applied science? Counseling and Values, 1975, 19, 135-140.

With B. Brier and B. Savits, Three experiments in clairvoyant diagnosis with Silva Mind Control graduates. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 1975, 69, 263-272.

With M. Maher, Quantitative investigation of a recurrent phenomenon. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 1975, 69, 341-352.

Personality differences in the effective use of ESP. Journal of Communication, 1975, 25, 133-141.

With R. Friedman and E. D. Dean, Ranked-target scoring for mood and intragroup effects in precognitive ESP. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 1976, 70, 195-206.

with J. Hudesman, Changes in ESP scores after therapy sessions. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 1976, 70, 371-380.

With M. Jackson and S. Franzoi, Effects of feedback on ESP: A curious partial replication. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 1977, 71, 147-155.

With M. Maher, Cerebral lateralization effects in ESP processing. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 1977, 71, 261-271.

Gardner Murphy and his thinking: A retrospect and a prospect. Journal of Parapsychology, 1979, 43, 86-100.

With M. Maher and D. Persatsakis, Cerebral localization effects in ESP processing: An attempted replication. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 1979, 73, 167-177.

Gardner Murphy: A short biography. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 1980, 74, 1-14.

Rhine’s contributions to experimental methodology and standards of research. Journal of Parapsychology, 1980, 45, 11-23.

With M. Maher, Judges’ responses to the nonverbal behavior of psi-conducive and psi-inhibitory experimenters. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 1981, 75, 241-258.

A possible commonality among gifted psychics. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 1982, 76, 53-58.

Interpreting reports of out of body experiences. Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, 1983, 52, 102-104.

ESP and memory: Some limiting conditions. Parapsychological Journal of South Africa, 1983, 4, 51-69.

Memories of Laura Dale. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 1983, 77, 273-276.

Further analysis of PK with continuous temperature recordings. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 1984, 78, 355-362.

Field and stream: Background stimuli and the flow of ESP responses. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 1985, 79, 13-26.

Subliminal perception and ESP: Order in diversity? Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 1986, 80, 241-264.

The mind-matter relation: Out of metaphysics and into the laboratory. Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology, 1987, 7, 12-18.

Is psi a subcognitive process? Journal of Parapsychology, 1990, 54, 321-329.

Perceptual processing of psi: A model. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 1991, 85, 212-236.

With A. Imich, Formal and informal work with Peter Suglesis. Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, 1992, 58, 239-243.

With H. Edge, Should ganzfeld resarch continue to be crucial in the search for a replicable psi effect? Part II. Edited ganzfeld debate. Journal of Parapsychology, 1999, 63, 335-388.

Books and chapters With R. A. McConnell, ESP and Personality Patterns. New Haven, CT., Yale University Press, 1958.

The ‘fitting in’ of parapsychological experiments. In I. J. Good (Ed.). The Scientist Speculates, 1962, Kingswood, Surrey: Windmill Press Ltd. (pp. 157-158).

Parapsychology. New International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences, 1968, New York: MacMillan Company and Free Press (pp. 386-399).

Contemporary psychologists view parapsychology today. In J. B. Rhine and R. Brier (EDS). Parapsychology Today. New York: Citadel (pp. 195-203).

Theory building and theory testing. In J. Mihalasky (Ed.). Techniques and status of modern parapsychology. Newark, NJ: College of Engineering.

The psychic personallity. In J. White (Ed.). Psychic Explorations: A Challenge for Science. 1974. New York: J. G. Putnam & Sons, 94-110.

(Ed.). Extrasensory Perception. 1974. New York: Lieberman-Atherton.

(Ed.). Parapsychology: Its Relation to Physics, Biology, Psychology, and Psychiatry. 1976. Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press.

Methods for controlled research in ESP and PK. In B. Wolman (Ed.). Handbook of Parapsychology, 1977. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 131-159.

Research findings in psychokinesis. In S. Krippner (Ed.). Advances in Parapsychological Research, Vol. 1. Psychokinesis. New York, Plenum Press, 79-132.

PK research: Findings and theories. In S. Krippner (Ed.). Advances in Parapsychological Research, Volume 3. 1982. New York: Plenum Press, 115-146.

Some guidelines from research findings. In I. Grattan-Guinness (Ed.). Psychical Research: A guide to its history, principles, and practices. 1982. Wellingsborough, Great Britain: Aquarian Press, 265-283.

Parapsychology. In B. B. Wolman (Ed.). International Encyclopedia of Psychiatry, Psychology, Psychoanalysis & Neurology. 1983, 8, 183-185.

Psychokinesis: The basic problem, research methods, and findings. In S. Krippner (Ed.). Advances in Parapsychological Research, Volume 4. 1984. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 12-30.

Questions and attempts at answers. In R. Pilkington, Men and Women of Parapsychology: Personal Reflections. 1987. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 76-88.

Psychokinesis: Recent studies and a possible paradigm shift. In S. Krippner, (Ed.). Advances in Parapsychological Research 5. 1987, Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 76-88.

Parapsychology and Psychology: Matches and Mismatches. 1988. Jefferson, NC: McFarland.

Problems raised by the concept of the survival of the personality after death. In A. Berger, P. Batham, A. H. Kutscher, J. Berger, M. Perry, and J. Beloff (Eds.). Death and Dying. 1989. Philadelphia: Charles Press, 197-208.

With L. Henkel (Eds.). Research in Parapsychology 1990. 1992. Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press

ESP experiments: The glass is half full. In S. Krippner (Ed.). Advances in Parapsychological Research 7. 1994. Jefferson, NG: McFarland, 104-197.

PK: Recent research reports and a comparison with ESP. In S. Krippner (Ed.). Advances in Parapsychological Research 7. 1994. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 198-237.

 

 

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