Parapsychological Association,parapsychology,psi phenomena,psychic,psi,psychokinesis,telepathy,psychic phenomena,ESP,PK,psychic healing,extrasensory perception
 
 

Abstracts of Papers Presented
at the 2006 Parapsychological Association Convention

[if you are an author and your paper is missing from this collection, please send a copy of its abstract to webmaster@parapsych.org]



ANOMALOUS SLOW CORTICAL COMPONENTS IN A SLOT-MACHINE TASK
Dick J. Bierman & Jenneke van Ditzhuijzen
University of Amsterdam

ABSTRACT
Thirty-two subjects participated in a 128 trial slot machine task. The task was initiated by the subjects. With intervals of one second the three windows of the slot machine froze. There were three types of events: three subsequent different fruits (XYZ), two equal fruits followed by a different one (XXY) and three equal fruits (XXX). The events were selected randomly with replacement from a limited pool of possible events. The subject had to pay 0.5 euro (real money) for each trial and received 7 euro for winning (XXX) events. The a priori probability for an XXX-event was 12.5% throughout the experiment. The subject could not know nor learn what the next fruit to be displayed would be. The subjects kept the money they won at the end but never had to pay when they eventually lost money. Following brain research with slot machines we analyzed the pooled medio-frontal signals from the Fz, Cz and Pz lead, using pre-processing parameters specified in the literature. There was a significant difference between the slow wave preceding a ‘win’ and preceding a loss (XYZ). This difference can be explained by the fact that after the second fruit has been ‘frozen’ the subject is aware that in the XYZ condition the possibility for a win has vanished. However the difference was observed to develop before the second fruit froze i.e. before there was any visible difference between the conditions. This anomaly was confirmed by a comparison of the XXY and the XXX condition where, for the relevant period from 1 to 2 seconds, there was no visible difference for the subject and nonetheless the brain signals differed by about 1.9 microvolt on average (t= 2.35, df=31, p=0.026). These anomalous results were not significantly associated with ‘perceived luckiness’ although the 15 subjects who perceived themselves as ‘lucky’ did have a much larger effect of ~ 2.9 microvolt compared with the other subjects (~0.6 microvolt). Exploratory analyses showed some suggestive evidence for the effect of sustained attention and of the belief to be able to ‘influence’ the slot machine.




MEMORY, EMOTION AND THE RECEPTIVE PSI PROCESS
Richard S. Broughton
Division of Psychology, School of Social Sciences
The University of Northampton
Northampton NN2 7AL, UK

ABSTRACT
The two-stage model of receptive psi—ESP, anomalous cognition—is generally accepted as a reasonable starting point for understanding how ESP enters consciousness and affects behaviour. While stage one—how ESP “gets into the system”—remains a mystery and a likely problem for physics, stage two is thought to involve what Tyrrell has described as, “cognitive and other processes that we are not in the habit of calling paranormal.” If evolution has conferred upon humans the ability to make use of anomalous information then it is likely to follow the pattern of brain development in which existing systems are adapted and enhanced to confer new advantages and adaptations.
Roll and Irwin have proposed memory as a likely candidate for one such brain system co-opted for service with ESP. The images that form the basis of spontaneous cases of ESP via dreams or hallucinations seem to be drawn from the recipients’ memory, as are the responses in free-response ESP experiments. This raises the question of how are the particular memory images that bring the anomalous information to awareness selected?
This paper proposes that the emotional system also plays a role in receptive psi, perhaps an even more fundamental one than memory, though it operates closely with memory. Recent research suggests that the emotional system is intimately involved in the selection of the memory images that comprise dreams, as well as biasing the attentional resources we devote to the various memory images that parade across consciousness. The work of Damasio has highlighted the role of the emotional system, especially the feeling component, in decision-making, thus providing a link with the range of behavioural responses that might be psi-influenced in Stanford’s PMIR model, as well as providing insight into the intuitive class of spontaneous cases. Evolution has already designed much of the emotional system’s operation to be automatic, unconscious, and not easily subject to intentional control, characteristics traditionally attributed to receptive psi, so it would not be surprising that this system might be adapted by evolution to serve as a “pathway” for anomalous information.
The rapidly advancing understanding of the emotional system calls for new and imaginative experiments to examine the joint roles of memory and emotion in the effective use of anomalous information. Recent research on presentiment and ESP-based intuition are promising approaches, but, as always, more work is needed.


ANOMALOUS EXPERIENCES AND HYPNOSIS
Etzel Cardeña, Ph.D.
Lund University, Sweden


ABSTRACT
Throughout its history, mesmerism and its later development as hypnosis have been related to reputed psi-phenomena and to various alterations of consciousness. Although most of the older literature would not stand up to current methodological strictures, there are some reports that are still baffling and both the consistency of the reports and more recent meta-analytic work suggest that we should investigate the psi-hypnosis relationship more programmatically. With respect to alterations of consciousness within the hypnotic context, most previous work has had the confound of specific suggestions. In this paper I review the literature on hypnotic phenomenology, point out its limitations, and present recently published data that supports specific alterations associated with experienced depth: mostly relaxation during a resting baseline, mild to moderate changes in sensations and body image during light/medium hypnosis, and radical alterations of body image (e.g., floating, sinking), and dreamlike and transcendental (e. g,, merging with a light) during deep and very deep hypnosis. Many of these phenomena have also been observed during other altered states such as OBEs and NDEs, which have been of great interest to the parapsychology field.


RELATIONS BETWEEN ESP AND MEMORY IN LIGHT OF THE FIRST SIGHT MODEL OF PSI
James C. Carpenter, Ph.D.
Rhine Research Center
Durham, NC, USA


ABSTRACT
Although less active recently, the study of ESP in relation to memory has been a relatively active concern for parapsychology. Methods, questions and findings have been varied, and in need of clearer conceptualization for work to proceed usefully. The First Sight model of psi functioning is proposed as having promise in this regard. I sketch the basic premises of the model (by which psi transactions are presumed to begin the developmental processes of all experience), and argue here that various findings, including the positive correlation of long-term memory with ESP, the negative correlation of working memory with ESP, the importance of alerting participants to the pertinence of ESP in the context of memory tests, the additive and subtractive effects of attempts to influence recall with ESP, and the effect of degree of familiarity of test material on ESP, among other trends, are congruent with the expectations arising from the model.


THE SLIDE-SHOW PRESENTIMENT EFFECT DISCOVERED IN BRAIN ELECTRICAL ACTIVITY
Thilo Hinterberger1,2, Petra Studer2, Marco Jäger2, Colette Haverty-Stacke1, & Harald Walach1
1Division of Social Sciences, University of Northampton, UK
2Instituteof Medical Psychology and Behavioral Neurobiology, University of Tübingen, Germany


ABSTRACT
The presentation of pictures evokes clearly detectable responses in the electroencephalogram (EEG). Here, the question is addressed whether people show, as a paranormal effect, a pre-stimulus response prior to a sudden appearance of pictures. This presentiment effect could be visible in EEG activity even when people are not consciously aware of it. A study was carried out with 20 participants being exposed at randomised times to affective and non-affective pictures and to checkerboard stimuli. The pre-stimulus epochs for these stimuli were compared to pre-stimulus epochs before a hidden stimulation. A non-parametric statistical approach was chosen for the analysis of the one-second pre-stimulus interval. With checkerboard stimulation, only a marginally significant presentiment effect could be detected at the Pz electrode. Considering all picture stimuli, the analysis of all cortical channels merged revealed a significant increase of the EEG activity (z=1.71). Considering the affective pictures only, the significance was z=2.02. The difference between affective and neutral pictures revealed significant z-scores greater than z=2.0 at four of the six electrode positions. A control condition in which the monitor was covered showed no significant difference between the affective and neutral targets. The contrast of visible and covered picture stimulation revealed significance at C3 with p<0.02. For the visible pictures, the amplitude rankings at Cz were shifted towards higher ranks with p=0.01. The power in the delta band was significantly decreased with p=0.006 in picture stimulation. The checkerboard stimulation remained non-significant in the comparison between visible and covered conditions. The significant decrease in the eye movement channel during the pre-stimulus period for the visible conditions can be explained by a systematic eye blink of the participants at or after stimulus presentation which was less frequent before.
The results suggest the possible existence of an abnormal presentiment effect. As it is not visible in the averaged EEG curves this effect may not be time-locked to the stimulus and different for each participant. The missing significances for neutral pictures and checkerboard stimuli suggest that emotional affectivity is important for a presentiment reaction in the EEG. A tendency towards compensatory behaviour of pre-stimulus activity can be explained by theories such as the decision augmentation theory or the weak quantum theory.


EXPERIMENTER EFFECTS AND VOLITIONAL STRATEGIES IN THE MIND-MACHINE INTERACTION REPLICATION
Joop M. Houtkooper
Center for Psychobiology and Behavioral Medicine
Justus Liebig University of Giessen
Otto-Behaghel-Strasse 10, 35394 Giessen, Germany
email: joophoutkooper@gmail.com


ABSTRACT
Volitional strategies in PK experiments have been reported by early experimenters acting as their own subjects. A study by Gissurarson, in which he obtained volitional strategies from the participants after the PK task, put this on a broader basis. In the present experiment, part of the Mind Machine Interaction (MMI) replication study, 74 subjects participated, contributing a total of 271 sessions. In the PK task, volitional strategies have been freely chosen by the participants before starting each run. The preliminary findings of this study confirmed Gissurarson's finding, that the "resonance" strategy was associated with the best PK performance. This strategy is also linked to subjective reports of "effortless effort" as a psi-conducive state of mind. In the present paper, the differences between the experimenters in the same study are analyzed. Apart from the interest in experimenter effects per se, this is relevant for the expected reproducibility of the findings. The finding of the resonance strategy turns out to be less robust, than the earier report suggested. However, major differences, specific to individual experimenters have been found. These differences are particularly striking for the "confidence" volitional strategy, where one experimenter obtained highly significant psi-hitting (p-2t<.002), whereas the other two experimenters both obtained significant psi-missing (p-2t<.02 and <.003). The interaction effect between experimenters and volitional strategies on PK-scoring is highly significant (p=.000024). Comparison of analyses by run and by session provides evidence that PK performance varies on a time-scale of minutes, dependent on the consciously chosen volitional strategy, but also dependent on the person of the experimenter.


REMOTE STARING DETECTED BY CONSCIOUS AND PSYCHOPHYSIOLOGICAL VARIABLES
COMBINING AND IMPROVING TWO SUCCESSFUL PARADIGMS
Susanne Müller1, Stefan Schmidt1 & Harald Walach2

1Department of Evaluation Research in Complementary Medicine
Institute of Environmental Medicine and Hospital Epidemiology
University Hospital Freiburg, Germany
2 University Northampton, School of Social Sciences and Samueli Institute, European Office


ABSTRACT
Findings in parapsychology suggest an effect of distant intentionality. Two laboratory set-ups explored this topic by measuring the effect of a distant intention on psychophysiological variables. The DMILS (direct mental interaction in living systems) experiments investigate the effect of various intentions on the electrodermal activity (EDA) of a remote subject. The “Remote Staring” experiments examine whether gazing by an observer (starer) covaries with the electrodermal activity of the person being observed (staree).
In two meta-analyses (Schmidt, Schneider, Utts & Walach, 2004) it became obvious that the remote staring studies had a lower overall quality than the DMILS studies. While there are some high quality DMILS studies (score over 90%) the highest quality in Remote Staring studies is 71%. Thus there is a lack in studies with good methodology to assess the remote staring paradigm.
We conducted a remote staring study that intended to overcome methodological shortcomings of earlier studies
Fifty participants were invited to take part as starees. After completing questionnaires on mindfulness, mood, personality and paranormal belief they rested in a comfortable position in front of a video camera while their EDA was continuously monitored. The experimenter also acted as the starer and either observed or did not observe the participant through a closed circuit television system according to a random schedule. EDA during stare and non-stare epochs was compared for significant differences.
In addition to this basic (replication) set-up two new hypotheses were tested. The participant had the possibility to press a button whenever s/he feels stared at. This added a conscious response variable without engaging into the disadvantages of the standard conscious guessing paradigm (guessing strategies, response bias etc). Furthermore the distraction of the starer’s intention during non-stare epochs was varied. In one condition s/he was mentally occupied by a cognitive task, in the other s/he was just told not to stare (standard condition). We hypothesized that the distraction from the target in the standard condition was too weak to avoid an unwanted intentional effect in the staree.
Overall we did not find any staring effect at all, not in the EDA data and not in the ‘conscious’ open response situation. Thus the experiment failed in demonstrating any Psi effect.


THE DESIGN AND IMPLEMENTATION OF THE TELEPATHIC IMMERSIVE VIRTUAL REALITY SYSTEM
Craig D. Murray1, Toby Howard2, Jezz Fox1, Fabrice Caillette2, Christine Simmonds-Moore3 & David J. Wilde1
1School of Psychological Sciences, University of Manchester, UK
2School of Computer Science, University of Manchester, UK
3Department of Psychology, Liverpool Hope University, UK


ABSTRACT
This paper describes a project which has a focus on immersive virtual reality (IVR) as an experimental environment and medium for telepathy. IVR denotes the use of three-dimensional computer graphics technology to generate artificial environments that afford real-time interaction and exploration. These are intended to give the user an impression of being present (‘telepresence’) or immersed in a computer-generated world. A sense of immersion is promoted through the use of head mounted displays (HMDs). These present stereo images and sound to create a perceptually encompassing computer environment. An instrumented data glove allows participants to interact with virtual objects. We argue that IVR has a number of features which make it well suited for the study of telepathy, including a higher degree of experimental control, the co-location of senders and receivers, and the opportunity for more ‘natural’ and meaningful (to participants) experimental trials. In the early stages of the project we have focussed on developing an immersive virtual environment (the Telepathic Immersive Virtual Environment, or TIVE) which acts as the experimental environment for both ‘Sender’ and ‘Receiver’ in the later telepathy trials. This environment looks like a room: for example, it has a door, a window, a chair, a bookshelf and a potted plant. During the experimental trials the bookshelf is filled with four objects. These objects are interactive; that is, both Sender and Receiver are able to pick up and manipulate the target object. In addition the Receiver can also handle three other objects which form part of the target set (the Sender does not see these additional objects). As the Sender and Receiver handle an object in the TIVE they hear a sound evocative of that object. Having constructed the TIVE our work now focuses on two telepathy studies. In these studies the Sender tries to communicate to the Receiver by telepathic means the identity of an object randomly chosen from a set of four (the set is in turn randomly chosen from a group of four sets). Within this paper we describe the general procedure for our telepathy studies using the TIVE. This includes the computerised random process of target set selection (and of selecting which object in the set acts as the target), and the use of gesture recognition for object selection and de-selection. We conclude the paper with some indication of our future plans for the TIVE.


ANOMALOUS STRUCTURE IN GCP DATA: A FOCUS ON NEW YEAR’S EVE
Roger D. Nelson
Global Consciousness Project, Princeton, New Jersey, USA


ABSTRACT
Continuous parallel sequences of random data have been accumulated in the Global Consciousness Project (GCP) for eight years as of August 2006, and we have made formal hypothesis tests regarding potential structure in the data associated with each New Year transition during that time. The GCP maintains a network of about 65 active random event generator (REG) devices around the world, each recording 200-bit trial sums at one per second over months and years, and reporting them over the Internet to a central server. We have made two types of prediction for New Year’s, one that the mean score across REGs in the network will depart from expectation, and another that the variance across devices will be reduced near midnight. The GCP data are signal averaged across all time zones, and the period surrounding midnight is assessed for each year. The meanshift measure combined across all eight years shows a substantial decline, but it is not statistically significant. The variance measure has a more impressive outcome: Analyses for individual years show results conforming to the hypothesis in about three fourths of the cases, and for the eight years combined, the shape of the signal averaged cumulative deviation is striking. Permutation analysis shows that the prediction of reduced variance is supported with a p-value of 0.026. While it is prudent to keep alternative explanations in mind, these results are prima facie evidence of a large-scale interaction of human consciousness that can have effects in the physical world, similar to those found in intention-based laboratory mind-machine experiments. The project continues, with a focus on refining hypotheses and assessing a broader range of potential correlates.


ANOMALOUS ANTICIPATION OF TARGET BIASES IN A COMPUTER GUESSING TASK
John Palmer
University Hospital Zürich
Zürich, Switzerland


ABSTRACT
This paper reports the results of 2 experiments originally intended to study implicit sequence learning (ISL). Participants (Ps) were asked to identify in which of 4 directions (up, down, left, right) an arrow would be pointing that they would see immediately after their response (trial-by-trial feedback). In Experiment 1, 35 male Ps received 1 100-trial run with random targets followed by 2 100-trial runs with biased targets. The bias was defined as the target for trial t+1 being displaced 90 degrees clockwise (CW) or counterclockwise (CCW) from the target for trial t. The order of the 2 biases was counterbalanced across Ps. Pro-bias targets appeared in 46.5% of the trials, counter-bias targets in 10.1%, and each orthogonal alternative in 25.2%. 18 Ps were extreme believers in the paranormal (sheep) and 17 were extreme skeptics (goats). Half of each group received a levodopa pill (dopamine) before the test session and the other half a placebo. The dependent variable, relative pro-bias responding (rPBR), was the difference between pro-bias and counter-bias responses (e.g., CCW responses in CW-biased runs). A succession of post-hoc analyses intended to clarify a marked CW response bias in the 1st half of the 1st biased run among levodopa Ps responding to CW-biased targets revealed a suggestive tendency for levodopa Ps to “anticipate” in the random run the target bias (CW or CCW) they would receive in their 1st biased run. As Ps at this time had been told nothing about the targets in the biased runs, this suggestive finding was called an anomalous anticipation effect (AAE). To determine if the AAE might be present elsewhere in the data, the random run was analyzed using the same ANOVA that had been used to test for ISL in the biased runs, with the target bias defined as that which Ps would receive in their 1st biased run. The ANOVA revealed a significant belief x half-run interaction, in which sheep demonstrated an increase in rPBR from the 1st to 2nd half-run and goats a corresponding decrease. This finding was interpreted as correct and incorrect anticipation by goats and sheep respectively in the 1st half of the random run; the 1st-2nd half differences were interpreted as changes in strategy due to non-reinforcing feedback during the run. The sample for Experiment 2 was 40 females. The main procedural changes were no levodopa condition and a between-P manipulation of target bias, with each P receiving 2 200-trial biased runs. The ANOVA of the random run revealed a significant main effect for belief, with goats anticipating correctly and sheep incorrectly. In both experiments, skeptics scored significantly higher than believers in the 1st half of the random run. The reversal of the traditional sheep-goat effect was speculatively attributed to goats being more comfortable than sheep in the test situation, a circumstance created by the fact that, in contrast to most sheep-goat experiments, both experimenters were goats.


EXPLORING PSYCHOMANTEUM AS A PSI-CONDUCIVE STATE OF CONSCIOUSNESS
Alejandro Parra and Jorge Villanueva
Institute of Paranormal Psychology
Salta 2015 (C1137ACQ) Buenos Aires,
Argentina


ABSTRACT
The mirror gazing procedure termed the “psychomanteum” was developed by the world renowned psychiatrist Dr. Raymond Moody. It was designed to facilitate reunion experiences with deceased individuals, as a means of addressing the feelings surrounding bereavement. Although the modern psychomanteum is not normally employed to seek ESP information about the future, it may be that the psychomanteum is psi-conductive. For example, there are many similarities and differences between psychomanteum experiences and accounts of hypnagogic/hypnopompic imagery, which is conducive to ESP. The aim is of this paper was to explore whether the psychomanteum technique encourages a psi-conducive state of consciousness, which would result in scoring that is significantly above MCE. One hundred and thirty participants (92 females and 38 males; Mean age= 47.44) were recruited by announcements in newspapers and our web site. Seventy eight percent claimed to have had a variety of ESP experiences. A number of variables, such as vividness of imagery and hallucinatory experience, were examined. Two conditions, psychomanteum and no-psychomanteum condition, were compared. A CD-pool containing 200 high-quality color pictures, such as animals, icons, foods, people, landscapes, religion, scenic pictures, structures, and humoristic cartoons, were designed using a RNG for randomization. Under psychomanteum condition, psi-hitting was obtained (30.8% above MCE); however, under no-psychomanteum (“control”) condition, 29.2% was obtained (where 25% was expected). The results differ slightly from MCE in the psychomanteum condition (p= .02, one-tailed) in comparison with no-psychomanteum condition, but no significant differences were found. A number of positive correlations were also found, for instance, participants who attained higher scores on auditory and visual hallucinations tended to demonstrate psi-hitting.


ENTRAINED MINDS AND THE BEHAVIOR OF RANDOM PHYSICAL SYSTEMS
Dean Radin1 & F. Holmes Atwater2

1 Institute of Noetic Sciences
Petaluma, CA, USA

2 The Monroe Institute
Faber, VA, USA



ABSTRACT
An experiment was conducted to see whether group mental coherence would produce statistical order in sequences of truly random binary events. Mental coherence was entrained in groups who simultaneously listened to the same binaural beat rhythms for up to six hours a day as part of a six-day workshop. Electronic circuits continuously generated truly random bits during 12 workshops. An additional 12 six-day runs were taken in distant locations during the workshops, and 8 calibration runs were taken when no workshops were taking place. Samples of 200 bits collected during the workshops were normalized against the calibration samples. Analyses were based on the first sample of 200 bits collected per second (12 million samples) and also on all available samples of 200 bits (226 million samples). The first analysis found positive but non-significant deviations from chance; the second showed a significant positive deviation for the workshop RNGs, as predicted (z = 3.27, p = 0.0005, one-tailed), and an unexpectedly strong negative deviation in the distant RNGs (z = -6.47, p = 9.6 × 10-11, two-tailed). The results support the idea that coherent minds influence local physical randomness.


PRESENTIMENT IN THE BRAIN

Dean Radin1 & Eva Lobach2

1 Institute of Noetic Sciences
Petaluma, CA, USA

2 University of Amsterdam,
The Netherlands


ABSTRACT
Slow cortical potentials in human subjects were measured to test a possible transtemporal component of expectation. One channel of EEG was recorded over the occipital lobe while a participant was exposed to a truly random sequence of dichotomous stimuli: a flash of light or no flash. Successive stimuli were determined randomly four seconds after the participant pressed a button. Data were collected in sessions of 100 trials, contributed by 13 female and 7 male participants. Females’ slow cortical potentials differentiated significantly one second before stimulus onset (z= 2.72, p= 0.007, two-tailed). For males, there was a suggestive effect in the opposite direction (z= -1.64, p= 0.10, two-tailed). Examination of alternative explanations indicated that these effects were not due to anticipatory strategies or artifacts associated with equipment, procedures or analytical methods. The experiment suggests that comprehensive models of expectation effects, including the placebo response, may require a transtemporal component.


EFFECTS OF MOTIVATED DISTANT INTENTION ON ELECTRODERMAL ACTIVITY

Dean Radin1, Jerome Stone2, Ellen Levine3, Shahram Eskandarnejad3,
Marilyn Schlitz1,3, Leila Kozak4,5, Dorothy Mandel5 & Gail Hayssen1

1 Institute of Noetic Sciences
Petaluma, CA, USA

2 Touchstone Services
Portland, ME, USA

3 California Pacific Medical Center
San Francisco, CA, USA

4 Bastyr University
Seattle, CA, USA

5 Saybrook Graduate School
San Francisco, CA, USA



ABSTRACT
This study investigated the effects of intention on the autonomic nervous system of a human “sender” and distant “receiver” of those intentions, and explored the roles that motivation and training have in modulating these effects. Skin conductance level was measured in each member of a couple, both of whom were asked to feel the presence of the other. While the receiving person relaxed in a shielded room under double-blind conditions, the sending person in another room directed intention towards the receiver during 10-second epochs. These sending epochs were alternated with no-sending inter-epoch periods ranging randomly between 5 and 40 seconds. Thirty-six couples participated in 38 test sessions; in 22 couples one of the pair was a cancer patient. In 12 of those couples, the healthy person was trained to direct intention towards the patient and asked to practice that intention daily for three months prior to the experiment (trained group). In the other 10 couples, the pair was tested before the partner was trained (wait group). Fourteen healthy couples received no training (control group). Ensemble means of the skin conductance measures were determined during the intention epochs and normalized using nonparametric bootstrap procedures. Overall, receivers’ skin conductance levels increased during the sending epochs, achieving a peak deviation at the end of the average epoch (z = 3.9, p = 0.00009, two-tailed). Planned differences in skin conductance among the three groups were not significant, but peak deviations were largest in the trained group, followed by the wait and control groups, respectively. This study confirms previous studies indicating that directing intention towards a distant person is correlated with a rise in that person’s autonomic nervous system, and it suggests that motivation to heal and to be healed, and training on how to direct distant intention, may modulate this relationship.



ASSESSING THE ROLE OF THE SENDER AS A PK AGENT IN ESP STUDIES: THE EFFECTS OF STRATEGY (‘WILLING’ VERSUS ABSORPTION) AND FEEDBACK (IMMEDIATE VERSUS DELAYED) ON PSI PERFORMANCE

Chris A. Roe & Nicola J. Holt
Centre for the Study of Anomalous Psychological Processes
University of Northampton, Northampton, UK


ABSTRACT
In recent work we have been concerned to evaluate whether the sender plays any active role in successful ganzfeld GESP experiments (e.g., Roe, Holt & Simmonds, 2003; Roe & Holt, in press) by using a random number generator (RNG) as a ‘virtual receiver’ in a ganzfeld-like experiment. During the sending period descriptive statements were ‘selected’ from among a pool of 768 items to give a 20-item ‘RNG mentation’ that could be used by an independent judge. After early success in demonstrating the basic effect, later work considered the effects of varying the lability of the target selection method (Holt & Roe, 2005) using a simplified protocol in which senders were accurately briefed and attempted to influence the RNG; this allowed us to offer immediate feedback in the form of an on-screen display of the selected statements. Target selection method lability was manipulated to give three within-subject conditions: a random number table; a pseudo random process; and a live RNG. Participants were classified high, intermediate or low lability based on a combination of personality and experiential measures. Significant psi hitting was not obtained in any of the randomness conditions, although there was a significant interaction effect between target and sender lability, which emerged for both independent judges (F4,37 = 2.891, p = .028 [JW]; F4,37 = 4.536, p = .002 [LS]). The present study was designed to confirm that finding and to extend it by considering the possible interaction effects of sending strategy (active/willing versus passive/absorbed) upon feedback type (delayed versus immediate). Forty participants were randomly allocated to one of four conditions differing in sending strategy/feedback type. Each was presented with 24 statements as a virtual reading, consisting of 8 selected using each of the three randomness sources. The direct hit rates for all target systems are at or below mean chance expectation (MCE = 25%). A mixed 3x3 ANOVA found no significant main effects, neither the degree of target lability (F2,74 = .074, p = .929), nor the lability of the sender (F2,37 = .387, p = .651) significantly impacted upon psi-success. However, there was a significant interaction between target lability and sender lability (F4,74 = 2.747, p = .034). This replicates the interaction effect found by Holt and Roe (2005). An unrelated 2 x 2 ANOVA was conducted, using just the mentations produced by the Live RNG, to consider the two factors of sending strategy (absorbed versus willing) and feedback type (immediate and delayed). There was no main effect of sending strategy (F1,36 = .029, p = .865 ) nor of feedback type (F1,36 = 2.101, p = .156), and only a suggestive interaction effect (F1,36 = 2.310, p = .137).


ASSESSING THE ROLES OF THE SENDER AND EXPERIMENTER IN DREAM ESP RESEARCH
Chris A. Roe*, Simon J. Sherwood*, Louise Farrell*, Louie Savva*, & Ian Baker#
*Centre for the Study of Anomalous Psychological Processes, The University of Northampton
#Koestler Parapsychology Unit, The University of Edinburgh

ABSTRACT
The aim of this study was to explore the role of the sender in a dream ESP task; more specifically it was a conceptual replication of an earlier ganzfeld study (Roe, Sherwood & Holt, 2004) that manipulated the presence of a sender (sender, no sender) and considered the receiver’s expectation concerning the sender’s presence. Forty participants each completed a sender and a no sender trial on consecutive nights by sleeping at home as normal but keeping a dream diary to record all mentation that they could remember when they awoke. The order of completing sender and no sender trials was determined randomly and participant and experimenter were blind as to the order until after they had completed their judgments. On no-sender nights a video clip was randomly selected as target and played repeatedly from 2:00 until 6:30 a.m. On sender nights this was repeated except that a sender (SS or CR) would watch the clip between 6:00 and 6:30 and attempt to communicate its content to the receiver. The sender had no contact with the receiver at any stage. The primary outcome measure was specified in advance as the z score based upon similarity ratings of the target relative to those for three decoy video-clips. Although both sender and no sender conditions produced above chance hit rates (30% and 35% respectively), performance in neither condition deviated significantly from chance by our primary measure (sender night: t(39) = 0.92, p=0.18; no sender night: t(39) = 1.11, p= 0.14) and there was no difference between conditions (z=-0.22, p=0.41, one-tailed). Contrary to expectations, there was a nonsignificant tendency for z-score ratings to be greater for trials when the participants did not expect a sender than when they did expect a sender (z =-0.18, p=0.46, one-tailed). These data do not therefore support the proposal that senders play an active role in dream ESP success. An intriguing interaction between sender status (present vs absent) and sender identity (CR vs SS) is discussed, along with possible improvements in the manipulation of participant expectancy.



A MEDICAL-PSYCHOLOGICAL APPROACH TO THE POSSESSION CASE BEHIND WILLIAM BLATTY’S THE EXORCIST
Sergio Antonio Rueda MS D
Instituto de Medicina y Tecnología Avanzada de la Conducta
Cd. Juárez, Chihuahua Mexico


ABSTRACT
The Exorcist, often considered the seminal horror film in the history of movie making, caused tidal waves of publicity and public reaction (sometimes reactions so severe by the terror evoked by the film that in some cases psychiatric treatment, for some who viewed the film in 1973, was needed ). The original case on which The Exorcist book and movie were based took place in Mount Rainier near Washington D.C. in 1949 and was examined closely by J.B. Rhine. The Exorcist is a distorted and exaggerated version of the original case. A recent investigation of the Mount Rainier Case by this author reveals some new information suggesting that the authors of previous works may have be too eager to present the case as one of demonic possession. I examine four hypotheses: medical, psychological, and associated natural causes; fraud; poltergeist activity; and demonic possession. I present new information that has been obtained through personal interviews with witnesses of the original Mount Rainier case, unpublished material on the case such as personal correspondence, and information of private documents which has never been released in the past. The conclusion of my investigation was that the case can be most parsimoniously addressed from the medical-psychological perspective, and secondarily from a parapsychological point of view, with the additional possibility of deception. In my opinion, the case presents evidence for a conversion disorder combined with actual poltergeist manifestations.


‘PSYCHIC DMILS’: ATTEMPTED REMOTE FACILITATION OF PERFORMANCE IN AN ESP GAME, AND AN EXPLORATION OF GENDER DIFFERENCES
Caroline Watt, Christine Fraser, & Alexandra Hopkinson
University of Edinburgh


ABSTRACT
Braud, Shafer, McNeill, & Guerra (1995) were the first to extend the physiological DMILS paradigm to enhancing performance on a cognitive task: what one might term ‘cognitive DMILS’. Participants were asked to focus their attention on a lit candle and indicate when they became distracted by pressing a button. At the same time, a distant person followed a randomised counterbalanced influence schedule. During Help periods they attempted to help the remote participant maintain their attention on the candle, and during Control periods they turned their attention elsewhere. Five out of seven studies using this remote facilitation of attention focusing paradigm have found evidence suggesting a remote facilitation effect: that is, fewer distractions when being remotely helped. When discussing their cognitive DMILS paradigm, Braud et al. (1995) suggested that remote helping might also extend to psychic performance. That is, one individual may be able to use their mental intention to remotely enhance the psychic performance of another individual. The present study explores this suggestion by asking participants to remotely facilitate a partner’s performance on an ESP game. One might term this ‘psychic DMILS’. The study hypothesises a remote helping effect so that there will be higher ESP game scoring during Help epochs compared to Control epochs. In addition, we investigated whether there are sex differences in performance on remote helping tasks because sex role stereotypes tend to represent women as ‘the caring sex’ and thus more inclined to give and be receptive to help than men. Prior to playing the ESP game, participants completed a questionnaire designed to assess willingness to give and to receive help. Seventy-two participants each played the ESP game while a partner in a separate room followed a randomised influence schedule of eight two-minute Help and Control Periods. There was no significant difference between the number of ESP hits during Help periods compared to Control periods (t[71] = 0.81, p(2-t) = 0.42, effect size r = 0.09), therefore the hypothesis was not supported. Possible reasons for the null outcome are discussed. Exploratory analyses found that male and female participants did not greatly differ in overall hitrate, however a significant interaction was found such that females scored more highly on the ESP game when they were being helped, whereas male participants scored more highly when they were not being helped. This trend seems consistent with sex stereotypes, and participants’ responses on the questionnaire assessing willingness to give help were also consistent with the stereotypical pattern. Female participants indicated significantly greater willingness to give help than male participants. There was little differenc between male and female participants on willingness to receive help. Finally, in order to stimulate consideration of the question of gender differences in DMILS research, we provide additional post hoc analyses by gender in Watt and colleagues’ three previously-published studies of remote facilitation of attention focusing.


FIELD RNG EXPLORATION DURING A PUBLIC NATIVE AMERICAN POWWOW
Bryan J. Williams
Department of Psychology
University of New Mexico
&
Kindred Hospital Albuquerque
Kindred Hospital Albuquerque – Sandia
Albuquerque, NM 87102


ABSTRACT
The described study was one part of a project attempting to explore the possibility of mind-matter interaction-related “field consciousness” effects on random physical systems during religious ceremonial events that seem to involve a collective, unified attention in their activities. Data were collected from a portable random number generator (RNG) during the 22nd Annual Gathering of Nations Powwow, a two-day Native American ceremonial event held annually in New Mexico that draws the collective attention and participation of large numbers of Native Americans and the general public. The general prediction was for the RNG data to show positive statistical deviations away from standard randomness throughout the event, and a post hoc examination of the data from three individual sub-events that seem to draw the largest attention and/or participation from the audience and the media was also carried out. Analysis indicates that the RNG data were largely random as expected in both cases. An additional post hoc comparison of data from events rated as “high interest” with data from events rated as “low interest” also did not reveal any notable differences. Possible ways to account for these null results are discussed.


PSI, PLACE MEMORY, & LABORATORY SPACE
Bryan J. Williams1 & William G. Roll2
1 Department of Psychology
University of New Mexico
&
Kindred Hospital Albuquerque
Kindred Hospital Albuquerque – Sandia
Albuquerque, NM 87102
2 Department of Psychology
University of West Georgia
Carrollton, GA 30118


ABSTRACT
One of the longstanding issues within parapsychology has been the nonrepeatability effect in psi testing. Not only are there psychological factors that seem to contribute to this issue, but there may also be environmental factors aside from the purely geophysical that have received little attention. In this paper, we discuss the possibility that “place memories” inherent in physical objects and places may affect laboratories and the results obtained there. Various experimental studies, directly related to psi or psi-related, that seem suggestive of place memories in the laboratory setting are reviewed, and some implications are discussed.



‘DOUBT MARKED’ EXPANSION SEQUENCES IN GANZFELD MENTATION REVIEWS

Robin Wooffitt

Department of Sociology
University of York
Heslington,
York, YO10 5DD
UK


ABSTRACT
Conversation analysis (CA) is a formal, qualitative method for the analysis of naturally-occurring interaction. It has been applied to the investigation of the discourse of anomalous experiences, and in the analysis of experimenter-subject interaction in parapsychology experiments. This paper contributes to this latter line of research. A key feature of the CA method is to examine how a turn’s design exhibits its producer’s tacit understanding of the on-going interaction. This methodological step is illustrated by analysis of data from ganzfeld experiments conducted at the Koestler Parapsychology Unit at the University of Edinburgh. The analysis focuses on two different ways in which experimenters receipt subject communication in the mentation review phase of the experimental procedure. In the review, experimenters go over their record of the subject’s prior mentation imagery. After introducing each instance of mentation imagery, the experimenters leave a short gaps before proceeding to introduce the next item in the review. This slot provides an opportunity for the subject to correct the experimenter’s record of the mentation, if necessary, or to add further information about their imagery. Routinely, subjects pass on this opportunity to expand upon their prior mentation imagery. However, when they do provide further information about their imagery, this expansion turn is usually receipted by ‘okay’ from the experimenter, who then moves on to the next mentation imagery. In some cases, though, expansion turns are receipted by ‘mm hm’ or its variants. In such cases, it is observable that the subject provides further talk about the relevant imagery. However, in various ways, in this further talk the subject exhibits a much more circumspect or cautious stance toward their imagery; for example, there are expressions of doubt about the status of the imagery, or accounts which attribute the imagery to mundane aspects of the environment. It is argued that these doubt marked or circumspect expansion sequences are interactionally generated in that they emerge from the subject’s interpretation of the significance of the experimenter’s ‘mm hm’ receipt of their prior talk. The paper concludes by offering some speculative observations on the possible consequences of the different interpretations subjects may draw from these two forms of experimenter receipt. abstract.



THE SOCIAL ORGANIZATION OF TROUBLE MANAGEMENT IN PSYCHIC PRACTITIONER - SITTER INTERACTION: THREE DISCURSIVE STRATEGIES
Robin Wooffitt
Department of Sociology
University of York
Heslington
York YO10 5DD
UK


ABSTRACT
This paper presents some findings from a conversation analytic study of interaction between psychic practitioners and their clients, or sitters. As its point of departure, it acknowledges Morris’ (2005) argument that it is important to examine the social context of claims to parapsychological cognition. In this, it offers a contribution to our understanding of the ways in which participants in psychic-sitter interaction can establish and sustain the sense that genuine parapsychological ablities are being demonstrated. This is not, however, an exercise in cold reading. However much sceptics (or indeed, psychcis) may wish to appropriate the results of convesation analytic reseach on psychic-sitter interaction to support their position, the analyses themselves are ultimately agnostic as to the truth status of the claims of psyhic practitioners. That is, instead of trying to identify a set of objective criteria by which scientists or academic researchers can arbitrate on the validity of claims of paranormal powers, or the objective existence of the spirits, conversation analytic techniques allow us to investigate the sense-making practices through which psychic practitioners and their clients themselves negotiate, ratify, clarify, question or reject the status of paranormal knowledge claims as they manage the routine discursive activities of the consultation or demonstration. The empirical sections of the paper examine three kinds of remedial or repair strategies by which psychic practitioners and their sitters work to sustain the authority or authenticity of the practitioners in situations where their genuiness may be questioned or their claimed parapsychological abilities disconfirmed. The first is available to psychics. If a claim or prediction about the sitter is not accepted or confirmed, a psychic may simply abandon that topic, and then move on to another topic. But this can be an inferentially risky strategy, in that a swift progression on to another topic or claim about the sitter might be the basis upon which a sitter infers that the psychic is merely engaged in guessing, rather than using some form of parapsychological cognition. However, there is a strategy by which psychics can introduce a new topic - known as ‘and prefacing’ - which minimises the likelihood of a sceptical interpretation by the sitter. The second and third strategies are available to sitters. They can either modulate or ‘soften’ their negative or disconfirmatory responses to the psychic’s prior prediction or claim. Alternatively, they can engage in a form of embedded or unmarked correction in which the activity of correcting does not become an explicit focus of the exchange. The paper concludes with some critical refections on the relatively unsophisticated account of psychic practitioner- sitter communication advanced in the cold reading literature.


THE ROOTS OF PARANORMAL BELIEF: DIVERGENT ASSOCIATIONS OR REAL PARANORMAL EXPERIENCES?
Rémi de Boer & Dick J. Bierman
University of Amsterdam


ABSTRACT
Pizzagalli et al have argued that paranormal belief is triggered by the experience of accidental associations. Persons who belief in psi phenomena (sheep) are thought to have a more divergent thinking style and hence would be vulnerable for ‘seeing’ coincidences as meaningful where they are just accidental. On the other hand, it could also be that ‘sheep’ have become sheep because they encounter more real psi events in their life.
After Brugger et al we used a lateralized word-priming paradigm in a lexical decision task to measure participants’ ability to associate words that would normally be considered to be loosely associated at most. We also presented a similar image-priming task where the words were replaced by images of faces. The primes were of smiling or angry faces. The targets consisted of the blurred eyes of the same faces. In this task, participants had to classify the targets as female or male. Finally, we implemented an embedded psi condition in the image-priming task. In this condition rather than presenting the prime before the target, the (subliminal) prime was presented after the target.
Fifty-four participants participated in the experiment. The results of the word-priming task did confirm findings in the literature of faster response times for targets presented in the right visual field compared to targets in the left visual field. More surprisingly, the response times were fastest for indirect primes (loosely associated with the target). There was no difference between sheep and goats (non-believers).
In the image priming task we found a main effect of the presentation condition with the fastest responses for forward priming, and slower but about the same responses for control (forward) priming and backward priming. Interestingly, the (retro causal) backward condition yielded significantly faster response times than the control condition for the positive primes (t (50)= -2.981, p=0.004 two –tailed).



COMPARING A FREE-RESPONSE TEST USING AN OBJECT AND WITHOUT OBJECT CONDITION: FIRST STUDY EXPLORING THE “TOKEN-OBJECT” EFFECT ON AN UN-GIFTED SAMPLE
Alejandro Parra and Juan Carlos Argibay
Instituto de Psicología Paranormal
Buenos Aires
ARGENTINA


ABSTRACT
Psychometry is an anomalous cognition system for psi-detection. For example, psychics have often claimed to have the ability to obtain “impressions” about people from objects that they have owned. Many authors have suggested explanations for psychometry, which are in line with Roll´s “psi field.” Research has mostly been limited to qualitative analysis because psychometry is very difficult to research due to problems in evaluating “free response” material. To date, there has been little interest in the exploration of psychometry among “ordinary” people. In this study, psychometry-based experimental research and ESP hits were compared with visual images to assess strategies. “Psychometric” and “non-psychometric” procedures were counterbalanced. Seventy one unselected, ordinary people (age range= 18-77; Mean= 46.44; SD= 14.03) were recruited as participants by announcements. All participants underwent the two conditions of the psi experiment: the use of token-object and visual images. Test instructions were given to both participants and target persons. Four volunteers carried identical objects with them for fifteen days. Blind coding and recoding procedures were used by the experimenters. Participants “touched” four objects for impressions and completed four trials. Target persons blind scored the participant´s statements. A similar procedure was employed for the free-response test (visual). Targets for both the visual test and the token-objects, were randomly assigned. The non-psychometry condition (p= .005) resulted in higher scores than those obtained in the psychometry condition. The difference between both target conditions (no-psychometry vs. psychometry) was also significant (z-score= 2.65, p= .008, two-tailed). We conclude that this experiment offers some support for the claim that visual image stimulation is more psi-conducive, presumably at least among ordinary people. Psi seems to work better using visual imagery than in a “token object” condition. It may well be that the anomalous cognition with psychometry is a more complex cognitive process than we have considered it to be.



THE EFFECT OF REMOTE EMOTION ON RECEIVER SKIN CONDUCTANCE: A REPLICATION
Göran Brusewitz
Department of Psychology, University of Stockholm
Stockholm

ABSTRACT not available


TELEPATHIC GROUP COMMUNICATION OF EMOTIONS: ANOUNCEMENT OF PREDICTIONS FOR AN ONGOING EXPERIMENT
Jan Dalkvist1, & Joakim Westerlund1
1Department of Psychology
Stockholm University

ABSTRACT not available


DEVELOPING EXPERIENCE-SAMPLING METHODOLOGY TO EXPLORE PSI IN ‘EVERYDAY LIFE’

Nicola J. Holt1
Centre for the Study of Anomalous Psychological Processes
University of Northampton

ABSTRACT not available


ARE PSYCHICS PERCEIVED TO BE MORE ACCURATE AND PERSUASIVE THAN NON-PSYCHICS?
Craig D. Murray1 & Ciarán O’Keeffe2
1 School of Psychological Sciences, University of Manchester
Manchester, United Kingdom
2Department of Psychology, Liverpool Hope University
Liverpool, United Kingdom

ABSTRACT not available


A GANZFELD STUDY WITH IDENTICAL TWINS
Adrian Parker
Department of Psychology, Göteborg University, Gothenburg, Sweden

ABSTRACT
The aim here was to maximise psi performance in the ganzfeld in the process of testing the claims for identical twins as a source of psi-gifted individuals. The report here concerns the results of the testing of ten of the planned fifteen pairs of identical twins who were selected on the basis of a form of the Sheep-Goat questionnaire and then their ESP performance evaluated with two sessions of the Real Time Digital Ganzfeld. They obtained a 40% hit rate and a medium effect size.


AN INITIAL EXPLORATION OF AMBIENT TEMPERATURE FLUCTUATIONS AND ANOMALOUS EXPERIENCES
Steven T. Parsons¹ & Ciarán O’Keeffe¹
¹Department of Psychology, Liverpool Hope University
Liverpool, United Kingdom

ABSTRACT not available


ANDROGYNY, FEMININITY AND MASCULINITY IN WOMEN: EXPLORING HOW GENDER ROLE AND BOUNDARY THINNESS RELATE TO PARANORMAL EXPERIENCES, BELIEFS AND ESP
Christine A. Simmonds-Moore, PhD & Stephen L. Moore
Psychology Department
Liverpool Hope University,
Liverpool,
UK.

ABSTRACT not available


“SO FAR AND YET SO CLOSE” – A GESP-EXPERIMENT INTEGRATING THE MODEL OF PRAGMATIC INFORMATION (MPI) AND THE WEAK QUANTUM THEORY (WQT)
Ronald Weigl
Cognitive Psychology Unit (CPU), Department of Psychology,
Klagenfurt University

ABSTRACT not available


DO OUT-OF-BODY EXPERIENTS HAVE BETTER VISUAL IMAGERY SKILLS THAN NON-EXPERIENTS?
David J. Wilde, Craig D. Murray & Jezz Fox
School of Psychological Sciences, University of Manchester
Manchester, United Kingdom

ABSTRACT not available


THE COMMUNICATIVE ORDER OF SPONTANEOUS PSI: AN OVERVIEW OF SCHEGLOFF’S ‘ON ESP PUNS’
Robin Wooffitt
Department of Sociology
University of York
Heslington
York YO10 5DD
UK

ABSTRACT not available


JOHN BELOFF: FORGING THE FUTURE OF PARAPSYCHOLOGY
Deborah L. Delanoy, Ph.D.
University of Northampton

ABSTRACT
John Beloff’s legacy to parapsychology is profound and wide-ranging. Via personal memories, this presentation will highlight some of his educational, research and scholastic accomplishments. Also it will consider what is arguably John’s greatest contribution to the field, namely serving as the architect behind the establishment of the Koestler Chair of Parapsychology.
John Beloff was the first parapsychologist I ever met, and it is because of him that I’m still working in the field. Undoubtedly my life, like so many of his students, would have been very different if not for his considerable influence and seemingly limitless knowledge of the field.
While John played a significant role in his student’s lives, his contributions to parapsychology went far beyond those related to education. The breadth of his philosophical and experimental work is most impressive. While he may be best remembered for his philosophical writings, his experimental work was also wide-ranging, with his research including the application of the decay of radioactive material (uranium) to provide a truly random source in an early micro-PK study (with Evans, 1961), attempts to replicate Ryzl’s ESP training method (with Mandleberg, 1966), as well as a variety of other forced-choice and free-response ESP research examining issues such as the impact of hypnosis, the sheep/goat effect; psycho physiological responses to remote stimuli, the experimenter effect and the agent-percipient relationship.
But perhaps his greatest contribution is the pivotal role he played in shaping the future of British parapsychology. He not only created the environment in which parapsychology was able to flourish at Edinburgh University, but also designed it’s future via his role as the executor of the Koestler bequest and his critical involvement in the selection process that determined the holder of the Koestler Chair. The success of the Chair’s selection process is well attested. While the ultimate impact of the Koestler bequest and Chair will be for historians to determine, there can be no debate that John indelibly changed the face of British parapsychology. John forged a strong future for parapsychology, leaving us all in an improved, richer and far more secure position.



WHAT I LEARNED FROM JOHN BELOFF
Richard Broughton, Ph.D.
University of Northampton

ABSTRACT
This contribution will present some personal reflections on lessons in parapsychology, in science, and in life learned as a student and colleague of John Beloff.


JOHN BELOFF: SOME PERSONAL RECOLLECTIONS OF MY MENTOR
Adrian Parker, Ph.D.


ABSTRACT
I draw on my own experiences and anecdotes of John to show how his qualities of eloquence, courage, and humility enabled him in the wake of the loss of parapsychology’s place at Duke University, to re-instate parapsychology as an accredited university subject. We met by a series of apparently fortuitous events that first took me to Edinburgh and then led me to change from medicine to psychology. Without knowing of John’s presence there, I had begun to be fascinated by hypnosis and psi, topics which I later discovered were the focus of his first project at Edinburgh.
In some respects, my personal experience of John is that he possessed many qualities which belonged to a bygone era, but these qualities also meant he was a man of his times by providing a steadfastness during was then a period of not only openness but also of social upheaval. It was just such qualities that enabled him to show that a research program in parapsychology could be conducted at Edinburgh without any threat to academia. It was this confidence created from his research and from his scholarly teaching which then provided the necessary and sufficient conditions for establishing the Koestler Chair at the university. Although John saw his role as executor of the Koestler Will as ethically preventing him from becoming its first professor, he possessed a psychological, philosophical and a parapsychological expertise which has rarely occurred since the days of William James. His critics were indeed met in a Jamesian manner with the rare gifts of a perceptiveness and an eloquence which enabled him to immediately grasp the nub of the argument being put forth and then to turn the owner around with a command of words which showed the door to common sense.
John’s importance however did not diminish with the arrival of Bob Morris as professor at Edinburgh and the spread of parapsychology to other UK universities. John was active in the SPR, continued for some years as the editor of its journal, published his third and fourth books The Relentless Question (1990) and Parapsychology - A Concise History (1993) and edited a further one (with J. R. Smythies) The Case for Dualism (1989). He gave us a legacy not only in establishing university parapsychology but confronted us with the implications of a critical yet positive parapsychology, and for John this meant a parapsychology that gave a central position to the study of spontaneous phenomena as well as experimental research.
At a personal level, John Beloff, through what in practice meant sacrificing his own career prospects, gave me and others the opportunity of making a university career out of parapsychology and gave me a commitment to show that with sufficient determination and willpower, this opportunity can be realized.


THE RANDI DINNER
Stanley Krippner, Ph.D.
Saybrook Graduate School,
USA


ABSTRACT
In 1982, when I was president of the PA, James Randi appeared on a panel of magicians that the program chair had arranged for the annual convention. The PA Council had just passed a resolution that put the Association on record that its members were advised to consult magicians when dealing with presumptive macro-PK phenomena. During the convention, held in Montclair, New Jersey, Randi invited John Beloff and me to dinner at his nearby home. During dinner, we discussed the PA resolution, and John described a young "metal bender" he and his team were investigating in Scotland. Randi agreed to develop a device in which a thin metal rod could be placed. However, if the device were opened or tampered with, a chemical would change color and reveal the deceit. Later, John gave the device to the young man, who claimed that he could only bend metal in the privacy of his home. When the device was returned, the metal was bent, the sealing wax was intact, but the chemical had changed color. John concluded that the wax had been melted, the metal had been bent by ordinary means, and the device had been resealed with the same wax. When Randi heard about this, he proclaimed that his "Project Beta" had been successful. Unlike "Project Alpha," in which Randi's confederates infiltrated a parapsychological laboratory as research participants, "Project Beta" simply required that Randi's advice be requested by a prominent parapsychologist. John Beloff was as prominent as they come.


REMEMBERING T.X. BARBER
Stanley Krippner, Ph.D
Saybrook Graduate School and Research Center


ABSTRACT
Theodore Xenophon Barber died on September 10th, 2005, in Framingham, Massachusetts. The cause of death was a ruptured aorta; he was 78 years of age. Ted Barber had an early interest in parapsychology, dating back to his high school days, and he served on the editorial board of Advances in Parapsychological Research, a series of research reviews I have edited since 1977 (e.g., Krippner, 1977). He was the J.B. Rhine banquet speaker at the St. Louis convention of the Parapsychological Association, where he discussed the possible connections between parapsychology and hypnosis, a field in which he pioneered what has become known as the social psychological paradigm of hypnotic response (Barber, 1995). With his partner, Sheryl C. Wilson, Barber co-authored the Creative Imagination Scale (1978, 1981), and published the results under the title, "The Fantasy-Prone Personality: Implications for Understanding Imagery, Hypnosis, and Parapsychological Phenomena" (Wilson & Barber, 1983). He also authored the Barber Suggestibility Scale, an instrument he used in a series of studies demonstrating that formal hypnotic induction procedures were not necessary to produce the effects typically associated with hypnosis (Barber & Wilson, 1978/1979). Instead, he conceived of hypnosis as heightened suggestibility, not an altered state of consciousness. Indeed, in some of his early papers, Barber placed the term "hypnosis" in quotation marks (e.g., Barber & Calverley, 1964), denoting that the word was a social construct, what I would consider a product of historically situated interchanges among people specific to times and places. In the late 1990s, Barber wrote a series of articles describing three distinct types of outstanding hypnotic subjects, the "fantasy-prone," the "amnesia-prone," and the "positively set" (e.g., 1999). Hence, there are three major dimensions involved in hypnosis: imagination, dissociation, and motivation. He saw hypnosis not as a single trait but as an interplay of various human potentials (Krippner, 1999). His book, Hypnosis: A Scientific Approach (Barber, 1995), attempted to place hypnosis in the mainstream of social psychology, and his book, Pitfalls of Human Research (Barber, 1976), described ten common errors made by students and scholars alike when studying their fellow humans. In LSD, Marihuana, Yoga, and Hypnosis, Barber (1970) explored human potentials from a scientific point of view and in The Human Nature of Birds (1993),he described how the cognitive capabilities of animals are more like those of humans than scientists thought possible (also see Barber, 1994). This was to have been followed up by a book tentatively titled The Wisdom of the Cell, in which Barber would extend complex behavior to apparently simple forms of life. This book also was to have extended his article, "Changing ‘Unchangeable’ Bodily Processes by Hypnotic Suggestions: A New Look at Hypnosis" (Barber, 1983), proposing a mechanism for parapsychological processes ranging from telepathy to so-called "materializations" based on recent data from the field of psychoneuroimmunology. I had a preview of these ideas when he sent me a lengthy critique of my 2002 article, "Stigmatic Phenomena: An Alleged Case in Brazil." Not only did Barber accept the probability that my research participant manifested stigmata, albeit from internal processes rather than from external "divine" intervention, but he proposed that the participant's alleged materialization of "apports" was not due to sleight-of-hand but reflected untapped potentials of the human organism. Wilson, his partner of many years, plans to show me his unfinished manuscript in the hopes that we can salvage some of the material for publication. If so, this will be a belated but potentially valuable gift to parapsychology. In a commentary published in American Psychologist, Barber (1996) criticized an article (Blumberg & Wasserman, 1995) that called for the abandoning of anthropomorphic reports. He stated, “When I trained as a psychologist more than 40 years ago, I learned that these and related percepts (which were then associated with Thorndike, Pavlov, Kantor, and Skinner) were useful in understanding behavior. During the past four decades, however, while continuously conducting intensive research in human psychology…and, more recently, in comparative psychology… I gradually realized with increasing certainly that [these] precepts are misguided and hinder the progress of more than one area of psychology. In comparative psychology, these precepts block serious discussion and incorporation of the anomalous results yielded by a series of hard-headed projects conducted by behaviorally oriented investigators” (p. 58; also see Chaves & Barber, 1975). Because of Barber’s openness to anomalous phenomena, he was one of the people to whom our book Varieties of Anomalous Experience (Cardeña, Lynn, & Krippner, 2000) was dedicated, a gesture that he enjoyed and appreciated.


T. X. BARBER'S TYPOLOGY’S IMPLICATIONS FOR PARAPSYCHOLOGY
Etzel Cardeña, PhD
Poul Thorsen Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Lund, Sweden


ABSTRACT
Theodore Xenophon Barber's initial contributions to hypnosis greatly increased the methodological and conceptual sophistication of the field (Barber, 1969/1995) and questioned a facile acceptance of unquestioned concepts such as “trance” and even “hypnosis” itself. Many people in the field still think, incorrectly, that he was foremost a critic of the reality of alterations of consciousness and extraordinary human potentials, whereas he was a careful and probing researcher and theoretician (see, for instance, Barber, 1976). In this presentation I want to emphasize his recent typology of highly hypnotizable individuals (fantasy prone, dissociative, highly motivated), with an emphasis on his construct of fantasy proneness and ways to measure it. Barber’s typology (1999) extends the previous work of Deirdre Barrett (1990) and Etzel Cardeña (1996) and helps integrate separate strands in hypnosis research and theory. I will also discuss the implications that the consideration of different types of highly hypnotizables has for the empirical and conceptual study of parapsychological and other anomalous phenomena. For instance, the psychological dynamics of why a traumatized dissociator may be more psi-conducive (Ferenczi, 1993) may be different from those of someone who developed his/her inner life in a more benign way.


IMPORTANCE OF SURVIVAL RESEARCH
Peter Mulacz1, Erlendur Haraldsson2, Etzel Cardeña3, Stanley Krippner4, Christine Simmonds5, Suitbert Ertel6
1Austrian Society for Parapsychology
Vienna, Austria
2Department of Psychology, University of Iceland
Reykjavik, Iceland
3Department of Psychology, University of Lund
Lund, Sweden
4Saybrook Graduate School
San Francisco, CA, USA
5Department of Psychology, Liverpool Hope University
Liverpool, UK
6Psychology Department, Georg-August-University of Göttingen
Göttingen, Germany


ABSTRACT
Where do we come from – where do we go to? Questions like this one, or on the origin of the universe, or the evolution issue, or the meaning of all, have traditionally been addressed by religion and philosophy. Nowadays it is science that is asked such questions by society (of which the scientific community is a sub-set). Science owes society an answer and should meet such challenges and not leave the field either to the traditional religious or philosophical belief systems nor to pseudoscience; at least science should make clear whether or not a scientific answer on any such question is possible at all. In particular the issue of what happens to man after death – a question linked historically to psychical research and parapsychology from their very beginnings – is such question we should neither ridicule nor try to escape from, even if there are no definite answers. Thus, besides describing the problems in detail, the methodologies applied, and the achieved results of ‘survival’ research, the difficulties in tackling this issue should be explained, and un- or pseudoscientific approaches (many of the purporting to be scientific breakthroughs) should be exposed and refuted.


BASIC ISSUES OF THE ‘SURVIVAL’ QUESTION
Peter Mulacz1
1Austrian Society for Parapsychology,
Vienna, Austria


ABSTRACT
There are many different concepts of ‘survival after death’. Thus the first question in this panoramic overview is: what are we really talking about when discussing ‘survival after death’? It is suggested to narrow this discussion on the (traditional) model of personal survival as opposed to other models such as merging in into a super-individual entity like a drop of water in the ocean, and many other variations of what might happen to us after death.
The ‘top-down’ approach to the survival problem – mediumistic enunciations, spontaneous cases, apparitions, hauntings, CORT, the Thouless cipher code, ITC/EVP, or other – has resulted in a centennial discussion between the positions of survival and ‘super-psi’ with no real progress. It has been shown (Mulacz 1976) that on pure logical grounds no compelling evidence for survival is possible by this kind of approach. Even more, as long as the underlying problem remains unsolved, all the ostensible evidence collected since more than hundred years remains but a colossus with feet of clay.
Thus, the question about the premise for ‘survival’ arises: who or what is supposed to survive? Traditionally, there is the notion of a kind of ‘something’ that is in existence already during physical life but is different from the physical body which disintegrates after death. Does such thing – regardless, how we name it (soul, mind, spirit, ‘shin’) – exist at all or is it just either a traditional belief or a posit based on wishful thinking? What properties do we ascribe to it? If the answer is: personal recollections that over one’s lifetime have shaped the personality, the question arises which recollections – ‘true’ ones or such that are distorted by Alzheimer’s disease or atherosclerotic dementia? Where else may memories be stored if not in the brain for which there exists overwhelming evidence?
All these open questions show that the very basis for approaching the survival problem is a likely solution to the mind-body-problem, in other words philosophical anthropology. It comes quite naturally that the solution is sought on the basis of a dualistic model: mind vs. matter whereby mind is thought to be non-physical. Thouless and Wiesner in their ‘psi’-theory attempted a grand unification encompassing the mind-body-relation as well as the various paranormal phenomena which I consider to be still a very intriguing model, however, the underlying general problem how elements belonging to different categories (e. g. non-physical mind as opposed to the physical body) can act upon one another remains unsolved. Is there perhaps a third ‘something’, mediating between the physical and the non-physical (like the ‘subtle body’ of the occult tradition which is supposed to have mass that can be weighted) – a concept prone to further complicate things? One possible solution to this problem, which I suggest, is to abandon the category of ‘influence’ (i.e. causality, which in itself has its weakness as it is based on induction) and confine ourselves to establishing correlations – a shift in our frame of thinking.
Turning now to empirical research into the addressed issues, OBEE investigations are at the core of the problem. Recent research in NDEs has provided us with a wealth of case studies the interpretation of which remains disputed. It needs to be borne in mind that all narrations by OOBE experiencers originate from memory, not from actual experience, and are therefore prone to all kinds of distortions, even more, they may be mere (re﷓)constructions based on memories, as pointed out by Blackmore (Blackmore 1993) and others. Recently it has been shown (Woerle 2005) that even the much-praised Pam Reynolds case, hailed by some as a breakthrough, is not decisive and proves no conclusive evidence for the independence of ‘mind’ from the physical body.
Thus the conclusion is that the foundation on which the various phenomena of ostensible ‘survival’ – most ambiguous themselves – may be discussed is very weak indeed and that all reasoning on the significance of these phenomena must necessarily remain purely hypothetical.


ANOMALOUS IDENTITY EXPERIENCES: MEDIUMSHIP, SPIRIT POSSESSION, AND DISSOCIATIVE IDENTITY DISORDER
Etzel Cardeña1
1Department of Psychology, University of Lund,
Lund, Sweden


ABSTRACT
The notion that each one of us represents a discrete, single, separate, and unified identity is, historically and culturally speaking, the exception rather than the norm. Alternatives to this view include the Buddhist perspective of a unified self as an illusion; the belief that human personality is porous to influences from spiritual forces (or, in more secular terms, to nonconscious forces); and Gurdjieff's notion that we have many selves that may only achieve integration through continuous self-observation and mindfulness. As we move from explanations to subjective experience, we also encounter myriad variations. Even the Western commonsensical view of a discrete, single identity allows for ‘clinical’ cases in which a single identity may nonetheless have an unaccountable lack of control over speech or the body. More theoretically challenging experiences include the ‘regular’ identity sharing consciousness with another identity or entity, or the alternation of distinct identities within a single body (which, if causing dysfunction, would qualify as dissociative identity disorder, erstwhile known as “multiple personality”). This paper categorizes and discusses various anomalous experiences of self, identity, and personality, emphasizing the similarities and differences among dissociative identity disorder, spirit possession, and mediumship. This presentation will focus on the phenomenology (i.e., “lived” experience) of these phenomena, including purported experiences of psi, as compared with the potential paranormal veridicality of the information obtained during these anomalous experiences.


APPARITIONS AND CASES OF THE REINCARNATION TYPE
Erlendur Haraldsson1
1Department of Psychology, University of Iceland,
Reykjavik, Iceland


ABSTRACT
Two new findings relevant for the survival question
For more than a century certain phenomena have been considered relevant for the question if some part of our being survives bodily death (Myers, 1903). Prominent among them are some features of apparitions of the dead, mediumistic communications, and – more recently – alleged memories of a previous life. Well-known is Stevenson’s paper “The contribution of apparitions for the question of survival” in which he lists and discusses various features of apparitions that are particularly relevant for the survival question (Stevenson, 1982). Similar lists of could be made for mediumistic communications and “Cases of the Reincarnation Type” (CORT).
Do we have from recent years any new findings that can be interpreted as further arguments for survival? There is the counter-argument that any phenomena that we come across can be interpreted as not being evidence for survival, particularly by the super-psi hypothesis but let us put it aside for a moment.
I have come across two new findings that – in my opinion – extend the list of pro-survival arguments. One is from the realm of apparitions of the dead, the other from studies of children who claim memories of a past life. For neither finding do I find an easy natural explanation, and hence argue for their paranormality and relevance for the survival question.

Disproportionate frequency of appearances to strangers and relatives of persons who died violently
In Iceland, we have collected 450 detailed personal accounts of alleged contacts with the dead. Most of them are apparitional, and two-thirds with a visual component (Haraldsson, 1991, 2006). Among them 70,4% are of persons who had died naturally, and 29,6% violently (accident, murder or suicide). Only 7,86% of the population died violently in the relevant period compared to the 29,6% of the apparitional figures, which is almost fourfold. Similar findings have been observed before, but new is (as far as I know) that apparitions of a violent death were much more likely to appear to strangers than apparitions of persons who suffered a natural death, just as persons suffering violent death are more likely to appear in mediumistic communications, and are often found in as previous personalities in CORT.
Persons who suffer a violent death are two times more likely to appear to their relatives than persons who suffer a natural death. More interestingly, two-thirds of all apparitions of persons who suffer a violent death, appear to strangers, namely persons who did not know them when they were living. Thus, persons suffering violent death appear proportionally more often to their relatives than person who died naturally, but particularly often to strangers, who know nothing or near nothing about them and have no motivation to hallucinate them. These apparitional experiences have an invasional character.

Post-traumatic stress disorder in children who claim memories of a previous life
Children who claim memories of a past life do sometimes reveal knowledge of events that took place before they were born. There can be little doubt of the paranormality revealed in such cases, but they may be open to the super-psi interpretation. However, the super-psi interpretation runs into difficulties concerning birthmarks that are found in some cases and correspond to wounds that were inflicted on a person who died before the child was born and has become identified as a previous personality because the child’s statements fit the facts of the life events of that person.
In my psychological studies of children claiming past-life memories, a new finding has emerged. Psychological tests of Sri Lankan and Lebanese children reveal that as a group these children suffer from a post-traumatic stress disorder without ever having been in a life-threatening situation. Why? This can probably be best explained by the fact that 75-80% of the children describe how they died in the previous life through accidents, murder or other violent means. They repeatedly relive these images/memories. This is not an information transfer. It is a psychological, behavioural feature and thus of relevance for the survival question.


A TENTATIVE REINTERPRETATION OF MEMORIES OF A PREVIOUS LIFE.
Suitbert Ertel
Georg-Elias-Müller-Institut für Psychologie
Department of Biology
University of Goettingen


ABSTRACT
When a young child claims to have lived a previous life, I. Stevenson considers the case as a “solved” rebirth case, if there is enough evidence that the previous person (PP) had existed. His interpretation of the child’s account by rebirth implies that some mental entity, often called “soul”, exists. After completing life in body PP the soul would resume, after some time of discarnate existence, a new life in body (S). Stevenson does not exclude other possible explanations. I suggest to also consider an explanation in terms of “imprinting”. PP mother’s memory-stored mental information about PP’s life experience (mainly the mother’s) might be transferred by her to some other woman’s embryo or fetus (S). The paranormal mechanisms might be telepathy (information transmission) and DMILS (direct mental influence on the child’s developing physical organism). My hypothesis took shape with an interview in Sri Lanka of two families of one rebirth case that Stevenson had already examined in 1982.


THE IMPORTANCE OF SUBJECTIVE EXPERIENCES IN EXPLORING THE SURVIVAL QUESTION
Christine A. Simmonds-Moore
Psychology Department
Liverpool Hope University,
UK.

 

ABSTRACT
This presentation explores survival related experiences from a qualitative perspective, with a particular focus on spontaneous and unexpected survival experiences, which may occur outside of their usual contexts. It is noted that transpersonal research methods (see Braud & Anderson 1998 ) may be adopted to employ open interviews and flexibility for inclusion of experiential elements within them (e.g., mediums and healers ‘reading’ or ‘working on’ ther interviewer) and allow for greater insight into the experience being investigated. Subjective paranormal phenomena may be explored through such interviews, which address survival-relevant experiences alongside other paranormal phenomena. This allows for understanding as to how various types of paranormal experience cluster together, as well as the characteristics of those who report such phenomena. It also allows for an expansion of our understanding of personality concepts such as boundary thinness (see Hartmann, 1991), for example, the way in which personality and survival relevant experiences have evolved across a life-time.
Interviews may be added into traditional laboratory research, e.g., as undertaken recently on a research project exploring healing (Palmer, Bauman, Simmonds & Drucker, 2005). It is noted that such mixed design approaches, incorporating proof, process and phenomenological elements to laboratory experiments have and will continue to develop a greater understanding of a wide variety of paranormal phenomena, including those relevant to the survival question. The author draws upon work undertaken with people reporting a range of psychic experiences; those working as psychic healers and those working as mediums. Traditional ‘categories’ of subjective paranormal experiences are often blurred and experiences suggestive of survival do seem to manifest outside of their “usual” context. For example, in the Palmer et al. (2005) healing study, it was found that healers working in a variety of traditions frequently described employing methods of channeling light alongside experiencing apparitions of deceased spiritual entities whilst executing their healing methodology. Likewise, one participant reported that she often experienced spontaneous mediumship phenomena whilst working on her clients. Often, the healer did not initially understand who the apparition was, and later realized the apparition was associated with a deceased person. In recent interviews with mediums, it was also found that healing experiences or training were not uncommon in their life histories. The author also describes future work, whereby varieties of psychokinetic experiences, in particular those apparently related to survival (e.g., see Alvarado, 2006) will be explored qualitatively.


 

 

[if you are an author and your paper is missing from this collection, please send a copy of its abstract to webmaster@parapsych.org]

   
     
 

 

Back one page         Back to top of page
 

 

Educational Opportunities in Parapsychology (new)     |     PA Breaking News (new)

Become a PA Member

International Liaisons

Sitemap Contact the PA

| HOME |       | ABOUT |       | RESOURCES |       | ONLINE |       | ARCHIVE |       | SEARCH |


Copyright © 1997-2009 The Parapsychological Association
All rights reserved
Website design and hosting by
Innovative Software Design

 

This is an archive page. Please visit http://www.parapsych.org/ for the current site.