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Power Of Belief (The "Sheep-Goat" Effect)

Psi missing is one of the most startling discoveries of modern parapsychology. At times, certain individuals persist in giving the wrong answers in psi tests. The accumulation of systematically wrong answers can be so flagrant that it suggests something quite different than a mere lack of psi abilities: it is as if people use psi to consistently avoid the target, unconsciously "sabotaging" their own results!

A number of different psychodynamics could conceivably lead to psi missing, but one of the most solidly established is quite simple: belief. In 1942, Gertrude Schmeidler, professor of psychology at City University of New York, set up a questionnaire to explore students' beliefs about psi. She used the term "sheep"  to refer to those who were confident about the reality of psi and "goats" for those who doubted its existence or its pertinence in the context of the test. After the questionnaire, she gave the students a classic psi test with ESP cards in which they tried to guess sequences of target- cards. Then Schmeidler compared the results of the psi test and those of the questionnaire. The remarkable conclusion was that the "sheep" had a significant deviation above chance, while "goats" were significantly below it.

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