science

Surveys of Psi Experiences

All these surveys addressed individuals' explicit psi experiences, but in the 1950s researcher W. Edward Cox found an interesting means to assess the possible role of non-conscious psi in society. He sought to determine whether people implicitly anticipate future dangers, and adapt their plans according to this precognitive information. The focus of his investigation was an event which no one can rationally predict: train-accidents. 

Cox compared the number of passengers on trains which had been involved in severe accidents, with numbers on other trains (those scheduled the entire week preceding the accident and those scheduled exactly one month earlier). Sure enough, he found that there were significantly fewer passengers on the trains which were destined to have an accident - suggesting that a number of passengers unconsciously picked up on the danger lying ahead, and avoided taking that train. Of course, from the perspective of each individual this would simply look like a lucky break - insofar as they had no conscious premonition. 

But Cox's survey suggested otherwise - statistically speaking, there were too many "lucky breaks" for it to be reasonably attributable to chance. Findings such as these lend support to Professor Rex Stanford's PMIR model, which suggests that unconscious psi is sort of a vigilance function, scanning the environment and the future for potentially promising or threatening events.

A final survey worth noting deals with a particular population: scientists. In the early 70s, a skeptic conducted a survey to determine what the scientific community thought of parapsychology and its subject-matter - psi. Ms subject population was readers of the New Scientist, an interdisciplinary science magazine whose readership consists mostly of working scientists and technologists. The results - based on an impressive 1500 responses - were quite unexpected: 88% of the respondents thought that parapsychology is a legitimate scientific discipline, and a full 67% considered the existence of ESP either a "likely possibility" or an "established fact."
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