Journal to publish paper that backs ESP - Macleans.ca
 

Journal to publish paper that backs ESP

Critics call acceptance of research ‘pure craziness’


 

A respected psychology journal is publishing a study that supports the existence of extrasensory perception, or the ability to see the future. The paper, to be published by the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, is authored by respected Cornell psychologist Daryl J. Bem.

Bem’s study consisted of a series of nine tests, and included a total of 1,000 students, that purport to show the ability of participants to predict random events.

In one instance, subjects were asked to identify whether a picture had flashed behind a covered computer screen. The subjects were presented with a computer covered by two curtains. Behind one curtain would be a photo and behind the other, nothing. The picture would then appear randomly behind either curtain but only after the participant guessed which one. While the participants were able to accurately identify erotic photos at a rate of 53 per cent to 50 per cent, “They did not do better than chance on negative or neutral photos,” the New York Times reported.

“What I showed was that unselected subjects could sense the erotic photos,” Bem told the paper. “But my guess is that if you use more talented people, who are better at this, they could find any of the photos.”

Charles Judd, the journal’s editor, said the article had gone through the normal peer review process with four “trusted” psychologists offering their comments.

Other academics are appalled. “It’s craziness, pure craziness. I can’t believe a major journal is allowing this work in,” University of Oregon psychologist, and noted critic of ESP research, Ray Hyman said. A rebuttal by University of Amsterdam psychologist Eric-Jan Wagenmakers will appear in the same issue as the original paper. In an email to the Times, Wagenmakers argued that “such a hypothesis probably constitutes an extraordinary claim, and it should undergo more scrutiny before it is allowed to enter the field.”

Read the full story here.


 
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Journal to publish paper that backs ESP

  1. Pingback: Room for Debate: A Running Commentary on the News - New York Times | The Informer

  2. The attitude of the critics is very similar to the climate scientists who object “on principle” to opinions not compatible of their own.

    All Prof. Bem did was an experiment generating raw data. If the methodology ( experiment setup) was non-biased, and statistics were done right, 53% on 1000 experiments is significant.

    The only thing critics can do now and be within scientific ethic is to examine the paper with ultra-fine comb and look for biases. They have a right to dig deep, but the do not have right to call is “pure craziness”.

    The only thing Prof. Bem provides is a first step, ESP be real, no proof. If further experiments replicate, well, Houston, we have a problem.

    On a humorous note to parents of little children..Don’t they have a knack at throwing double-six with two dice? Mine did.