October 31, 2010
Scientific evidence for psychic powers?
Jerry Coyne in Why Evolution is True:
A respected peer-reviewed journal in psychology, The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, is about to publish a paper that presents scientific evidence for precognition. The paper, by Daryl Bem of Cornell University, is called “Feeling the future: Experimental evidence for anomalous retroactive influences on cognition and affect,” and you can download a preprint on his webpage. I’ve scanned the paper only briefly, and am posting about it in hopes that some of you will read it carefully and provide analyses, either here or elsewhere.
The paper purports to show that a choice that you make in a computer test can be influenced by stimuli you receive after you’ve already made the choice. This implies you have some way, consciously or unconsciously, of detecting things that haven’t yet happened. In an article in Psychology Today, “Have scientists finally discovered evidence for psychic phenomena?“, psychologist Melissa Burkley at Oklahoma State University summarizes two of Bem’s studies:
However, Bem’s studies are unique in that they represent standard scientific methods and rely on well-established principles in psychology. Essentially, he took effects that are considered valid and reliable in psychology – studying improves memory, priming facilitates response times – and simply reversed their chronological order.
Posted by S. Abbas Raza at 11:11 AM | Permalink