View Full Version : The Ganzfeld experiment.

Quantum Weirdness
07-21-2014, 02:33 AM
Dean Radin has a number of papers on this here (http://www.deanradin.com/evidence/evidence.htm) under Telepathy and ESP.

Here's a skeptical perspective (http://www.skepdic.com/ganzfeld.html).

What are your thoughts overall?

The Pixie
07-21-2014, 05:57 AM
These guys have a 38% chance of getting the right video out of four choices.

That is even higher than just chance. With that sort of message sending ability, you could send a message... well maybe a word, or at least a letter. Hmm, well you could tell somewhat what the traffic lights are doing (even UK traffic lights, which have four states, rather than the three states in the US). Of course, you would be wrong most of the time...

07-21-2014, 07:44 AM
I think that something called the Laws of Physics may be relevant here.

07-21-2014, 08:56 AM
I'll get back to you - maybe - if I ever get time to read any of those.


07-21-2014, 09:56 AM
Dean Radin has a number of papers on this here (http://www.deanradin.com/evidence/evidence.htm) under Telepathy and ESP.

Here's a skeptical perspective (http://www.skepdic.com/ganzfeld.html).

What are your thoughts overall?

A report on standard garden variety woo. No double-blind experiments ever done that showed PSI or ESP, nothing ever published or even submitted to mainstream scientific journals.

It does sell lots of Nation Inquirer papers at the supermarket checkout stand though. :smile:

07-21-2014, 11:00 AM
I agree with the conclusions of the article:

Actually, what we know is that the jury is still out and it probably will never come in if the best that parapsychologists can come up with is a statistic in a meta-analysis that is unlikely due to chance. Even if we take the data at face value, we know that no matter how statistically significant the results are, the actual size of this psi effect is so small that we can’t detect it in a single person in any obvious way. We have to deduce it from guessing experiments. What hope do we have of isolating, harnessing, or expanding this power if a person who has it can’t even directly recognize its presence? Then again, what if Dean Radin is right?

Quantum Weirdness
08-05-2014, 06:41 PM
Here's an interesting comment by Delgado-Romero and Howard.

In our first study (Lau et al., 2005), we found that a significant (45%) group of participants chose the correct target. In the second study, 40% chose the correct picture, and 20% correct choices were made in our third study. Although the percent correct hits across the three studies (i.e., 35%) was greater than even the positive meta-analyses, this overall percentage was not significantly greater than chance. These conflicting results led us to conduct five more studies, obtaining correct percentages of 30%, 30%, 20%, 35%, and 40%. After eight studies, we had an overall hit rate of 32% (which agrees with the positive meta-analyses) and, in fact, our hit rate was also statistically significant, χ2(1) = 4.03, p < .05. Further, when our data are added to the Milton and Wiseman (1999) meta-analysis over ganzfeld studies, the overall percent correct responses goes from 26% to 27% and this value now is very close to significant. So, for the moment, even the evidence against humans possessing psychic powers is precariously close to demonstrating humans do have psychic powers. The lower boundary of the confidence interval is now 24.7%, which is extremely close to not including the 25% value.

So it seems that these skeptics replicated the effect. While they didn't come to the conclusion that the effect was real, it does seem interesting.
Radin also gives some criticisms of their methods which were used to dismiss the effect.

We may forgive these lapses in motivational justification, for many scientists find it difficult to accept that telepathy might be true. But the next lapse is not so easily pardonable. To test their skepticism, they conducted a series of eight new
ganzfeld experiments. Their experiments resulted in a significantly positive overall hit rate of 32%, which is exactly the same hit rate found in a meta-analysis of 88 ganzfeld experiments consisting of 3,145 trials conducted from 1974 to 2004 (Radin, 2006, p. 120). One might expect that their own confirmation of the ganzfeld effect would have settled their suspicions, but instead it brought into sharp focus their actual concern: that the empirical evidence for telepathy was “precariously close to demonstrating that humans do have psychic powers”
(Delgado-Romero & Howard, 2005, p. 298). Without delving into why such evidence would be so disturbing, Delgado-Romero and Howard (2005) then introduce an ad hoc “psychic theory” (p. 298) to explain the hit rate fluctuations in their ganzfeld tests and to motivate their final, conclusive experiment. Their theory, which is stated without supporting evidence or citations, assumes that it takes two psychics to successfully send and receive telepathic information. If one or both of the pair are not psychic, then they will only achieve chance results. Based on this theory—which assumes that being psychic is a stable state, unlike virtually every other known form of human performance—
they predicted that by selecting pairs that produced a hit in a previous experiment, then running them repeatedly through a new experiment, that the resulting hit rate ought to be extremely high. Instead, they report a hit rate of only 13%, which led them to two conclusions: First, based solely on this experiment, they could now justify why they “do not believe that humans possess telepathic powers,” and second, that the highly significant hit rate estimate based on 88 previous experiments, and their own series of eight experiments, must be due to a mysterious “crud factor” (Delgado-Romero and Howard, 2005, p. 300). These conclusions are dubious because (a) they failed to report that the 13% hit rate they found in their final experiment was significantly below chance, (b) an explanation for prior results based on a theory of crud is hardly persuasive, and (c) their proposed psychic theory was unjustified and exceedingly implausible, based on previous empirical studies.