Belief in Exceptional Experience

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  • Created on: 09-01-14 12:31
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  • Belief in Exceptional Experience
    • Psychic healing and mediumship
      • Psychic healing
        • Any method used to alleviate health problems by purely mental means, includes faith healing and 'therapeutic touch' (TT)
        • Wirth (1990) - tested patients treated with TT or no touch - those treated with TT recovered faster.
          • Wirth's results haven't been replicated, and Wirth was subsequently convicted of criminal fraud.
        • Cha et al. (2001) - effects of prayer on infertile women, twice as many became pregnant.
          • One researcher has withdrawn their name.
        • Lyvers et al. (2006) - found no evidence for psychic healing.
        • Rosa et al. (1998) - TT practitioners unable to detect 'energy field' of experimenter's hand.
          • Repeated with distance of 3 inches and results better than chance, however this may be through heat detection.
        • Some successes, but may be due to spontaneous recovery or placebo effect.
      • Psychic mediumship
        • Claim to be able to communicate with people in the afterlife / spirit world.
        • Schwartz et al. (2001) - accuracy of medium statements about 80%.
        • O'Keefe and Wiseman (2005) - five mediums gave readings to five sitters producing 25 statements which were rated by sitters as bearing little relevance.
        • Clues help medium produce accurate information without psychic ability (cold readings).
        • Why do people believe? Duped by general statements (Barnum statements) and willingness of sitters to elaborate.
        • Psychic mediumship is big business so people resort to complex and convincing strategies.
    • Out-of-body and near-death experience
      • Our-of-body experience (OBE)
        • The sensation of being awake and seeing own body from location outside physical body.
        • Green (1968) - studied 400 personal accounts of OBEs - 20% 'parasomatic', rest 'asomatic'.
        • Use of induced OBEs (Alvardo, 1982) produced weak but occasionally startling results.
          • No evidence that parasomatic body had moved out of physical body in Alvardo's review.
        • Blanke et al (2002) - stimulation of temporal-parietal junction of the brain resulted in OBEs.
        • Difficult to study OBEs scientifically because occur without predictability.
        • Artificially-induced OBEs not seen as equivalent.
        • Ehrsson (2007) demonstrated link between sensory disturbance and OBEs.
      • Near-death experience (NDE)
        • Mainly occur when patient close to death but may also occur after fainting.
        • Fox (2006) estimates 20% of heart attack victims experience NDE.
        • Nelson et al. (2006) - NDE group more likely to experience REM intrusions, which could explain NDE experience.
        • Research shows drug ketamine can produce symptoms of NDEs (Jansen, 2009)
        • Cardiac survivors who experienced NDE regarded it as life-changing, spiritual experience, those who didn't continued to fear death.
        • Endorphin's released at time of stress can lead to feelings of euphoria and detachment (Carr, 1982).
        • Hypoxia, associated with fainting and cardiac arrest triggers brain blockade associated with flood of glutamate.


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