Mind map of pseudoscience and scientif fraud in relation to anomalous and paranormal research

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  • Created by: alice
  • Created on: 15-12-12 13:22
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    • Pseudoscience
      • Pseudoscience is a field of study that masqurades as a science but lacks important characteristics. Some features of anomalus research suggests it's pseudoscientific
      • Lacks a Thoery to Explain the Effects
        • The aim of scientific research is to construct explanations for observations made about the world
        • Many paranormal phenomena haven't, as yet, been given likely explanations
        • In pseudoscience, a disproof usually results in criticisms in methodology; in science it results in proposing an alternative explanation
      • Lacks Carefully Controlled Replicable Research
        • Many studies of psi phenomena are highly controlled, but many aren't controlled and have failed to be replicated.
        • If a study is replicated, but the original results are not confirmed it puts them in doubt
      • Irrefutable Hypotheses
        • The aim of the scientific process is to test hypotheses; you can't prove a hypothesis correct, but you can prove it wrong (i.e. falsify).
        • Sometimes this isn't possible, e.g. if a study found no evidence of psychokinesis it would seem that the hypothesis that PK exists wrong. However then sheep say that the phenomena disappears in the presence of skeptics
        • Many hypotheses relating to anomalous experience are unfalsifiable
      • Burden of Proof
        • Supporters of psi phenomena require no proof and say its down to skeptics to disproof their reality
          • Such disproof is difficult because, for example, the hypothesis is unfalsifiable
        • In science, unlike paranormal investigations, the burden of proof lies with the believer not the skeptic
      • Paranormal Research is Not the Only Example of Pseudoscience
        • Same accusations have been made, for example, Freud's theory because many of his hypotheses are unfalsifiable
        • There are many examples of scientific research where believers persist despite clear disproof, e.g. cold fusion
      • Lacks Ability to Change
        • A key characteristic of science is that explanations are adapted as a result of hypotheses-testing
        • This is not the case for psi phenomena, which have continued to be explained in the same way for centuries
      • Why Research Anomalous Experience?
        • Some people make alot of money out of unfounded claims
        • We should be ecouraged to ask for evidence rather than respond to trends and superstitions, which , in the past has led to horrible crimes, e.g. the persecution of witches
        • Thorough research may lead to valuable discoveries, e.g. acupuncture is now an accepted pain relief treatment
      • Jealous Phenomena: paranormal psychologists claim that the skeptics presence can lead to negative results as they make the phenomena 'go away'
        • Further claim that if a researcher insists on high control, they are demonstrating their lack of belief
      • Occam's Razor:the principle that if there are 2 competing conclusions and all other things are the equal; the simpler explanation is to be preferred
        • Many paranormal explanations are highly convoluted, according to occam's razor the simplier non-paranormal explanation should be prefered
      • Status as a science: the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) allowed the Parapsychological Association (PA) to become an affliated member in 1968
    • Scientific Fraud
      • J.B. Rhine
        • One of the first serious paranormal researchers founding a paranormal research lab at Duke University in the US in 1930
        • Reported that at least 12 of the researchers behaved dishonestly to gain significant results
          • Including his personal assistant Walter Levy who tampered with equipment that looked at ESP in rates (Rhine, 1974)
        • Because he strove to maintain high standards in his research lab he reported his assistants for cheating - although he didn't provide the names
          • Gardner (1988) suggests he was wrong to maintain the anonymity of his fraudulent researchers because we can;t identify the work they were involved in that may have been published as fact
      • Scientific fraud is found throughout scientific research. Playfair (2009) suggests that many noted scientists, including Galileo, Mandel and Newton have resorted to data-fudging or outright intervention
        • Hines (2003) suggests that historically fraud has been more common in parapsychology, probably due to researchers feeling pushed for positive results
      • The Soal Affair
        • British mathematician S.G. Soal spent years testing ppts for ESP.
        • He found a man who appeared to have the ability (Basil Shackleton) and tested him from 1941-43 using careful procedures: an agent looks at 1 of 5 cards and transmits the image into Shackletons mind seated in another room).
          • Found odds as high as 1035 to 1 that the results would have occurred by chance. 21 observers at the sessions confirmed there was no trickery
        • Gretle Albert, an agent of Soal's, said that Soal faked his results by changing the 1s to 4s and 5s to make correct answers
          • Remains unconfirmed since he never admitted to the fraud and is now dead.
          • Analysis of the data suggested a higher frequency of 4s and 5s than chance -supporting the accusation of fraud
      • Carl Sargent
        • Conducted research into ESP using the Ganzfeld technique
        • Blackmore (1987) visited his lab and noticed some suspicious behaviour.
          • Sargent defended himself, but thereafter left the research field -suggesting guilt
        • Continued to be included in carious reviews such as Ben and Honortons review (1994) where 9 of the 18 studies were from his lab and therefore may be fraudulent
      • Uri Geller
        • Became famous in the 1970s for his ability to bend spoons and other psychic powers
        • James Randi (1982) a highly successful magician accused Geller of being a fraud and using magic tricks to perform allegedly paranormal feats
        • His former manager confessed on Italian TV to helping Geller cheat (Harris, 1978)



Thank you so much!! This was incredibly helpful :) Our teacher has taught us nothing like this, so this gave me a good basis to start on

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