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Science vs Pseudo Science

  • Empirical Evidence, Objective, 'hypothetico deductive method' - Subjective, Relies on authority
  • Falsifiable - Seeks to confirm
  • Parsimonious - 'Ad Hoc' explanations
  • Published in respected journals - More on the internet
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The Status of Parapsychology

  • Paranormal experiences investigated by both believers and sceptics- Believer research was very anecdotal, pseudo-sciency and ad hoc. - SINCERE
  • But, Fraud.. - 'psychic surgeons' chicken giblets. Vulnerable people (exploit)
  • Subtle Fraudsters - Sylvia Browne, medium, 'contact the dead' Warm and Cold, Barnum
  • Parapsychology difficult to investigate scientifically. But can for ESP (Ganzfeld)- Rhines, Zener Cards, great findings...sceptics did and NO findings- sheep claim 'psi-neg' and also found they exaggerated. So, many years, sheep found sig, goats found non sig until...
  • Hyman/Honorton Debate. Sceptic Hyman and believer Honorton paper agreeing protocol that both sides found acceptable.. this was Ganzfeld. -Separated sender and reciever- avoided any bias.
    -Image randomly selected by PC
    -Reciever's acswer recorded by a PC
    - Blind assessor deciding how close the target was.
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Issues of Pseudoscience and Fraud

  • Science works with empiricism, but pseudoscience is authority- Jim Jones once got 900 of his followers to commi suicide.
  • Frauds- need to look at their techniques - Stooges, Warm, Cold readings, Dark and mysterious room, outs, -body language, fish, barnum.
    - James Randi.......Richard Wiseman
  • Why do people still believe? - psychological need or desire for certainty.. EVD- ELC more likely to be sheep than goats. -We prefer anecdotes to stats and bad at judging proablilty- coincidence just can't be chance
  • However not all anom is fraud. Many experiences we just can't explain.
    -Believers talk about psi neg and psi conductive but this doesnt go with objectivism.
    - File Drawer Effect- we dont know how many insignificant findings havent been published!
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Methodological issues with ESP

  • EXTRA SENSORY PERCEPTION- and area that scientific method CAN be applied to because most variables can be controlled.
  • EARLY STUDY= The Rhines,, Zenner Cards. 5 sets of 5 symbols. etc..... 5 hits out of 25 = significant- sig level too high so type 1 error .. BORING .. so 'Free response' version. where they drew instead. hmm knew person then they would guess.
  • So did AUTO GANZFELD. - reduced sensory input- ping pong, headphones, rrandom from 1000. reciever describes through verbal acocunt. Experiemnter blind to target pic (double blind) watches through one way mirros so no EE.. independant rater rreads transcripsta nd judges.
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Methodological issues with PK

  • PSYCHO-KINESIS - moving things witht the mind
  • Macro PK- old days Dice Rolling RADIN AND FERRARI - 2500 ps, 2.5m dice rolls. Slightly above chance effect of throwing two 6's.. but 6 side is lighter...
  • So modernly- random number generator. - avoided problem - found mixed results.
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  • Coincidence is the 'co-occurance of 2 or more events which by chance happen at the same time leading to the belief that they are connected.'
  • WATT explains coincidence
    - HIDDEN CAUSE - person dreams celeb dies, they do, but could have watched the news, sub
    - THE LAW OF EXTREMELY LARGE NO.S- one in a million.. actually happens to 64 peeps yr
    -ILLUSIONS OF CONTROL- reason jump to conclusion that 2 things connected is because we like control. Drug example 80%.may not be down to drugs..
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  • Anomalous experience may occur due to cognitive structuring - humans are poor at probablity judgements because is is a mathmatical concept- ALGORITHMIC REASONING (PCs) ... but we jump to conlusions lazily HEURISTICALLY
  • People make prob judgements based on own personal experience. - scared of flying.. but will smoke and go in car. statistically....?..
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Explanations for Magical Thinking

  • More evd in kids. 5 YEAR OLDS - object through wall.. no..fairytale.. less sure
  • The Law of Contagion - think they can take on an objects characteristics. - house murder
    incorrect establishment of cause and effect - BASKETBALL
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Explanations for Superstition

  • Believing two things are causally connected when not.
  • OPERANT CONDITIONING - Skinner's pigeons. reinforcement, lucky boots after success.
  • ELC- correlations.
  • CONFIDENCE- so could work.. right mental mind set
  • EVOLVED- Rustle in the grass. associate with pred so although more costly, more ben to run
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Personality Factors

  • FANTASY PRONE - long life involvement in fantasy, as a kid too, imagined sensations as real, OBE's - explain belief in para coz can't separate fantasy from reality.
  • EXTERNAL LOCUS OF CONTROL- correlation. lives not down to them, fate.
  • LACK OF CONTROL- dangerous job
  • NEUROTICISM- anxious moody and emotionally unstable-black cat events help them to not get worked up. Wiseman and Watt - did a questionnair to support this.
  • HIGH CREATIVITY- BRUGGER link with high dopamine levels too.
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Psychic Healing

  • PSYCHIC SURGERY - fraudulent example. removing tumour with bare hands.. vulnerable.
  • DISTANT HEALING- spiritual healing htrough prayer, raiki healing.
    - MIGRAINE study
  • BENOR- 150 studies- half sig - believer - consider File Drawer Effect. - So did meta study and looked for tight controls. -random assignment -placebo control - pub in RJ - double blind. They found only 23 for the 150 had these. 
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  • FRAUD - Warm reading. Cold reading- barnum. Outs. People rememebr Hits
    -evd for hits - WISEMAN-evd for fraud - SYLVIA BROWNE and JAMES RANDI
    - the mroe researchers undercover tricks, they smarter they get.
  • NOT PARA BUT PSYCHOLOGICAL! - 'right hemisphere trance' which dominates- enabling medium to be aware of things they otherwise wouldnt. evd from KRIPPNER.
  • GENUINE ABILITY- telepathy or 'tapping into cosmic knowlegde'  Genuinely in touch with deceased people - evd - BIESCHEL AND ROCK.
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Research and Explanations for NDE's (OBE's)

  • Declared clinically dead- resucitated and reported mems. Typ features - feelings of deep peace. -entering darkness, tunnel -- light - relatives. cant test so rely on case studies
  • SPIRITUAL- correspond with what actually happened in op room.SAM PARNIA
  • BIOCHEMICAL- endorphins released reduce pain and give pleasant sens from stress. evd from drugs that block endorphins and NDEs are unpleasant
  • CELEBRAL ANOXIA- lack of oxygen can cause hallucinations. pilots.
  • DYING BRAIN HYPOTHESIS - Susan Blackmore.
  • Evidence for OBEs- VIRTUAL REALITY
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