The reality of scientific fraud

Looking at scientific fraud and the effect this has on the credentials of anomalistic science as a science.

  • Created by: chetan
  • Created on: 15-04-11 17:24

The reality of scientific fraud

It is important to understand that scientific fraud exists in all types of sciences. In terms of psychology, Sir Cyril Burt was a knighted psychologist- head of the BPS. He was accused of fraud for manipulating the results of MZ twins and IQ.

Charpak argues that fraud is the reason for the exsistence of posistive results in parapsychology. Hines similarly says that historical fraud is important as if there are no positive results, psychologists would be more likely to produce positive results with the aid of fraud.

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ESP- Soal-Goldrey ESP study

Soal was a British mathmatician who tested 160 participants for ESP, by using 128,000 different card-guessing games. although original results proved dissapointing, there were a few individual positive results.

in 1939, 2 participants (Shackleton and Mrs.Stewert) had significantly high results. Soal decided to test them further.

1941- In his test Soal made careful considerations of all methadology. He called 21 academics to observe the experiment and made everything secure. 

the sender would have a screen with a hole cut out to be able to see the card (animal pics). The experimenter would then show the card to the sender. The experimenter then signals to the reciever (Shackleton) that he should make his guess from five numbers. The number is noted. 

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ESP- Soal-Goldrey ESP study

The initial results produced conclusive evidence of ESP, however in 1970 an agent of Dr.Soal said he saw several times that Soal changed 1's on the list to 5 and 4. This meant it was not a random list. Soal denies all claims and has not yet confessed. 

Soal conducted this experiment in a deceptive nature- he took into account all methadological considerations and made sure everything was in place, including changing the 1 to 4's and 5's. In fact it was later revealed that the frequency of 4's and 5's were far greater than any others.

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Conducted experiment on rats to test for anomalous abilities (PK). He planted electrodes in the pleasure regions of brains in rats. He would then send currents to shock the pleasure regions of the rats 50% of the time. The results according to J.Levy was 54%, to which he said the rats had used their anomalous abilities to manipulate the shocks as they gave them immense pleasure.

However he tampered with the equipment!

 It was found one of his colegues that he unplugged the machine so that only hits were recorded for one hour. His colegue repeated the test without tamperment and found very low results <50%.

J.Levy admitted to fraud- he said he was under pressure to produce positive results. 

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Sylvia Browne- The worlds worst psychic

  • Claims that she has psychic powers, worked for FBI
  • all her predictions were wrong!
  • Her powers were due to Vibrational frequencies

Overall, false claims such as SB's seriously jeopordise the oppertunity of anomalistic psychology in becoming a disciplined science. Skilled and genuine academics such as DR.J.Rhine have said that the reason why it has taken so long for the acceptance of anomalistic experience is due to suspicion surrounding the honesty of the investigators themselves.

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