Monday, October 18, 2010

Retrocausation in Psychology Today

This article in Psychology Today reports on Daryl Bem's new experiment on retrocausal effects (available on his website), in press in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. There are a few gaffs in the PT article, but overall it's quite positive.

24 comments:

MTG C# Guy said...

A paradigm shift is emerging, finally!!

Mishell said...

Incredible. I read something about this in a book only yesterday!

Tor said...

I saw it a few days ago and got positively surprised.

MickyD said...

Yes, was suprised at the positive tone indeed. Daryl Bem has to be congratulated at these early attempts at penetrating the mainstream.
On a slightly different tack, do you know when Bruce Greyson's teleseminar will be available on the IONS website?
Thanks.

Andrew said...

Boy, it sure does seem that penetrations of this research into the mainstream are happening more and more frequently.

Coincidentally, I just got home from my research class in the masters in counseling program I'm a part of; it was "research proposal presentation" day. The most intelligent and intellectually impressive fellow in the class presented on a psi-related proposal and it was fascinating (and, as far as I could tell, well-received).

Keep up the excellent work!

Kaviraj said...

Nice overall, but the author also seems a bit ignorant. For example, scientists are not "finally" getting evidence for psi effects. There's been evidence for over 100 years, from SPR's work with Leonora Piper to the Ganzfeld, to Sheldrake's telephone telepathy work, etc.

Machina Labs said...

Yeah, I wasn't pleased about the "finally" angle of the piece, either, but any positive coverage is good. However, I think that it makes a very important point quite clear: By and large, people are oblivious to the state of research in parapsychology.

Psi research seems to go through hot and cold cycles. It was big in the days of spiritualism, then it waned as that craze faded, Rhine brought it back into the light, and that sort of fell apart, then the 90's saw a lot of psi in the public image, with the release of several big Ganzfeld analyses and the disclosure of the psychic spy projects.

I think a big part of what the world has been waiting for is the science to catch up with the observations - so people can't say, "psychic abilities defy the known laws of physics" when scientists are experimenting with long distance entanglement and backwards in time signaling. I think the taboo has to break before people will actually listen to the results of the experiments.

Maybe this is the era that makes the breakthrough.

MickyD said...

Hi Dean,

Noticed on the IONS website that the Sheldrake teleseminar is available, but not the earlier Bruce Greyson interview. Any reason for this? I've been looking forward to this for sometime. Thanks again,
Michael.

Kaviraj said...

*sigh* It was only a matter of time before the ignorant responses emerged:

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/evolved-primate/201010/not-so-fast-psychic-phenomena-research

Dean Radin said...

The author of that blog response is a PhD candidate. Bem is prominent Ivy League emeritus professor with a long track record of successful and persuasive research. I would hope that astute readers will ask who has more credibility - a student or a professor.

But given trends in critical thinking, I'm not sure that's a good bet.

Tor said...

That PT blog post was awfully ignorant indeed. This person is claiming to have read the original research article, and then spews out factual errors.

Trying to dismiss the entire article by pointing to the file drawer effect as the probable reason why it turned out positive, when Bem explicitly adresses this in the article, is far from convincing. This person is implying that Bem is dishonest in his work, only fishing for data, and accomplished this by being dishones him/herself. This kind of stuff pisses me off, but I guess I should just learn to ignore it all. Interent enables anyone to publish crap under the guise of being informed and knowledgeable these days. It's too bad so many get fooled by this.

matthewx78 said...

hey, I gave you this link hahaha Did I introduce this to you?

Dean Radin said...

I posted this link before your comment arrived. Several people had sent me emails about this, and I've known about the paper for a while.

E.g., see my post in September: http://deanradin.blogspot.com/2010/09/feeling-future.html

matthewx78 said...

Very good! =] A friend sent it to me saying "they finally have found scientific evidence for psychic phenomena."

Its nice to see this at the same time its disheartening that there has already been so much positive research that has been ignored.

matthewx78 said...

Very good! =]

A friend sent it to me saying "they finally have scientific evidence for psychic phenomena"

Its nice too see this but its also disheartening because there has been so much positive research already.

Unfortunately the pioneers may not get the lime light once there is a paradigm shift....

Aaron said...

In reading the comments of the Psychology Today article, I am baffled. So many people are saying /they need to replicate this, they are never able to replicate these things with independent studies/. Yet this just isn't true. There *have* been replications of other similar studies.

I have been on the fence about the existence of ESP, simply because my most admired intellectual heroes typically dismiss it. But when I read statements like those in the comments section and the inane skeptical response posted in rebuttal to the psych today article, I seriously empathize with you psi researchers. I suspect that psi is likely real and you guys are just blacklisted into obscurity by enormous psychological blinders. I think if psi wasn't real, you guys would probably have persuaded yourself of that by now. But you keep pumping out very interesting results, and claims of fraud and statistical ignorance are not credible to me at this point .

Dean Radin said...

> you guys are just blacklisted into obscurity by enormous psychological blinders ...

Yes, but fortunately in spite of such prejudices science marches on. Future students will undoubtedly shake their heads at such stubborn bias in the face of accumulating empirical evidence.

matthewx78 said...

Dean, I am a psychology major myself.... Not once have I heard anything about PSI in about the 10 Psychology or related text I have had to read.

I have however seen how PSI effects/factors get muddled into factors like genetics because PSI is taboo.

I believe this is the case with the Minnesota Twins Reared Apart Study. There are some really crazy similarities between some of these twins who have never met. They attribute all of these factors to genetics but I think that that is preposterous to think that to men would marry a women of the same name, and both be fire fighters due to genetics. Maybe its PSI, maybe its morphagentic fields but I doubt that genetics could do that.

I wish guys like you or your colleagues would do some research on twins reared apart. I bet there would be a high correlation between PSI ability and these amazing similarities.

matthewx78 said...

NEVERMIND....

I am reading a book by Russel Targ and he mentions a book called Telepathic Twins..

My idea has already been done, my dream of a Nobel prize shattered!

Gareth said...

Here's a NewScientist review of the same paper.

On balance, it's fairly positive.

Pikemann Urge said...

Regarding that New Scientist review, this comment was interesting:

"I would think that a positive next-step would be to repeat the study multiple times, each time noting the top-performers until a sufficient number of them needed to reach the data sampling threshold has been met. Then, run the study on the top-performing subjects to see if that 53.1% goes up"

That sounds to me like a valid extension of the basic test.

Helen said...

A report on the New Scientist report on Bem's study in the Daily Mail.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1330596/Humans-psychic-powers-startling-new-study-reveals.html

wiseDom said...

and here's another take on the same subject that may interest you.
From:
http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20827871.400-quantum-time-travel-black-hole-not-required.html?full=true

According to the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum theory, there is no objective reality until a measurement is made. But we are beginning to learn that even that reality may be a moveable feast: the past state of a quantum particle has no more reality than its future state. Which is why post-selection has an effect. In other words, everything is up for grabs. In theory, the post-selection process could even change the entire history of the universe.

Lloyd and Aephraim Steinberg, of the University of Toronto, Canada, say this peculiar property of the quantum world might be the key to a working time machine. Our daily experiences tell us that the conditions given at the beginning of an experiment will determine its outcome. But if quantum particles can't discriminate between things that affect them forward and backward in time, that means specifying a final condition can determine what happens before it. "Mathematically, there's no reason why final conditions can't be 'givens' as well and everything has to follow logically from them," Steinberg says.

E said...

There seems to be a typo in the post - "gaff" means "hook"; "gaffe" means "error". I believe you meant the latter.