Comparing remote viewing and ganzfeld conditions in a precognition task

Chris A Roe, Andrew Hodrien, Laurrie Kirkwood

Research output: Contribution to ConferenceAbstractpeer-review

Abstract

Some of the early research on remote viewing has been criticized, particularly with respect to potential problems with the randomization and editing of transcripts that may have left cues to the order in which sites served as targets (Marks & Kamman, 1980). These concerns have been addressed in later, successful replications (e.g., Schlitz & Gruber, 1980; Schlitz & Haight, 1984; see also Schlitz & Gruber, 1981), which took great care to ensure that neither the order of target selection nor of the transcripts could be inferred from material they contained, but part of that solution involves either editing the transcripts, which itself can be grounds for criticism (e.g., Marks & Kamman, 1980, p. 16), or deferring feedback about target identities until the end of the series, which may be demotivating (see, e.g., Tart, 2007). These concerns only apply to studies in which the same participant serves as viewer for a number of trials in the series, and thus is potentially able to refer in their transcripts to earlier targets and later planned sessions. This would not be possible if one were to adopt a design in which a larger number of participants contributed just one trial each. Militating against the use of a larger sample of participants is the difficulty in finding a sufficient number of able participants; for example, Utts (1996) estimated that only around 1% of those screened were suitable for RV work. In an earlier study (Roe & Flint, 2007) we suggested that this might be overcome if an induction procedure could be identified that facilitated the performance of novice participants. One such candidate is the ganzfeld induction procedure. Roe and Flint (2007) conducted a remote viewing study that incorporated ganzfeld stimulation and reported 12 binary hits across 14 trials, which gave a combined sum of ranks that was significant (SOR = 42, p = .008), suggesting that this approach might overcome the weaknesses just outlined. However, it was not clear that this successful outcome was a consequence of incorporating a ganzfeld protocol for novice participants, since there was no comparison condition in which participants attempted to generate impressions about a target location without the assistance of ganzfeld stimulation. We completed an extended replication (Roe, Cooper & Martin, 2010) that compared the performance of 40 participants under remote viewing and ganzfeld conditions using a precognitive design to improve precautions against fraud and sensory leakage. A record was made of participant mentations. Target locations were selected randomly from a pool of 40 sites (10 sets of 4) from around the world that were chosen for their subjective interest, aesthetic impression and distinctiveness from one another and were viewed as feedback using the interactive features of Google Earth. Mentations were supplied to a blind independent judge, who rated all 4 locations in the relevant set for each trial. As with previous research by the principal investigator, the primary outcome measure was pre-specified to be sum of ranks. By this measure, performance in the remote viewing condition was suggestively better than chance (z = 1.627, p = .052: HR = 30%) and performance in the ganzfeld condition was significantly better than chance (z = 1.768, p = .038: HR = 35%), allowing us to reject the null hypothesis. Performance was not significantly related to personality and individual difference measures of personal psi experience, belief in the paranormal, practice of a mental discipline, FP personality type, extraversion and self-reported creativity. However, following Roe‘s (2009) criticisms of ganzfeld research in assuming a uniform effect of ganzfeld stimulation, subjective reactions to this ganzfeld stimulation were assessed using Pekala‘s (1991) Phenomenology of Consciousness Inventory (PCI) and 3 of the 12 sub-dimensions did correlate significantly with ganzfeld performance, with higher z-scores being associated with greater absorption in their subjective experience, lower physiological arousal and less internal dialogue
Original languageEnglish
Pages36-37
Number of pages2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2012
Event55th Annual Parapsychological Association Convention - Millennium Hotel, Durham, United States
Duration: 9 Aug 201212 Aug 2012

Conference

Conference55th Annual Parapsychological Association Convention
CountryUnited States
CityDurham
Period9/08/1212/08/12

Keywords

  • Ganzfeld
  • Precognition
  • Psychology

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