Reconsidering sensory isolation in floatation tanks as a method of promoting psi-conducive imagery

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Since the 1950s sensory isolation by means of floatation has been explored as to its impact on human consciousness. Similar to this, the ganzfeld has been famously used with parapsychology to investigate the psi-conducive nature of impressions perceived through sensory deprivation and homogenous stimuli. Lilly (1969) proposed that parapsychology adopt floatation tanks as a new method of exploration for psi, with some evidence of parapsychologists taking heed of such advice (e.g. Rogo, 1980). This new pilot study aimed to further explore the methodological practicalities of using such tanks with parapsychology. The authors acted as sender and receiver for a total of 12 trials that incorporated the Dalton clips as the target pool of focus. An independent judge was used to rate the mentations, while the receiver also attempted to judge their own mentations against each trial’s target and decoy clips. No statistical significance was found from the scores produced by the participant (z = 0, p = .50, one-tailed) or the independent judge (z = .33, p = .37, one tailed). However, qualitative information produced in instances of correctly identified targets (hits) demonstrated some promise in exploring the floatation tank method further. Limitations of this study are discussed, and recommendations are offered for refining the current methodological procedure. It is planned for this study to be taken forward on a larger scale with the use of a variety of participants.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of the Society for Psychical Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jan 2020

Bibliographical note



  • Sensory isolation
  • Psi
  • PSI beliefs
  • Consciousness


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