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1. Anomalistic Psychology <br /> 2. Learning outcomes<br />We’ll find out what an ‘anomalous experience’ is and what topics we’ll be studying in this…
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  • 1. Anomalistic Psychology <br />
  • 2. Learning outcomes<br />We’ll find out what an ‘anomalous experience’ is and what topics we’ll be studying in this module <br />We’ll first look into the issues of scientific investigation and pseudoscience<br />We will look at some cases of scientific fraud and see what impact these have had on the area<br />
  • 3. Anomalistic psychology<br />Anomalous – abnormal/irregular<br />Anomalistic psychology – human experiences which do not fit with usual physical laws<br />Parapsychology – Clairvoyance, telepathy, extra-sensory perception, psychokinesis<br /><br />
  • 4. What do you think?<br />Do you have any paranormal beliefs?<br />Disclaimer<br />When looking at these ideas I will try to be as objective as possible. Whether you are pro-psi or psi-sceptic, I will be presenting the ‘anomalistic psychology’ view of the subject. This is not to say what is wrong or right but to present how one area of psychology views the topic. <br />
  • 5. What we’ll study <br />Explaining these phenomenon using psychology (cognitive biases, personality factors, memory, deception) <br />Results from studies which have tested these things<br />The scientific rigor of these studies (pseudoscience) vs. the idea that as parapsychology is anomalistic it does not fit the mould for scientific testing<br />Some of the factors which may account for these beliefs <br />
  • 6. Pseudoscience<br />When a belief appears to be based on scientific evidence but on closer inspection does not adhere to scientific principles or methods. (Eysenck)<br />Principles of Science<br />Psychology tries to adopt a scientific standpoint. Knowledge gained through observation and testing not just common sense. Follows scientific procedure. Journal articles, peer review.<br />Replication<br />Falsifiability<br />Observable and measureable evidence<br />
  • 7. Pseudoscience<br />Replication<br />Gaining knowledge from repeating results<br />Same/similar outcome<br />Different outcomes = not scientific = not knowledge e.g. sometimes ‘speaking to the dead’, other times not<br />Falsifiablitiy<br />The need to test things. If you can’t prove something wrong, you can’t prove it right e.g. how are you bending the spoon?<br />
  • 8. Pseudoscience<br />Observable & Measureable<br /><ul><li>Experimental evidence in a controlled setting, not one offs or subjective experience</li></ul>Williams – Definition of Pseudoscience<br />All Pseudoscience is irrational (open mind)<br />Does not proceed by trial and Error (remote-viewing?)<br />No formal way for researchers to test out ideas scientifically to determine cause and effect.<br />Tends not to use an experimental method with obvious control of the environment.<br />
  • 9. What evidence is there that Parapsychology could be a Pseudoscience?<br />Mousseau (2003) – Content Analysis<br />
  • 10. What evidence is there that Parapsychology could be a Pseudoscience?<br />Research departments set up to monitor quality (developmental, cognitive, etc.)<br />Now more popular in anomalistic <br />However techniques such as Ganzfield procedure does meet some of the criteria (e.g. replication, falsifiability etc) and is experimental.<br />Furthermore nature of phenomenon does not lend itself to conventional scientific approach.<br />
  • 11. Issues of Scientific Fraud<br />Scientific fraud is when results are purposefully manipulated by the investigators or participant to produce a desired result<br />Repeated scientific fraud can discredit a research area (rather than individual researchers) as it would suggest that the results are not strong enough on their own<br />
  • 12. Walter J Levy (1974)<br />Wanted to test Psi (Ψ, Greek letter meaning ‘mind’) ability (ESP, mind reading)<br />Studied rats & gerbils<br />Probes into ‘pleasure’ area of brain, given food & tested to see if they could “read” before they were being fed<br />Stunningly accurate strong results so gained attention from scientific community<br /> Started working with other researchers<br />
  • 13. Walter J Levy (1974)<br />Soon started noticing Levy acting strangely around equipment, touching it when it was all automated & didn’t need touching<br />Later checked & found the ‘miss’ part of the recorder unplugged (only recorded successes)<br />Same study then done with another recorder which couldn’t be tampered with. No results.<br />Levy confronted by Rhine (chief experimenter), confessed to hoax.<br />Not all results as they seem<br />
  • 14. James Randi – Project Alpha<br /><ul><li>James Randi is a devout sceptic
  • 15. So much so he has set up the ‘$1M challenge’
  • 16. ‘Project Alpha’ was designed to see how well participants could fool researchers
  • 17. This was done by approaching a research group, asking them to test ESP & psychokinesis (PK, the ability to move things with your mind e.g. spoon bending) & providing participants claiming to have these skills who ‘trick’ the researchers </li></li></ul><li>James Randi – Project Alpha<br />Researchers told to place one thing on the table, placed many<br />Labelled spoons with string tags, removed put on other spoons, claimed they made them bigger<br />P’s left windows open, sneaked in at night, bent spoons, claimed they done it at night with PK<br />P’s given sealed envelope, asked to use ‘powers’ to ‘see’ picture inside, left alone. Undid staples, looked at pic, put staples back in<br />Extreme example but shows P’s can deceive <br />
  • 18. Smith (1993)<br />2 groups shown same film; 1 told it was about “trickery”, the other it was about “paranormal phenomenon”<br />The “trickery” group recalled far more<br />They paid more attention to discovering the ‘tricks’<br />Wiseman (2001) – this is why psychics say they have “abilities”<br />
  • 19. Pseudoscience & fraud recap<br />What are the three main principals of science?<br />What did Williams say was the definition of pseudoscience?<br />Outline the Walter J Levy case of scientific fraud<br />What was Project Alpha?<br />What was Smith’s study and what did He find?<br />What do these studies tell us about paranormal psychology?<br />
  • 20. What you Should know by now…<br />How to define the term “Anomalistic Psychology”<br />How to define the term “Pseudoscience”<br />Evaluate whether paranormal research fits in with the term pseudoscience<br />Have an understanding of some examples of scientific fraud in parapsychology<br />Be able to describe the impact these findings have on the area<br />
  • 21. Prep<br />Discuss issues of pseudoscience and scientific fraud in parapsychology (10 marks)<br />
  • 22. Controversies in researching anomalous experience<br />
  • 23. Controversy's Relating to Ganzfeld Studies of ESP.<br />ESP – Ability to acquire knowledge and information without the use of the five main senses or previous experiences (e.g. telepathy, pre-cognition, clairvoyance etc).<br />Ganzfeld Procedure - P is asked to make themselves comfortable. Ping pong ball (Half) are placed over the eyes and red light in shone in their face whilst listening to white noise. A sender placed in another room tries to mentally send the shape on the cards they have been given and the receiver speaks out the shape that comes to mind. Answer should significantly deviate from chance (20%) to be significant.<br />
  • 24. Zener Cards<br />
  • 25.<br />
  • 26. Controversy 1<br />Have early research findings been replicated?<br />Rhine – Some reached 40% accuracy (although some claim not so when controls are tightened and with intro of Ganzfeld procedure).<br />Parker and Brusewitz– from review, still cases of people reaching above chance in ESP tasks.<br />
  • 27. Controversy 2<br />Can the choice of experimental design affect results?<br />Differences between forced choice and free response.<br />Honorton & Ferrari – 52yr Meta-analysis ESP in specially selected people (Forced Choice). Sig results.<br />Milton – ESP in specially selected people (Free association – greater with Ganzfeld)<br />But… File draw effect<br />
  • 28. Controversy 3<br />Can factors bring about results without ESP?<br />Four Factor model of Success in Ganzfeld studies (Dalton, 1997)<br />Certain factors need to be controlled:<br />Prior experience – Practice effects. Always better second time.<br />Practice of mental discipline like meditation – Better at thinking in sensory dep. <br />Prior Laboratory experience – desensitised<br />Feeling/perception preferences on a Myers Briggs type indicator. – personality.<br />People should be screened before study<br />
  • 29. Controversy 4<br />Can the belief of the experimenter affect results?<br />Those experimenters who ‘believe’ are more successful than sceptical experimenters.<br />P’s pick up on this<br />Wiseman & Schiltz ESP,GSR and being watched by a Pro Psi or Psi sceptic. More active during Schiltz’s (pro-psi) sessions than Wiseman’s (anti-psi) <br />
  • 30. Other Concerns <br />Procedural Criticisms – influences from subjective interpretation from independent judges. Also researcher bias depending on whether the experimenter is pro psi or psi sceptic. Auto-ganzfeld may help this.<br />Use of Meta-analysis and the impact of the file drawer effect. Removal of some studies can drastically effect outcome of review.<br />
  • 31. Psychokinesis<br />Mind over matter<br />Macro PK – Ability to affect objects that can be directly observed (e.g. throwing of a dice or spoon bending)<br />Micro PK – Ability to affect small objects (e.g. Random Number Generator)<br />
  • 32. Controversy 1<br />Early research used dice in a potentially biased way. <br />Participants threw dice<br />Irwin and Watts (2007) – Roll of Dice; over 7, exactly 7, less than 7. All we above chance.<br />Radin & Ferrari (1991) – Meta Analysis, after initial review of 69 studies, showed a weak yet statistically significant result.<br />(Significant – 5 hits out of 12 rolls)<br />
  • 33. Controversy 2<br />Potential Experimenter Effects<br />To overcome this, use Anipsi – animals sending messages. (Irwin & Watts 2007 – success with a range of animals (cats, guinea pigs & shrimps)). ‘Send’ electric current. <br />Schmidt (1970) – Cockroaches; opposite effect. Sat on electrified side of cage on a grater than chance number of times. S&M cockroaches? Maybe researcher wanted this?<br />
  • 34. Controversy 3 & 4<br />Believing is important.<br />Wiseman & Greening – Showed Ps video of fake Psychic putting bent key on a table. Those who heard Psychic say key was continuing to bend where more likely to report this.<br />Size Effect<br />Bierman– Effect size getting smaller and not greater would be expected if phenomenon is real.<br />
  • 35. Research Controversy Recap<br />Outline the Ganzfeld procedure<br />Have early research findings been replicated?<br />Can the choice of experimental design affect results?<br />What factors can bring about results without ESP?<br />How can the belief of the experimenter affect results?<br />
  • 36. What you Should know by now…<br />What is meant by ESP & PK<br />Research techniques used to study these phenomena & findings from this research<br />Controversy surrounding these studies<br />The general opinion of the outcomes of these studies despite the controversies<br />
  • 37. Prep<br />The ‘Ganzfeld' is a technique used to investigate Extra-Sensory Perception (ESP).<br />Outline and critically evaluate findings from Ganzfeldstudies. (5 marks + 10 marks)<br />
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