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Paul C. Anagnostopoulos
24th August 2005, 07:17 AM
Schlitz, Wiseman, Radin, and Watt presented a paper at the Parapsychological Association conference a couple of weeks ago. This is another paper in the series concerning the experimenter effect:

OF TWO MINDS: SKEPTIC-PROPONENT COLLABORATION WITHIN PARAPSYCHOLOGY1
Marilyn Schlitz1, Richard Wiseman2, Dean Radin1, & Caroline Watt3
1Institute of Noetic Sciences, USA
2University of Hertfordshire, UK
3Edinburgh University, UK

ABSTRACT
A large body of research has examined the possible existence of psychic ability. Proponents claim that some of this work supports the existence of such abilities; skeptics argue that such studies suffer from potential flaws and artifacts. As with other controversial areas of psychology, researchers on both sides of the debate have tended to collaborate only with colleagues who hold the same beliefs about the phenomena in question. This is unfortunate, as skeptic-proponent collaborations offer the potential for resolving key areas of disagreement. The first author, a proponent, and the second, a skeptic, have been conducting a systematic program of collaborative skeptic-proponent research in parapsychology. This involved carrying out joint experiments in which each investigator individually attempted to mentally influence the electrodermal activity of participants at a distant location. In the first two collaborations, experiments conducted by the proponent obtained significant results but those conducted by the skeptic did not. This paper describes a new collaborative study that attempted to replicate our previous findings and explore potential explanations for past results. The new study failed to replicate our previous findings. The implications of this work are discussed, along with the benefits of conducting collaborative work for resolving disagreements in other controversial areas of psychology.

I've asked Richard Wiseman for a copy or a synopsis. Stay tuned.

~~ Paul

Paul C. Anagnostopoulos
24th August 2005, 09:46 AM
Well, too bad. Unlike the first two studies, in this one Schlitz (the pro-paranormal investigator) had no positive results either. Both Schlitz and Wiseman obtained negative results. A quick review of the paper does not offer any explanation about why this study should be different, although the controls and equipment were improved over the previous two studies. I'll read it more carefully this evening.

If anyone wants a copy, PM me. Wiseman asked me not to post it publicly.

~~ Paul

pgwenthold
24th August 2005, 10:27 AM
Originally posted by Paul C. Anagnostopoulos
Well, too bad. Unlike the first two studies, in this one Schlitz (the pro-paranormal investigator) had no positive results either. Both Schlitz and Wiseman obtained negative results. A quick review of the paper does not offer any explanation about why this study should be different, although the controls and equipment were improved over the previous two studies.

A possible explanation is that this time around, Schlitz was far more careful to not let his paranormal bias get in the way. Call it "better controlled" if you want, but it could be the case that Schlitz was actively working to _not_ show a bias, since the previous results suggested that one exists, which would be bad for the paranormalists.

Of course, if this is correct, then he has also demonstrated that without that bias, they get a negative result.

BillHoyt
24th August 2005, 11:04 AM
Originally posted by pgwenthold
A possible explanation is that this time around, Schlitz was far more careful to not let his paranormal bias get in the way. Call it "better controlled" if you want, but it could be the case that Schlitz was actively working to _not_ show a bias, since the previous results suggested that one exists, which would be bad for the paranormalists.

Of course, if this is correct, then he has also demonstrated that without that bias, they get a negative result.

Not to cast aspersions on anybody, but, were the controls here improved over previous controls? If so, how so? Also, how many previous papers (w/o Wiseman) showed negative results? Here, I'm only implying possible inadvertent file-drawer effects

BillHoyt
24th August 2005, 11:09 AM
Perhaps I might also add some applause for Schlitz' courage. And the Momus in me immediately suggests that "Schlitz is the one peer to have when you're having more than one?"


Thank you. I'm here all week...

Paul C. Anagnostopoulos
24th August 2005, 11:10 AM
This paper reports the third in a series of experimenter effect studies concerning detection of staring. In the first two, Schlitz got positive results, Wiseman did not. Here, neither did, so the experimenter effect disappeared.

I'll read the paper carefully tonight, to see if they describe the methodology and equipment changes. I think they do.

~~ Paul

CFLarsen
24th August 2005, 11:23 AM
Originally posted by BillHoyt
Perhaps I might also add some applause for Schlitz' courage. And the Momus in me immediately suggests that "Schlitz is the one peer to have when you're having more than one?"

Courage is one thing. Willingness to accept the outcome is quite another. Hmmm?

Originally posted by BillHoyt
Thank you. I'm here all week...

Try the veal.

NoZed Avenger
24th August 2005, 11:35 AM
I think it is obvious:

Schlitz was trying to make sure that his pro-paranormal bias did not skew the results. By doing so, he toned down his subjective bias and effectively neutralized himself by not sending out the right "vibes." By having a negative study that seemingly casts doubt on the experimenter effect, he has in fact conclusively proven that the experimenter effect exists.


I'll bet dollars to donuts that we see this type of argument within a week of the article hitting the public.

CFLarsen
24th August 2005, 11:59 AM
Originally posted by NoZed Avenger
I think it is obvious:

Schlitz was trying to make sure that his pro-paranormal bias did not skew the results. By doing so, he toned down his subjective bias and effectively neutralized himself by not sending out the right "vibes." By having a negative study that seemingly casts doubt on the experimenter effect, he has in fact conclusively proven that the experimenter effect exists.


I'll bet dollars to donuts that we see this type of argument within a week of the article hitting the public.

Marilyn Schlitz. As in Monroe, not Manson. She's a woman.

BillHoyt
24th August 2005, 12:51 PM
Let us not forget that another female psi researcher had the courage to publish her negative results and to hone her experiments until she finally convinced herself she had nothing. That is an honest, courageous scientist. And she is coming to a ??near you. (Time-wise.)

[Edited to correct. Is it the CSICOP cruise Blackmore is going to attend? Can't remember.... Sorry....]

Paul C. Anagnostopoulos
24th August 2005, 02:14 PM
Wiseman says he has no idea what caused her failure to replicate this time around.

~~ Paul

Ducky
24th August 2005, 06:13 PM
Originally posted by Paul C. Anagnostopoulos
Wiseman says he has no idea what caused her failure to replicate this time around.

~~ Paul

I was using my remote telekentic abilities to ruin her data. It is a well known fact that us skeptics are actually powerful psychics and don't know it.

Seriously though, I'm going to PM you. I am interested to read that paper.

Paul C. Anagnostopoulos
24th August 2005, 08:02 PM
I've just read the paper carefully.

They ran four sets of experiments, one with Schlitz as both greeter and sender, one with Schlitz as greeter and Wiseman as sender, one with Wiseman as both, and one with Wiseman as greeter and Schlitz as sender. No set showed significance, although the two sets with Schlitz as sender approached significance (p=.06) when taken together.

The subject was in a "Lindgren/ETS double steel-walled, electromagnetically and acoustically shielded chamber." Hard to believe any leak was visual or auditory. There was a fiber optic cable connecting the chamber and the experimenter's room (15 meters away).

I've suggested to Wiseman that in the next set of experiments they might want to videotape the experimenters doing both the greetings and the starings. Perhaps someone (Randi?) might notice something when watching the tapes (assuming anything at all is going on).

~~ Paul

Robin
28th August 2005, 03:37 PM
Originally posted by Paul C. Anagnostopoulos
I've suggested to Wiseman that in the next set of experiments they might want to videotape the experimenters doing both the greetings and the starings. Perhaps someone (Randi?) might notice something when watching the tapes (assuming anything at all is going on).

~~ Paul
I suggested with respect to the previous paper that the experimenter effect would disappear if greater automation could reduce the manual handling.

In particular there was a step where EDA the data was pasted into a spreadsheet and the averages calculated after each sitting and this always struck me as a step where error or even cheating (conscious or not) might creep in.

Also each experimenter individually selected the randomised stare sheet which were prepared using a random number table. This time round they choose all material together and the actual randomisations are completely under the control of the computer.

Most aspects this time round were controlled by one program and I assume that this will include the processing and calculation of the EDA data.

This report seems to show my prediction to be true - greater automation of the experiment to reduce manual handling removed the experimenter effects.

So the experimenter effect has nothing to do with visual auditory leak or psychic or psychological influence - more likely with something like sloppy cutting and pasting.

Incidentally the result that most approached significance p=0.06 was not in the actual stare trial results, but in the correlation between the subject's self rating for psi and their eventual z-score.

I am not sure of the validity of this correlation but none of the stare trials themselves resulted in anything like significance for either experimenter.

It would probably be mischievious of me to point out that the questionnaire was completed before the session - so the only stat that resulted in a significant difference between experimenters was in the only one that was not part of the automation.

I would suggest that if this questionnaire was part of that automation then this difference would also go away. This is not to impugn the honesty of Schlitz - I notice with myself that manually prepared statistics more often bear out my own preconceptions than ones I have automated.

Beth
8th September 2005, 06:29 AM
Originally posted by Paul C. Anagnostopoulos
Well, too bad. Unlike the first two studies, in this one Schlitz (the pro-paranormal investigator) had no positive results either. Both Schlitz and Wiseman obtained negative results. A quick review of the paper does not offer any explanation about why this study should be different, although the controls and equipment were improved over the previous two studies. I'll read it more carefully this evening.

If anyone wants a copy, PM me. Wiseman asked me not to post it publicly.

~~ Paul

I sent you a pm but got no response. I would like to see this if you could send me a copy. Thanks.

Beth