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Tags mdc , patricia putt , psychics

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Old 10th August 2008, 06:09 PM   #1
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Patricia Putt, Psychic

Concerning the proposed test here...

Ms. Putt will be able to see the volunteers' hands for skin color, wrinkles and callouses, and the basic outline of their height and body shape. Not to mention their shoes, unless they're covered by the gown when seated. How direct can the readings be? I'm assuming she can't just say: "You're African-American," "You're over sixty," "You're very tall," "You have calloused hands," etc.

But still, one could use the same clues for readings like "You've often had to deal with racial prejudice" or "You don't think young people today are like they used to be," or "You're self-conscious about your height."

Of course she wouldn't know what characteristic would stand out. For example, the first person at 6'3" might get the height reading, only for her to discover that everyone else is 6'5" or taller. But still, would guessing what characteristics stand out from the norm in the average population and offering short readings based on those, tend to beat 5/10 odds?
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Old 10th August 2008, 07:45 PM   #2
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Pup,

This is a good point. I will write into the protocol that she cannot read on the basis of physical appearance.

Thanks!

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Old 10th August 2008, 08:27 PM   #3
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I suppose this is obvious, but I didn't noticed it explicitly mentioned in the protocol: she should not be allowed to mention or comment in any way on the subject's number in the reading.
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Old 11th August 2008, 12:19 AM   #4
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Here is another test that can be done. This is to ensure the test cannot faked. Before the test is accepted by jref have a practice run using the current protocol. The only difference is that instead of using Ms. Putt some other person is used who has been told to cheat in any way possible. None of the people there will know that it is not Ms. Putt doing the test. If the testers say "Ms. Putt" has passed the test then there is a problem somewhere.

The second problem is what is the probability of getting 5 or more out of 10 right by chance? I suspect the answer is more than 0.001. Can some maths person please answer this question.
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Old 11th August 2008, 05:26 AM   #5
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A pair of mittens might obviate the issue of hand identification.
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Old 11th August 2008, 07:37 AM   #6
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I notice that both the testee and the subjects will know their number. This would allow the testee to include an indication of the number in the description. This could be done in several simple ways. For example, by using a key word list with each number one to ten corresponding to word to be used in the description. Or or by starting, say, the fifth word in each description with the corresponding letter, 1=A, 2=B and so on.

This problem could be eliminated by assuring that there is no prior contact between the subjects, and by not displaying the number. The number tag on the subject would be covered when he enters the room. The testee would fill out the description for each subject without knowing the number. After she completes the description the number can be uncovered and then written on the description sheet.

Robert Klaus
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Old 11th August 2008, 07:53 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by rjh01 View Post
Here is another test that can be done. This is to ensure the test cannot faked. Before the test is accepted by jref have a practice run using the current protocol. The only difference is that instead of using Ms. Putt some other person is used who has been told to cheat in any way possible. None of the people there will know that it is not Ms. Putt doing the test. If the testers say "Ms. Putt" has passed the test then there is a problem somewhere.

The second problem is what is the probability of getting 5 or more out of 10 right by chance? I suspect the answer is more than 0.001. Can some maths person please answer this question.
It's 0.0016
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Old 11th August 2008, 09:06 AM   #8
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It may be covered by the no cheating clause at the top but, I think the detailed description should include the fact that Ms. Putt is not allowed to speak or make any gestures that might give away what she is writing while the subject is in the room.

The fact that the subjects can see and hear Ms. Putt bothers me. If there was any collusion between the subjects and the her, there are any number of ways she could signal what whe was writing. The protocol does not state where the subjects will come from, I presume they will be supplied by JREF with no prior knowledge or contact with Ms. Putt, but this still worries me when a $1M is at stake, I would not risk my money on this protocol.

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Old 11th August 2008, 07:09 PM   #9
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I've read my suggestion over, and it still leaves a security hole. If the subjects know what order they are entering the room the same indicators in the descriptions could be used. The only solution I can think of is to make absolutely sure there has been no collusion.
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Old 12th August 2008, 06:11 PM   #10
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Startz:

How are you calculating the probability?

Are you using the binomial?

Shouldn't it be this:

(10!/(5!*5!))*(0.1^5)*(0.9^5)=0.001488035

(I can't figure out how to insert an equation, so I wrote it in Excel-speak)
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Old 12th August 2008, 06:19 PM   #11
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Two security improvements come to mind.

Forget the mask, mittens, graduation gown, etc., and put the subject behind a screen. Then the subjects and Ms. Putt cannot see each other, so they cannot transmit any cues visually.

Randomize the copies of the readings given to the subjects afterward to evaluate. This takes care of them knowing where they were in the sequence. Additionally, they could be assigned random hex labels to begin with, e.g. R572JK8. They have to drape the label tag over the screen before they sit down, and retrieve it after Ms. Putt leaves the room.
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Old 12th August 2008, 06:26 PM   #12
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Answered my own question.

The equation

(10!/(5!*5!))*(0.1^5)*(0.9^5)=0.001488035

calculates the probability of exactly 5 correct guesses.

The probability of 5 or more is 0.001634937.

Forgive the intrusion.
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Old 12th August 2008, 06:32 PM   #13
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I don't know if Ms Putt is reading this but if you are, I think you should just try something similar to the protocol described above... pick truly random people and don't give them any hints. I think you'll find you'll struggle to get 5 right.

If I'm wrong, please tell me!
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Old 12th August 2008, 06:42 PM   #14
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Smile

Originally Posted by Manduca View Post
Answered my own question.

The equation

(10!/(5!*5!))*(0.1^5)*(0.9^5)=0.001488035

calculates the probability of exactly 5 correct guesses.

The probability of 5 or more is 0.001634937.

Forgive the intrusion.
No problem. I'm always grateful for someone checking my math.
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Old 19th August 2008, 02:20 PM   #15
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I'm not sure if I missed it, but shouldn't the bundles of readings that are handed back for identification be mixed up first?
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Old 19th August 2008, 04:59 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Manduca View Post
Forget the mask, mittens, graduation gown, etc., and put the subject behind a screen. Then the subjects and Ms. Putt cannot see each other, so they cannot transmit any cues visually.

I'm sure that the reason for the masks and gowns is that Ms. Putt has already stated that she cannot perform if the subjects are behind a screen.
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Old 22nd August 2008, 06:28 PM   #17
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From the revised protocol:

Quote:
Fifteen pieces of lined paper numbered 1-10
???

Norm
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Old 25th August 2008, 06:55 PM   #18
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Is Patrica Putt interacting on any forum?

Applicants often wander over to engage in the forums. I would love to swap messages with her and hear what she has to say to us.
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Old 28th August 2008, 06:13 AM   #19
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I don´t really like that poetry part... (not that I don´t like Blake!) The subjects reading the lines are bound to give away some information about themselves (dialect, possibly foreign accent). If all Ms. Putt needs to connect with the "control" is a sample of the subject´s voice, she could do equally well with a list of random syllables (like "Ba, Ma, Ga..." etc.) Or, if the words have to have some meaning, they should be in an extremely foreign language (like, say, Yucagiric or Basque) - or even an extinct (Sumerian, Hittite) or artificial (Esperanto, Volapuk) !
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Old 28th August 2008, 06:20 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by Toby View Post
I don´t really like that poetry part...
What protocol are you reading? I don't see anything about anything vocal in the protocol proposed.
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Old 28th August 2008, 06:58 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by chillzero View Post
What protocol are you reading? I don't see anything about anything vocal in the protocol proposed.

See step 6 in the revised protocol at http://forums.randi.org/showthread.p...82#post3969282

Respectfully,
Myriad
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Old 28th August 2008, 07:01 AM   #22
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ah. How did I miss that??
Thank you.
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Old 9th January 2009, 09:16 PM   #23
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So has this application ever gone anywhere?

A number of posters have raised the possibility of one or more test-subjects collaborating with Ms. Putt. I forsee a different but related problem: After the test is over (and she fails), Ms. Putt will opine that the "random volunteers" are really JREF stooges. So accurate were her readings, she will assert, that all of the subjects were instantly able to recognize their own, and intentionally picked incorrect ones in order to protect the (apocryphal) $1M.

I think it makes more sense to put the subjects behind a screen for the readings, and then, after the readings are over, allow Ms. Putt to view the participants, and match each one with her respective reading. The participants could tuck their numbers down their shirts, and then pull them out simultaneously while holding the numbered readings.

She might still assert some kind of trickery (e.g., that the participants switched numbers subsequent to the original reading), but keeping all of the participants--as well as Ms. Putt--constantly on camera from start to finish should alleviate that hassle.
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Old 9th January 2009, 10:40 PM   #24
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The protocol is already complete, has been agreed upon by all parties, and the volunteer tester is working on setup. I will let you know when there is a set date for the test.
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Old 7th May 2009, 01:47 AM   #25
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Bump. She has just failed her test. Getting 0 out of 10.

Congratulations to Patricia for even trying. Most applicants do not get that far.
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Old 7th May 2009, 05:00 AM   #26
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Yes, congratulations to Ms. Putt for stepping up to the plate.

Another notch in reality's belt.
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Old 7th May 2009, 06:40 AM   #27
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I'll certainly throw in with the "congratulations on taking the test" crowd. I believe we've reached the point where we cannot suggest retaking the test after 1 year has passed though (or can applicants still reapply?).
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Old 7th May 2009, 07:07 AM   #28
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Congratulations to Patricia Putt, and all involved, for coming up with a clear and workable test for the stated ability. Good job!

Robert
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Old 7th May 2009, 07:57 AM   #29
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Any comments from Patricia?
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Old 8th May 2009, 06:31 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by Pope130 View Post
Congratulations to Patricia Putt, and all involved, for coming up with a clear and workable test for the stated ability. Good job!

Robert
I congratulate Ms. Putt too. Let us hope her example is taken up by others who might be chary of submitting themselves to this sort of scrutiny. Clearly, the sky didn't fall and Ms. Putt leaves, unsuccessful but with her dignity intact. Well done everyone!


M.
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Old 8th May 2009, 11:45 AM   #31
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I agree with all the congratulations. Others that haunt this forum could learn a thing or two about how to create a workable protocol from Ms. Putt.
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Old 8th May 2009, 12:35 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by steenkh View Post
Any comments from Patricia?
Yes - the article about her comments should post to Swift tomorrow.
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Old 8th May 2009, 01:55 PM   #33
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Thanks for the update.

And thanks to the JREF for banging out another test.
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Old 10th May 2009, 09:46 AM   #34
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Unsurprisingly, yet again, a believer needs her belief to be true, evidence be damned.
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Old 11th May 2009, 12:33 AM   #35
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Quote:
"I'm not in the least disappointed that the results did not go my way. I was stunned at first but when normal thought re-entered my head I realised that I was never going to win the barriers presented in the protocol were too much even for me to surmount," Putt said in an e-mail on 8 May 2009.

Putt continued, ""With them [the volunteers] being bound from head to foot like black mummies, they themselves felt tied so were not really free to link with Spirit making my work a great deal more difficult," Putt said.
In other words she had not practiced beforehand to find out if she could pass the test. If she had found out that the clothing would be an issue then that could have been changed to something more suitable. The barriers she mentioned are only ones she agreed to.

Unless she knew beforehand that there was no way she could pass a fair test.

Edit. After reading the comments, most of them say similar things.

Last edited by rjh01; 11th May 2009 at 12:39 AM.
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Old 11th May 2009, 01:02 AM   #36
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More evidence that it really is just natural empathy/cold reading and The Forer Effect that convinces people they have this kind of paranormal power.

It astonishes me that people can be so convinced that, asked to demonstrate their power using a protocol that eliminates those factors, they readily agree without even doing a dry run beforehand to check that their "powers" really do still "work" under such conditions. And that, faced with the proof that they don't - not even one correct identification! - they still look for explanations other than the obvious one.
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Old 11th May 2009, 08:59 AM   #37
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I would be very interested in know what Ms. Putt had put down on paper as her readings. Did she get specific with a person such as "You are married with 2 children. Your mother has passed away and your father lives in Chicago." Or were the readings more like "You are considered honest and intelligent. You are shy around strangers but the room just glows when you are around friends?"
I guess my question really is should the volunteers have been able to easily pick out the readings about themselves? One could get a reading and hear things such as how nice and honest of a person they am, and truthfully think so, but in reality they may be dishonest and mean.
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Old 11th May 2009, 09:38 AM   #38
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Originally Posted by Profwag View Post
I would be very interested in know what Ms. Putt had put down on paper as her readings. Did she get specific with a person such as "You are married with 2 children. Your mother has passed away and your father lives in Chicago." Or were the readings more like "You are considered honest and intelligent. You are shy around strangers but the room just glows when you are around friends?"
I guess my question really is should the volunteers have been able to easily pick out the readings about themselves? One could get a reading and hear things such as how nice and honest of a person they am, and truthfully think so, but in reality they may be dishonest and mean.
Actually, I do not really like these kinds of protocols.

I know the human element of the test persons is not technically "judging" - and I hope the statistics decrease the probability of a false positive enough - but I'd still prefer a more clear-cut test, e.g. like the dowsing of a cup of water under a bucket or the sending of a playing card to someone else.

Obviously, the test has to refer to the individual claim and I am willing to defer to competent personnel.
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Old 11th May 2009, 10:08 AM   #39
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The applicant has said that a) she does readings over the phone, and b) she failed because the test subjects were bound. I'm quite surprised that in developing the protocol, the JREF and Ms. Putt didn't agree to do the readings via speakerphone, thus obviating the possibility of visual cues altogether.
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Old 11th May 2009, 11:21 AM   #40
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I willing to bet that the JREF proposed a protocol in which the readings were done over the phone or through an opaque screen. I'm also willing to bet that Putt rejected that protocol.

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