Experiments to Test for Psychic Effects
Research in Artificial Intelligence with all its impressive
achievements has made us more acutely aware of a basic difference
between human minds and computers. To the best of our knowledge
computers are not self conscious and do not have feelings, even
as basic and down to earth as toothaches. This suggests that the
mind is something different from a mere computer. A directly
measurable indication that the mind is more than a computer comes
from the observation of "psychic phenomena".
While such phenomena as telepathy, precognition, or psychokinesis
have been reported throughout the centuries, the use of
electronic equipment and computers has made psychic phenomena
more accessible to critical scientists.
With the present programs you can explore your own psychic
abilities and at the same time contribute to an ongoing research
project. The programs have the form of games of chance. These
games are on purpose very simple so that you do not have to think
about strategies but can fully focus on the psychic task of
guiding "chance" in a certain direction (the process is called
psychokinesis) or -in some cases- to predict the outcome of
chance events (what we would call precognition).
While the existence of psychic effects in situations like the
present one have been well documented, the nature of the effects
still appears rather mysterious. With the present experiments we
hope to find out more about the underlying psychic mechanism, the
best psychological conditions, and the question of whether there
might be particularly gifted persons who can produce the effects
reliably and to a stronger degree than the average person.
Most games (with the exception of "Crash") display at the end a
"Standard Score" that lets you easily compare your success rates
on the different games. By pure chance, positive and negative
Standard Scores are equally likely, while your goal is directed
towards positive scores. These scores are normalized so that, in
mathematical language, a score of 100 corresponds to one standard
deviation. A reliable evaluation is possible only after a
reasonably large number of scores have been collected. Assume,
for example, that you have accumulated a number M of scores (from
one or several games, with the exception of "Crash"), and let the
score values be
From these values, calculate a Total Standard Score, TSS:
TSS = [Sc(1)+Sc(2)+...+Sc(M)]/Sqr(M),
where Sqr() means the square root.
Then one can use conventional statistical tables to calculate
from TSS the "odds against chance", i.e. the odds against
obtaining the observed or higher value for TSS by pure chance.
The higher the odds, therefore, the more likely the effect was
produced by something other than chance, i.e. by some mental
action. The following table gives the odds against chance for
some TSS values:
The evaluation of the results from the program "Crash" is
discussed in the file Crash.Txt.
|TSS||Odds against Chance|
|165||20 : 1|
|217||50 : 1|
|233||100 : 1|
|309||1000 : 1|
|371||10000 : 1|
|426||100000 : 1|
|475||1000000 : 1|
Brief Description of the Games
Color: The screen shows a large circle that gradually changes
colors. You select a target color, red, green, or blue,
and then try to keep the circles's color near the
Sparks: You see fireworks of colored sparks. You want the
sparks to fly as high as possible, and new sparks
emerging as fast as possible.
Move: A large colored rectangle moves randomly towards the
right or the left. You select a target side and then
try to make the rectangle stay mainly on that side.
Swing: You see a pendulum swinging from side to side. Your
aim is either to have the pendulum swing with maximal
amplitude over the whole screen, or to keep the
pendulum nearly at rest at the center.
Slalom: The display reminds you of a skier slaloming around
a long row of trees. Your goal is either to make
wide swings, far away from the trees, or to keep the
skier passing around the trees as narrowly as possible.
Crash: The display looks similar to the Slalom case, but now there is a possibility for the skier to crash into a
tree. The goal is either to have the skier safely pass
a very large number of trees, or to have the skier
(your opponent) run into a tree as fast as possible.
Psychic performance is a rather elusive ability, comparable to
creativity. One cannot give specific general rules of how to
become creative or psychic on demand. And yet, one can gently
cultivate such abilities. You will most likely not succeed by
pure "willpower". Rather, you have to explore different mental
and emotional approaches to see what works best for you.
Before you start a run, relax and "tune in". Look forward to the
run as a pleasant, interesting experience. During the run, be
aware of your feelings and emotions. Try to combine feelings from
real life situations with the task. Vividly evoke a winning
feeling you may have experienced in the past. Some games suggest
a list of possible attitudes, but you may find that there is a
much richer variety of emotions to explore. Emotions might well
be the driving force for psychic effects. If success comes to you
easily in life, an easy going approach in the games might work
best, but if you have to struggle for each success in life, you
might have to approach the games more seriously focussed.
Depending on your personality you might do better when quietly
alone or when you have an applauding audience.
With emotions playing such a great part, you have to watch that
you don't react too strongly to negative ("bad") scores. Even for
the best performers, the psychic effort can push chance only
slightly in the desired direction so that there will still be
plenty of "bad" scores. Discouragement cannot only cancel psychic
effects, but even direct the effects in the wrong, unwanted
direction. (In the game "Crash" you may see this particular
effect quite explicitly). Therefore, take a break after a bad
score to regain your mental balance. You might also try a very
detached viewpoint: This is not about winning or losing. Rather
you are exploring how a certain mental approach affects the
outcome. If you produce many bad scores, that is interesting and
suggests the need for some changes in your approach.