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JSPR Abstracts 2010

January 2010

The Relationship between Belief in Extra-terrestrial Life, UFO-related Beliefs and Paranormal Belief.

by Neil Dagnall, Gary Munley, Andrew Parker and Kenneth Drinkwater

The relationship between belief in extra-terrestrial life, UFO-related beliefs and paranormal belief was investigated. Data were collected via paper-and-pencil and online versions of the measures. Both data collection methods produced similar results and revealed that UFO-related beliefs were more highly correlated with paranormal beliefs than belief in extra-terrestrial life. Partial correlation, controlling for the overlap between belief in extra-terrestrial life and UFO-related beliefs, found moderate positive correlations between UFO-related beliefs and paranormal beliefs, and weak negative correlations between belief in extra-terrestrial life and paranormal beliefs. These findings clearly indicated that only the more extreme UFO-related beliefs were associated with paranormal belief.

April 2010

The Acoustic Properties of Unexplained Rapping Sounds

by Barrie G. Colvin

The wave characteristics of unexplained rapping sounds have been studied and compared with similar-sounding raps produced using normal tapping methods. Differences in low-frequency wave properties between the two classes of raps have been noted. There are indications that the acoustic properties of the two classes of sounds are different and that this technique can be used to differentiate between normal and inexplicable rapping sounds witnessed during RSPK activity. A tentative theory of localised stress development followed by a sudden release of tension has been put forward to account for the rapping sounds.

What the Animals have to Say: Conceptual Frameworks, Commonalities and Tensions in Professional Animal Psi Research and Lay – Animal Psychic Communication

by Carl Williams and Diane Dutton

This paper examines themes found in professional parapsychological animal Psi (anpsi) research, early lay observations of animal behaviour (such as by Edmund Selous) and the modern lay field of animal communication. Examining the discourse, metaphors and theories offered by these quite different perspectives permits some reflections on professional anpsi research in comparison with common-sense approaches to animal psi. This permits discussion of the contingent nature of knowledge, the role of conceptual frameworks and personal stances in constructing psi theories and evaluating evidence. In comparing these domains a number of assumptions, orienting and generative metaphors are identified which allow some assessment of the conceptual frameworks behind these attempts to understand animal psi. In addition, we also examine the controversial nature of anecdotal evidence, the way anpsi is constructed, including the use of evolutionary theory and the metaphors and models proposed. We also consider the practicalities of animal research, the process of relating to animals, and the role of debate and rhetoric in anpsi work.

A Ganzfeld Study Using Identical Twins

by Adrian Parker

The aim of this study was to maximise psi performance in the Real-Time Digital Ganzfeld (RTDG) by using as participants a group of identical twins who reported psi-related experiences. Fourteen pairs of identical twins were selected using a questionnaire interview based on the Sheep – Goat Scale. The twins in the roles of receiver and sender took part in a two-session RTDG procedure. The results of this initial study gave a 36% hit rate, with a small-to-medium effect size, which was the rate generally expected for ganzfeld studies with selected participants.The dramatic success rate that might be expected to occur amongst identical twins was not found in this sample. Possible reasons for this are discussed.

July 2010

Extrasensory Experience and Hallucinatory Experience: Comparison between Two Non-Clinical Samples Linked with Psychological Measures

by Alejandro Parra and Luis Espinoza Paul

Hallucinations are experienced by numerous healthy people who are not suffering from neurological or psychiatric disorders. An extrasensory experience is one in which it appears that the experient’s mind has acquired information directly; that is, seemingly without the mediation of the recognized human senses.The veridicality of Psi information in ESP experiences involving hallucinations is a debatable matter in mental health and parapsychology. The ‘extrasensory’ in ‘extrasensory experience’ therefore pertains to appearances and not necessarily to reality; whereas the ‘extrasensory’ in ‘extrasensory perception’ refers to the nature of a hypothesized paranormal reality.

In this study, three specific hypotheses were tested: two samples of undergraduate students (Argentine and Peruvian) who have reported extrasensory experiences would have a higher capacity than non-experients for: (1) auditory, visual and tactile hallucination; (2) schizotypy proneness; (3) absorption/dissociation; and (4) fantasy proneness. The results showed a higher level in experients than in non-experients of hallucination proneness and cognitive – perceptual schizotypy, followed by absorption and fantasy proneness. The findings also suggest that cognitive – perceptual aspects of schizotypy are features of persons who have had ESP/hallucinatory experiences, on the assumption that underlying dissociative processes such as absorption and fantasy proneness are associated with ESP experiences.

October 2010

Anomalous Cognition Technical Trials: Inspiration for the Target Entropy Concept

by Edwin C. May and Nevin D. Lantz

Two anomalous cognition trials are presented in which the targets were high-technology directed energy systems. The protocols, fuzzy-set analyses, and results are presented in the context of exploration and hypothesis formulation rather than hypothesis testing. The qualitative success of these trials, considered alongside similar successes throughout the years of the SRI International and Science Applications International Corporation, US-Government-sponsored programmes, inspired the design of the Shannon entropy experiments that were conducted in the Cognitive Sciences Laboratory in 1993 and beyond. Potential target confounds are also discussed in the context of these trials.