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Journal of Scientific Exploration

Consciousness and the Anomalous Organization of Random Events: The Role of Absorption

Authors: Nelson L.A., Schwartz G.E. Journal: Journal of Scientific Exploration Publication date: 2006 Keywords: Consciousness, absorption, depth of trance, time perception, REG, mind-machine interaction

Research has documented that intention can be associated with deviations in an electronic Random Event Generator (REG). The present set of five experiments examined correlates of changes in the REG with two aspects
of absorption, perceived depth (depth) and distortions of time perception (time) in a single subject (the first author). In the initial exploratory experiment, the subject collected 59 experimental runs in which various meditative practices were performed, and 42 control runs. Ratings of depth and time were each significantly correlated with magnitude of deviation in the REG. These findings were replicated in a confirmatory experiment with 60 experimental runs that included deliberate “daydream” runs, and 43 control runs. The third experiment manipulated “absorbed/daydream” runs (A) and control (nonabsorbed) runs (B) using 20 sets of ABAB runs. The main effect of A versus B was significant. The fourth experiment tested the possibility that the results were due to some electromagnetic effect produced by body movement and consisted of 20 hand motion runs and 20 “absorbed” runs. The results suggested that absorption, and not movement, was the main factor of importance.
The fifth experiment was intended to confirm the findings suggested in experiment four. A total of 40 runs were collected at two distances from the REG, and ratings of absorption were taken for all runs. Significant results were found for absorption, not distance. The results are consistent with the hypothesis that states of absorption associated with changes in perception of time and experience of trance-like awareness are associated with replicable alterations in an electromagnetically shielded REG device.

Journal of Scientific Exploration

A Critique of the Parapsychological Random Number Generator Meta-Analyses of Radin and Nelson

Authors: Schub M. Journal: Journal of Scientific Exploration Publication date: 2006 Keywords: meta-analysis, random number generator, mind-matter interaction, critiques

No statistical significance is quoted in the often-cited 1989 metaanalysis by Radin and Nelson of anomalous direct mental interaction with random number generators. Authors citing it have quoted z-scores ranging from 4.1 to
15.76. The combined statistical significance turns out to be acutely sensitive to the method used to combine the data, and there is at least one method which gives a nonsignificant result. The sensitivity is due to small studies with large hit rates, which in turn is at least partly due to publication bias, for which there is both direct and indirect evidence. Publication bias can account for only part of the long tails of the z distribution, but the remainder could well be the results of methodological problems, since, with the possible exception of the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research data, overall methodological quality is quite poor. Methodological quality turns out to be confounded with publication bias, so the influence of poor quality on the results cannot be ruled out. Given the problems with existing data in this field, convincing evidence for a real effect can only be
provided by new experiments free of reporting biases and methodological issues.

Journal of Scientific Exploration

Comment on: “A Critique of the Parapsychological Random Number Generator Meta-Analyses of Radin and Nelson” by Martin Schub

Authors: Scargle J.D. Journal: Journal of Scientific Exploration Publication date: 2006 Keywords: meta-analysis, random number generator, mind-matter interaction, critiques

I would like to reiterate the point of my JSE paper (Scargle, 2000), namely the Rosenthal formula for assessing the potential influence of publication bias on meta-analyses is simply wrong. Its idea is to estimate the number of papers, unpublished as a result of publication bias, that would be consistent with the positive results of a meta-analysis being merely a statistical fluke. The starting equation of Rosenthal’s analysis postulates that the z-values of the papers in the filedrawer are normally distributed, with zero mean. This is in direct contradiction to the definition of the filedrawer as a biased repository of papers with smaller-than-average z-values. The mistake that many have made is to think of the filedrawer as unbiased, and that its effect is merely to statistically dilute the effects of the meta-analytic results. But publication bias is postulated to be biased.
A simple thought experiment shows that publication bias resulting in approximately equal numbers of published and unpublished papers could very easily explain the positive result of any meta-analysis. Simply construct a set of
hypothetical unpublished papers equal in number to those in the meta-analysis, with z-values equal to the negatives of those in the meta-analysis. If the metaanalysis had a positive mean z, the z-values in this set would be smaller on average than those in the meta-analysis, and their distribution would not be unreasonable to find as the result of a publication-based bias in favor of smaller z-values. Combining this hypothetical filedrawer with the studies in the metaanalysis results in a data set with zero mean z, by construction. Hence any logic that results in the claim that a huge number of papers must be languishing in the filedrawer must be wrong.
In this important paper, Martin Schub makes some comments relevant to fixing up Rosenthal-type estimates, but the above argument places a better, direct upper limit on how big the filedrawer must be. (Of course it could be, but need not be, much larger.)

Journal of Scientific Exploration

Experiments Testing Models of Mind-Matter Interaction

Authors: Radin D. Journal: Journal of Scientific Exploration Publication date: 2006 Keywords: models, modeling, random number generator, mind-matter interaction, critiques

Three models of mind-matter interaction (MMI) in random number generators (RNGs) were tested. One model assumes that MMI is a forward-time causal influence, a second assumes that MMI is due to present-time exploitation of precognitive information, and a third assumes that MMI is a retrocausal influence.
A pilot test and a planned replication study provided significant evidence for MMI, allowing the models to be tested. The outcomes suggest that MMI effects on RNGs are better accounted for by a backwards-in-time rather than a forward-in-time process. Whether this finding will generalize to other experimental designs and MMI phenomena is unknown, but it raises the possibility that teleological pulls from the future may sometimes influence present-time decisions and events. This raises questions about commonly used scientific methodologies and assumptions.

Journal of Scientific Exploration

Assessing the Evidence for Mind-Matter Interaction Effects

Authors: Radin D., Nelson R., Dobyns Y., Houtkooper J. Journal: Journal of Scientific Exploration Publication date: 2006 Keywords: meta-analysis, random number generator, mind-matter interaction, critiques

Experiments suggesting the existence of mind-matter interaction (MMI) effects on the outputs of random number generators (RNG) have been criticized based on the questionable assumption that MMI effects operate uniformly on each random bit, independent of the number of bits used per sample, the rate at which bits are generated, or the psychological conditions of the task. This “influence-per-bit” assumption invariably leads to the conclusion that the significant cumulative results of these experiments, as demonstrated in meta-analyses, are due not to MMI effects but rather to publication biases. We discuss why this assumption is doubtful, and why publication bias and other common criticisms of MMI-RNG studies are implausible.

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