Can Magnetic Waves Produce False Paranormal Memories?

skull-1626815Michael Persinger, a famous neuroscientist in paranormal circles, has spent decades studying electromagnetic fields and their effects on humans in the laboratory. In this study, their goal was to determine if magnetic fields could produce false memories in humans. After attempting to induce hypnosis with forty-eight subjects, people were given a narrative to listen to. Some people were subjected to weak magnetic fields during this period, and others were left alone.  

dsc_0115People were brought back a week later to be tested for memory recall. Persinger found that individuals who were subjected to magnetic fields produced three times more false memories about the story they listened to compared to the group that did not receive a magnetic field treatment. However, the group that did not receive magnetic fields also produced some false memories.

power-1549119In the closing of the article, Persinger states that function of the temporal lobes of the brain was related to false memory production when treated with electromagnetic waves. He also found that false memories were more likely from this group when remembering the end of the narrative, but less likely during the beginning of the recalled narrative.

Just to be safe, don’t study near power lines.

 

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Submitted By: Brian Laythe

Reference

Healey, F., & Persinger, M. A. (2001). Experimental production of illusory (false) memories in reconstructions of narratives: Effect size and potential mediation by right hemispheric stimulation from complex, weak magnetic fields. International Journal of Neuroscience,106, 195-207.

Paranormal Facts: Parapsychological Research Everyone Can Access

dsc_0048The Institute for the Study of Religious and Anomalous Experience (ISRAE) believes in education and providing quality information to the public about events and experiences that are labeled “paranormal”. For several years, we have been conducting research to understand and explore the strange, the haunted, and the supernatural. Our mission is to publish scientific papers on the topic.

dsc_0119Most people don’t know that a small group of scientists around the world have been studying phenomena like psychism, hauntings,seances, remote viewing, and near death experiences. For over a 100 years. To read the research you have to find the journals that publish this kind of work. Unfortunately, most people can’t get access to these journals. We’re bringing the parapsychology to the people. Every week, we will be posting easy to understand blogs summarizing the science and the findings of parapsychology. We’ll make sure you get the core results from the science that has been conducted. Hopefully, you’ll be entertained as well.

tablet-690032Sign up, Visit our website. We’re on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Google+. We promise you this: In a month of reading Paranormal Facts, you’ll learn more facts about the paranormal than from years of watching spooky television shows. It’s all free.

If you’re in trouble and need some reliable information, then write us. Send us requests for topics. That’s what this nonprofit is for. We’ll try to get you the information you need. If you like what we’re doing, we hope you’ll check out our research projects and mission. Choose to donate if you can. But everyone should get access to good information.

Stay Tuned, and We Hope You Enjoy The Show.

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Are Psychic Experiments Legitimate or Bad Science?


tumblr_ny6bejqjha1u60tx6o1_1280It’s not commonly known, but parapsychology receives a lot of criticism from mainstream science. Although most of this criticism is often unfounded, parapsychology has taken its reputation of scientific accuracy very seriously. Baptista and Derakhshani do just that. One of the common criticisms of ESP research is what is called the “file drawer effect”. Essentially this claim is that non-significant ESP studies never get published, thus, the studies available on ESP are cherry picked. Baptista and Derakhshani show that unpublished studies in ESP canceling out published studies is very very unlikely.

blogger-336371Other criticisms involve the mathematical power used in studies of ESP. These researchers show that the mathematical power of ESP studies are actually higher than those used in many mainstream scientific fields. Baptista and Derakhshani also show that declines in ESP findings are being replaced with more recent studies showing consistent ESP effects.

dsc_0130What should you the reader conclude about ESP and parapsychology? Every science has its weaknesses, and parapsychology is no exception. However, critics and skeptics time and time again have failed to invalidate the findings of this controversial science. Parapsychology, as an underdog, has taken great lengths to use scientific methods that are often more stringent than mainstream science. Unfortunately, unpopular in science sometimes means unfair criticism in science. Beliefs can influence the most reasonable of people. Scientists are no exception.

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Submitted by: Brian Laythe

Reference:

Baptista, J., & Derakhshani, M (2014). Beyond the coin toss: Examining Wiseman’s criticisms of parapsychology. Journal of Parapsychology, 78, 56-79.

What is Paranormal Belief and What Predicts It?

dsc_0121Paranormal belief has been measured in many ways. One of the downsides of this process is that psychologists and parapsychologists have not yet discovered a clean way to separate different types of supernatural beliefs. Lindeman and Aarnio attempt to provide some direction to how to statistically divide paranormal belief into four components: Belief in spiritual entities, magic, and psychic powers, Belief in omens and rituals to bring luck, belief in astrology fung-shui, and the moon, and belief in magical powers of food and health. The remaining question is how do cognitive and personality factors relate to these groupings of paranormal belief?

pocket-watch-1279766Lindeman and Aarnio looked at thinking styles, parent and peer influence, need for control and other background factors to see if any of these personality tendencies related or predicted their breakdown of paranormal belief. The results of their study do show that all of the above relate to their four factors, but very weakly (< 5% influence on paranormal belief factors in the majority of cases).

niccolo-macchiavelli-165412_960_720The take-home message from this research is that various types of paranormal belief are more related to each other than they are to personality and background factors in this study. Thus, you the reader are left with the knowledge that belief in one type of paranormal belief tends to predict belief in other types of paranormal phenomena, but we are all still left in the dark as to why we believe in things that go bump in the night.

 

 

 

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Submitted by: Brian Laythe

Reference:

Lindeman, M., & Aarnio, K. (2006). Paranormal beliefs: Their dimensionality and correlates. European Journal of Personality, 20, 585-602.

Is Experience or Imagination Behind Paranormal Experience?

dsc_0111MacDonald in the nineties proposed that many scientists may be overlooking the source of people’s paranormal experiences. Many sociologists have assumed that people who report paranormal experience have been influenced by society. This translates to a belief by sociologists that paranormal experiences are unconsciously influenced by friends, family, and culture. MacDonald disagrees.

dsc_0096Citing the experiential source hypothesis, MacDonald claims that there is evidence to support that there are real base events that people interpret as paranormal. MacDonald further claims that culture (i.e., friends, families, beliefs) are not sufficient to explain the core features of paranormal experiences that people report.

dsc_0152Later research has confirmed MacDonald’s claims, but in this case, we see one of the first arguments against labeling people as suggestible or somehow mentally unfit if they report a paranormal experience. Research continues, but the question for the reader is; do you think that unusual experiences are purely the result of a suggestible mind?

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Submitted by: Brian Laythe

Reference:

MacDonald, W. I. (1995). The effects of religiosity and structural strain on reported paranormal experiences. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 34, 366-376.

 

POLTERGEIST MONDAY: Poltergeists In World History

skull-1193784_960_720William Roll, the undisputed expert of poltergeist cases spent much of his career investigating modern Poltergeist. He also spent considerable time writing research articles and looking at historical claims of the Poltergeist, or “noisy ghost”. Unsurprisingly, the phenomena is not a recent trend and often has substantial witnesses to objects flying or breaking. Roll claims in 1979 that he discovered no less than 47 cases of poltergeist activity before 1958.

mortality-401222Roll goes on to explain that the majority of these cases are English and American (57%).  The first well-documented case is reported in 1849 and the last in 1957. We would note here that poltergeist cases appear at first glance to correspond to the beginnings of the spiritualist movement (a group of people who regularly contacted the dead through seances). However, five cases were reported in France and four each from Germany and Holland. Italy had three cases, and Austria, India, Ireland, Russia, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Finland, Sweden, and Switzerland had one or two well-documented reports of Poltergeist phenomena.

key-123554Recognizing that many cases could be fraudulent, Roll provides the following facts. In 40 of the 47 cases, visitors not belonging to the household witnessed Poltergeist phenomena. In one case between 30-40 people witnessed pieces of wood floating. In 37 out of 47 cases, witnesses watched an object move from beginning to the end of the movement. Roll also states that in all but one case, only certain types of objects (e.g. Furniture, or figurines) were the target of Psychokinesis.

Historical fraud or honest accounts of the supernatural? You be the judge.

P.S. HAPPY HALLOWEEN FROM ISRAE!!!

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Submitted by: Brian Laythe

Reference

Roll, W. (1972).The poltergeist. New York, Doubleday.

 

Do Scientist’s Beliefs Change The Results of Valid Scientific Studies?

dsc_0088Caroline Watt, a well-known proponent of parapsychology, and Richard Wiseman, a well-known critic, worked together in this study to test if an experimenter’s belief in psi indirectly affects the outcome of results of a study. What is critical in this study is that both experimenters removed themselves completely from the study and placed controls against biasing participants!

dsc_0118The results of this study are shocking! When looking at paranormal belief and reasoning tasks, only one of the researchers obtained a relationship, when both performed the exact same procedure! The relationship that was scientifically related was supportive of the researcher’s beliefs. The researcher that did not obtain results had findings in line with their own beliefs!

dsc_0115It is worth noting that belief in psychic powers did not show this effect. However, this is one of the first studies suggesting that unconscious ESP may be affecting how participants behave in carefully controlled studies. If true, much of what we believe we know about human behavior (or science in general), may, in fact, represent the unconscious attitude of the researcher! In this writer’s opinion, if this finding is true, other fields such as physics and chemistry may be in worse trouble. Their controls with human interference are in many ways less stringent than most psychology studies.

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Submitted by: Brian Laythe

Reference

Watt, C., & Wiseman, R. (2002). Experimenter differences in cognitive correlates of paranormal belief and in psi. Journal of Parapsychology, 66, 371-385.

 

Does Astrology Predict Personality?

sundial-1388070In a small study of only 54 participants, researchers were asked to identify their personality profile based on one true and one bogus report of a standardized personality test. The same procedure (genuine and bogus) was used for a computer generated astrology birth chart. The question, which of the two methods (astrology or personality measure) would end up with more participants selecting the non-bogus report?

startup-849805These researchers showed that participants were more able to select their correct personality profile, but were unable to identify their genuine astrological birth chart. However, the difference in correctly selecting a correct personality profile versus a bogus one was only about 15%. While above chance, this is not a powerful effect. Astrological chart selection showed less than a 5% difference in selection of an accurate or bogus report.

skeletons-1617539The researchers in the study went on to examine many additional factors that contributed to this finding. However, the question that remains is this. Are astrological birth charts poor predictors of personality, or simply more complex and difficult to interpret? To our knowledge, the answer to this question is unknown to science. Detailed studies on astrology are very sparse in scientific research.

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Submitted by: Brian Laythe

Reference:

Wyman, J. A., Vyse, S. (2008). Science versus the stars: A double-blind test of validity of the NEO five-factor inventory and computer-generated astrological natal charts. The Journal of General Psychology, 135, 287-300.

 

Who Believes In The Paranormal?


florence-378070_960_720Tom Rice conducted a study in 2003 to determine if there is a difference in who believes in the paranormal based on their age, gender, race, educational levels, religious beliefs, and income levels.
Rice found  that when it came to age, younger people tend to believe more than the older people in heaven and hell, ghosts, and are more likely to be superstitious. Older people seem to believe more in ESP, and prayer to heal an illness.

scary-666620Women were more likely to believe in most classic supernatural phenomena.  Race and income levels are largely unrelated to belief in the phenomena. Better-educated people are actually more likely to believe in most of the phenomena such as ESP, psychic healing and are more likely to say they can heal their bodies with their mind. Less educated are more likely to believe in traditional religious supernatural events. Whites are more likely to believe in psychic healing and UFOs, and other supernatural phenomena. Those with lower income levels tend to be more superstitious and believe in astrology.

0239    In conclusion, everyone has their own belief systems, and although we can say that there seems to be a difference in age, gender, race, educational levels, religious beliefs, and income levels as far as believing in paranormal phenomena, it truly falls into a person’s own belief. There is no right or wrong, it’s just how a person feels inside themselves in whether they are believers or skeptics.

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Submitted by: Bridget Cotton

Reference:

Rice, T. W. (2003) Believe it or not: Religious and other paranormal beliefs in the United States. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 42, 95-106.

Paranormal Facts: Parapsychological Research Everyone Can Access

dsc_0048The Institute for the Study of Religious and Anomalous Experience (ISRAE) believes in education and providing quality information to the public about events and experiences that are labeled “paranormal”. For several years, we have been conducting research to understand and explore the strange, the haunted, and the supernatural. Our mission is to publish scientific papers on the topic.

dsc_0119Most people don’t know that a small group of scientists around the world have been studying phenomena like psychism, hauntings,seances, remote viewing, and near death experiences. For over a 100 years. To read the research you have to find the journals that publish this kind of work. Unfortunately, most people can’t get access to these journals. We’re bringing the parapsychology to the people. Every week, we will be posting easy to understand blogs summarizing the science and the findings of parapsychology. We’ll make sure you get the core results from the science that has been conducted. Hopefully, you’ll be entertained as well.

tablet-690032Sign up, Visit our website. We’re on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Google+. We promise you this: In a month of reading Paranormal Facts, you’ll learn more facts about the paranormal than from years of watching spooky television shows. It’s all free.

If you’re in trouble and need some reliable information, then write us. Send us requests for topics. That’s what this nonprofit is for. We’ll try to get you the information you need. If you like what we’re doing, we hope you’ll check out our research projects and mission. Choose to donate if you can. But everyone should get access to good information.

Stay Tuned, and We Hope You Enjoy The Show.

Donate