J. B. Rhine

The Experiment Should Fit the Hypothesis

The trouble with Price's experiment is that it is based on an unwarranted assumption about ESP. He says in effect that if ESP really operated in the researches reported, it ought to register its effects dependably in his proposed test. He assumes that such a result would have to follow. Therefore failure would be fatal to the hypothesis of ESP, while success would (to him at least) acceptably prove the case.

Unfortunately, ESP is not like that. No parapsychologist has ever claimed that the capacity could be made to function on demand as Price assumes. ESP is still an elusive, uncertain capacity, one that may give high scores one day and chance scores the next; it may persist in consistently missing its target or even hitting the neighboring one. The elusiveness is attributable to the fact that the ability, although voluntary, operates very largely on an unconscious level. 1

The same mistake was made by Price in his earlier discussion of the practical application of ESP; he overlooked the fact that ESP is not a push-button effect to be turned off and on at will, as a chemistry test might be. In fact, one could easily believe science fiction has been one source of Price's conception of ESP. He has fancied a kind of repeatability and applicability that as yet simply does not exist. It is premature to expect them in such a difficult field.

Reprinted from Science 123 ( 1956) No. 3184, p. 19, by permission of the author and editor.


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Philosophy and Parapsychology
Table of contents

Table of contents



Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 454

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?