Academic journal article The Journal of Parapsychology

Meta-Analyses of 10 Experiments on Perceptual Defensiveness and ESP: ESP Scoring Patterns and Experimenter and Decline Effects

Academic journal article The Journal of Parapsychology

Meta-Analyses of 10 Experiments on Perceptual Defensiveness and ESP: ESP Scoring Patterns and Experimenter and Decline Effects

Article excerpt

Experiments exploring the relationship between perceptual defensiveness and ESP have yielded remarkably consistent results. All five published experiments completed by Johnson and associates by 1976 yielded significant results, with correlations between perceptual defensiveness and ESP ranging from .79 in the first experiment (Carpenter, 1965) to .26 in the fifth (Johnson & Lubke, 1977). Low-defensive subjects obtained higher scores on standard ESP tests than high-defensive subjects, who tended to obtain scores below mean chance expectation. A meta-analysis of these five experiments and one negative (r = -.19) unpublished experiment by Houtkooper (1985) found the results highly significant: z = 3.48, ES = .318, N = 120, p = .00025 (Haraldsson & Houtkooper, 1992). Watt (1994) reported results suggesting that defensiveness/vigilance may be a promising and convenient predictor for ESP scoring direction. She used a measure of defensiveness/vigilance based on thresholds of awareness of emotional and neutral stimuli, a measure that is quite different from the DMT.

Ten DMT-ESP experiments were conducted at the University of Iceland between 1977 and 1991. The first analyses(1) of the combined results of these experiments were published in a mainstream psychological journal, Personality and Individual Differences (Haraldsson & Houtkooper, 1992).

The correlation between perceptual defensiveness and ESP scoring in the 10 experiments was significant: z = 2.60, N = 462, p = .0046 (one-tailed). We calculated the effect size (ES = z/[square root of N]) as ES = .121 and the weighted average of Kendall's tau as tau = .086. The consistency of the relationship was evaluated as [[Chi].sup.2] = 12.59 (9 df, p = .18), and so there is no reason to think that the relationship between experiments is not homogeneous.

Some personality variables were examined in 8 of the 10 experiments. Only the psychotism factor (of the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire and of Cattell's 16PF) showed a significant relationship with ESP (z = -2.02, p = .04, two-tailed); subjects low on the psychotism scale obtained more positive ESP scores.

Further and extended analyses are presented in this paper.

The Background and Rationale of the Defense Mechanism Test

The DMT was developed by Ulf Kragh (1969; Kragh & Neuman, 1982; Kragh & Smith, 1970) to predict performance in stressful situations. It is a projective test in which pictures with threatening motifs are presented tachistoscopically in standardized low lighting conditions. In group presentations the exposure times vary, gradually increasing from an initial short presentation of 8 ms up to 250 ms per exposure.

Sequential analysis of a subject's responses reveals how a perception of a picture gradually takes form. Individuals differ considerably in how their perception increases and in the number of their perceptual distortions. This indicates individual differences in cognitive factors that influence the formation of perception as it is taking place at a subconscious level.

The validity of the DMT for personnel selection in the military has been demonstrated in several studies, particularly for air force pilots (Kline, 1987; Kragh, 1960, 1962; Neuman, 1978). The DMT is probably the best researched instrument for the study of preconscious processes (Cooper & Kline, 1986; Dixon, 1971, 1980; Kline, 1987), but it has been little used outside the military.

The Icelandic DMT-ESP Experiments

The purpose of the Icelandic series of experiments was to test the replicability of the DMT-ESP relationship. To exclude any possibility of contamination between the DMT and ESP scores, E. H. asked Martin Johnson (M. J.) to make brief visits to Iceland from Holland or Sweden to administer the DMT and then to evaluate the DMT after returning home. E. H. designed and conducted the experiments and collected the ESP data. Six papers on these experiments have been published (Haraldsson, 1978, 1993; Haraldsson & Houtkooper, 1992; Haraldsson, Houtkooper, & Hoeltje, 1987; Haraldsson & Johnson, 1979; Johnson & Haraldsson, 1984). …

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