Academic journal article The Journal of Parapsychology

Examining the Role of Standardized versus Personalized Experimenter-Participant Interaction in Dmils Experiments

Academic journal article The Journal of Parapsychology

Examining the Role of Standardized versus Personalized Experimenter-Participant Interaction in Dmils Experiments

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT: The aim of this exploratory study was, first, to further confirm the results found in EDA-DMILS research, and, second, to examine the role of experimenter-participant interactions, which are viewed as playing a crucial role in parapsychological experiments. In a total of forty sessions, each pair of participants was randomly assighed to either a personalized or a standardized condition. The sessions were conducted by, two experienced female experimenters. In the personalized condition, the experimenter tried to establish a good rapport, thereby creating an atmosphere referred to as psi-conducive. In contrast, participants in the standardized condition were given a computerized, easy-to-handle presentation in order to keep their interaction with the experimenter to a minimum. Both participants and experimenters were kept blind to the session's outcome. The procedures and equipment followed the standard protocol adopted from the Edinburgh laboratory.

Our results failed to confirm an overall significant effect. This was true for both the primary statistical measure, the Wilcoxon matched-pairs signed rank test, as well as the secondary measure, the Percent Influence Score (PIS), which was chosen for comparison purposes with earlier studies. Whereas the PIS measure yielded the same overall effect size of r = .25 as the one reported in two DMILS meta-analyses, the effect size of the reportedly more appropriate Wilcoxon statistic was considerably smaller (r = .17).

Additionally, and contrary to what is reported in DMILS literature, the quality of the experimenter-participation interaction seemed to play no role in the influencer's success in calming or activating the influencee. Interestingly, the effect size obtained from the Wilcoxon statistic for the standardized condition was four times larger than that for the personalized condition (r = . …

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