Academic journal article The Journal of Parapsychology

The Problem of Replication and the "Psi-Conducive" Experimenter

Academic journal article The Journal of Parapsychology

The Problem of Replication and the "Psi-Conducive" Experimenter

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT: Experimenter effects continue to play an important role in parapsychological research, especially with regards to the issue of replication. In this paper, the concept of the "psi-conducive" experimenter is reconsidered, as are its implications for replicating psi effects. Research that has begun to explore allegedly psi-conducive experimenter variables such as the experimenter's expressed belief in psi, the experimenter's expectancy of a successful experimental outcome, experimenter "warmth," and experimenter personality is reviewed. It is concluded that there is evidence to suggest that the experimenter's expressed belief in psi, expectancy of success, and the warmth of the experimenter-participant relationship can distinguish psi-conducive experimenters from psi-inhibitory ones. However, evidence does not support a relationship between personality characteristics and success as a psi experimenter. Four unresolved questions regarding psi-conducive experimenter variables are considered. First, are p si-conducive experimenter variables independent of each other? For example, although some studies have typically attempted to manipulate an experimenter's belief in psi while other studies have attempted to manipulate the experimenter's expectancy about the outcome of the experiment, no studies have tried to manipulate these variables independently of each other within the same study. Such a study would allow one to assess the relative impact of these variables on psi scores and the extent to which they interact with each other. Second, are psi-conducive experimenter variables independent of other allegedly psi-conducive variables? For example, it is not clear how experimenter variables interact with other variables relating to the psi-testing situation (e. …

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