Academic journal article The Journal of Parapsychology

Experimenter Effects and the Remote Facilitation of Attention Focusing: Two Studies and the Discovery of an Artefact

Academic journal article The Journal of Parapsychology

Experimenter Effects and the Remote Facilitation of Attention Focusing: Two Studies and the Discovery of an Artefact

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT: Two studies explored how participants' beliefs about the previous psi research track record of their experimenter might affect their responses on questionnaire measures of belief in psi, confidence of success at a psi task, perceived success at the psi task, actual success at the psi task, and evaluations of the experimenter. Participants (60 in each study) were allocated to either a positive expectancy or a negative expectancy condition. Prior to having any contact with their experimenter (CW), participants read a simulated 1-page background article that depicted CW either as having a previous track record of positive psi results (positive expectancy condition) or as having a previous track record of null psi results (negative expectancy condition). Participants then completed questionnaire measures of belief in psi and confidence of success at the psi task. The psi task was remote facilitation of focusing of attention. The participants ("helpees") attempted to focus their attention on a candle and holder and indicated by pressing a hand-held button when they felt their attention had wandered from the focus. While doing this task, CW, who was located in a separate, sensorially isolated room, either simultaneously focused on a similar candle and holder (help periods) or did some irrelevant task (control periods) according to a random but counterbalanced schedule of 16 one-mm epochs (4 help-control pairs, 4 control-help pairs). Following the psi task, but without knowing its results, participants rated their perceived success at the task and rated CW for warmth, professionalism, and the degree to which she instilled confidence for the task. …

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