ESP and Personality Patterns

By Gertrude Raffel Schmeidler; R. A. McConnell | Go to book overview

without enthusiasm, acted as a subject only after repeated requests, and had an average score for the second session which was slightly below chance expectation.

At that time, the drop in score seemed puzzling. The experimenter had accepted provisionally the hypothesis that ESP scores indicated the level of a subject's ESP ability, and thus expected that, chance variations aside, a person who did very well in one session should do well in the next session too. Now, though perhaps it is only being wise after the event, C's low scores in her second session seem a natural sequel to initial high scores. Both in her marriage and in her work she had entered a new field with great enthusiasm and with initial success. But she turned away from both as if she were unwilling to make long-term achievements, and in the same way she seemed half afraid of ESP after she had done so well at it as to imply that she might have unusual paranormal ability.

This girl's behavior illustrates a psychological principle that seems to be of special importance in parapsychology. The egoinvolvement that comes from an initial participation can make marked changes in a subject's approach to the repetition of a task, even though his verbal statements about his approach remain unchanged. In consequence, it is perhaps not to be expected that subjects will give similar results in succeeding test sessions. This should be especially true if the subject learns his score as the testing proceeds.


Summary of the Initial Experiment

Subjects were required to make ESP responses under rigidly controlled conditions. Before making his first ESP response each subject was categorized as either a "sheep" or a "goat." The sheep were subjects who accepted (though sometimes with reservations) the possibility of paranormal success under the conditions of the experiment; the goats were subjects who rejected this possibility. In this first experiment the experimenter attempted to make the testing session more agreeable for the sheep than for the goats. In three successive series the average ESP score of the sheep was higher than that of the goats. When the three series were pooled, the difference between the means of the two groups was found

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