ESP and Personality Patterns

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

CHAPTER 6
ESP: Acceptance: A Survey

FROM the foregoing research there seems to be no doubt that, in the populations studied, answers to the sheep-goat question separate two groups that give significant differences in ESP scores. Presumably the answers reflect differences in attitude, but we have still to find what those differences are. In itself, the sheep-goat dichotomy is not very revealing. We begin with a large group of subjects, most of whom have never considered seriously the question of paranormal perception; we outline an arbitrary experimental procedure in which they are to take part; and then we ask them for a clear-cut opinion about it. Social pressure forces them to choose between two categories, and a forced choice between alternatives that are familiar to some subjects but unfamiliar to others must result in heterogeneous groups.

It seems necessary to expand on this point, even though it is repetitious; for unless the subgroups among sheep and goats are analyzed and found to be similar, it cannot be expected that two separate experiments, which put the sheep-goat question to different populations, should give similar results. Some sheep, for example, are convinced that they can score well; some think that it may be possible for others to have paranormal success under these conditions, but that they themselves are not likely to do so; some will say that they don't know, that they want to wait and see what happens; still others that they think it is probably only a matter of chance as to whether or not they will succeed but they are not sure--perhaps there is some possibility of ESP. Among the goats there are (to cite only a few examples) those who dismiss the whole procedure as laughable and never give it serious consideration; others who have thought about the problem and calmly decided that ESP is an impossibility; some who indignantly and vehemently protest against the absurdity of ESP research; and still others who express deep interest in and sympathy for the possibility of telep-

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