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NYT: Academic research paper present evidence for ESP

January 6, 2011

The New York Times yesterday carried an article that discusses the impending publication of a paper in the The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology in which the author discusses rigorous experiments that seem to demonstrate that some people are able to "feel the future". The paper is generating a fair amount of controversy.

The paper describes nine unusual lab experiments performed over the past decade by its author, Daryl J. Bem, an emeritus professor at Cornell, testing the ability of college students to accurately sense random events, like whether a computer program will flash a photograph on the left or right side of its screen. The studies include more than 1,000 subjects.

Some scientists say the report deserves to be published, in the name of open inquiry; others insist that its acceptance only accentuates fundamental flaws in the evaluation and peer review of research in the social sciences.

“It’s craziness, pure craziness. I can’t believe a major journal is allowing this work in,” Ray Hyman, an emeritus professor of psychology at the University Oregon and longtime critic of ESP research, said. “I think it’s just an embarrassment for the entire field.”

The editor of the journal, Charles Judd, a psychologist at the University of Colorado, said the paper went through the journal’s regular review process. “Four reviewers made comments on the manuscript,” he said, “and these are very trusted people.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/06/science/06esp.html?_r=1&nl=todaysheadlines&emc=tha23
http://dbem.ws/FeelingFuture.pdf

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