Anomaly or Artifact? Comments on Bem and Honorton

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Abstract

Bem and Honorton imply that the 11 autoganzfeld experiments demonstrate the existence of psi—a communications anomaly. They claim that the autoganzfeld results are consistent with previous parapsychological findings and constitute evidence for a replicable psi effect. Although the autoganzfeld experiments are methodologically superior to previous parapsychological experiments, the tests of their randomization procedures were inadequate. The autoganzfeld experiments consistently produced positive hit rates, whose combined effect was highly significant. However, these experiments produced important inconsistencies with the previous ganzfeld experiments. They also showed a unique pattern in the data that may reflect a systematic artifact. Because of these unique features, we have to wait for independent replications of these experiments before we can conclude that a replicable anomaly or psi has been demonstrated.

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