Abstracts from Australian Journal of Parapsychology
Volume 14(1), pp. 11-27
Paranormal Beliefs, Spoken and Unspoken
HARVEY J. IRWIN
Abstract: Recent social psychological research raises the possibility that some attitudes and beliefs may be implicit or inaccessible to articulation. In this study a measure of implicit paranormal beliefs was constructed and administered to a sample of 105 Australian adults as an online project. Significant relationships were found between implicit and explicit (self-reported) paranormal beliefs, offering support for the validity of the concept of implicit paranormal beliefs. While explicit beliefs were found to be correlated with thinking style, no such correlations were evident for implicit beliefs. Some speculations on the origins of implicit paranormal beliefs are offered.
Volume 14(1), pp. 29-67
An Investigation of the I Ching using the Q-Sort Method and an RNG-PK Design: I. Four Possible Psi Predictors
LANCE STORM & aDAM J. ROCK
Abstract: An attempt was made to emulate a paranormal event (i.e., synchronicity) in the laboratory by instructing participants to construct a representation of their inner mental (cognitive/emotional) states using a Q-Sort Grid in which 64 I Ching descriptor-pairs were thoughtfully placed (i.e., ranked from -7 to +7), followed by the creation of an outer event using a Random Number Generator (RNG) to generate an I Ching hexagram with an associated reading that is rated for meaningfulness. There were four hypothesized psi-predictors: (i) ‘pro attitude’ measured on the Pro Attitude Scale (Thalbourne & Storm, in press); (ii) paranormal belief measured on the Australian Sheep-Goat Scale (Thalbourne, 1995), where ‘sheep’ are believers in psychic ability, and ‘goats’ are skeptics; (iii) trait reactance (i.e., resistance to compliance; hypothesized to be detrimental to psi) measured on the Hong Psychological Reactance Scale (Hong & Faedda, 1996); and (iv) Meaningfulness (of I Ching hexagram readings). The Q-Sort task did not yield any significant effects, although as expected Q-Sort scores were positive for sheep. There were a number of sheep-goat psi effects, including a significantly high mean RNG-PK score for sheep. Of the four psi predictors, Meaningfulness correlated marginally significantly with Direct-Hitting (scores of +7), and significantly with Binary-Hitting (scores of +6 and +7). Scores on the Rasch-scaled version of the ASGS (Lange & Thalbourne, 2002) correlated significantly with Pro Attitude and Meaningfulness. There was a 24% success rate at the .05 level, and a significant 72% of our tests were in the directions hypothesized. It is argued that the Q-Sort Grid may need simplification, and participants should give feedback on RNG-PK task complexity.
Volume 14(1), pp. 69-82
Are Believers in the Paranormal Inclined to Jump to Conclusions?
HARVEY J. IRWIN, KENNETH DRINKWATER, & NEIL DAGNALL
Abstract: An earlier study by Irwin, Dagnall, and Drinkwater (2012a) found a relationship between the intensity of paranormal beliefs and a self-reported proneness to jump to conclusions. This relationship was statistically significant for the factor of Traditional Paranormal Beliefs but was only of borderline significance for the other major factor of paranormal beliefs, New Age Philosophy. The project reported here aimed to replicate the relationship using an additional self-report measure of jumping to conclusions, plus a standard performance measure of this construct. A convenience sample of 124 people completed three measures of proneness to jump to conclusions and a questionnaire surveying paranormal beliefs. A relationship between intensity of paranormal beliefs and proneness to jump to conclusions was confirmed, but the pattern of findings across the various indices of jumping to conclusions raises several issues for further empirical clarification.
Volume 14(1), pp. 83-86
Counselling the Discarnate and the Methodological Approach: Comments on Ferreira (2013)
CALLUM E. COOPER
Abstract: I was surprised to read the paper by Ferreira (2013) regarding communication with the dead in a distressed state (post-traumatic stress disorder [PTSD]) via the author’s use of entering an out-of-body state. This paper was produced at the same time I was editing some of the unpublished work of the late Dr. Alex Tanous regarding his research on ghosts and hauntings through the American Society for Psychical Research (Tanous with Cooper, 2013). Both publications and purported psi abilities are linked very closely.
Volume 14(2), pp. 115-142
A Further Study of Psychopraxia Using the I Ching
MICHAEL A. THALBOURNE & LANCE STORM
ABSTRACT: This present study on the Chinese book of divination, the I Ching, is the fourth in a series of six studies using a particular standardized testing approach. Given that there are 64 readings in the book (corresponding to so-called ‘hexagrams’), the participant is asked to select 16 hexagram descriptor-pairs that match the statement “Lately, or right now, I feel . . .” The participant then throws three coins six times to produce an outcome hexagram which, if it matches one of the 16 pre-selections, is deemed a ‘hit’. Previous I Ching studies (Storm, 2001b; Storm & Thalbourne, 1998-1999; 2001a,b) report significant hexagram hit-rates, but the samples were comprised mainly of university students and no previous tests had focussed on the general public. In this replication study (N = 200), to explore the generality of the findings, and for comparative purposes, 100 members of the general public and 100 students were tested. Both authors tested half of each sub-sample to see if there was an experimenter effect. To determine predictor variables, the 16PF (Russell & Karol, 1994), the Revised Transliminality Scale, two sheep-goat questions, two ‘states-of-mind’ questions, a pro attitude questionnaire, and Rosenberg’s Self-Esteem Scale were administered. The two sheep-goat questions correlated significantly with number of changing lines. Pro Attitude correlated significantly with second-hexagram hitting. Hexagram hit-rates were not significant. No experimenter effects were found. Some significant psychological correlates of transliminality were replicated. The cumulative record across four I Ching studies shows hexagram hitting to be a marginally significant effect.
Volume 14(2), pp. 143-162
The Major Problems Faced by Parapsychology Today: A Survey of Members of the Parapsychological Association
HARVEY J. IRWIN
ABSTRACT: The academic discipline of parapsychology has faced major challenges throughout its history. An online survey of members of the Parapsychological Association (PA) was undertaken with the aim of identifying the range of significant problems held to confront parapsychology today. This paper presents a collation of the views of PA members. A sample of 114 people participated in the survey, 95 of whom revealed their perception of parapsychology’s principal problems. Many such problems would appear to stem from being forced to work within a hostile academic zeitgeist. The lack of funding for research and teaching, lack of an adequate career path, and lack of ready access to mainstream journals were cited as hindering academics wanting to pursue parapsychological research. Associated issues such as the lack of a conclusive database (despite technological advances), the lack of a widely endorsed theory, and the failure to resolve the experimenter-psi effect also are deemed problematic. Some parapsychologists look to a solution in quantum physics, multidisciplinary research, or practical applications of psi research.
Volume 14(2), pp. 163-190
An Investigation of the I Ching using the Q-Sort Method and an RNG-PK Design: II. The Effect of Reactance on Psi
LANCE STORM & aDAM J. ROCK
ABSTRACT: In Part 1 of a two-part study, Storm and Rock (2014) emulated a synchronistic event in the laboratory by first instructing participants to construct a representation of their cognitive/emotional states using a Q-Sort Grid (64 I Ching descriptor-pairs were ranked from -7 to +7), followed by thecreation of an outer event using a Random Number Generator (RNG) togenerate an I Ching hexagram with an associated reading. Eachparticipant generates (i) an RNG Score, (ii) Yang lines (whenever the RNG score is positive), and a Q-Sort score, drawn from the Q-Sort Grid based on the hexagram that is generated. Q-Sort scores were positive for believers in psi (i.e., sheep), whose mean RNG score was also significantly above mean chance expectation (MCE). In the present study (Part 2), we report the results of a reactance treatment (Brehm & Brehm, 1981) which is hypothesized to compromise the performance of nonbelievers in psi (i.e., goats) who, through noncompliance, are predisposed to disproving the psi hypothesis. Participants were randomly assigned to a control condition (n = 58) or a treatment (reactance) condition (n = 62). Marginally significant reactance effects were found whereby the mean Q-Sort score was lower for (i) ‘reactants’ compared to ‘controls’, and (ii) reactant goats compared to control goats. So-called ‘Indecisives’ (mid-range scorers on the Rasch-scaled Australian Sheep-Goat Scale—Thalbourne, 1995; Lange & Thalbourne, 2002) produced the lowest scores on all three psi measures (even lower than goats), yet mean scores on two psi measures (RNG score and Yang lines) compared to their control cohorts, and compared to reactant goats, were higher rather than lower. It is suggested that more research on indecisives is warranted since their scoring patterns appear to be unpredictable, and may even contradict the conventional ‘linear’ understanding of the sheep-goat effect.