ESP Experiment Creating Stir

The argument would be that the potentially inflammatory nature of the erotic images somehow impress themselves “harder” than normal images. If you read the linked bit, they specifically comment on finding a 49.8% success rate when the images were non-erotic. Presumably the argument would be based on the strong emotional response triggering something different.

It’s reasonable (and right!) to be skeptical, but if this study was really peer-reviewed, speculation about crap like bad random number generators and the like seems rather simplistic. If that turns out to be the case (i.e. a malformed experiment rather than willful deceit) it’s a pretty big indictment of the ability of the scientific publication process to self-police.

At least they explain how they did the tests and people can replicate it. Most claims of ESP are not testable by others.

I suppose the difference this time would be the sexual imagery in the target choice as opposed to mere circles and wavy lines and so on. But yeah, it makes no sense that only psi believers can ever manage to conduct studies that demonstrate any results. No doubt the next step is to provide actual sexual gratification for a correct answer, and pain for a wrong one.

Even simpler, you just alter your bet. In craps you drag off the odds bet when you ESP that you’re going to lose, in Blackjack you bet smaller amounts when a string of bad cards is coming, which is exactly what counting tells you with less certainty. Than ESP. Oy vey.


Well if ESP gives you a legit +3% chance of guessing the roll at craps, that would instantly flip the advantage in your favor. If I’m remembering high school math class correctly, the house advantage in craps is like 1.5%.

So, where do I sign up for ESP training?

Check the CSI article I linked. The experimental procedure was way off in all sorts of non-obvious ways. I suspect that the journal will end up retracting the article. I can’t find what section it was published under, but even the empirical methods employed seem to be somewhat lacking, and there were problems with the data analysis not dissimilar from what Radin had with his global consciousness project. A brief excerpt:

I just hope that they choose only attractive people for that experiment and publish the results in a fully peer-reviewed journal like the ones I kept under my mattress as a young man.

Yeah, if the experimental procedures are flawed, then replicating it doesn’t mean anything since then you’re just repeating the same errors. The statistical methods they invoke are way over my head though, so I don’t really feel qualified to judge for myself here.

When a scientist repeats an experiment, they don’t always do it the exact same way, and they don’t necessarily analyze the data the same way either. They rig it up to test the same principles and mechanisms. In this case, one could use the same pornographic image test with a larger pool of subjects and more trials, thus limiting the statistical variance talked about in Seiler’s link.

Anyway, if the problems discussed in the article Seiler linked are accurate (which they probably are), then the verification experiments won’t produce similar results and it will be discredited.

Off-topic, but I don’t know that it would really help, because a 3% chance of being right means you still have a 97% of it being random, so you’re still going to have to keep your action on the table. If you could increase your raw edge by 3% that works, but the mechanics of craps aren’t the mechanics of roulette, on the comeout roll 11% of the results are bad, 19% of the results are good, and the remaining 70% are indeterminate. The bets on the board where you can actually bet on the next number all have edges above 3%, so they wouldn’t work either, and during a roll once a point is established you have 16.6% bad and either 13.8, 11.1 or 8.3% good depending on the point, with the remainder indeterminate.

Put another way, in craps 75% of the rolls don’t mean anything, so you’re 3% predictive ability only works out to .73% advantage.

You’re assuming you only know the outcome of the next roll, if you know the value of the winning (or losing) roll you can bet on it and win regardless of any rolls leading up to the winning/losing one.

That’s pretty darned specific knowledge, though. You’re pulling out something that has both an ordinal value and a relative value, winning/nonwinning. Do your freakish mind powers know no limits, man!?


Guys, guys! What if it’s the COMPUTER that has the ESP?

It could be reading your mind right now.

If we’re subconsciously seeing the future I see no reason why it would be limited to a single moment. Again as it’s all subconscious you don’t actually know that you know the future whatever the specifics, you’d just know to bet on 8 or the no pass or whatever.

I’d also argue that winning hundreds (or thousands or millions or anything) on a crap shoot can be just as immediate and visceral as seeing a naughty picture, if not more so.

That just blew my mind!

Pfft, it blew my mind yesterday.

Considerably more so, due to rarity. I see your point, that would validate the advantage. I’m not really sure it is in the spirit of the linked test, I guess just a vague binary do/don’t feeling for each come out roll would be the closest analog.


Sex is the core function of life, though. Maybe that part of the brain has evolved to accept stray tachyons or positrons or whatever.

The pornphoto experiment reminds me of the one that had interviews on a high bridge or some place safe. Because of fear, those on the bridge thought there was an attraction with the interviewer. The brain was effectively pre-determining the emotion. Or something like that. My memory of that class is hazy.

So there would be no ‘win lots of money->buy things->buy people’ thought process getting in the way.

That IS pretty interesting, good read. Thanks for the link.

Yeah, that was a good read.