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Psi And Fmri Studies

Discussions about Psychics and Psychic Phenomena, Extra Sensory Perception, Telepathy, Psi, Clairvoyancy, 6th Sense, Psychokinesis, etc.

Psi And Fmri Studies

Postby leo100 » 07 Jul 2009, 06:07

Hey everyone here, i like to discuss the fmri's studies on Esp, their was four studies done that found positive correlations of brain activity linked to psi performance. However their is one study which reported negative results. I like to discuss the study with the negative results. If you don't know what study i am referring to go here. ... 161531.htm

For the four studies of fmri's studying for psi go here with positive results ... brain.html

One study is mentioned in the post he made the others are mentioned in the comments section below Dean Radin post.

Here is Dean Radin response to this study that reported negative results.

I congratulate the authors of this paper because unlike many who hold strong opinions about this topic, they actually conducted an experiment. However, I disagree with their assertion that this single study resolves anything. Like any new experiment, all it really does is raise new questions.

There are so many points I could respond to in this paper that I was tempted to write a comprehensive reply. But then I remembered that I've already written one. It's called Entangled Minds, which apparently these authors have not read. Nevertheless, a few comments:

1) The authors overlooked four previously reported fMRI psi studies, all four of which reported significant results.

2) Compelling personal psi experiences are dismissed as fallacious beliefs due to cognitive biases. I fail to see how one or more of the known cognitive biases can conceivably explain even the example they provide of a crisis telepathy experience, to say nothing of thousands of similar experiences. Obviously if someone was constantly reporting such experiences, but only one in a thousand times the experience was verifiable, then such anecdotes wouldn't carry much evidential value. But that is not the case. These are often once in a lifetime experiences, and they shatter previously held beliefs. The irony here is that a case can be made that one of those experiences started the neurosciences!

3) The authors made a common mistake by asserting that independent ganzfeld meta-analyses failed to successfully replicate, citing Milton & Wiseman (1999). Unfortunately, that meta-analysis, which is often used to cast doubt on the repeatability of the ganzfeld results, was statistically flawed and underestimated the overall p-value. When corrected, in fact it did result in a significant overall hit rate.

4)One participant out of 16 showed significant fMRI differences consistent with the psi hypothesis. The authors examined three alternative explanations for this result, and concluded that idiosyncratic responses accounted for the significant results. Unfortunately, this explanation reveals a flaw in the underlying design of the entire experiment. If it is possible to dismiss one individual's results as an artifact, then there is no reason to have confidence that the rest of the data is artifact-free.

5) The experimental task is new, and complex. As far as I know, there is no precedence justifying why we think this procedure might work at all. This reminds me of a paper published in The Humanistic Psychologist a few years ago in which two skeptical psychologists reported a series of eight ganzfeld experiments, which overall produced a significant result. They did not like this outcome and so they conducted another study using a new, untested, ad hoc design, and it resulted in a significantly negative outcome. They then used that last study to dismiss the results of the first eight studies. In the present case, explaining away the one participant who showed a significant result also potentially explains away all other significant results, in which case why did they use this design in the first place?

What does everyone think is this the right way to go to study for psi in the brain? Or is it better to look at other models from outside the brain?.
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Joined: 21 May 2009, 23:22

Re: Psi And Fmri Studies

Postby antiskeptic » 18 Jul 2009, 15:37

Fmri is probably at least a reasonably good way to study psi. As far as the best way...well, we probably won't know until we know more about the underlying mechanisms of psi. The best I could do now is make a guess. I just think that they need to keep plugging away with fmri right now, and if they find a better way in the future (or learn that a certain current technique is better than previously thought and better than fmri) then they can switch.
No one knows how old the human race is exactly, but we can all agree that we should be old enough to know better.
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Joined: 26 May 2009, 12:52

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