PSYC 332 Lecture Notes - Precognition, Sexual Arousal, Extrasensory Perception
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Friday January 14th 2011
Lecture 5: Personality
When can we trust research findings?
Questions of the day:
•How do you judge the scientific quality of a research study?
•How important is it to have a theory to explain research findings?
An experiment with problems
•Ghostbusters clip of Bill Murray as Columbia University Professor
•What are the problems with this “experiment”?
oHe lies, doesn’t give accurate responses, treats the woman differently than
oNeed to warn people if you’re going to give electrical response
oExperimenter bias – you don’t want the experimenter running the
experiment because they know the hypothesis etc (want someone who
doesn’t know it)
oHypothesis of the study: negative reinforcement will improve ESP
performance (most ppl will say there is no such thing as ESP)
Journal’s Paper on ESP Expected to Prompt Outrage
•One of psychology’s most respected journals has agreed to publish a paper
presenting what its author describes as strong evidence for extrasensory
perception, the ability to sense future events.
By Benedict Carey, New York Times, Jan 5, 2011
“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.”
Most psychologists struggle to take this as a science
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The Editor of the Journal
•“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
•All four decided that the paper met the journal’s editorial standards, Dr. Judd
added, even though “there was no mechanism by which we could understand the
oHe is saying the empirical research lives up to our standards and we have
no way of explaining this but we will publish it anyway
Top Journals in Personality and Social Psychology
•The best one is Journal of Personality and Social psychology – impact factor of
about 5 or 6
•The rest only about 2 (J of Personality, Personality and Social Psychology
Bulletin, J or Personality Research)
Something I never thought I would teach:
•Psi – anomalous processes of information or energy transfer that are currently
unexplained in terms of known physical or biological mechanisms. (has to do
5 categories of Psi:
•Telepathy – transfer of information from one person to another without any
sensory communication mediation
•Clairvoyance – perception of objects or events that don’t provide any known
stimulus (to the known senses) perceiving something you cant possibly have
•Psychokinesis – apparent influences of thoughts or intentions on physical or
biological processes (move a pencil by thinking it should move)
•Precognition – a cognitive or affective awareness of a future event, awareness
can be conscious or unconscious it can be (anticipate and make a guess)
•Premonition – affective or emotional awareness
Psi is a controversial subject: survey of 1100 college profs
Purpose of the research:
Nine experiments designed to test precognition and premonition effects by “time-
reversing” several well-established psychological effects so that the individual’s
responses are obtained before the putatively causal stimulus events occur.
Priming – has been well demonstrated (speed up how quickly you can make
Bem is doing priming after something and he is going to show that what came after
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