2021-07-25 yzy86 6448


Mind reading and the ability to predict thefuture are not skills people generally associate with the human race. Yet,research shows many people genuinely believe in the existence of psychicpowers.


You would think that instances of provenpsychic fraud over the years would weaken the credibility of psychic claims.There have been historical cases, such as Lajos Pap, the Hungarian spiritualistmedium, who was found to be faking animal appearances at seances. And then morerecently, self described psychic James Hydrick was revealed as a trickster.Hydrick confessed his paranormal demonstrations were tricks learned in prison.

你会认为,多年以来通灵人士被揭穿为骗子的情况会削弱主张通灵存在的可信度。历史上已然存在一些案例,比如说匈牙利灵媒Lajos Pap,他在降神会上被人揭发假扮动物的外表。之后是在距今更近,自称能通灵的詹姆斯·海德里克被发现是个骗子。海德里克坦白说他那些超自然的表演都是监狱里学来的把戏。

Another notable example involvedtelevangelist Peter Popoff. His wife used a wireless transmitter to broadcastinformation about sermon attendees to Popoff via an earpiece. Popoff claimed toreceive this information by paranormal means and rose to fame hosting anationally televised programme, during which he performed seemingly miraculouscures on audience members.


But despite such cases, there are stillmany people who firmly believe in the power of psychic ability. According to aUS Gallup survey, for example, more than one-quarter of people believe humanshave psychic abilities – such as telepathy and clairvoyance.


The believers


A recent report may help to shed some lighton why people continue to believe in psychic powers. The study tested believersand sceptics with the same level of education and academic performance andfound that people who believe in psychic powers think less analytically. Thismeans that they tend to interpret the world from a subjective personalperspective and fail to consider information critically.


Believers also often view psychic claims asconfirmatory evidence – regardless of their evidential basis. The case of ChrisRobinson, who refers to himself as a “dream detective”, demonstrates this.

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Robinson claims to have foreseen terroristattacks, disasters and celebrity deaths. His assertions derive from limited andquestionable evidence. Tests conducted by Gary Schwartz at the University ofArizona provided support for Robinson’s ability, however, other researchersusing similar methods failed to confirm Schwartz’s conclusion.


Vague and general


Psychic claims are often general and vague– such as foretelling a plane crash or celebrity death – and this is in partwhy so many people believe in the possibility of psychic abilities.

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This is known as The Barnum effect, acommon psychological phenomenon whereby people tend to accept vague, generalpersonality descxtions as uniquely applicable to themselves.


Research for example, has shown thatindividuals give high accuracy ratings to descxtions of their personalitythat supposedly are tailored specifically to them, that are in fact vague andgeneral enough to apply to a wide range of people. The name references thecircus man Phineas Taylor Barnum, who had a reputation as a masterpsychological manipulator.


Impossible to validate


Many psychic claims have also provedimpossible to confirm. A classic illustration is Uri Geller’s contention thathe “willed” the football to move during a penalty kick at Euro 96. The ballmovement occurred spontaneously in an uncontrolled environment and Geller madethe claim retrospectively.


When professed abilities are subject toscientific scrutiny researchers generally discredit them. This was true ofDerek Ogilvie in the 2007 TV documentary The Million Dollar Mind Reader.Investigation concluded Ogilvie genuinely believed he possessed powers, but wasnot actually able to read babies’ minds.


And when scientists have endorsed psychicclaims, criticism has typically followed. This occurred in the 1970s whenphysicists Russell Targ and Harold Puthoff published a paper in the prestigiousjournal Nature, which supported the notion that Uri Geller possessed genuinepsychic ability. Psychologists, such as Ray Hyman refuted this – highlightingmajor methodological flaws. These included a hole in the laboratory wall thatafforded views of drawings that Geller “psychically” reproduced.


Mixed evidence

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Another factor that facilitates belief inpsychic ability is the existence of scientific research that provides positivefindings. This reinforces believers’ views that claims are genuine andphenomenon real, but ignores that fact that published studies are oftencriticised and replication is necessary in order for general acceptance tooccur.


One prominent example of this was a paperproduced by social psychologist Daryl Bem in the high-quality Journal ofPersonality and Social Psychology. It was said the research showed support forthe existence of precognition (conscious cognitive awareness) and premonition(affective apprehension) of a future event. But other researchers failed toreproduce these results.

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Mind set


So it seems that despite occurrences offakery, forgery and fraudulence – as well as mixed evidence – people will stillcontinue to believe in psychic phenomena. Indeed, research has shown that onein three Americans feel they have experienced a psychic moment – and nearlyhalf of US women claim they have felt the presence of a spirit.


Whether this is down to lack of analyticalskills, genuine experiences, or just in a bid to make the world a little bitmore interesting, it seems believers will continue to believe – despite scienceindicating otherwise.


1、The articlehighlight failures to reproduce experiments making extraordinary claims. However, it appears that [many mainstream resultsare irreproducible, too. What light doesthat cast on the extraordinary results?


2、I think it’sreasonable to say that those individuals who have developed their analyticalskills either through education or work are more likely to consider theplausability of a particular claim in an effective manner than those whohaven’t.


I’d argue that belief in the paranormal islargely the product of false-positives arising from a combination of bias (Theywant it to be true) and person lacking the skill/capacity to examine a claimeffectively. It’s not that they just accepted it blindly but rather theyweren’t adequately equiped to identify its questionable veracity.


On a side-note it’s important to not createa false dichotomy between analytical and emotional decision making. When youhave a decent amount of experience to call upon then your emotional reaction toa situation can be useful. I often pick up on calculation or process errorsbecause data looks wrong and then use my analytical skills to check for errors.


Unfortunately those who rely heavily ontheir emotions consider the above to be patronising and it can be difficult todiscuss issues with.

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The saying ‘you can’t reason someone out ofa position they didn’t reason themselves into’ is pretty accurate.


3、I think this is afascinating topic. Many people do indeed believe in supernatural phenomena. Imyself personally know many people, scientifically trained, who believe inthese things. I have heard many anecdotes that seem persuasive. If pushed, Imyself would say I probably believed in these phenomena, due to someexperiences I’ve had which I cannot explain in any other way.


I am surprised that more people are notmore interested in a genuine, open, anthropological approach to testing whethersupernatural phenomena really occur rather than starting from the position thatthey are probably not true, as this article seems to. This is an issue withabsolutely huge implications for peoples’ worldviews, and it should be a topicthat is approached in a very careful, nuanced, detailed and open-minded way.This interesting middle ground is rarely occupied.


In my opinion, just because phenomena arenot reproducible does not mean they are not valid. The very nature of thesephenomena is that they are not controllable. A truly empirical, scientificapproach does not discredit evidence based on a priori assumptions thatphenomena can be controlled. The requirement of reproducibility applies tomaterial phenomena that can be controlled.


4、It is ironic thatacademics will correctly criticise notions of psychic ability whilenevertheless thinking that thoughts exist and that thoughts have an effect inthe real world. Quite simply, thoughts have never been found in the brain andnever could be.


Prayer doesn’t work because there are notreal communicators and real mechanisms for communication. Psychokinesis doesn’twork because imagining an event does not produce a real obxt acting onanother one. Astral travel is imaginary because it cannot accord with theperson as an obxt that perceives with real mechanisms of perception. Wecannot speak to the dead because people are obxts that perceive and deadpeople no longer perceive.


5、This morning Ithought a courier was about to arrive. About 8 seconds later he buzzed theintercom to my unit on the third floor.


6、This article is wellwritten. Too bad it’s mostly wrong. To give just one example, Bem’sprecognition experiment is dismissed because there were a few well-publicizedfailures to replicate. What the authors fails to mention is that there havebeen at least 90 replications reported, and overall there is no question thatthe effect Bem reported was sucessfully repeated.


Why isn’t this front page news? Why don’tthe authors know this? Because confirmation bias cuts both ways. Those whobelieve that psychic phenomena are mere superstitions look for data thatsupports their view, and they ignore the rest.

(译注:确认偏误(confirmation bias)指人们会倾向于寻找能支持自己观点的证据,对支持自己观点的信息更加关注,或者把已有的信息往能支持自己观点的方向解释)

The fact is that meta-analyses of the majorclasses of psychic phenomena have been successfully repeated many times. Thiswas reported in a lead article in American Psychologist in May 2018. This isthe flagship journal of the American Psychological Association, not a fluffynew-age magazine.

事实是,对通灵现象发生的主体人群进行的荟萃分析(Meta分析)已经成功重现了很多次。这一点在2018年5月登载于《美国心理学家》的一篇头版文章中有记录。这可是美国心理学会的顶级刊物,不是什么内容贫乏的新纪元运动(New Age)杂志。
(译注:新纪元运动(New Age Movement)起源于1970-1980年西方的社会与宗教运动,所涉层面极广,涵盖了灵性、神秘学、替代疗法,并吸收世界各个宗教的元素以及环境保护主义)

The bottom line is that surveys show thatthe majority of the population – including the majority of scientists – believein psychic phenomena because they’ve personally experienced one or moreepisodes. In addition, those experiences have been tested in the laboratory andfound to be genuine phenomena. Of course, this does not mean every anecdotalpsychic claim is true.


7、Willfull Blindnessalso comes into play where people reject clear evidence of something because itdoes not conform to their ‘world view’ or accept dubious evidence that does. Inthis way people may often believe only what they want to believe and ignoreevidence for an alternative reality if it challenges their basic beliefs.