A clarification with references
As some of you have read in Swedish newspapers, a group of Lund professors attacked me and the university’s magazine, LUM, for publishing an article describing the research we conduct at CERCAP on parapsychology. Here are some clarifications and references on this matter:
1) No single experiment in parapsychology (psi), or in other areas of science for that matter, “proves” the reality of a phenomenon; the strength of the evidence depends, rather, on whether well-conducted studies cumulatively provide evidence for its validity. Analyses of the context we used (1, 2), ganzfeld, show that results supporting a psi hypothesis cannot be reasonably attributed to chance or to poorly conducted research. Our study (3) supported this general finding in that our measure of telepathic functioning during ganzfeld correlated strongly with two variables that have previously been found to correlate with psi (believing that one will be successful in the experiment, and reporting previous ostensible psi phenomena), and very strongly with experiencing an altered state (among high hypnotizables).

2)   Analyses of all the relevant research literature (meta-analyses) have also found support for other psi phenomena (4-6) and this evidence has been found to be at least as strong as that for accepted phenomena in mainstream science (7).

3)   Critics misunderstood our study in that it was not designed to test whether telepathy exists or not (so-called “proof experiments”), but to investigate the relationship between specific variables, such as experiencing an altered state and the psi task (a “process experiment”). The separate analyses of high and low hypnotizables in our study were determined a priori after screening hundreds of individuals because we expected, based on previous research, that alterations of consciousness would be especially evident among high hypnotizables. We developed the study’s hypotheses before we conducted it, thus any criticism about post-hoc analyses is unfounded.

4)   Although there are general principles that underlie the scientific method across disciplines such as a respect for research data irrespective of one’s ontological preferences, the rationale behind using specific techniques and analyses require specific education in a research area, knowledge of the specialized literature, and so on. The notion that a group without specific competence in an area would appoint themselves as authorities to dictate which areas should or should not be studied scientifically harkens back to the prescientific era in Western civilization.

5)  There are scientists that vehemently oppose psi, but there are also eminent scientists and scientific organizations that have been convinced by the evidence for psi or, at least, are supportive of further research in the topic. Work on psi is being conducted in some top universities such as Cornell and University of California in the USA, and more than a dozen universities in the UK.

6)   My activities doing research in hypnosis and psi fulfill exactly the remit for the Thorsen Chair for which I was unanimously appointed by Lund University in 2005. My work was singled out as “excellent” by the independent group RQ08 in 2008, has been published in top journals in psychology and psychiatry, and has received more than a dozen awards from diverse scientific organizations. 

We are currently conducting a follow-up of our 2011 study. Anyone interested in receiving a copy of it can send me an email requesting it. 
1: Storm, L., Tressoldi, P. E., & Di Risio, L. (2010). Meta-analysis of free-response studies, 1992–2008: Assessing the noise reduction model in parapsychology. Psychological Bulletin, 136, 471–485. doi:10.1037/a0019457
2. Willliams, B. J. (2011). Revisiting the GANZFELD ESP debate: A basic review and assessment. Journal of Scientific Exploration, 25, 639-662.
3: Marcusson-Clavertz, D.  & Cardeña, E., (2011). Hypnotizability, alterations in consciousness, and other variables as predictors of performance in a ganzfeld psi task. Journal of Parapsychology, 75, 235-259.
4. Mossbridge, J., Tressoldi, P., & Utts, J. (2012). Predictive physiological anticipation preceding seemingly unpredictable stimuli: a meta analysis. Frontiers in Psychology, 3. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2012.00390
5. Schmidt, S. (2012). Can we help just by good intentions? A meta-analysis of experiments on distant intention effects? Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 6, 529-533. doi: 10.1089/acm.2011.0321
6. Storm, L., Tressoldi, P. E., & Di Risio, L. (in press). Meta-analysis of ESP studies, 1987-2010: Assessing the success of forced choice design in parapsychology. Journal of Parapsychology.
7. Utts, J. M. (1996). An assessment of the evidence for psychic functioning. Journal of Scientific Exploration, 10, 3–30.


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