New statistical approach does not support claims that extra-sensory perception exists – ScienceDaily

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Can people really feel the future? Not according to new research from Jeffrey Rouder from the University of Missouri and Richard Morey from the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. Their study uses a new statistical approach that does not support claims that extra-sensory perception exists.

Their work appears online in the Psychonomic Bulletin & Journal, published by Springer.

Although extra-sensory perception (ESP) seems impossible given our current scientific knowledge, and certainly runs counter to our daily experience, a prominent psychologist, Daryl Bem of Cornell University, claims evidence of the ESP. Rouder and Morey examine the strength of the evidence in Dr. Bem’s experiments.

Their application of a relatively new statistical method that quantifies how beliefs are expected to change in light of the data, suggests that there is only modest evidence behind Dr. Bem’s findings (which people may feel, or feeling, salient events in the future that could not otherwise be anticipated, and cannot be explained by chance alone), certainly not enough to influence a skeptic’s beliefs.

They highlight the limitations of conventional statistical significance tests (p-values) and apply a new technique (meta-analytical Bayes factor) to Dr. Bem’s data, which overcomes some of these limitations. According to Rouder and Morey, in order to accurately assess the body of evidence in Bem’s data, it is necessary to combine the evidence from several of his experiments, not to examine them in isolation, which the researchers have done so far. ‘now. They find that there is evidence for PSE – people should update their beliefs by a factor of 40.

In other words, beliefs are odds. For example, a skeptic might think that ESP is far from a million to one, while a believer might think it is as possible as not (one to one). Whatever the beliefs, Rouder and Morey show that Bem’s experiments indicate that they should change by a factor of 40 in favor of ESP. The Believer should now be 40 to 1 safe on ESP, while the Skeptic should be 25,000 to 1 safe against that.

Rouder and Morey conclude that the odds for skeptics are appropriate: “We are still not convinced of the viability of ESP. There is no plausible mechanism for this, and it seems contradicted by well-supported theories in both physics and biology. In this context, a change with a rating of 40 is negligible. “

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