Some aspects of performance at a psychokinetic task
Psychokinetic phenomena are currently anomalous with respect to physics. They are not generally accepted as genuine nor are their possible physical mechanisms understood. It is argued here that a certain class of psychokinetic phenomena, termed "directly detectable" psychokinetic effects, are likely to yield possibly important insights into the physical mechanisms mediating psychokinetic phenomena generally. The current use within parapsychological research of randomly behaving psychokinetic target systems is criticised on several grounds. They are of limited scope for use in delineation of physical mechanisms involved in psychokinesis, and their intrinsic characteristics prevent subjects from utilising their possible capacity to learn to produce larger magnitude effects. It is argued that instrumented directly detectable psychokinetic tasks have characteristics which may allow subjects to treat their psychokinetic ability as akin to a normal skill which can be improved with continued practice, using an experimental paradigm similar to that used in the biofeedback training of physiological functions. The task used in this work was a microscopic form of psychokinetic metal-bending, whereby subjects produce pulse-like electrical outputs in a ceramic piezoelectric element used as psychokinetic target. Subjects were not allowed to touch the target and many effects were obtained under witnessed conditions with subjects situated several metres from it. One pilot and three principal longitudinal training studies were performed with a total of seventeen subjects. Six of the seventeen subjects showed significant improvement in their psychokinetic performance in the training studies, one showed a non-significant increase. The other ten failed to show any convincing signs of psychokinetic output. Three of the successful subjects did not show convincing signs of voluntary control over their effects, three did. Large individual differences were found including different rates of learning and levels of initial and final ability. This research was performed by Julian David Isaacs in preparation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy and was submitted in 1984.