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Title: Brain hemisphere differences in paranormal abilities, with special reference to the influence of experimenter expectancies
Author: Broughton, Richard S.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1978
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The lack of repeatable experimental results has been identified as a major impediment to practical scientific acceptance of parapsychology. An attempt was made in this research to devise a repeatable experimental method. It was based on historical clues and contemporary evidence suggesting that the hemispheres of the brain may have different roles with regard to the processing of paranormally acquired information. Using techniques adapted from non-parapsychological investigations of hemisphere asymmetries of function several experiments were carried out and the results of these supported the hypothesis of asymmetrical hemisphere involvement in ESP. Parallel investigations by the author on other topics suggested a possible role of the experimenter in using paranormal ability to obtain results in parapsychological experiments regardless of the hypothesis. Such evidence was found by recent reviewers to permeate the history of experimental parapsychology and recent independent theoretical proposals implicated the experimenter in obtaining experimental results by a psychokinetic effect on the random statistical fluctuations in subject-produced data. An experiment was conducted to investigate the indications of psi-based experimenter effect and the results suggested that the author himself was capable of affecting even highly automated experiments. Careful replications of the earlier successful experiments on hemisphere differences and ESP were undertaken to determine if the effects noted then were due to the subjects or to the experimenter. The results provided no evidence to indicate that the earlier findings were due to the subjects or to hemisphere differences. In conclusion the argument is advanced that much of the findings of experimental parapsychology may consist of similar psi-based experimenter effects and that it is necessary to begin investigations of the psi-ability of the experimenter in achieving his results. When the psi component of the experimenter can be assessed a large portion of the variability in experimental results may be accounted for.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available