Sunday, May 20, 2007

Uncovering Fraud (Repost from AMNAP 1.0)

One of the problems with psi research is sifting out the chaff. It's no secret that many people make fraudulent claims of extraordinary abilities, whether for personal profit or to garner attention.

Dr. Gary Schwartz is best known for his VERITAS program - revolutionary investigations of the abilities of mediums to obtain anomalous information - perportedly through communication with deceased individuals (AMNAP will be discussing this research in the near future). But his Human Energy Systems laboratory at the University of Arizona also conducts research into a wide range of other unusual phenomena and controversial claims. Dr. Schwartz has made it very clear that if any of his investigations uncovers evidence of fraud or trickery, he will expose it. In this case that is exactly what happened:

Abstract: The purported ability of a seventeen-year-old female, investigated for seven years in China, to perceive information without using visual and kinesthetic cues, was studied. In one experiment, five letters from A to Z and five numbers from 0 to 100 were randomly selected by computer, written on small sheets of paper and individually folded and placed in a sealed envelope. The folded stimuli were removed one by one and placed into a cloth bag that was opaque to light; the bag was tied below the participant's right elbow. The participant was accurate for all ten trials. In a second experiment, three video cameras carefully monitored the participant's hand movements; in addition, both ends of the folded papers were sealed with clear tape. Careful analysis of the clear tape and the videotapes revealed evidence of practiced deception. Data were also collected from a 25-year-old graduate student and a 7-year-old child not employing a cloth bag. Their data suggest that deception is not necessarily involved in all cases of purported anomalous perception.

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