A Test of Telepathy Using Immersive Virtual Reality | David Vernon

David Vernon, Thomas Sandford, and Eric Moyo, Lecturers of the Canterbury Christ Church University explored how virtual reality may be used to augment and enhance telepathic connections between two emotionally connected individuals.

Eleven participant duos consisting of 14 females and 8 males, with the average age being 28.7 were surveyed to determine their paranormal belief and closeness of their relationship prior to the experiment. Duos were then asked to swap personal items that reminded them of each other and were led into separate rooms. One participant, the sender, was fitted with a VR headset, and the other participant, the receiver, was fitted with sound canceling headphones.

The sender is then exposed to calming videos to elicit a relaxed and open-minded state, during this the receiver is also asked to relax. After this, the sender is shown a target video and asked to imagine the receiver with them in these experiences, meanwhile the receiver is shown 5 still images and asked to rank the images 1-5 (most-least likely) based on which the sender was experiencing. This task was repeated 5 times at which point the sender and receiver switched roles and the procedure was then repeated.

Results of the main analysis found no evidence for telepathy, with hit rates not differing significantly from the expected chance rate. However, a post-hoc analysis did find some evidence for an effect when participants top two choices were considered, nevertheless these results must be interpreted with caution considering the failure of the primary analysis. The only questionnaire measure which was found to have a significant relationship with hit rate was the psi sub-scale of the RPBS, with higher levels of belief in psi phenomena correlating positively with success in the main task.

Presented at the “62nd Annual Convention of the Parapsychological Association” on July 4, 2019, Paris, France; program chaired by Ramses D’Leon. Download the Abstracts at https://www.parapsych.org/articles/37/483/2019_pa_convention_abstracts_of.aspx

The Parapsychological Association is an international professional organization of scientists and scholars engaged in the study of psi (or ‘psychic’) experiences, such as telepathy, clairvoyance, psychokinesis, psychic healing, and precognition. The primary objective of the PA is to achieve a scientific understanding of these experiences.

A longer version of this convention video, including the Q&A period, is available to PA members-only at parapsych.org. There is a level of PA membership for everyone interested in the scientific and scholarly advancement of parapsychology. Learn more at: https://www.parapsych.org/join_the_pa.aspx

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Published on October 14, 2021