Twitter Experiment Starts Today!

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twitterLast week I announced that I have teamed up with New Scientist to conduct the first scientific experiment on Twitter. Here are the details…..

The experiment will examine the possible existence of ‘remote viewing’ – the alleged ability to psychically identify a distant location.

I am pretty skeptical about psychic ability, but the American government spent millions of dollars examining remote viewing and lots of people believe that it is a genuine ability.

So, how is the experiment going to work?

Well, at 3pm (UK time) each day, I will travel to a randomly selected location. Once there, I will send a Tweet, asking everyone to Tweet about their thoughts concerning the nature of the location. Thirty minutes later, I will send another Tweet linking to a website that will allow everyone to view photographs of five locations (the actual location and four decoys), think about the thoughts and images that came to them in the thirty minutes before, and vote on which of the five they believe to be the actual target location.

If the majority of people select the correct target then the trial will count as a hit, otherwise it will count as a miss. There will be trials at 3pm on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday this week. Three or more hits in four trials will be seen as supporting the existence of extrasensory perception.

In addition to these formal trials, there will be an informal trial (to test the procedure) today at 3pm.

As well as being the first ever scientific experiment on Twitter, I think this is going to be the largest ever test of Remote Viewing, so I am excited about the project.

To participate, simply follow me on twitter at:
https://twitter.com/RichardWiseman

We need thousands to take part, so feel free to spread the word.

131 comments on “Twitter Experiment Starts Today!

  1. Kevan says:

    Testing whether or not “the majority of people” are able to accurately remote view seems a little redundant, when only a tiny minority of people have ever claimed to be able to do it in the first place. But it’d be handy to know if around 40% of Twitter users had the ability all along and didn’t realise. It’d certainly rattle the GPS industry.

    Are you doing anything with the first wave of pinpoint guesses, or are they just there to make the experiment look more Twitterish?

    • Sven Rudloff says:

      As participants will be identifiable by Twitter account etc., this experiment will also give you the individuals choosing the right location in all four trials. I estimate 0.16% of the participants will, but doubt it will be significantly more.

    • powerintruth says:

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    • buddz says:

      lol, good point about the majority minority issue. Hadn’t even crossed my mind. But I guess if this feature (remote viewing) exists as a general capability than maybe it can be spontaneously unlocked if every one tries really hard. So either the brain can or cannot do.

  2. Richard Elen says:

    Sounds like fun! I seem to recall that it was Susan Blackmore who noted that well over a century ago, when parapsychological research began, the question was, “Do ‘psychic’ abilities exist?” and the answer was, “We don’t know” – and that today, the question is, “Do ‘psychic’ abilities exist?” and the answer remains, “We don’t know”. As I can imagine that this observation can cast a bit of gloom over one’s work in this field, doing a popular science experiment using the latest and highest profile social media technology must be a good thing whether it actually tells us anything about psychic powers or not.

    One thing I wonder about, however, and that’s the “Experimenter Effect” – where the preconceptions of the experimenter appear to influence the outcome of the experiment, such that the believer in psi will have a better chance of getting positive results than someone who thinks it’s bunk.

    Thus, you admit that you are “pretty skeptical [sic] about psychic ability”. How do you feel that this will impact the experiment, if at all? If you had a friend who strongly believed in psi perform the experiment instead of you, do you feel the outcome would be different? Do you have any plans to check?

    (I am reminded at this point a little of Wigner’s Friend, performing the Schrödinger’s cat experiment after Wigner has left the room, though of course I would not compare the fields rigorously.)

    One has the distinct feeling that after the results have been evaluated, the answer to the question of the existence of psychic abilities will still be “We don’t know”, but I do hope you have fun – and anything that increases awareness of science and the scientific method must be a good thing, especially in “boundary” areas like this. I believe we have to test the boundaries of science, and test them often and rigorously. I wish you every success.

  3. Michael says:

    Will the raw data be published ? Those of us who are (or in my case, pretend to be) statisticians could then have some apres-experimental fun comparing ways of analysing them.

  4. […] Richard Wiseman has announced  on his blog the official start of the First Scientific Exeperiment on Twitter. The idea (making long thing […]

  5. Ross says:

    Given that any skill requires both talent and training, it’s doubtful that a mass participation experiment will show any significant effect.

    The ability to see others’ tweeted thoughts and impressions prior to making the photograph-selection means people may be swayed by seeing others’ tweets, rather than trusting in their own thoughts and impressions.

    However, if there will be several days of tests, and if photo-selection data is linked to Twitter ID, perhaps some talented remote viewing individuals may emerge.

  6. Mertens says:

    well, they noticed your experiment over here in Holland as well:

    http://www.nu.nl/internet/1972121/wetenschapper-zoekt-deelnemers-voor-twitter-experiment.html

  7. […] eksperymencie naukowym Twitter jako narzędzie eksperymentalne? Dlaczego nie! Dzisiaj Richard Wiseman ogłosił na swoim blogu oficjalny start pierwszego w historii naukowego eksperymentu przeprowadzanego na Twitterze. W […]

  8. Marc says:

    Richard, do you deliberately not tell the scope of possible locations? Is it a random location in your house, town, UK or world?

  9. sb says:

    What do you mean by “the majority of people”? Shouldn’t we be looking for a statistically significant deviation from the expected value instead of a majority?

    Perhaps you could clarify the protocol, at least state it in mathematical terms.

  10. Jarak says:

    I can’t really see the point in this experiment.

    If you used this model to test for say the ability to translate hieroglyphics, then your conclusion would be that nobody could. (Unless there was a serious statistical anomaly or a lot of archaeologists on twitter)

    Once you have done the big batch test you should identify the small % who got more than 3/4 and give them 10 further location tests.

    “If the majority of people select the correct target then the trial will count as a hit, otherwise it will count as a miss.”

    Surely you want to test the % who got it right against the expected by chance % ?

  11. pattyloof says:

    Yeah, if it’s a small number, a “majority” either way means nothing.

    Joining but skeptical this is going to produce any kind of meaningful results.

  12. sb says:

    I now understand the “majority” part, but still the statistics seem dodgy. Why should 3 out of 4 be a success? Isn’t 4 trials too little to get significant results? What if 1 trial has, for instance, 60% of all respondents guess right? Will there be further analysis? And, as Jarak states, there may still be subgroups who perform better than average. How will that be dealt with?

    What if the woo crowd insists that the majority of the participants were skeptics who didn’t have psychic abilities or who deliberately ignored their inner psychic voice? Will the test group be divided into “skeptic”, “psychic” and “undecided”? That would be a relevant factor.

  13. Steve says:

    For decades I had wondered if certain things I had experienced were psychic or coincidence. Or my mind playing tricks on me, so to speak.

    I never researched the subject until eight years ago when I learned about remote viewing. Did a lot of research on the validity of RV and parapsychology. I was convinced that Greg Kolodziejzyk’s research and student’s results were valid. See remote-viewing.com.

    So I learned one of many remote viewing protocols — associative remote viewing (ARV), which is what Greg taught at his website. It’s a method of predicting a future event. Which, by the way, was developed by Ingo Swan while working for the government’s RV program at Stanford Research Institute (SRI) in the 1970’s.

    I’ve done over 3,600 ARV trials. Yet it took me just one trial to convince me that I had the ability to RV. A couple dozen trials latter I was thoroughly convinced.

    Psychological abilities are species wide. Not limited to a fortunate or gifted few. ARV is the easiest RV protocol to learn and validate. IMO. With a little practice at ARV should be all a person needs to answer the question: Do psychic abilities exist?

  14. Steve says:

    Psychic abilities are species wide.

    • Jarak says:

      On what basis do you make that statement?
      Can you provide any evidence?

      My psychic sense tells me no …

    • Buddym says:

      Why not add a common household object to the center of each room and ask viewers to name it rather than picking it out of a list? Any out of place object such as a shoe or a teddy bear in the center of the room will do. I would be interested in seeing if any individuals out there can really view a room remotely.

  15. GetWeb says:

    […] Brought to you by Feedtwitt.info Visit the Original Page . GETWEB holds no relation with the website. . Please see our Privacy […]

  16. Steve says:

    The real question is, why hasn’t it been widely reported by the main stream media? I already know the answer to that question.

    I could dig it out me research links. Go to the link I put in my first post and proceed from there. If you want personal validation go to the same website and go through the ARV course that Greg has there.

    Myself, despite how overly impressive the research that Greg and others had done was, I had to prove it to myself. I had to prove it for myself and not rely on an external authority. Too many bogus external authorities have a vested interest in the status quo or are committed to whomever signs their paychecks.

    Paraphrasing: “It’s very difficult to have someone understand something when their paycheck depends on them not understanding it.”

  17. Steve says:

    If you want to know do the research. I gave you one link. Google is a great place to continue research. Anything I say that came from my hands on research you’ll question — as you’ve already begun to do. Besides, I don’t know what level of authority you hold out as valid. Perhaps you only believe something as true if it comes from the mainstream media, or a college professor or your priest or trade journal, or etc.

    Greg is one of the most outstanding people I know. As anyone will quickly learn from visiting his website at remote-viewing.com

  18. LSK says:

    I agree with some of the posts above – a statistically significant deviation among people genuinely trying to guess should be a ‘hit’, not a majority.

  19. Greg says:

    Richard,

    I don’t understand why you would take a mass-participation experiment and dilute that power by predicating the overall success on a 3 days out of 4 benchmark? Why not just look for significance in the overall dataset?

    Also: will there be any data collection of interesting variables, such as gender, intuitive vs logical thinking, handedness etc?

    Lastly, why was this approached as a ‘Mystery Twitter Experiment’, with the topic only announced within a day of it starting? Why not give everyone more chance to prepare themselves?

  20. Steve says:

    With ARV Greg used and so do I, z-scores which is a standard deviation from random result. There are several methods of remote viewing. Each has it’s own protocols. A general standard across the board is to do RV in a beta brain wave state briefly dipping into theta brain wave state.

  21. […] Richard Wiseman, in conjunction with New Scientist, plans to conduct the first scientific experiment on Twitter. Wiseman is a professor at the University of Hertfordshire, and specialises in studying possible […]

  22. Steve says:

    A common household object may be counter productive. The ARV trials I did were predicting a picture I would be looking at at a specific time in the future. The picture was randomly selected from a 7,000+ picture database hours after I had done the trial session. Most of the trials were set up as double blind studies.

  23. […] Ab morgen nachmittag um 16:00 Uhr (3:00 PM GMT) wird er, zusammen mit dem New Scientist, sein Twitter-Experiment […]

  24. nick sharratt says:

    There is far too many unconstrainwd ariables in the experiment design for this to address the question it purports to. Eg what if there is a psychic ability to pick up what other people think is the right answer? A fun way to demonstrate ‘bad science’ applied to investigations into anything which is badly defined, and maybe some interesting psychological conclusions about who chooses to participate etc; but proving/disproving a poorly defined ‘ability’? No.

    As with most pseudo-scientific examinations of such pseudo-scienticic theories, it fails to define the hypothesis adequately (i appreciate how difficult it is to get believers in such things to agree to a meaningful/usefully precise definition) before designing the experimental methods – at least, it hasn’t been defined here sufficiently.

  25. Conspirama says:

    Twitter Experiment Starts Today! « Richard Wiseman's Blog…

    One has the distinct feeling that after the results have been evaluated, the answer to the question of the existence of psychic abilities will still be “We don’t know”, but I do hope you have fun – and anything that increases awareness ……

  26. […] ‘Remote Viewing’, oftewel helderziendheid. Wiseman omschrijft het protocol zelf op zijn blog als […]

  27. Phronk says:

    I love that this is happening, but I hope a few issues have been addressed:

    1) If the only method of determining a “hit” is the majority vote, then there is a lot of room for other, regular effects to overwhelm any tiny “psychic” effect, even if it’s genuinely there. For example, maybe normally the first landscape most people think of is rolling green hills and rivers. If the target corresponds to this, then they’ll get an artificial hit. If not, an artificial miss. On an individual level this isn’t (as much of) a problem, but when aggregating across thousands, any “guess” is really just choosing the prettiest picture.

    I hope this is considered, and more advanced statistics are used (e.g., HOW MANY people got it right, vs. chance, rather than just if everyone got it right)

    Perhaps one way to deal with this would be to use the decoy targets in future trials, thus balancing out any biases. Obviously that adds more statistical and practical problems though.

    If issues like these, and others I haven’t thought of immediately, aren’t dealt with, it’s not much of a test of everything. Might as well search the whole ocean for elephants, then when none are found, proclaim that there is no evidence for the existence of elephants.

    I look forward to seeing the raw data, too, if it’s posted.

    Thanks for doing this Richard. It’s a great first step even if it does end up with a few flaws (and in science, what doesn’t?)

    • Phronk says:

      Well, there you go; the first target was a green landscape and a river. Either I was being psychic when I posted that, or my point is proven. :)

  28. Helen Hunt says:

    Sounds like a great fun – I have just signed up and will also me following closely on Twitter through out.

    Great stuff.

  29. This could hardly be regarded as a scientific experiment.
    To begin with, it is statistically inconsistent since the sample is not representative of the human race to which the so called “remote viewing” ability pertains; out of the 6 billion people in this planet only a small fraction uses twitter and out of that, an even smaller fraction will follow this particular experiment and those who will are already biased on finding something in particular, i.e. being deemed psychic (not all of them, but definitely some).
    Since the subject will be traveling everyday at 3pm we can only assume he wont go too far away from London, so despite the enormous amount of places he could be in a certain radius (determined by how easily can they be reached in three hours) I’m betting he wont ever be in Mexico or China. Finally, choosing one out of five pics seems to be the real trick, why not having people twit back a location that pops into their heads? My guess: because most people wont know all the names of possible remote locations the subject could be (a village, for instance)
    I must say I’m quite disappointed by New Scientist on this one, not that I was a fan before but I think I wont even give it a look again.

    • Phronk says:

      These criticisms may limit the generalizability of the results, but aren’t very serious otherwise. If ANY subset of the population is “proven” psychic, it would be a pretty big deal. If people are only psychic when choosing targets in London, it’s still a pretty big deal.

      There are problems here, but yours aren’t really problems.

  30. Matthew Wilkes says:

    Watching all of the tweets fall in on http://twitterfall.com, there is quite a response and an obvious theme probably reflecting most of our weekends or today so far. Green grass, Parks, Sun, Outdoors, Lots of people, Cafe’s and Ice Creams.

    He is probably sitting in a post office or library or something completely the opposite, mundane, indoors and grey.

    I shut my eyes and did like the “Psychics” and saw sun, green grass etc, guessing it was just a reflection of my last 24 hours experience and my mind is vaguing it up.

  31. Matthew Wilkes says:

    The sudden demand for http://www.twitterexperiment.net/ has possibly DOS’d it.

  32. Michael says:

    Yes, I think you put it well Phronk (I was going to say I’m on the same wavelength as you, but decided not to).

    The most obvious approach to detecting a minority of talented individuals in a the experimental twitter-verse is to monitor per-individual results across repeated trials. But, as far as I’ve understood it, the present design doesn’t lend itself to assigning exclusive true/false to an individual’s input. Some inputs will bear no connection to the target scene, some will be obviously relevant, but I imagine there could be a large number that are somewhat connected. So then you need a relevance score of some kind which, depending on the target settings, could be hard to define and even harder to work out what the random expection is.

    Fun stuff :)

  33. Guinea pig says:

    I think you should post 360degree pics for each location- at least 4 facing each direction. I’m curious what was behind you that you were also sensing. If the object is for people to remote view & sense where you are, theoretically theyd sense in 3d as well?

  34. Sally says:

    I was also wondering what was behind you in that photo.

  35. Jarak says:

    Having looked a bit more at Richard’s bio it seems to me that the experiment here is not into remote viewing. This fits with the fact that the experiment is designed and carried out in such a was as to be (virtually) meaningless.

    I suspect that the experiment is actually something more like “How many people can I get to join in a scientific experiment for nothing?” or “How many people will play all 4 days?” or better still “How many of the obvious control and design errors in the “advertised experiment” will the general public spot?” (this could show that Twitter is valid peer review :-)

    • It could be something to do with the survey form, in particular the rate yourself drop down box. maybe correlation between sexes and their ability to imagine up certain types of scenes though i don’t know what value that would have.
      Or maybe seeing what kinds of scenes are imagined by those believing in this kind of phenomenon or it could simply be to see how people who call them selves believers rate them selves compared to none believers.

      Now that I’m thinking about it there would be quite a lot of interesting data that could come out of this if it wasn’t really trying to see whether the public can remote view.

      Looking forward to what ever results this is going to give.

  36. harry says:

    lots of confounding variables here. will you be screening out contetual cues? Also maybe you could ask significant questions – finding new oil reserves, where’s osama now etc.

    • Jarak says:

      Considering this is being done on twitter and using something like http://twitterfall.com/ with 2 searches (RichardWiseman) and (twitterexperiment) you can watch the world’s answers roll in, before you give your own, it would be rather hard for this to be a real scientific experiment into remote viewing…

    • Phronk says:

      What confounding variables are there? I.e., variables that differ systematically between conditions.

      My main problem here is that this will probably be spun as a demonstration that psychic abilities do not exist. Which would completely fly in the face of the scientific method and not be justified by such a flawed study, but Dr. Wiseman has done it before (e.g., with Sheldrake’s dog experiment).

      However, I have some hope that something was learned from past mistakes and there is some intellectual honesty in reporting these results.

  37. HORACE BARLOW says:

    I’M NOT SURE WHY YOU CHOSE THE CRITERIA FOR SUCCESS OR FILURE THAT YOU DID, BUT PERHAPS WE’LL FIND OUT LATER.

  38. dianerickardsphd says:

    i remember reading a review article of remote viewing and such experiments and the outcome was often linked to the belief and intent of the experimenter…hmm…what do you think?

  39. Mel R. Scurbica says:

    It seems to me that by using the general population as your study group instead of self-identified psychics, you’re guaranteeing that you’ll get less than 50% correct hits on any target. If your study group started out with people who at least demonstrated some degree of psychic ability (or even *claimed* to have psychic ability), your success rate would be noticeably higher.

    When I hear monkeys say they are skeptical about psychic phenomena, despite all the documented (yes, I know, anything not done in a lab is “anecdotal” to scientists) cases, it makes me laugh at monkey-brained humans. I’ve personally experienced so many instances of psychic experiences (many that can be verified by witnesses) that there’s no doubt in *my* mind. But if you put me in a lab and asked me to identify circles, stars, and wavy lines, I’d probably be hard-pressed to come up with more correct hits than would be statistically probable.

    I think it’s funny that as a society, western monkey-minds live inside a box. They know there are things outside the box but they choose to pretend they don’t exist. For example, most monkeys are familiar with “the feeling that someone is watching me.” But if the universe worked the way the monkey imagines it to, monkeys shouldn’t even *understand* the meaning of that phrase. It would be nonsense. Since it’s outside of the box, monkeys don’t even bother to give it a name. In some cases, monkeys have to resort to using words from other languages (such as “déjà vu”) to describe terms from outside of the box.

    So the monkey-mind lives a schizophrenic existence. Since monkey brains can’t easily adjust their worldview, monkeys have to pretend that everything outside of the box doesn’t exist, because whatever is outside the box threatens the monkey-mind.

    • I am sorry but if true psychic ability existed someone with these special supernatural powers would have used them for something good or at least something that would have had a great impact on society. If someone could prove without any reasonable doubt that they had these abilities it would be all over the newspapers and not just “And Finally…” stories. It would go against pretty much everything we know about the mind and science that has gotten us this far today. If these kind of abilities could not just be summoned therefore not observed therefore not provable, why are the anecdotes you mostly hear about of people attempting to be psychic and being psychic. One of these many million claims could surely have been performed again in the proper environment just to shut up the “Monkey Minded”.

      Do you think scientists would have gotten any where – let alone this far – if they listened to anecdotal evidence?

    • Jarak says:

      I seriously can not tell if you are “pro-psychic” or “anti-psychic” or “pro-science” or “anti-science” from the above.

      Very confusing post, perhaps I am mentally picturing your tongue too far into your cheek.

    • Oh and I thought déjà vu was a well studied and documented phenomena which has been explained or at least well hypothesised

  40. slightlymorewinded says:

    I’m with Jarak. This sounds pointless.
    You can’t prove or disprove the existence of such a phenomena by taking a majority count. That’s senseless logic given that remote viewing is a gift rumored to be held by a minority. If the majority on any given location did, in fact, get the location correct, it would raise an interesting array of questions and possibilities that could perhaps be addressed in a follow up, but if the majority of voters get nothing right at all (which is much more likely) the results to the question “does remote viewing exist on twitter?” would be inconclusive at best.

  41. […] Click here for Wiseman’s blog. […]

  42. […] of thing that would have you hunched over a toilet after the party, if you know what I mean. But the way that they are doing it at least seems reasonable on first glance: So, how is the experiment going to […]

  43. Sarah says:

    Well so far this experiment has amply demonstrated that some people have no imagination and aren’t willing to go along with an idea just to see what happens.

    The picture he revealed was very similar to what I said I thought it would be, and I don’t think I have any psychic ability at all. I think it’s harmless fun and I’m more than happy for Richard Wiseman to try and make sense of it. Good luck to him.

  44. […] check out–and possibly participate in–this intriguing experiment http://richardwiseman.wordpress.com/2009/06/01/twitter-experiment-starts-today/ Is it just a coincidence (but we don’t believe in those, do we?) that Mr. Wiseman waited for […]

  45. Sean says:

    This thing is going to “snowball” as the article about it is spreading around the net.

    The “majority” criteria is confusing…
    Why not just see how many more or less than “random chance”?
    And the idea of retesting with those “correct the most” seems good too.

  46. […] of ‘the world’s first scientific experiment on Twitter‘ has received some media pickup today. The trial starts tomorrow, conducted by psychologist Richard Wiseman together with New […]

  47. Maggie says:

    Let the early special pleading begin. ;)

    A note to some of those… the ‘gifted’ and ‘trained’ are quite welcome to come prove their mettle to the world in this open (as in transparent) experiment.

  48. PagieJames says:

    The reason psychic abilities has never been “proven” is because no one believes it until they experience it themselves. I am a Remote Viewer, and I can tell you that everyone has the capability to learn Remote Viewing. Every one of the 8 participants (including me) in my first Remote Viewing class was certain that each one of us would be the only one who wouldn’t be able to do it. We were all wrong, and each of us did incredibly well. So, prove it to yourself. Take a Class!

    • Steve says:

      Perhaps the easiest way a person can prove it to themselves empirically is by reading the instructions at remote-viewing.com and doing the online course Greg put there for people. It’s so easy and it has amazed every person I know that has done it.

  49. […] Twitter Experiment Starts Today! « Richard Wiseman's Blog […]

  50. Lenore says:

    If the majority get it wrong, you’ll consider it a fail, meaning remote viewing is not possible?
    If one person gets it right, in my opinion it proves it is in fact possible but because you won’t count the individual your experiment will be flawed.

    If even one person were able to remote view with consistency, it would be amazing! It’s unfortunate that your experiment will over look the individual. In fact it seems set up to fail.

    Why not count individual hits?

    • Dripfeed says:

      That ain’t how science works; there’s no way Wiseman could or would try to claim “remote viewing is not possible” off the back of this. All it could prove is that a majority of people don’t have the ability, in this exact type of test. He’s not trying to test individuals (although I trust he’ll notice and investigate if one person is tweeting the exact location every time).

    • Phronk says:

      Dripfeed: No, negative results would not prove “the majority of people don’t have the ability.” That ain’t how science works. We don’t prove negatives. It’s an unfortunate blind spot of science, but it’s there, and the interpretation of any results has to acknowledge it.

      If I do a study on Twitter where I claim that I will say the word “SLEEP!”, and the majority of people on my follower list will instantly fall asleep, I couldn’t, when it fails, claim “oh, look at that, the majority of people can’t be hypnotized! Hypnotism is probably bunk.”

  51. There’s another problem inherent in this experiment. I like the idea in general but the experiment has a glaring (pun intended) flaw.

    I am an artist. As such I am aware of the quality of light from one locale to another. I can look at a photo taken in Phoenix, NYC, Eastern Long Island, Los Angeles and Central Florida, which are all places I am familiar with and tell you where the photo was taken based on the quality of the light. Many visual artists can do this.

    Thanks to films, I’m not too bad at identifying other locales either.

    Any artist in Britain who knows the quality of the light in many locales should be able to appear “psychic” according to your test.

    Many people also have this type of info stored in their memory, but may not be aware of it.

    What might work would be move the experiment indoors and shift to night scenes. Use plain rooms and a simple subject. maybe a lit candle in a dark room. A close up of a simple candle in an otherwise dark room would thwart eyes like mine as the candle is the immediate source of light. If you change the color of the wax of the candle itself you will be easily able to keep a record of which candle photo was taken.

    Wishing you all the best.

    Judy Rey Wasserman
    On Twitter: @judyrey

    • Dripfeed says:

      The only issue is whether experts could dismiss photos on the grounds that Richard could not have gotten there; I assume Richard will be using five photos from within an hour’s drive of London.

  52. aNONymous says:

    hm…quite an innovative and adventurous feat you are about to pursue. Good Luck!

  53. tonysandwich says:

    ha, sounds like a great idea, I’m in.

  54. first of all, i think this is a very interesting experiment, however, i don’t think it can even vaguely determine its stated point in any sort of conclusive way. what can be determined is how a large group of people will respond in this particular social environment, not whether anyone can perform remote viewing.

    several things to consider (of many):
    1. people will lie. both those for and against psychic phenomena will skew the results in their favor. perhaps canceling each other out, perhaps not.
    2. it only takes into account the large group as a whole, ignoring the individuals. there’s no monitoring of individuals. to paraphrase william james (who did a huge amount of research into the paranormal), “to prove there are black swans all you need is one.”
    3. there’s no actual statement of review. (e.g. who’s monitoring him at the location and documenting it? who’s handling the data? etc.)

    anyway, it’s my conjecture that this is an experiment into something else all together. just like stanley milgram’s 1961 ‘obedience’ studies at yale told the subjects one thing in order to test them on something else, i believe we are being told one thing and examined in a different way. i’m actually very interested in the final result. not on remote viewing, of which i doubt we’ll know more than prior to the experiment, but into how the twitter group psychology works, not only in the experiment itself, but in the discussion of it as well (like i’m doing right now).

    @andrewbartel

  55. Ross says:

    Andrew, I agree. There’s so much wrong with this experiment, as presented, that I’m coming round to the idea that the remote viewing element is a red herring.

    What’s left? Seeking correlations between the other data collected. E.g. Do psi-believers rate themselves as better at the task?

    • ross, you’re right about the correlations. what’s being drawn from them? as someone who didn’t pass wiseman’s gorilla test, i’m certainly not the best person to figure out what’s going on here.

      @andrewbartel

  56. Ross says:

    I’m willing to bet Richard will be nowhere near any of the photographed locations.

  57. Richard King says:

    Having a “foot in both worlds”, in the sense that I am entirely comfortable with non-physical matters and my science background goes back to the 1950s, this does not come over as much of an experiment. A popular science “experiment”? Perhaps. A research science experiment? Definitely not.

    Besides, as I have read from many sources, the United States connection with remote viewing involved carefully selected sensitive people, who were then trained in a specific manner based on the experience of people like Inigo Swann. The Technical Remote Viewing people took over the same strict protocols.

    In addition, as I recall from certain articles, remote viewing was considered proven, only for “the goalposts” to be moved in terms of proof required.
    As for some of the opening comments:

    “I am pretty skeptical about psychic ability,……. ”

    That is readily apparent, though not so much a few years ago. I, rashly, sent an E-mail in the early 2000s, offering to become involved with my dual aspect advantage; I did not receive a reply.

    “……. but the American government spent millions of dollars examining remote viewing and lots of people believe that it is a genuine ability.”

    It appears to have been demonstrated, though in a structured way, rather than the proposed experiment. In addition, I have a little personal experience.

    Several years ago I attended a presentation in Bognor Regis, by, the now late, David Kingston. The first part of the evening involved an informal experiment in remote viewing with the audience being given a target in the usual non-descriptive way. What came to mind, for me, was a cove, a bay, grassy slopes, people, boats, sea, waves though not large ones, certainly not smooth water, sun, good weather, apparently some time ago, the latter principally from the style of the boats and the appearance, dress of the people. The main feature was a brick tower, mainly red.

    The target, it, eventually, transpired, was an old lighthouse at Portland, Dorset.

    Portland, Dorset. 
    Portland Bill – A red and white painted brick circular tower lighthouse with a traditional light and buildings attached currently operated by Trinity House situated on the shore edge. Built in 1906 the tower is 136 feet high and the light is visible for 25 miles. 
    Old Lower Light – A tall white painted brick circular tower lighthouse with an observation window light and gallery and buildings attached situated a short distance from the shore edge. Built in 1867 the tower is 85 feet high and the light was visible for 21 miles. The light was decommissioned in 1906. 
    Old Higher Light – A squat white painted brick circular tower lighthouse with an observation window light and gallery and buildings attached situated on high ground a short distance from the shore edge. Built in 1789 the tower is 50 feet high and the light was visible for 21 miles. The light was decommissioned in 1906. 
    Breakwater – A tall white painted cast iron circular tower lighthouse with a traditional light currently operated by the local Port Authority and situated at the end of the breakwater in Portland Bay. The stone lighthouse built in 1851 was demolished when the breakwater was extended. The current tower is 70 feet high and the light is visible for 14 miles.
    (http://www.sadoldgit.com/a/page2.html )

    Experiments of the “broad brush” type are unlikely to show anything much, let alone prove it. The more usual way to gain knowledge through science is by means of limited, careful experiments. The KISS principal should be applied to science as much as other endeavours. Unfortunately, such an approach has the tendency to produce the “wrong” results, or at least increases the chances of doing so.

    Experiments in any field, including this one, are better if designed with he assistance of someone with relevant experience of that field, though, again, that would increase the possibility of “awkward” results.

    Being well aware of both “sides” it is far easier to see the flaws in many experiments; I began learning my science in the 1950s, my higher senses began opening from about 1979 and vastly more in the early 1990s, becoming second nature via experiences reaching into the thousands of hours in total duration, second nature for at least fifteen years. None of what I have experienced and learned clashes with science; no more so than the theory of relativity and quantum mechanics clashes with Newtonian/classical mechanics, the later being a cruder approximation of the former. On the contrary, it fits rather well with Bohmian mechanics, though David Bohm said it was not really quantum mechanics but quantum non-mechanics, the mechanical part being illusory.

  58. Interesting study, best of luck. I’m curious what the results will return! I’ll be waiting to see some results!

  59. Shala says:

    i am also skeptical of this project…but i wanna try it as well. btw have you tried doing this in a small scale scenario?

  60. invertedNormal says:

    i can objectively predict the outcome of a true scientific experiment with the intention of investigating the validity of psychic claims–it’s bunk, and these continuing efforts should be defunct. scientific experiments have already been done. there are no psychic abilities. it’s not a skill to be developed. there is nothing non-physical. it is all, however, wishful thinking. In fact, James Randi, via his Educational Foundation, offers a $1 Million dollar reward for any one able to prove such hypotheses–none have succeeded. the chances of the location being correctly determined by participants is as good as an uneducated guess, which it is, is 50/50 (unless the location can be determined by global positioning methods. i think the number of people that find this study compelling is very embarrassing, and quite insulting to the intelligence of the humanity.

    …but at least you’ll have fun =D

    • Phronk says:

      Wow, what an anti-science comment. This study has its problems, but deriding it just because of its subject matter is just silly.

      Oh and Randi’s “challenge” is a non-scientific stunt from a non-scientist. It should have no place in a serious discussion about scientific progress.

    • invertedNormal says:

      @Phronk

      this is not a scientific study, in the least. there is a reason we have physical abilities such as speech, appendages to feel and manipulate objects, eyes to see our environment, and ears to hear it and a tongue to taste it. and the reason is not so that our mind can transcendentally leave the skull to make discoveries or talk to others from afar—that’s why ‘science’ invented cell phones and the internet, instead of pursuing this dead end with the nothion of additional “un-tapped’ senses of the human body. the body *is* the extension of the brain; the brain is not an extension of itself. why can’t people just be happy with the incredible abilities that a brain and physical body provide?

    • Phronk says:

      The subject matter doesn’t make a study scientific or not. Science is a method.

      I don’t think psychic abilities exist either, but that doesn’t mean they’re not worth studying. There are plenty of psychological things going on here that I hope Richard is covertly looking at as well. Also, almost everyone on Earth experiences something that at least seems like psi. That is screaming out for an explanation.

      If everyone thought like you, we wouldn’t get very far. “Bah, the Earth looks flat from here and all our experiments so far indicate that it is, so why travel and try to prove it round? Why go into space when everything is just fine here on Earth. Bah!”

    • invertedNormal says:

      you’re correct about the subject matter not being an indicator of wether the scientific method can be utilized here, but the problem with this study is the lack of control and variability.

      in the scientific method there’s something called “repeatability”. this man is only going to one location—lack of variability. in a double blind study, both the scientist and the participant are not knowledgeable about the correct answer until after results are tabulated—lack of control.

      beside that, psychic claims seek to prove a force beyond nature and beyond corporeal human ability, which concedes from the start that that which is trying to be proven exists outside the scope of science, therefore it is disproved by default.

    • Phronk says:

      Re: repeatability – many studies similar to this one have been done before, usually with positive results. The only new aspect here is the use of Twitter. I agree that the study has other issues, though, control and blinding being some of them.

      Re: psi being a force beyond nature – I don’t think anyone here has claimed that. It’s hard to even imagine what it means, being that anything that actually happens must be part of nature. I certainly don’t think Richard has said anything about a incorporeal force, so I’m not sure where this is even coming form.

    • invertedNormal says:

      repeatability doesn’t mean you simply repeat the experiment—it means you repeat the experiment and get the *exact* same results…every time, and that others may follow its example and get the exact same results… every time. and if you don’t, the hypothesis is disproved. and that’s exactly what has happened with past experiments properly conducted on this exact hypothesis.

      this psi nonsense *is* claimed to be an extracorporeal ability—“a function of the human brain inexplicable by science”. it’s never described in any objective terms, and is never without a lot of subjective reference. Phronk, i think you’re playing the denial game for the sake of expedience. i think you’re very emotionally tied to the hopes of a “positive” (subjectively so) outcome regarding this experiment and those like it. you’re right, though, everything that happens does so in nature. e.s.p. does not happen in nature, therefore it is bunk.

      digest this for a while. it’s not comfortable and it doesn’t go down easy, but sometimes truth isn’t what one wants to hear, especially in your case—and that’s the truth.

      end of story

    • Mike says:

      A few points:

      – Can you give me one example – just one – of a psychology experiment that has been repeated exactly, and gotten exactly the same results? Not that it shouldn’t be done. Pure replication would be nice. It’s just not how science actually works.

      – Failure to replicate does not “disprove a hypothesis.” Again, that’s not how science works. This is why we control Type I errors but worry less about Type II errors in statistics.

      – Where are you getting the “inexplicable by science” quote from? When did Richard, or anybody involved in parapsychology, say this? Or are you just making up a point so that you can prove it wrong? That’s nothing more than a particularly cheap species of straw man.

      – My emotions have nothing to do with the scientific strength of this experiment or my arguments. Plus you’re wrong about them anyway.

      – Regarding “you’re right, though, everything that happens does so in nature. e.s.p. does not happen in nature, therefore it is bunk” – if you’re parodying a circular argument in order to demonstrate the foolishness of such a technique, well done!

      – The digestibility of an argument has nothing to do with its truth value. And besides, biases standing in the way of clear reasoning go both ways.

      And no, it’s not “end of story”. Science is a continuing, evolving process where exploration into new areas should be encouraged by definition. “End of story” is pretty much the opposite of science.

    • invertedNormal says:

      @Mike

      in your first point you only reveal a weakness in the otherwise useful science of psychology. any science dealing with subjective matters, like feelings and “parapsychology”, as opposed to those which are objective (like biology, etc.), are likely unreliable when dealing with those subjects. if you’re a parapsychologist you are a pseudo scientist with no tangible subject matter—yes the brain, but what aspect of the brain? can you pinpoint this ability on an fMRI like one can for any of the known physical abilities of the brain? no, you can’t. if you practice parapsychology you are a fraud and apply the scientific method in err, and not in completion.

      but it’s ok. i’ll just sit back in amusement as so many of my fellow humans pretend with desperate and hopeless hopefulness to be super heroes, knowing that the results of such studies, no matter what the indications, will only fortify their endeavors and beliefs.

      and yes, end of story, but not for science. this is not science (and i’m not talking about the experiment—i’m talking about the subject matter), it’s wishful thinking, and that’s all. if not, provide a wavelength for this psychic ability, provide proof of its mean of transport if it is something other than a wavelength. this mess has been around for thousands of years and still nobody can explain it with any intelligibility. i think it’s time to give it up and refer to those who still cling to these superstitious traditions not as psychic, but as psychotic.

    • Phronk says:

      Oops, Mike is me.

      I agree that psychology is difficult to study, but I wouldn’t call it a weakness. It simply deals with noisy data, and statistical tools have been developed to cut through the noise; tools that have proved useful in many other disciplines as well.

      The rest of what you said just seems to be “I’ve made up my mind – psi is beyond science and not real anyway, so there is no point in even looking for it.” Which seems more like religion than science to me, but to each his own.

      You also seem to be demanding a complete mechanism for a phenomenon in order to even begin studying it. Of course, the opposite should be the case; we should establish that something exists before discovering HOW it exists. We can do experiments to prove that gravity is there, and discover many of its properties, without a complete theory of the mechanisms behind it (which physics still doesn’t quite have).

    • invertedNormal says:

      i was not stating psychology is weak as a whole, if that’s what you inferred from my statement—just those cases involving subjective matters.

      this is all as simple as Occam’s Razor—don’t assume more than necessary. there are more simple, scientifically verifiable explanations to define this feeling so many people have. we are feeling beings before thinking beings, anyway. how about sympathy, empathy, instinct, educated guesses, just plain ol’ guesses? any of these are viable, scientifically verifiable, mutually agreed upon human abilities that easily answer this question of “another sense”. and as you would expect with this type of experiment, even with the same participants (or even a group of self-proclaimed psychics), the results will almost always vary a little (sometimes a lot), and in comparison, that extra “sense” has no better/worse results than the *average* of a plain ol’ guess. so let’s just apply Occam’s Razor here and just call this “psychic ability” one of the already-verified options above and not assume more than necessary.

      beside, we invented remote viewing… have you ever used a Remote Desktop application or Video Conferencing? If any of you tap into your psychic abilities, drop me a psychic line! i won’t hold my breath…

    • Phronk says:

      Great. So you have some hypotheses about explaining some of these reported phenomena – empathy, instinct, etc. So actually test them. You seem to be against even trying to explain them and would rather sit in an armchair proclaiming your guesses are true.

      Again, that ain’t science.

    • invertedNormal says:

      the burden of proof lies with the person(s) making the claim, especially such an extraordinary claim. and extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. my claim is quite ordinary, is not my own, and is proved by the fact that all mentally healthy individuals share those mental abilities which allow us to relate to, and find commonality in, others. this theory is also proved by almost every branch of science from psychology all the way to evolutionary biology. you’re proposing that people possess a mental ability that has never proven to be consistently accurate. again, no better than a guess.

      not only does this propaganda have no extraordinary evidence, it has no evidence whatsoever. one need not research far into the arguments against these claims by established scientists to find the lack of evidence for such hypotheses under real scientific scrutiny. i’ve done my reading—it’s you’re turn. personally, i find it hard to argue against something lacking a coherent definition for starters. and to confront some one about it who is not persuaded by negating evidence… well.

      the days of needing these irrational comforts and beliefs is over. we have science now. it’s time to adapt.

    • Phronk says:

      I agree that the burden of proof lies with the people making the claims. Luckily there are people like Wiseman who are at least trying (though maybe not too successful) to gather evidence.

      But you are also making a claim – say, that above-chance results in an experiment like this can be explained with normal human abilities or technology – so now the burden of proof is on you to provide evidence for it. Saying that it’s plausible isn’t good enough and isn’t science.

      And saying there is no evidence for these things is either ignorant or intellectually dishonest. There are hundreds of pieces of evidence. I’m not saying the explanation is at all mysterious or “psychic”, and maybe the evidence has flaws, but the evidence is there and to close one’s eyes and pretend it doesn’t exist is antithetical to good science and skepticism.

  61. shamzu says:

    I have a small (may be stupid) doubt. what if people identified you from your actual location and start sending tweets about your location? twitter is a very dangerous place when it comes to information hiding. :)

    • Dripfeed says:

      Ha! Perhaps a pro-remote-viewing group has hired a private investigator to follow him over the next few days…

  62. idopeboy says:

    I look forward to the experiment, im dont believe in phsycic powers, the only flaw i see with the experiment is that the majority of people will guess and get it right, does that mean they are phsycic?

  63. samaira choudhary says:

    Hmm not sure about this one? I think it is just a case of guessing…
    samaira choudhary

    • paradox777 says:

      Hmmmm…we have never met…but im gonna “guess”…that you have trouble with the letter ‘R’…when speaking english…How’d I do??

  64. laane says:

    You need to follow your followers to see their answers. :)

  65. […] fortelle om i dag. Han er professor i psykologi og studerer pussige og rare ting. Nå skal han bruke Twitter for å se om folk er synske. Og det later faktisk til å være nesten seriøst. Og hvis du vil se […]

  66. Pretty Fly says:

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  67. naqeeblukhman says:

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  68. 1stprinciplesdesign says:

    Science gives Twitter legitimacy. Where else might the tweet reporting model of mass observation be useful? The Xmas bird count? Atmospheric observation? Should seismographs be tweeting? Massive health studies?

  69. […] any case, Twitter has teamed up with Richard Wiseman to determine if there’s anything to it.   Right off the bat, I have a little problem with his methodology, but I’m not going to […]

  70. […] to our blog today, this thought was solidified for me by what came up on the home page: A link to Richard Wiseman’s blog, a blog that is helping conduct the first ever scientific Twitter experiment! (To follow this […]

  71. climber7407 says:

    I hope that the experiment will have some data that at least points in the right direction but if your looking to prove to everyone what your hypothesis is I don’t think that any skeptics will be convinced. It is a matter of what your opinion is before you look at the results.

  72. bogdansbg says:

    That you call a experiment ?

  73. ethanesholmes says:

    you call that a experiment ?

  74. […] Twitter Experiment Starts Today! Last week I announced that I have teamed up with New Scientist to conduct the first scientific experiment on Twitter. […] […]

  75. paradox777 says:

    Well…i was right-on trial one…’D’…. I picked ‘D’ again today…the Iron grating on the church window was the very first impression i recieved when i went to look for Richard….HOWEVR…i had also seen some tubing within his vacinity….look at picture ‘C’…. That is exactly what i saw also…however…my views are generaly in Blck and whie…i envisioned an open space also…i would love to see the wider picture of ‘D’…and visa versa…. Same thing in trial one….i saw ‘D’ in black and white…i also saw…when i went to vote…’C’…but ‘D’ was the stronger influence i got….and as we know….TADAA…i was correct..as i am assuming i am today…I again say ‘D’….HOWEVER…i woildnt be surprised if it is ‘C’…I am suspecting That Richard may be taking pictures that ..in some cases, are not far apart…and i am ‘viewing’ the “bigger” picture. Pro. Wiseman…are you doing that on purpose…or had it not occured to you that a viewer may see the wider scope of your whereabouts, as i believe i may be doing…of course this is assuming I am correct about ‘D’ today in trial 2. W e shall see shortly, it is 11:16am EST. Connecticut. I AM HAVING A BALL!!!

  76. […] Ir aos comentários Experimento científico no Twitter. Sim, até isso, no […]

  77. […] locations to test remote viewing and had people send twitters to him as to their impressions.  He explains here what the plan was.  Final results will be up on his site on […]

  78. roxana says:

    whats this all about

  79. Вадим says:

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  82. […] Twitter Experiment Starts Today! « Richard Wiseman's Blog […]

  83. […] conducted this year, indeed a certain Prof. Richard Wiseman became the first person to run an experiment on Twitter exploring the validity of claims that remote viewing worked. If you read through […]

  84. […] Twitter Experiment Starts Today! « Richard Wiseman's Blog […]

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