Twitter Experiment – Results!

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twitterLast week I teamed up with New Scientist magazine to conduct the first scientific experiment using Twitter. First, a huge ‘thank you’ to everyone who participated. So, what do we do and what did we find?

The experiment examined remote viewing – the alleged psychic ability to “see” distant locations.

The first trial was an informal affair, and involved me travelling to a secret location and then sending out a “tweet” asking participants to tweet back their thoughts concerning my location. Twenty minutes later, I sent a second tweet containing the address of a website that allowed everyone to view a photograph of the location (a weir). I also asked the participants to rate both their belief in the paranormal and the degree to which their thoughts matched the target.

More than 1000 people participated, with paranormal believers claiming high levels of correspondence between their thoughts and the actual location.

The formal part of the study took place over four days and tested both whether the group as a whole was psychic and whether believers outperformed disbelievers. On each day I travelled to a randomly selected location and asked everyone to send tweets describing their thoughts about the location.

In the judging phase, participants were presented with five photographs, one showing the location and four decoys, and asked to select the target. The photograph that received the most votes was taken as the group’s decision.

If the group were psychic, the majority would vote for the correct target. In the first trial I was looking up at a striking, modern-looking building. Unfortunately, the group voted for some woods.

On trial two I was sitting in the middle of a playground, but the group thought I was standing at the foot of a long stairway. The third trial found me under an unusual-looking canopy; the group voted for a graveyard.

On the final trial I stared intently at a red postbox. The group believed that I was standing at the side of a canal. In short, all four trials were misses.

When I analysed believers and sceptics separately, the results were the same, with no difference between the groups. So the study didn’t support the existence of remote viewing, and suggested that those who believe in the paranormal are good at finding illusory correspondences between their thoughts and a target .

But perhaps the most important outcome was to demonstrate that thousands of people are happy to take part in an instant Twitter study. Any ideas on possible studies? And any thoughts about the results?

Finally, here is a great video from the Wall Street Journal showing the study in action here.

Update: I have just looked at the data from those who claimed some kind of psychic ability, and had a high confidence in their choice of target.  This sub-group of participants also scored zero out of four.

151 comments on “Twitter Experiment – Results!

  1. J0eg0d says:

    I notice something interesting …

    Trial 1: The prediction “woods” matches closer to the Trial2 Playground … the area itself is surrounded by trees.

    Trial 2: The prediction “stairway” matches closer to the image of Trial3 Canopy … That does resemble a staircase to me.

    Trial 3: The prediction of “graveyard” matches closer to the Final Trail Postbox … it’s a longshot, but you could imagine a tombstone from the image.

    I think this might be cause for further testing.

    • Fab says:

      Good observation, J0eg0ed. However, rather than an evidence for remote viewing, what you observed may simply illustrates that Richard have been (non-consciously) influenced by participants’ responses to trial n when he chose the location for trial n+1.

    • uksceptic says:

      In the words of the main man himself

      “those who believe in the paranormal are good at finding illusory correspondences between their thoughts and a target”

    • Bob says:

      This “experiment” did not test for “Remote Viewing” because nowhere is RV defined correctly. One has to be trained to do it. There are formal protocols. Were they followed? It appears not.

      But the real point was to general anti-RV PR which may have been successful – even if intellectually dishonest.

  2. Andrew says:

    J0eg0d, are you for real??!!

  3. The biggest problem with the trial imho was that you only took shots in one direction so people may be trying to claim that what they saw was nearby but in a different direction. 360 degree panoramic shots may have been a better way to do it and if possible a great addition should you decide to repeat this experiment in the future.

    As for J0eg0d’s comments, the trial was for where he was at the time of the tweet, not where he may or may not be some time in the not too distant future or may have been in the not too distant past. I suggest you’re either a Poe doing an immitation of Ms Pratt, or you’re really reaching but completely wrong.

    • I agree. I thought we needed to see more of the area to make a good guess. It’s possible that we’d only hone in on one detail that wasn’t in the photo, but would correctly identify the location.

      (Although I think you’d get the same results)

  4. Kasandra says:

    Actually what I, as an anthropologist, found interesting is that the known effects of a disappearing path on attracting the interest of the eye seems to have taken precedence in most of the trials. Interesting.

  5. Davide says:

    This experiment did conclude that remote viewing is not an ability that most people have. However if a small number of people in the experiment did have the ability it would not show out here.
    – not that I believe anyone does, just saying :)

    • Bob says:

      The experiment was not scientifically done to decent standards to conclude that. It showed nothing.

      Other experiments have shown various phi effects under controlled conditions and as others pointed out, if a professional parapsychologist had done work at this poor level of rigor he would have been laughed at by people like Mr. Wiseman.

      The farce is just sad because people will read the conclusions without knowing the experiment was worthless.

  6. You’re right- what I find amazing is how powerful a tool twitter is :)

    I’ll put my thinking cap on to what else you could do a study on! The possibilities are endless!

  7. AravindJose says:

    Awesome observation, J0eg0d
    Pushed to think more.

    And Richard Wiseman, congrats on the succesful completion of the historic experiment on twitter.

  8. Daryl says:

    J0eg0d with a classic case of anomaly hunting, the last refuge of those desperate to prove the paranormal after the evidence again shows that they are wrong.

    Kind of like Patricia Putts retrospective 10/10.

  9. lazyluzy says:

    I wish you could have done a little more with the study because interesting to me is that my answers matched the answers that most people gave! Maybe there’s something more going on. Just wondering.

    • interesting. Maybe while we were trying to psychicly connect to Richard, we were really connecting with each other.

    • uksceptic says:

      Please this is nonsence. Of course some of us are going to agree with the majority because the majority of us chose it and so statisically speaking there are more people that went with these answers than the others.

      If you are specifically looking for a majority in one of the options then you are going to find one, it doesn’t mean everyone is psychically linked it just means we share a preferance.

      I know I am pointing out the obvious but if you are going to draw completely ridiculous conclusions then clearly blunt rebuttal is needed.

      Apologies for the curtness, but the study does not support any evidence for remote viewing so, instead of accepting the evidence, you go anomoly hunting.

  10. TAOtherapies says:

    I would have loved to have participated in this experiment! Remote viewing is a huge part of what I do with my distance healing. I do live remote viewing and clairvoyance everyday with my clients. If another experiment is done I would love to take part!

    • Kerry Maxwell says:

      TAOtherapies, maybe you should read through the summary of the experiment again:

      “So the study didn’t support the existence of remote viewing, and suggested that those who believe in the paranormal are good at finding illusory correspondences between their thoughts and a target .”

      If your *clients* are happy, fine, you are clearly performing a service they are willing to pay for. But calling it *Distance Healing*, and *live remote viewing and clairvoyance* is just carny talk for another way of fleecing the rubes.

      And this is where Richard Wiseman’s approach chafes with me. It is clear from the comments during the phases of this experiment that many people have taken it as an affirmation of their belief in the paranormal, despite all evidence to the contrary. To some extent this can’t be helped, but I always get the impression Wiseman is *burying the lead*, and not making it clear enough that the evidence clearly shows the paranormal is self-delusion. Granted the quote above is pretty unequivocal in suggesting that believers are deluded, but maybe that’s to subtle for my little brain :)

    • Janine says:

      Reply to Kerry Maxwell:

      People that truly believe (completely and utterly misguidedly in my opinion) in their physic abilities will always vehemently defend themselves regardless of what they are told and regardless of how compelling the evidence is to the contrary. So I do not believe it is Richard’s approach that has given them any affirmation in their beliefs, they will always find some way of convincing themselves that they are still right!

      Personally I can’t see how Richard could be any clearer, he even said:

      “So the study didn’t support the existence of remote viewing, and suggested that those who believe in the paranormal are good at finding illusory correspondences between their thoughts and a target .”

      Therefore recognising that people that believe in it will always find a link or explanation to hold up their beliefs!

    • I can only speak from my own experiences. There is a distinct difference, IMO, between Clairvoyance and Remote Viewing. When I can see a clients energetic body, blocks, images within their chakras that are past events/traumas that I would ahve no possible way of knowing; that is clairvoyance. When I can go into a session and be able to see the psycial body of the client, their clothing, hair, furniture in the room, how they are sitting, whre they are sitting, see the outside of the location they are in, be able to describe the street they live on, and more: this is Remote Viewing.
      I have found that for the remote viewing I have to have a very good energetic contact with the client. It does not always happen spontaneously.

      People speak of proof. How can I prove what I do when I don’t know how I do it? I can only tell you that I have these experiences with my clients, they have validated everything I see and feel which is enough proof for me that something is occuring that can only be described as Clairvoyance and Remote Viewing.

      If one is a dedicated non-believer then nothing will ever convince you. It is the Jesus Factor. Jesus could truly be standing enxt to you at the bus stop, tell you he’s Jesus, do a miracle and you will still find a reason to say he is not Jesus.

      One may follow blindly, follow with open eyes and mind, or don’t follow at all. It is none of my concern.

      For me, you All shine!

    • Lou FCD says:

      Show me the evidence. Oh wait, Richard Wiseman just did. It so sucks to be you.

    • Kerry Maxwell says:

      Janine: “People that truly believe (completely and utterly misguidedly in my opinion) in their physic abilities will always vehemently defend themselves regardless of what they are told and regardless of how compelling the evidence is to the contrary.”

      It seems Richard is much wiser by accepting this, while I still bang my head against the wall! ;)

      And TAOtherapies: Your *Jesus Factor* is an amusingly deluded twist on Falsifiability: http://is.gd/ZnzD But I imagine you are amusingly deluded in general, and probably generally amusing in a deluded sort of way.

    • 941494 says:

      It’s always amazing to me how rude skeptics and atheists are to people who don’t share their world view. What are you guys so angry about? Is it that people don’t share your world view? You’re entitled to your opinion, but that doesn’t mean you have to foist it upon others, especially in such a vindictive way.

      “I don’t come to where you work and slap the dick out of your mouth.”

    • Psychic_Weed says:

      Funny, but I suspect that many or most “skeptics and atheists” have the experience of feeling that it’s “amazing [..] how rude” Christians “are to people who don’t share their world view.” Perhaps it’s not “skeptics and atheists” who’re generally rude in such circumstances but people who’re intolerant & narrow-minded in general. Personally, as a ‘skeptic & atheist’, I’ve found Fundamentalists to be leading the pack in that latter regard.

      Nonetheless, if someone here wrote “I don’t come to where you work and slap the dick out of your mouth.” as a way of insulting someone whose opinion they disagreed w/ (I couldn’t find it – perhaps it was removed?) then I suspect that most people writing here (regardless of what their general philosophies are) would’ve found that inappropriate.

    • Bob says:

      The other thing that damages the real RV work is when standard “psychics” claim they are “Remote Viewing”. It’s become a buzz work every “psychic” uses to legitimize themselves. Real RV requires training, has *nothing* to do with spirits, religions, New Age, or any other standard “psychic” stuff.

      RV is real but may be just a very very good protocol for guessing
      which is useful.

  11. Mully410 says:

    I have been pondering the idea of an experiment to find out about the users of various social bookmarking sites (StumbleUpon, Digg, Reddit). I often post my photos on each of them. Sometimes one “community” will far exceed the others in views. Other times, the views can be fairly equal across the different bookmarking sites.

    As you can see, I haven’t even nailed down a good hypothesis yet. I am considering the possibility that certain photos/topics will be more or less popular on certain sites.

    Too many variables, I think.

  12. SteveW says:

    So the group did not even by chance get any of the answers right.

    We might conclude that the group successfully avoided the correct response in each case, but I don’t think there is enough data to justify that conclusion. It seems that this series of four tests was just too short to reach any definite conclusion.

    • Bob says:

      That is a BIG clue something is wrong with the design of the experiment.- Or the anti correlation also shows a phi effect, a better than chance probabilityof getting the wrong answer.

  13. Kagil says:

    I didn’t understand your experiment. Ok, so supposedly – if I have this right – you tweeted something like “What am I looking at NOW” and people were supposed to tell you? In 15 minutes?

    I read that, and thought 15 minutes? I can’t even get my mind on a topic that quick, much less enter a meditative state and try to remote view.

    Maybe I just don’t understand. It seems like – I’ve read book on remote viewing with techniques the military was supposedly using, Ed Dames and all that – and I don’t think this type of experiment would really allow for that sort of trained remote viewing.

    Also, I find it interesting that your results are compiled from the group. That would assume that everyone in your group was a trained remote viewer? Or is this study basically measuring -not remote viewing as I know it – but more like – how capable a group is of guessing something?

  14. If remote viewing was to be proved, I don’t think twitter users were in the right frame of mind in this experiment. Think about the tv shows with experiments led by Uri Gellar. He used to tell the viewers HOW to do what he does.

    I agree with Kagil’s comments.

    • Bob says:

      Geller is a showman and besides the point. You are correct that this was not “Remote Viewing” which requires training and one cannot just expect random strangers on Twitter to “Remote View”.
      There has to be controls and protocols.

      This was a PR stunt designed to discredit real RV work. Probably worked.

  15. Kerry Maxwell says:

    Kagil: ” I’ve read book on remote viewing with techniques the military was supposedly using, Ed Dames and all that – and I don’t think this type of experiment would really allow for that sort of trained remote viewing.”

    May I recommend Jon Ronson’s “The Men Who Stare at Goats”.

    Soon to be a Major Motion Picture! :)

  16. Notatheist says:

    I think you should tighten this up a bit, the 360 degree shot is a good idea. You could make it simple and take a series of shots and put them up on Photosynth, which would give a nice 360, 3 dimensional view.

    You might also spend more time at the location to address Kagil’s comment, that one seems fair enough. In fact, it might be best if you concentrated on one particular feature of your environment for an extended period of time to eliminate any confusion.

    Maybe you could take the most successful guessers and rerun the trial and see if they can repeat the feat? After all, the claim isn’t that everyone can remote view, just the “gifted” ones. Put them specifically to the task.

    It’s fair to address a few major concerns but don’t get caught in the trap of constantly having to kick for a new set of goal posts, which as one of the world’s preeminent skeptics I’m sure you’re already thinking about :)

    Oh and Lazyluzy, you find it interesting that you picked what the majority picked each time? Odds are, you should be in the majority. Not big on critical thinking are we…

  17. Notatheist says:

    sorry, Bastard sheep made the comment about 360 views not kagil…

  18. Notatheist says:

    oh nm! I confused my self, scratch that last comment lol.

  19. Greg says:

    Richard, will you be publishing the data sometime soon so that we can all take a look at it?

  20. SteveW says:

    Self-delusion is often relevant in how people view the world. But perhaps that is a cynical view. There is also pattern recognition, so that people will tend to see shapes or faces in clouds or in a fire. That is something very human too, but it isn’t necessarily deluded thinking, it is part of the way humans grasp the world in which they live.

  21. Adrianus says:

    Well, I hope the raw data gets published, but I suspect a lot of people will say something like: WOW! Look at all the people that got it completely right!

    But since there is a chance of 1 in 37(? have to check that) that a person get’s it right and that a 1000 people participated, we should see around 25 (actually 1000/37, I am lazy today) people getting it completely right.

    @TAOTherapies: There’s a million dollars saying you can’t prove that you have this ability… http://www.randi.org

  22. Jacob Gorban says:

    Richard, just don’t call this a *scientific* experiment. If it was some of the parapsychologist doing this, you’d be all over shouting how unprofessional this is and how many biases, information leaks and other known problems are present in this twitter experiment (and be right about this).

    One of the major flaws that I see is the selection of 5 image targets set in a row. My experience shows that most people will select targets 2 and 4, then 3 and then 1 and 5.

    I know this since I conducted my own remote viewing experiment with thousands of participants at http://psi.mind-energy.net.

    The first experiment was somewhat similar to yours and the results clearly showed this.

    My second and third experiments (still up) are much more fool-proof in my opinion.

    What is true is that twitter seems to be a great way for you and other prominent researchers to quickly attract crowds and run experiments, which is a very positive result of your experiment.

    But next time, please make a better experiment.

    Even if by some chance (and 4 trials is not much to draw any conclusions) the results were somewhat positive for the crowd, I wouldn’t believe it because it’s so an amateurishly done experiment.

    • steeroy says:

      “One of the major flaws that I see is the selection of 5 image targets set in a row. My experience shows that most people will select targets 2 and 4, then 3 and then 1 and 5.”

      In what way is this a flaw in the experiment? If remote viewing works, then people will choose the correct location. Your observation of which targets people choose, if true, isn’t a flaw in the experiment, it’s just more evidence that people are guessing, and doing so in a predictable way.

    • Dave says:

      “One of the major flaws that I see is the selection of 5 image targets set in a row. My experience shows that most people will select targets 2 and 4, then 3 and then 1 and 5.

      I know this since I conducted my own remote viewing experiment with thousands of participants…”

      That’s an interesting result Jacob. I wonder whether Richard’s data set will show a similar trend?

      And you’re right, this bias will cause a problem if it’s large. People will also probably tend to balance their guesses across the four trials, i.e., they’ll tend not to choose the same picture number twice. Does your data show this?

      These response biases will basically create noise that will contaminate a real, small psi signal, if its there. In order to reduce this kind of noise create by response bias, I would say you have to conduct many trials on the same participant (and have many participants). If each participant only does a few trials, then the response bias will not be reduced as far as I can tell…

  23. Truth Not Lies says:

    Try to SYNCHRONIZE, thinking intently of a number is better, and to get a large group all thinking of the same number.

    Also, the receivers must scan all the numbers (between 1 and 10 for example)

    DONT GIVE UP YET!!!!!!!!!!!!

  24. READ THIS says:

    Get 10 people to think of a number between 1 and 10, then receivers scan thro numbers until one ‘stands out’. IT WORKS.

  25. [...] using Twitter is complete Last week, social psychologist and all around awesome guy Richard Wiseman conducted an experiment on Twitter designed to test remote viewing, the alleged psyc…. And the findings? When I analysed believers and sceptics separately, the results were the same, [...]

  26. Jarak says:

    Can you release the raw data ?

    I must say that I am very disappointed in this experiment in general and expected more. There is no real rigour here and the scientific method is shoddy. Nothing got proved other than that you are really rather good at self promoting, which I rather think was the whole point.

    When is the new book out?

    • Bob says:

      Exactly! This “experiment” was a pure set up to “debunk” RV. It may do that in the minds of the casual reader inclined to agree with that conclusion which was likely the purpose. There was no rigor or controls and as far as I understand the results should have aligned with chance if no phi existed but they do not. They were LESS than chance by a wide margin which is a big clue that the experimental design is flawed.

      As I understand, the “experimenter” is a known professional skeptic and therefore biased. He got the results he wanted- PR.

  27. Dave says:

    Hi Richard,

    Interesting experimental approach. I’ve a couple of questions I hope you could answer.

    I notice that your hypothesis was to test ‘group’ RV ability. Could you explain your analysis method a bit further and why you think it is appropriate? From your description, I’m not sure I get it.

    Do you think you could post the average number of ‘hits’ for all trials across all participants and whether it is significant?

    Your analysis could have missed an overall RV effect because you only score a trial as a ‘hit’ when you collapse the data across all participants. Perhaps RV doesn’t work that way?

    Just curious.
    Thanks
    Dave

  28. Kate says:

    Hmm, are the “psychics” disappointed that this experiment (of sorts)failed to “prove” their abilities? As was said by a previous poster, please go to Randi’s website and take part in his trial if you wish to prove that, (I can imagine a fair amount of participants were of the ilk that feel they have something to prove in this direction).
    360deg photos to prove that actually the elements/keywords written were also at or near the site even if they had them wrong on their twitting and choice? Oh, come on!
    I felt this was a simple, fun experiment, and it certainly proves people will continue to believe what they want to regardless of any facts presented to them… A bit like the theory that 85% of British motorists believe they are above average drivers…
    I remain as sceptical as ever :)

    • Janine says:

      here here completely agree, a simple, fun experiment!

      As I mentioned in a previous reply:

      People that truly believe (completely and utterly misguidedly in my opinion) in their physic abilities will always vehemently defend themselves regardless of what they are told and regardless of how compelling the evidence is to the contrary. So I do not believe it is Richard’s approach that has given them any affirmation in their beliefs, they will always find some way of convincing themselves that they are still right!

    • Bob says:

      Randi’s challenge is a PR stunt. Always has been. People who even try to do it have been met with such red tape that they end up walking away. Randi has no intention of ever awarding that money. Never has in my opinion. Randi is just not intellectually honest.

      The Randi challenge is a disingenuous PR stunt. Randi is a confirmed professional “debunker” which means he is not objective.

  29. Jacob Gorban says:

    To Steeroy:
    “In what way is this a flaw in the experiment? If remote viewing works, then people will choose the correct location. Your observation of which targets people choose, if true, isn’t a flaw in the experiment, it’s just more evidence that people are guessing, and doing so in a predictable way.”

    Right with the assumption that RV works 100%. But suppose RV only works in 2% of people. The rest will select based in this predictable way. It will totally mask the possible 2% of people who actually succeeded in RV.

    Does it make sense?

    • steeroy says:

      Yeah sure, but then you’re just saying that this experiment tested the wrong thing, which is different to saying it is flawed or unscientific. This was a perfectly good scientific experiment to test whether a majority of people can do it in these circumstances.

  30. steeroy says:

    A few people saying this doesn’t prove remote viewing doesn’t work: read through the blog post again and try to find where Richard says it does. Done? Good. He only says it doesn’t support the existence of remote viewing, which is true.

    A few people saying the experiment was flawed: saying it doesn’t make it so. What was wrong with it? NB: the fact it doesn’t test what you wanted it to test doesn’t make it unscientific. If you would like to perform another experiment which tests RV a different way, please do so. It was apparently not difficult to do using Twitter.

    A few people asking for raw data: while I’m sure Richard would be happy to release it, if you’re intending to comb through looking for successful subgroups, then that’s not how experiments work. You have to state how you will analyse the data before you collect it – otherwise you’re just looking for some way of interpreting the data that fits your beliefs.

    • Dave says:

      “You have to state how you will analyse the data before you collect it ”

      I just want to know the total number of hits across all trials (about 5000). Maybe it shows a significant result.

    • Janine says:

      I completely agree steeroy, the experiment results do not support the existence of remote viewing and it is an outcome that I was sure of. Some people just cannot accept that and are looking for excuses in everything to justify why the result was not what they expected / hoped for.

    • Jarak says:

      @Steeroy

      It is quite clear that this does not prove or disprove RV works.

      The fact that the only out come of the experiment was just that (not proving anything) makes the experiment flawed. There was, as far as I can see no reasonable way this experiment could have had any other result.

      More over it was so loosely designed that even saying that it does not “support” RV is an over statement.

      Imagine this experiment. Each day I twitter a word in English. I then direct people to a web site with 5 pictures of hieroglyphics. (real Egyptian ones from historic sources). Each twiterer has to pick which one they think has the same meaning as the word I twittered.

      We then apply the same measures as here and guess what after 4 days we can say that the experiment “didn’t support the existence of the ability to translate hieroglyphics”

      I very much doubt that out of a sample of x000 twiterers there would be enough Egyptian scholars to be significant. So we proved nothing.

      And yes I would like to see the raw data, which Richard said he would make available previously. But purely to look at the proportions of “believers” and “non believers” for personal amusement.

      For the record, I do not think RV works or exists, but this is not the way to test it and seems to only be a media vehicle rather than actual science.

  31. nocibambi says:

    I’m just wondering that why should one use twitter if has paranormal abilities?

    (just joking… ;) )

  32. [...] Wiseman har akkurat annonsert resultatene etter et eksperiment med “remote viewing ved hjelp av [...]

  33. Seraph says:

    Did you check each answer each ID? It’s wrong that you seemed to expect to find a group of psychics. There must be one or two, and they might be in low key, real psychics usually don’t claim that, right?

    Anyway I believe this thing, though I’m not, lol~~

  34. Jacob Gorban says:

    To Steeroy:
    “This was a perfectly good scientific experiment to test whether a majority of people can do it in these circumstances.”

    There’s no need to use twitter to test if _majority_ of random people can remote view on demand with high accuracy. If it were possible, we’d know of this already, since the _majority_ of your (and mine) family and friends could do it.

    The real test would be to select people who claim that they know RV (studied it, practiced it and think they master it). And not test using twitter but using a more rigorous method which will more suit them (the RVers) but not compromise information leak.

    In such a test the results would be more meaningful than in this attempt to gain publicity and twitter followers.

  35. ScreamingGreenConure says:

    Don’t forget this also showed that the skeptics and believers had comparable hit and miss results. That’s pretty interesting. I also think that if, say, 10% of people were capable of remote viewing, there would still have been more hits than misses in this trial unless you’re assuming there’s another 10% taking part who will consistently score below chance. With the heiroglyph example, say you have 100 people taking part. 90 of them don’t know anything about heiroglyphs, 10 are experts. That 10 will always get it right, the other 90 people will score according to chance, so the 10% should still cause results to lean towards the translation result. Not very much, but still.
    Also, I don’t think this asked people to remote view with high accuracy, because all we had to do for a hit was pick one answer out of five. The pictures were all quite different from each other, so if we even had hints of where he was flowing into our tiny brains, we shouldn’t have had too hard a time picking the right place out. The initial request for twittered impressions gave us 30 minutes, we than had 1 hour to pick out our chosen picture, giving us a total of 1.5 hours if you’re the meditative type.
    Or it’s all an attempt to gain an army of Twitter followers, yes. What do you think will he do with them all? Do you think he will mobilise them all into some kind of ADD cyber army, or just rub his hands in glee and cackle? I reckon he looks like a hand-rubbing cackler kind of guy.

  36. PaoloV says:

    I can’t wait to see the raw data to do some calculations. I’d like to know if any individual users got the correct location every time. You would expect maybe 2 people to do this by chance, if there were 10+ who got all four right (from 1000 people) it may not have been sufficient to skew the group result, but it may indicate something beyond chance.

    I doubt it though!

  37. Karen says:

    This was an interesting experiment. I took part in two trials, and got one completely right. Little disappointed at the results, but I’m not one who believes that everyone is/can be psychic even though I do believe in the existence of psychic ability.

    My only quibble? Your sample set is WAAAY too small. Try this again over a hundred trials with 5000 or more viewers and see what the data is. I’m an aerospace engineer… it’s easy to draw conclusions from a very small sample set that won’t pan out over a larger run (like the idea that foam strikes are safe for the space shuttle!)

    And collect more demographic data on your participants. There’s lots of shade to what folks believe about the paranormal and psychic ability instead of just a bald “yes” or “no”.

  38. ScreamingGreenConure says:

    But he did have several degrees of belief listed. You could go from “definitely not” to “definitely yes” on both the existence pf psychic stuff in general, and also whether or not you thought you were psychic yourself.
    I would definitely do this thing again for 100 days in a row. “Where’s Wiseman” was my favourite game for the entire week.

  39. Ziztur says:

    “It is quite clear that this does not prove or disprove RV works.

    The fact that the only out come of the experiment was just that (not proving anything) makes the experiment flawed. There was, as far as I can see no reasonable way this experiment could have had any other result.”

    If you think experiments were flawed because they don’t “prove” or “disprove” anything then you are misunderstanding the role of experimentation in science.

    I’ll give a more concrete example. Say we have this new medication that is supposed to cure heart disease. We give this medication to 500 people with heart disease, and give a placebo medication to 500 people without heart disease. Say they take the medication for ten years. After 10 years, the results show that there is no difference in the placebo group or the experimental group with respect to curing heart disease. Scientists conclude that there is no evidence that the medication has any effect on heart disease. We haven’t “proven” it does not work, just that there is no evidence that it works. The experiment is not flawed because we did not “prove” anything. the only outcome to the experiment is A. there is evidence to support the hypothesis or B. there is no evidence to support the hypothesis.

    If remote viewing were a real phenomenon, we could expect to find a trend toward picking the correct locations. The results show no such trend, thus does not support that remote viewing is a real phenomenon.

    One could argue that remote viewing is only possible after specialized training. However given that the group of people who believed they are psychic had the same results as the skeptic group seems to indicate that people may be believing they have more psychic powers than they actually do.

    • Dave says:

      “If remote viewing were a real phenomenon, we could expect to find a trend toward picking the correct locations.

      True, but there are a number of ways you could analyse the data to show this. Richard has chosen to effectively collapse the data across participants for each trial. If you do that, there is the potential to mask an overall effect. An alternative way to look at the data would be to simply look at how many individual trials were hits (out of about 4000 individual trials for this experiment apparently), ie, we would expect about 800 hits by chance.

      Can you put us out of our misery Richard?!

    • Jarak says:

      Bah, I should defiantly think out my posts more, but I am in a rotten rush today.

      The thing I was trying to point out was that the aims of the experiment were so broad that any result in reality do not provide any meaning full evidence either way. (I just used the word “prove” as short hand, which I realise was a mistake on may part)

      The problem I guess is the hypothesis in this case. That a self selected group as a whole would show a significant group deviation from the null (random) result.

      The Egyptian experiment I suggested would have been forced into having an equally woolly hypothesis I guess, which would make it just as worthless as a piece of experimental science.

      “If remote viewing were a real phenomenon, we could expect to find a trend toward picking the correct locations.”

      What if 1in 1000 people can do it?
      What if it requires training?
      What if it requires belief (kind of covered)?
      What if you need to be with in x distance of the “sender”?
      What if you need prior contact with the sender?

      This experiment was so loosely tied down that any science got up and walked away.

      Note again that I do not believe in RV and am hugely sceptical that it could be possible for anyone ever (without cybernetic enhancement) I just think that this experiment was a lot more a bout publicity than science.

    • Bob says:

      That’s not why this “experiment” should be disregarded. It’s design is flawed, It was presented as a study of “Remote Viewing” without following the known protocols of RV. I doubt the designer knows much specifics about RV. It was an uncontrolled experiment regarding “psi” in general but without specifics to understand what kind of psi. The mere fact that the results were not statistically aligned with chance- if no psi effect exists at all they should have, is the largest clue. There appears to have been a strong anti-correlated effect- just as interesting! It means something but I can’t say what since the design is deeply flawed.

      Actual phi statistical experiment have been carried out over the last 100 years by professionals with millions of trials and statistically significant results- which many just dismiss with excuses.

      It was in effect a staged “debunking” exercise with a predetermined outcome- damage the study of phi in general and RV in particular.

  40. ScreamingGreenConure says:

    Whywould only 1 in 1000 people be able to do it? If that was the case, though, you’d have to go with something more like the Randi Challenge. And they can’t do that here, it’s probably copyrighted or something. Same goes for a need for training or so on – Randi challenge does individuals, this does groups.
    Having said that maybe we should all do it over and look at distance from area (seriously, I had a lot of fun with this and it brightened up the day for me, I just want to do it again).

    • Jarak says:

      Why are some people left handed? I am not suggesting that 1 in 1000 people are RVable, but the very fact that most things in nature at least come in degrees of ability means that any unusual ability (like this must be or it would not be paranormal) is likely to be swamped or missed by this experiment.

      There have been numerous better experiments into Rving and the like and most of the reliable ones have come out with the same result as this one, but there are just so many holes in this experiment that I find it hard to call it science.

      It is a bit of fun and a conversation piece, but it is a bit like having a microscope on a coffee table, a nice way to start a conversation after dinner.

  41. My problems as a participant included the lack of “None of the Above” as a choice, and the photos being only a fraction of the 360 degree view.
    The only day I was correct was when I realized that what I saw was the store front *behind* the red box. The day of the red sculpture, I saw a black cylinder and now I wonder if there wasn’t a trashcan beyond the sculpture.
    And I know we were part of a worldwide effort, but the whole 7am thing was not the way I work. I don’t greet clients before 9:30 in my business as a psychic… not my finest hour.

  42. Joe says:

    Did the twitters know where you were? There is some difficulty to remote viewing. THe idea is you sit down, relax and leave your body. You would then have to travel all the way to the spot where the man is and look around. The difficult thing here is that you have to fly from your location in the direction of the place you want to remotely view. You have to find your way and have good directions. That’s one way.
    Another way is to focus and bring a certain spot into your view in the mind’s eye without leaving the body. This technique might land you in the right town but maybe not looking at the right place. It is best used to look at tourist spots like Eiffel Tower or Egyptian Pyramids as those are easier to find. Did they have a picture of the man doing the experiment ? If not then how would they know if they are viewing the right place?
    The underlying problem here is that they would have to be psychic on demand AND do a remote viewing in 15 minutes. They could just be psychic and predict which pictures are the right ones.
    As far as randi organization goes – they make ridiculous parameters for their experiments and throw out contestants because they do not like them personally. I am serious go read their forums… one guy was refused his trial because he typed some stuff on another forum (god knows how they found it). They also take their sweet time replying and the whole process is freaking long.
    Notice how I did not state my view on whether or not it is real or not. Just organizing everything logically.

  43. Em says:

    The one statistical analysis which hasn’t been done on this data (or at least not published) is to see if any portion of the participants got a high percentage correct, or even all four. I only found out about it in time for the last task, and err on the side of skepticism, however, the post box shouted at me. In fact I assumed it was me just wanting to choose it because it was red.

    Although I’m a skeptic, i.e. I like to see proof, my mum can control the weather. Its almost embarrassing because its so improbable. But there it is. My Dad propounds of “theory” based on quantum mechanics and many worlds or something, because he is not into paranormal but then the evidence is there!

    You want a suggestion for further trials? Get as many people as possible to concentrate on a particular set of winning numbers in the lottery and see if they can affect the outcome. It would be great if they did because then they would cancel the lottery, which is an immoral institution anyway imho.

  44. Cool experiment. Thanks for the post. Keep up the good work!

  45. alegna75 says:

    I like the fact that you did this experiment and posted results in an objective manner…as opposed to the “all psychics are frauds” mentality. I had heard about this experiment and never signed up. Because my psychic abilities require me to use my energy and mix with another organic energy. I simply cannot read anything on a computer or over a phone, electronic devices if too close tend to mess me up. I even find that I cannot work within close proximity to bodies of water. Tiny creeks are ok but larger creeks and rivers and anything larger interrupt me as I can feel their energy. Perhaps this is why your results were what they are?

  46. 79sparrows says:

    this was very interesting….
    and hilarious in its own way

  47. Lisa says:

    I’m curious if everyone got them wrong or if there were some who got locations right & if so, did someone get more than one or all correct? That would be more interesting that that majority got them wrong.

  48. GheP says:

    An interesting study using Twitter as a technological tool. Perhaps instead of just a picture from one angle, you could have done a short video clip or maybe 180 degrees of the location. This would give yield different responses in your experiments I am sure. I hope you do this again, I would love to be a part of the next Twitter extravaganza!

  49. katz says:

    please explain how it is possible to “find illusory correspondences”.

    perhaps your next experiment should be to prove that. you’ll change the world!

  50. Richard says:

    Nice experiment… but… is anybody SERIOUSLY surprised that we do NOT have remote viewing capacities ???

  51. Dale says:

    I’m not sure if RV is a real phenomena or not. I participated in the experiment out of curiosity, to see whether any positive or negative results could be detected with regard to RV phenomena. I lean toward the belief that some psychic phenomena are real, but I am also skeptical due to its transient nature. Teasing out a definitive result from a communication channel filled with noise would require a very large experiment with either large numbers of test subjects and/or a large number of trials.

    I don’t think this experiment contained enough trials to generate any statistically significant results. While the use of twitter to include potentially large numbers of subjects is an interesting approach, I think that legitimate scientific design endeavors to control variables as well. The self-selection process is one flaw that immediately comes to mind, as well as the wide variety of testing conditions that each of the participants experienced.

    Still, I think the experiment was interesting and thought provoking. Despite my 0/4 personal experience, I think there were enough positive indications to continue to explore this area of interest.

  52. Amilia says:

    This was fun – I agree with the comments regarding 360 views as I was startled to see in the WSJ video, of the final trial, that the view down the street had “glassy reflections” on it like a canal (Yeah, I picked the canal). But you can see that with additional views I might have chosen differently. Agree also with the comments regarding length of time at site, training or practice, and study size and goals. Note: Had a personal 2/5.

  53. [...] Science, Science Fiction, tech Just a follow-up to this post the first of the month. From Richard Wiseman’s blog: In short, all four trials were [...]

  54. morgan says:

    Was the majority, voting for a particular picture in each trial, statistically significant?

  55. uksceptic says:

    Missed the results coming out yesterday as I was out filming unfortunately.

    Message to all you remote viewing psychics – you really should have seen this coming.

    Ahem.

  56. MsFannytwinkle says:

    I not only chose 3 out of 5 correctly, but I posted on my twitter a correct description, including colors and sounds and target shape of the correct answer.

    I also am a believer in the psychic phenomenon, and know for a fact it exists.

    So the zero for zero statement Wiseman made about “psychics” is not correct. Anyone can look at my twitter postings and see for themselves, and I bet there are a lot more like me out there.

    However, I did not pick the highest confidence rating in my choice. Perhaps that is the key to what he’s saying here. I picked the second highest. I picked the second highest because it was confusing to have 5 photographs to pick from, because I consistently described in my postings accurately 5 out of 5 times the colors, sounds, shapes, of what would appear in box D.

    So I am beginning to think that Richard Wiseman is more about promoting Richard Wiseman than about truly delving into the psychic world. At first I thought wow this is a cool science guy, and maybe he still is. But I think now he’s a celebrity-wanna-be who has promoting himself first and actually learning about remote viewing second, or even last. IF he wanted to do remote viewing correctly, he’d do it via the U.S. military’s handbook on remote viewing. You don’t throw in other photos which people would accidentally pick up.

    What Wiseman should have done was just have people post their responses to the target when he said go. Then he should have collected those responses for key words that matched the photo answer which he would then publish. Otherwise, he’s not really doing remote-viewing.

    This makes me discredit Richard Wiseman as a scientist, his willingness to shrug off everything paranormal with this “group” average. Not everybody can sing. Not everybody can dance. Not everybody can remote view. Not everybody knows how to use their intuitive and psychic abilities. Just because over 50 percent of the participants can’t dance, it doesn’t mean that dancing doesn’t exist and it doesn’t mean that some people, the small minority who earn their living at it, can’t dance, either.

    Some scientist you are, Richard Wiseman. You know better than to prove the existance of something by majority rule.

    ALL OF SCIENCE is based upon discovery of something contrary to what the majority decided did not exist.

    You need to redo this experiment.

  57. InkblotPropaganda says:

    I’m not a person who commits to anything that is unprovable. But in a all fairness to the “Psychics”. The people who are really good at this stuff say it is alot harder to find someone who doesn’t want to be found (or have a negating agenda) and they sit in a dark room with no distractions “meditating” on it.

    I know there is a lot of crazy theories out there, but there is also a fair amount of unexplainable fringe science. (random number generation, people that can consistently remote view a statistically significant number of accurate details, “creepy interaction at a distance”)

    I think a serious flaw in a lot of this research done is that the psychic feeling is very transient and it is hard to preform when people who don’t agree are judging.

    Imagine a stone cold face and some crossed arms asking you to be funny.

  58. hidflect says:

    Wait, wait…. I got it. The perfect experiment. I’m going to list 4 different bank account numbers… Try to submit $10 to the CORRECT bank account. If you get it wrong, I’ll give another 3 tries… If you get it right you get a big Thank You!

  59. HealingMindN says:

    Dr. Wiseman, unless you enjoy people following you on twitter, next time please do a controlled experiment.

    No matter what a person claims what they believe or what talent they have, that doesn’t prove any kind of track record with RV. You need to get subjects with formal training in RV and a proven track record, then, hold your experiment.

    Imagine if they accepted contestants based on their opinions of themselves on American Idol or Britain’s Got Talent? What kind of screwball shows would those turn out to be, eh?

    If the people at Sony can prove psychic powers exist with their ESPER project, then you should be able to do it.

    Thanks for your time.

  60. hidflect says:

    @HealingMindN:

    Your right. There’s any number of holes in this “experiment”. What if a statistically large (say 100) people guessed all questions correctly. Do they show up? No. Or given that the average randomly correct result is (e.g.) 25%, does the test show what percentage got it wrong? What if the result is 80% incorrect. That would also be statistically significant. There’s no measure of the spread over standard deviation.

    And then, as you say, any Schlob could participate so they just squint at the photo and hit “thaddawan”. By all accounts, remote viewing needs some practice, the details of which seem unfortunately obscure. I’ve heard it likened to being as easy as simple martial arts training tho’…

  61. [...] Twitter Experiment – Results! Last week I teamed up with New Scientist magazine to conduct the first scientific experiment using Twitter. First, a [...] [...]

  62. Steffen Lewenhardt says:

    Dear Richard Wiseman:
    If you are really interested in finding out wether there is anything to remote viewing or not, maybe it would be a good idea to start with the best remote viewers instead of the worst. (Given that you are well aware of remote viewing being a protocol and not a paranormal random impression.) Trial Joseph McMoneagle for one. There is no point in questioning random people to find a statistical anomaly suggesting exceptional abilities above chance.
    Thank you for your innovative experiment procedure in any event.

  63. [...] Twitter Experiment – Results! Last week I teamed up with New Scientist magazine to conduct the first scientific experiment using Twitter. First, a [...] [...]

  64. Psychic_Weed says:

    Hi Richard,

    A few comments about yr statement(s) above:

    You reference “paranormal believers” – wch I may be counted among – but I think that some defining is in order. What does it mean to ‘believe’ in the paranormal? It can, obviously, mean many different things to many different people. In my case, it means that I’ve personally had experiences wch are outside the purview of what most people that I know of experience in their regular life. Specifically, I’ve had one out-of-body experience (too complicated to go into here), one contact w/ what I’ll call for simplicity’s sake ‘geometrical lightning’, & 2 experiences of ‘knowledge’ that there was no usual explanation for my having. I cd explain each of these in detail but that’s too much for a comment here. I’m not, however, especially attached to calling these experiences “psychic” or “paranormal” – when I use such terms it’s more for trying to relate to commonly used terms than for what’s necessarily accurate.

    Later you write: “So the study [..] suggested that those who believe in the paranormal are good at finding illusory correspondences between their thoughts and a target.” This is probably yr main conclusion that I take exception to. In my case, when I filled out yr form, I sd that I ‘believe’ in psychic phenomenon (or however you expressed it) but that I had no confidence that I was remote viewing. To have had ‘psychic’ experiences doesn’t necessarily imply that one, therefore, ‘believes’ that one will have EVERY POSSIBLE TYPE OF PSYCHIC EXPERIENCE ON COMMAND. For me, it’s quite the contrary.

    NONETHELESS, on June 2nd, the 1st day of the experiment, I tweeted these 3 relevant posts:

    # Plastic construction barrels w/ ridges & stripes. Hole in street. Noise. Intersection w/ more than 2 streets crossing. Buildings. – 9:06 AM Jun 2nd from web

    # The buildings are somewhat ornate & 3 stories or more tall. The intersection may be a roundabout or something similar to one. – 9:08 AM Jun 2nd from web

    # Wiseman is watching from a place to his right of what I’ve just described – perhaps a sidewalk. – 9:09 AM Jun 2nd from web

    I then picked the picture of the roundabout. The correct picture was of the “modern-looking building” that was to the right of the one of the roundabout. As I stated on an earlier blog post, perhaps I ‘remote viewed’ the pictures. As I recall, W.S. Burroughs claims in one of his bks that one psychic study showed that people had clairvoyance of newspaper coverage of a disaster – rather than of the disaster itself. I think this is interesting in & of itself – yr Twitter experiment involves a technical network – but only uses it as a tool w/o, apparently, considering the possible significance of our mental relationship to such networks. It’s a cliché to speak of the brain metaphorically as a computer – but is it a cliché to acknowledge our technical networks as neural extensions of ourselves w/ underappreciated consequences of heightened INSTINCTIVE sensitivity? Perhaps not.

    At any rate, I DID describe a “Hole in street”, & an “”intersection [that] may be a roundabout” w/ “buildings [..] 3 stories or more tall” w/ “Wiseman [..] watching from a place to [the] right of what I’ve just described – perhaps a sidewalk”. While the original text is far from completely accurate, I still feel compelled to point out these ‘coincidences': PHOTOGRAPH C WAS OF A ROUNDABOUT W/ A HOLE IN THE MIDDLE, PHOTOGRAPH D WAS OF A BUILDING TALLER THAN 3 STORIES, WISEMAN WAS STANDING TO THE RIGHT (ie: in front of the site in photograph D) OF THE SCENE DESCRIBED WCH MOST CLOSELY FITS THAT OF PHOTOGRAPH C. I strongly disagree that these are “illusory correspondences”. I also don’t think they ‘prove’ anything! They don’t ‘prove’ that I had a remote viewing experience, they don’t ‘prove’ that I’m ‘psychic’. IMO, they DO demonstrate correspondences a bit more remarkable than “illusory” ones.

  65. [...] lead off today, here are the results from the Twitter experiment on remote viewing.  Unfortunately, they’re not very good.  In [...]

  66. Limbo says:

    “Dear Richard Wiseman:
    If you are really interested in finding out wether there is anything to remote viewing or not…”

    He’s not. He’s interested in scoring debunker points in the media.

  67. [...] Twitter experiment which hoped to use the social networking site to study psychic ability. Now the results are in, and you don’t need to be able to see the future to predict [...]

  68. hidflect says:

    “He’s interested in scoring debunker points in the media.”

    Nah, he’s just a lightweight who wanted to score an interesting article, science be damned.

  69. catseye says:

    I got two out of the four – fairly standard random result, I guess.

    I have a sneaky glee in the results – especially the ones claiming psychic ability/confidence – although it could be kind of sad too. That kind of thinking always comes up with a ready emotional defence though.

    What niggles me, personally – and I accept I’m not looking at this objectively – is that the two I got right I had definite feelings about. I had feelings of *recognition* (to the point of excitement) when I saw the images. The first test I got nothing, despite making my mind “go blank” etc. The last test I got several confusing images.

    There was also a difference in the way I did tests 2 and 3. Both times there were distracting things going on – music playing in one case, my daughter in the other. I returned my mind to the subject when I could, and “got” distinct persistent images. Both times I went to the website with those, and only those images in mind. They corresponded manifestly to only one of the given photographs. It felt exciting and a little freaky.

    I accept there are likely normal explanations for this. But it niggles. I mean, I am firmly sceptical, but my experience was such that it REALLY niggles. It niggles to the point where I really want to do or take part in an experiment to sort out one way or the other what was going on there. I’m happy to live with the knowledge of the possibility or otherwise of psychic power. What I hate is not knowing.

  70. lakritze says:

    This was good fun, thanks!
    The best thing is, now there is a bunch of people all over the world who will fill out Twitter questionnaries (one question per tweet), look at pictures of all and everything and submit their thoughts (in 140 characters) …
    Nice!

  71. [...] völlig vergeßlich, nur etwas spät dran: Hier finden sich, knapp zusammengefaßt, die Ergebnisse des Experiments. Ich verrate an dieser Stelle, [...]

  72. katz says:

    most people who believe it is possible to fly a plane cannot. most people who do not believe it is possible to fly a plane also likely cannot, though perhaps it’s possible some still could if they’d ever give it a shot in the right conditions & circumstances.

    only those who’ve given the necessary intentional brain-focus know for sure. and those people are in agreement with all the greats of history: anything is possible, if you dedicate yourself to the doing of it over time.

    this is how the brain works.
    you’d think someone running this blog would know that.

    another way the brain works is by accumulating resistance to doing whatever is continually chosen to be “undoable” for whatever reason. this was the goal of this “experiment”. an intentional act of manipulation – doubly so in that it was also a commercial for twitter

    in other words, every capability of the brain is a skill to be developed. what is called “remote viewing” is no different. to treat it differently requires a diffusion of natural perspective through egoic pollutants along the lines of religious zealotry.

  73. paula c says:

    a roundabout with a statue and water, black metal fence, tan coat, lamp post
    7:06 AM Jun 2nd from web
    This is the impression I had for the first experiment, the thing is, one of the pictures was of a circular opening in a garage, surrounded by a black metal fence, with a blue car (water). Why did I see this as a picture, I could have said anything. What I would like to know is, how many people accurately described the pictures that weren’t the correct ones.

    • Janine says:

      You are associating things that are just not there and the cognitive dissonance is kicking in so you are convincing yourself that you did predict one of the pictures even if it was the wrong one!

      Suggesting a circular opening in a garage is the roundabout you saw or a blue car is the water that you saw is stretching it somewhat to say the least. I imagine the chances of one or more of the pictures having something circular or something blue in it are quite high!

      Sorry it’s just my opinion looking at it objectively!

    • Richard King says:

      Paula, you are more correct than Janine who is looking at this, too objectively, in a sense. As far as I am aware those who are trained in remote viewing frequently, mostly (?) have indistinct images.

      I was involved in a great deal of research and development in the field of design allowables for composite materials. If they had failed under load as precisely as Janine seems to think the views should have been seen in this “experiment” there would have been virtually no variability, whereas all materials have variability, of course, composite materials more so than conventional, in general, hence the need for specialised statistics for them.

      My own experience of telepathy was far more precise though my higher level senses were opening at the time and the person “at the other end” was a telepath; a friend of a friend – it will be in any sequel to my long delayed first book and is on the internet on a very old Web Site of mine. I have never met her, physically, not in this lifetime anyway. however, I did mange to describe her accurately, along with her husband, a little of her home and the countryside around her home; I was in Havant, Hampshire, where I live, she was at a hotel in mainland Europe. I will have to try to get around to reposting it on my Richard’s Psychic Realm Web Site.

      This “experiment” was not one in remote viewing, closer to ordinary telepathy without any of the training, or protocol used in remote viewing.

      My only experience of remote viewing (posted in the earlier thread about this “experiment”) resulted in me seeing a not very distinct image of a tower, combined with very distinct images of a coast with cliffs, people sea, boats, etc. The target turned out to be a lighthouse at Portland, Dorset.

      I put the word “experiment” in inverted commas because it was too poorly structured to be classified as a scientific experiment by my standards, though, as i have commented elsewhere, i learned my science and gained my Diploma and Degrees, long before the dumbing down of the last couple of decades. had a pupil, or student, submitted it to me as a proposed experiment, I would have sent them away to think again. Similarly with the Patricia Putt experiment, the Natasha Demkina experiment, etc., Both of the aformentioned could have been tightened up and the subjectivity reduced with very little effort in the first case and somewhat more in the second. Such sloppiness in engineering would lead to disasters; that is why we are much more than just scientists.

      By the way, I am a knower, not a believer, and, given that I began learning my science in the mid 1950s, I take lessons from no-one in science, reasoning, or logic; certainly not from any of the “crop” of the last twenty, or thirty, years.

  74. [...] Concluziile lui Wiseman le gasiti aici. [...]

  75. Duff says:

    So a group of people not necessarily trained in remote viewing suck at remote viewing? Hmmm…. I don’t think Dean Radin would find your methodology convincing.

    Perhaps the believers’ confidence is the same as the distortion optimists have been shown to have per Martin Seligman’s research. Pessimists are more accurate but less happy. Do we want to be happy or right? (Or how can we be both accurate and optimistic?)

    • Richard King says:

      As I wrote in my response to Paula and Janine comments, above, this whole procedure is not really deserving of the tile “experiment” at all.

      These matters are capable of investigation by science but it needs a far higher standard of science and higher level of science than has been brought to bear so far, with a very small percentage of notable exceptions. Basically, by far the greater majority of scientists are not sufficiently capable, either in knowledge, ability, or understanding.

    • Janine says:

      Richard, I think it comes down to whether you believe in remote viewing or not. You do believe and I do not believe.

      I think Richard’s experiment was a useful starting point to find out if an experiment on twitter of this nature could be done successfully.

      The conclusions were that the study didn’t support the existence of remote viewing.

      That was just the results of this study, it did not say point blank remote viewing does not exist and obviously further study would be needed to prove it one way or another.

      Until evidence is presented to me that proves remote viewing or any psychic abilities are true then I’m afraid I will remain a sceptic.

    • Richard King says:

      Janine, it is not a matter of belief, it is what I know, at least on the balance of probabilities given two decades, or more, of experience and increasing knowledge, on top of my more than scientific background. Materialists believe that the physical world is real, despite what constitutes the physical being something like one part in 10 to the power 35 of what our physical senses tell us is there; even that one part is doubtful as it amounts to energy and no-one knows what energy is. That is not fanciful, or metaphysics, though it is on the borders of the latter; it is straightforward, basic quantum physics, e.g. “Quantum Theory Cannot Hurt You” by Marcus Chown; not that anyone really understands quantum physics anyway – many interpretations thereof.

      Richard Wiseman’s experiment is not really a starting point, it is more on the level of a “blue Peter” item, stunt, “experiment” than real science.

      Anyway, it has already been done to the extent that Richard Wiseman is quoted as saying:

      “I agree by the standards of any other area of science that remote viewing is proven, but begs the question: do we need higher standards of evidence when we study the paranormal? I think we do.

      “If I said that there was a red car outside my house, you would probably believe me”

      “But if I said that a UFO had just landed, you’d probably want a lot more evidence”

      “Because remote viewing is such an outlandish claim that will revolutionise the world, we need overwhelming evidence before we draw any conclusions. Right now we don;t have that evidence.”

      From:
      “Could there be proof to the theory that we are ALL psychic?” by Danny Penman, Daily Mail (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-510762/Could-proof-theory-ALL-psychic.html# ).

      In other words, set the rules for scientific experiments and standards of proof, in general terms, but, if anything uncomfortable, too different from the mainstream arises, change the rules, move the goalposts. Added to that is the natural subjectivity of psychology and related subjects (over 90% subjective and culturally dependent). Even the word “paranormal” is subjective in many ways; to very many of us that level of consciousness is perfectly normal and second nature.

      The conclusions of the study are meaningless because the study was meaningless. If a student had brought that experiment to me as a proposal my response would have been along the lines of, “If you want to play with the idea, fine, but do not expect anything significant out of it and do not take any results seriously as the experiment is not a serious one, if it can be called an experiment at all.”

      I would have suggested to the student, as well as all of the others, that they should look at the proposal, list the many flaws in it and come up with proposals to eliminate them, or reduce them. I would also have suggested they research the subject and come up with an accepted definition of remote viewing. I might also have suggested the Natasha Demkina experiment as a good example of poor science, poor procedures, many variables changed at once, dubious statistics torn apart by a Professor of Statistics, among others, etc.

      Scientists, of late, do not seem to be very good in terms of experiments, definitions of terms, or even definitions of words; apparently unable to consult people who are involved with the matters they propose to investigate, incapable of carrying but a basic literature search, or ignoring what they find, unable to use a dictionary, etc.

      No single experiment, or even series of experiments, could say anything “point blank” about any subject. There is no such thing as absolute proof, it is all a matter of probabilities.

      You are perfectly entitled to your view, along with everyone else. I am not particularity interested in proving anything to self-styled sceptics? Why chase an ever moving target in terms of requirements for proof. Why try to prove something people that is, currently, beyond there understanding? It is pointless trying to teach calculus to someone who cannot understand algebra.

      I am a sceptic, though in the English language dictionary definition of the term, not the hijacked, denialist, materialist “definition”. Precision in language, as well as moderation of language, is also an important constituent of good science.

  76. stevenp68 says:

    All psychologist Richard Wiseman has proven at the most generous is that TWITs are not psychic remote viewers.
    What is the psychological cross section of people who use Twitter I say they are probably ADD.

    • Psychic_Weed says:

      ADD? Personally, NO, I’m not ADD in the least. What’s yr attn span? I’ve read all of Joyce’s “Finnegans Wake”, eg. have you? I’ve watched all of Fassbinder’s “Berlin Alexanderplatz” in 2 sittings, have you? The only friend that I have who has a Twitter ID who also has ADHD has no interest in Twitter whatsoever & doesn’t actually use her acct. Nonetheless, w/ the inadequacy of yr stereotypes aside, the point is taken: using a technical network that severely limits expressive capability thru limited letters per message might be conducive to ADD. OR to conciseness. OR, etc.. Do YOU use Twitter? Are YOU ADD?

    • stevenp68 says:

      Conceivably, Psychic_Weed, Twitter users could be mostly ADD prone, 30%-80% who knows. I’m not accusing anyone in particular and their will always be exceptions to the rule. Stereotypes not withstanding, I’m just saying that the DEMOGRAPHICS of twitter users have not been studied, and because Twitter is a new thing the people immediately attracted to this kind of site might skew a demographic dramatically. This demographic could and will most probably change over the upcoming years. In my own experience the few twitter users that I know are all to the one social networking twits with nothing on their little minds except hooking up, parties and social climbing. Unfortunately it doesn’t say much for the demographic I ‘live’ in. I was just making a seemingly logical jump to make a point, my apologies to anyone it doesn’t apply. And no I have not used Twitter but I am considering joining because the company I work for is now posting updates for employees there, sigh, also my friends might say I’m slightly OCD not ADD.

    • Psychic_Weed says:

      “I’m just saying that the DEMOGRAPHICS of twitter users have not been studied, and because Twitter is a new thing the people immediately attracted to this kind of site might skew a demographic dramatically” I agree absolutely. “the few twitter users that I know are all to the one social networking twits with nothing on their little minds except hooking up, parties and social climbing” Well, here, our experience differs – although yrs may be more common than mine. I got involved in Twitter b/c a friend on the other side of the us@ asked me to. Then I connected to a few people who actually interest me. THEN people started following me who are self-purported professional psychics – this is apparently b/c of the name I use. The ones who don’t just seem to be completely after money I didn’t block. Many of my potential followers I have blocked b/c they’re so clearly spammers of the most insidious sort. So, it seems to me that Twitter is somewhat plagued by unscrupulous money-hungry creeps but it’s also got other things happening – such as Wiseman’s experiment – & that’s what keeps me paying attn to it (admittedly very peripherally). As for being OCD vs ADD? I’ll take OCD any day – AS LONG AS IT’S PRODUCTIVE – wch, alas, most OCD seems to not be – although, I suspect from yr coherence, that yrs is of the productive kind. Cheerio!

  77. [...] conducted by twittering, which can be seen here, and Richard Wiseman’s take on it can be read here Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)public space gagaAmerica’s Iranian [...]

  78. Chris says:

    NOT A VALID EXPERIMENT!

    This is NOT Remote Viewing at all. This is called GUESSING, and you got exactly what you would expect in a guessing game. Remote Viewing requires following a strict protocol and takes practice and natural talent. New Scientist is a joke and this Twitter “experiment” was also a joke.

  79. Jack hammer says:

    Hi,Very informative post.Having gone through very hard times fighting OCD, I can relate.Thanks,SandraPlease visit my blog at:http://ocdtreatments.info

  80. [...] June 29: Results have been posted over at Richard Wiseman’s blog. As I expected, nothing really substantial there. It was more of a proof of concept than anything [...]

  81. numazutraveler says:

    Hi Richard,
    Congratulations on the success of your first Twitter experiment. Regarding your request for suggested experiments to put on Twitter, this is what I would love to see these two Paper Scissors Rock tests:
    1. Visual persuasion technique, similar to the ones you have done in the past. Can a picture of “scissors” persuade participants to play more scissors in a volley of 20 games of Paper Scissors Rock? You could have 2 controls groups; one control that doesn’t have a picture and one that as a neutral picture like a “ball”.
    2. What degree of visual persuasion is needed for a participant to be subconsciously persuaded to play say “scissors”. My amateur hypothesis is that blatant over visual stimulus (eg a big pair of scissors next to you choice) would work less effectively than a more subtle approach. You could run a number of conditions with varying levels of persuasive imagery from overt to covert. The participants would again play 20 or so Paper Scissor Rock games and their scores accumulated.

    What do you think? Want to make an arm chair psychologist happy?
    Cheers,
    Scott

  82. I’ve obtained the raw data from Dr Wiseman, and at least on first analysis, they seem to me not to support the negative result that was reported.

    The most straightforward thing you might do with this data is to ask how many people guessed correctly, compared to how many you would expect by chance. In the aggregate, there were 4048 trials, and 859 correct guesses, when you would have expected 810 correct guesses. The naive probability that this would have occurred by chance is p=0.025. (This is computed from the binomial distribution.)

    The most parsimonious explanation is that some options are intrinsically more appealing than others, independent of any psychic transmission, and that we just happened to have stumbled on pictures that people prefer to select more than others. In any future trials, this effect could be eliminated from the methodology in a number of ways, making the data cleaner.

  83. [...] Wiseman actually just recently conducted a study on Twitter testing “Remote Viewing” abilities. You can see a video about it here. The result: [...]

  84. Ben Bonilla says:

    As a top Twitter business user, I was sent an advance copy of the Tweet Adder System for my review. This is by far the best Networking Tool I have used for Twitter!

  85. [...] agora ele divulgou o resultado. Nas quatro vezes (ou cinco, se considerarmos a experiência de teste), as pessoas não conseguiram [...]

  86. [...] conducted by twittering, which can be seen here, and Richard Wiseman’s take on it can be read here. Also, from the data visualization file, here’s a nice image (although I’m not sure who [...]

  87. [...] up an online remote viewing test in June this year (for the experiment and interesting comments see Twitter Experiment – Results! Richard Wiseman's Blog). I was having a look back at the comments section on his blog and someone posted that they [...]

  88. Once again Richard has scammed you all by pretending this experiment has any scientific value. Its Hogwash.. To have scientific value you must use people who claim to be remote viewers and you would have to select targets that remote viewers claim to be able to see, this is like taking a group of twitters to try swim the channel, when they all drown Richard would claim people cant swim. Look at his history, I cant find any proper experiments into psi he has conducted.

  89. [...] besides such spurious conjecture for mentioning the twitter experiment was to share with you the results. all four trials were [...]

  90. [...] les anglophones, voici le lien de l’article : Twitter Experiment – Results ! par Richard Wiseman [...]

  91. MSN symbols says:

    This is a funny test, but to call it a ‘scientific experiment’ is a bit of a stretch I think…

  92. I am a psychic who has been searching for the Missing child Madeliine McCann
    I had found her 5 times alive, then i lost contact with her, that was at the end of August 2oo7. It was not until the 25th of May 2009 that I then found a man who was in the process of dumping her body in a bay in a location of a place called Hoceima in Morocco.
    The reason I am sending this blog is to prove that psychic ability is genuine, that is if we can get somebody to arrange a search in the relative area of the bay,That information I do have. My phone number is 01273 608071

  93. Reference my previous email, I forgot to mention that I am a remote viewer; My method of remote viewing is to do map dowsing for a living target; As I have mentioned before it was Madeleine Mc Cann I was searching for. using this means. I found her on a boat the first time I had contact with her, I could see her and 2 other people on board. and I believe the person I was seeing from was a woman.
    what I do not know how to do is, to remote view inanimate objects, but It should be possible if there are life forms in the vicinity of the place you are searching, but that is open to question.

  94. ProfitFunnel says:

    Interesting experiment … kinda left me speechless

  95. Samuel says:

    Hello, this is my first time i visit here. I found so many interesting in your blog mainly on this topic. Continue the good posting.

  96. Steffen Lewenhardt says:

    NOT A VALID EXPERIMENT!

    This is NOT Remote Viewing at all. This is called GUESSING, and you got exactly what you would expect in a guessing game. Remote Viewing requires following a strict protocol and takes practice and natural talent. New Scientist is a joke and this Twitter “experiment” was also a joke.

    Well put to the point. It appears Mr. Wiseman´s knowledge about remote viewing is at about at the level of Derren Brown´s knowledge. Who even, after getting positive results on TV, expressed incredibly stupid remarks about the experiment it´s self. Such as, during the filtering phase, since any information -could- have made it, whatever information really made it, no matter how accurate it was, was as accurate as whatever any “guess” was before the filtering phase. Oh yeah. Thanks to the royal skeptics society. Really helpful. Wow. You guys are -really- advancing modern science. “Everything is crap except things we already know”. I wish someone would slap you with a history book that spans 100+ years of science every time you wake up. In a pleasant way. That´s what happens to every decently thinking person each time they try to follow a dogma.

  97. Amber says:

    I came across this by chance really. I was looking for information for a paper about the psychic psychology, for a few page essay for my psychology class. I found a very interesting essay that Mr. Wiseman had participated in “Belief in Psychic Ability”. Decided to look him up and found this experiment.

    I agree with those that say this was an interesting but not entirely valid of an experiment. First, you have too large of a group participating in this, and then you have in that large group a majority of “normal/average” people. If you are trying to find out about RV through a psychic then well you need to do the experiment on just psychics.

    I agree with having more images of the area. Also with allowing more time. I really would not suggest to give in to any other detail about the location other than the use of more photographs.

    Now for everyone to get so heated about whether or not this was an accurate experiment or not is amazing. I should not be surprised since regardless of what you believe, it is hard to convince them otherwise. To convince the other side you need strong evidence.

    There is some here but not enough. 1000 or so people with having probably about 90-95% of them “normal/average”. Meaning they have no psychic abilities, means you would only have 5-10% accurate results. And that is if you are extremely lucky. That is only 50-100 people.. which is of course not in the majority. I saw someone else said that its more of what 2 out of 100 people? Which brings the percentage way down.

    Personally I would take the data you have, take the people who got all the correct answers and further test them specifically. Weed out all those that are apparently not psychic and are delusional.

    With all that said and done, it was entertaining and Mr. Wiseman’s research has helped me out for my own paper and for that I thank you. And I will certainly be looking for more posts now on :)

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