Tuesday, December 17, 2013

ESP Claims Revealed as Hoaxes

Since class time did not allow for viewing these videos, I thought I would post them here. As your book describes, and as we discussed in class, psychologists remain skeptical about claims of Extrasensory Perception (ESP) for a number of reasons. They include:
  • Numerous studies indicating that supposed "psychics" do no better than chance in predicting outcomes or "receiving" sent telepathic messages.
  • Despite a lot of incentives that have been offered in order to solicit reliable demonstrations of psychic abilities in laboratory settings, no one has been able to do so. (For example, see James Randi's Million Dollar Challenge). 
  • Many claims of psychic abilities have been revealed to be hoaxes. Not only can many supposed "psychic" phenomena be created through clever tricks and planning, but sometimes "mediums" and "psychics" have been fairly publicly revealed to be frauds.  Some examples are included below.
Yuri Geller, who claimed to be able to mentally bend spoons and manipulate the weights of objects, was called out for this hoax while appearing as a guest on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.

Likewise, the BBC caught some supposed "mediums" in the act of spoofing their abilities by cleverly designing a fake website for a factory that the mediums then took "readings" from.

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