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James Randi Educational Foundation

An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural

Introduction | "R" Reading | Curse of the Pharaoh | End-of-the-World Prophecies

Index | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | Y | Z

ganzfeld experiment From the German words ganz and Feld, meaning “entire field,” this system attempts to use sensory deprivation of the subject as a “noise” reduction method, so that any psi input may more easily be detected. The subject may be equipped with headphones delivering “white noise,” halved Ping-Pong balls placed over the eyes to diffuse light, and a comfortable, relaxing environment, thus deemphasizing any regular sensory input.
      Charles Honorton and many other parapsychologists from 1972 through 1981 performed extensive ganzfeld tests. The work came under fire for alleged discrepancies, particularly from Dr. Ray Hyman, a psychologist who has been a persistent, skeptical critic of psi, and also from Dr. Susan Blackmore. As with all such tests, there are a great number of possibilities for errors in actual implementation of the conditions, data recording, and interpretation and statistical considerations. Previous ganzfeld tests had been found faulted, though at first it appeared, as it often does, that the long-sought breakthrough in parapsychology had been made.
      Ganzfeld techniques continue to hold promise for parapsychology, and much more labor and money will be dedicated to that promise.



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