Feeling the past: The absence of experimental evidence for anomalous retroactive influences on text processing.
ABSTRACT In two self-paced reading experiments, we investigated the hypothesis that information moves backward in time to influence prior behaviors (Bem Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 100:407-425, 2011a). In two of Bem's experiments, words were presented after target pictures in a pleasantness judgment task. In a condition in which the words were consistent with the emotional valence of the picture, reaction times to the pictures were significantly shorter , as compared with a condition in which the words were inconsistent with the emotional valence of the picture. Bem Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 100:407-425, (2011a) interpreted these results as showing a "retroactive priming" effect resulting from precognition. To test the precognition hypothesis, we adapted a standard repetition priming paradigm from psycholinguistics. In the experiments, participants read a set of texts. In one condition, the participants read the same text twice. In other conditions, participants read two different texts. The precognition hypothesis predicts that readers who encounter the same text twice will experience reductions in processing load during their first encounter with the text. Hence, these readers' average reading times should be shorter than those of readers who encounter the target text only once. Our results indicated that readers processed the target text faster the second time they read it. Also, their reading times decreased as their experience with the self-paced reading procedure increased. However, participants read the target text equally quickly during their initial encounter with the text, whether or not the text was subsequently repeated. Thus, the experiments demonstrated normal repetition priming and practice effects but offered no evidence for retroactive influences on text processing.
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ABSTRACT: The first 100 years of experimental psychology were dominated by 2 major schools of thought: behaviorism and cognitive science. Here the authors consider the common philosophical commitment to determinism by both schools, and how the radical behaviorists' thesis of the determined nature of higher mental processes is being pursued today in social cognition research on automaticity. In harmony with "dual process" models in contemporary cognitive science, which equate determined processes with those that are automatic and which require no intervening conscious choice or guidance, as opposed to "controlled" processes which do, the social cognition research on the automaticity of higher mental processes provides compelling evidence for the determinism of those processes. This research has revealed that social interaction, evaluation and judgment, and the operation of internal goal structures can all proceed without the intervention of conscious acts of will and guidance of the process.Psychological Bulletin 12/2000; 126(6):925-45. DOI:10.1037/0033-2909.126.6.925 · 14.39 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: J. Milton and R. Wiseman (1999) attempted to replicate D. Bem and C. Honorton's (1994) meta-analysis, which yielded evidence that the ganzfeld is a suitable method for demonstrating anomalous communication. Using a database of 30 ganzfeld and autoganzfeld studies, Milton and Wiseman's meta-analysis yielded an effect size (ES) of only 0.013 (Stouffer Z = 0.70, p = .24, one-tailed). Thus they failed to replicate Bem and Honorton's finding (ES = 0.162, Stouffer Z = 2.52, p = 5.90 x 10(-3), one-tailed). The authors conducted stepwise performance comparisons between all available databases of ganzfeld research, which were argued not to be lacking in quality. Larger aggregates of such studies were formed, including a database comprising 79 ganzfeld-autoganzfeld studies (ES = 0.138, Stouffer Z = 5.66, p = 7.78 x 10(-9)). Thus Bem and Honorton's positive conclusion was confirmed. More accurate population parameters for the ganzfeld and autoganzfeld domains were calculated. Significant bidirectional psi effects were also found in all databases. The ganzfeld appears to be a replicable technique for producing psi effects in the laboratory.Psychological Bulletin 06/2001; 127(3):424-33; discussion 434-8. DOI:10.1037/0033-2909.127.3.424 · 14.39 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Wagenmakers, Wetzels, Borsboom, and van der Maas (2011) argued that psychologists should replace the familiar "frequentist" statistical analyses of their data with bayesian analyses. To illustrate their argument, they reanalyzed a set of psi experiments published recently in this journal by Bem (2011), maintaining that, contrary to his conclusion, his data do not yield evidence in favor of the psi hypothesis. We argue that they have incorrectly selected an unrealistic prior distribution for their analysis and that a bayesian analysis using a more reasonable distribution yields strong evidence in favor of the psi hypothesis. More generally, we argue that there are advantages to bayesian analyses that merit their increased use in the future. However, as Wagenmakers et al.'s analysis inadvertently revealed, they contain hidden traps that must be better understood before being more widely substituted for the familiar frequentist analyses currently employed by most research psychologists.Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 10/2011; 101(4):716-9. DOI:10.1037/a0024777 · 5.08 Impact Factor