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Apparent Association Between Effect Size In Free Response Anomalous Cognition Experiments And Local Sidereal Time

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Nothing is known about the physical mechanism of anomalous cognition (AC), or ESP. A first step towards generating focused hypotheses would be the discovery of a physical parameter which clearly modulated AC performance. In this paper, an association between the local sidereal time (LST) at which a trial occurs and the resulting effect size is described. In an existing database of 1,468 free response trials, the effect size increased 340% for trials within 1 hour of 13.5 h LST (p = 0.001). A independent database of 1,015 similar trials was subsequently obtained in which trials within 1 hour of 13.5 h LST showed an effect size increase of 450% (p = 0.05) providing confirmation of the effect. Possible artifacts due to the non-uniform distribution of trials in clock time and variations of effect size with experiment are discussed and rejected as explanations. Assuming that some unknown systematic bias is not present in the data, it appears that AC performance is strongly dependent upon th...
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Apparent Association between anomalous cognition effect size and sidereal time.
Published in The Journal of Scientific Exploration, Vol, 11, No. 2, 1997.
Page 1
APPARENT ASSOCIATION BETWEEN EFFECT
SIZE IN FREE RESPONSE ANOMALOUS
COGNITION EXPERIMENTS AND LOCAL
SIDEREAL TIME
S. James P. Spottiswoode
Cognitive Sciences Laboratory, Palo Alto, CA 94301
Abstract
Nothing is known about the physical mechanism of anomalous cognition (AC), or ESP. A
first step towards generating focused hypotheses would be the discovery of a physical
parameter which clearly modulated AC performance. In this paper, an association
between the local sidereal time (LST) at which a trial occurs and the resulting effect size is
described. In an existing database of 1,468 free response trials, the effect size increased
340% for trials within 1 hour of 13.5 h LST (p = 0.001). A independent database of
1,015 similar trials was subsequently obtained in which trials within 1 hour of 13.5 h LST
showed an effect size increase of 450% (p = 0.05) providing confirmation of the effect.
Possible artifacts due to the non-uniform distribution of trials in clock time and variations
of effect size with experiment are discussed and rejected as explanations. Assuming that
some unknown systematic bias is not present in the data, it appears that AC performance
is strongly dependent upon the LST at which the trial occurs. This is evidence of a causal
connection between performance and the orientation of the receiver (i.e., a term for
subject or participant), the earth and the fixed stars.
Apparent Association between anomalous cognition effect size and sidereal time.
Published in The Journal of Scientific Exploration, Vol, 11, No. 2, 1997.
Page 2
Introduction
Over the last decade of research into anomalous cognition (AC), a new term for
extrasensory perception or ESP, considerable progress has been made toward
understanding the experimental factors needed to ensure that the effect is observed. In
fact the question of existence can now reasonably be said to have been answered positively
(Utts, 1996a) In contrast, little headway has been made in understanding the mechanism of
the information transfer in physical terms. Currently there are no known physical
parameters which unambiguously modify AC performance, and the discovery of such a
variable would be a first step to elucidating the physical mechanisms involved.
From a physics point of view, a puzzling feature of anomalous cognition is that there is no
evidence that performance falls off with the distance between receiver and target over
separations up to several thousand kilometers (Puthoff and Targ, 1976; Dunne et al.
(1989). More problematic still, the evidence for precognitive AC is strong and
performance in this situation is comparable to that in real-time protocols; Dunne et al.
(1989) show that effect size in their database is independent of the interval between
remote viewing session and target definition over a range of ±150 h. Recently, a
theory has been developed by May et al. (1995), which explains another class of
parapsychological experiments involving attempts to "influence" random systems, in so-
called micro-PK experiments. Their model proposes that the results of these experiments
are due to a weak precognitive information channel as opposed to a force-like interaction.
Thus in looking for some underlying mechanism that might explain all these data, it
appears that precognition is a good possibility: the notion encompasses micro-PK effects
and precognitive AC results. Data from real time protocols can also be explained by
precognition if it is assumed that the signal source is the eventual observation of the
correct answer.
Given these properties of the putative physical carrier responsible for anomalous
cognition, it is not obvious where one would look amongst known physics for a model or
for an extension of fundamental theory that would allow for these effects. It has been
suggested that the non-local correlations of quantum mechanics might be used to explain
AC (Walker, 1975), but the fact that these correlations do not permit causal signaling
rules them out as a mechanism. In searching for a model, knowledge of a physical variable
which modified the performance of the AC channel would be extremely useful.
It is outside the scope of this paper to review the research on physical modulators of AC,
but mention will be made of the two most prevalent in the literature. There is
weak evidence that performance is enhanced by screening electrical fields with Faraday
Apparent Association between anomalous cognition effect size and sidereal time.
Published in The Journal of Scientific Exploration, Vol, 11, No. 2, 1997.
Page 3
cages (Tart, 1988) and that it is improved during periods when the geomagnetic field is
relatively quiescent (Spottiswoode, 1993). More attention has been paid to the latter
effect, but the correlation of AC with the geomagnetic field fluctuations, if it exists at all
in laboratory data, is very small. For instance, in the extensive collection of trials
examined in this paper the correlation between the ap geomagnetic index and AC effect
size is small (Spearmans ρ = -0.05, n = 2,483, p = 0.01) though in the hypothesized
direction. The possibility that performance is affected by a globally averaged parameter
like the geomagnetic indices suggests that it might be fruitful to broaden the search for a
physical variable describing the environment of the receiver, such as electric or magnetic
fields, to the larger scale.
Consider how the data of anomalous cognition might have been approached if, instead of
emerging from a protocol based in the psychological sciences, these signals had appeared
as sporadic bursts of information from a complex physical experiment. In that case, the
effort to find the source of the unexpected signals would have progressed from local
sources of noise to an examination of whether the noise were correlated with activity
outside the laboratory. A useful technique for achieving this would be to examine whether
the sporadic noise were correlated with local time, which might indicate that power
fluctuations, ground vibration or other human activity tied to local time were responsible.
Failing that, it would be natural to see if the noise were correlated with sidereal time,
indicating a cosmic origin. Pulsars were in fact discovered in just this manner. This paper
asks this latter question of the AC data and thereby takes a first step in addressing the
question of whether performance is dependent upon the receiver's orientation relative to
the fixed star background.
The Anomalous Cognition Data
To search for a potential physical correlate of AC functioning requires either large
numbers of prospective studies or the retrospective examination of existing data which
was collected for other reasons. As collecting high quality anomalous cognition trials is
time consuming and expensive, there is a motivation for using existing data where
possible. The author had already assembled a database of free response data for another
purpose and a subset of these data were suitable for this study; from now on, this will be
referred to as the original data set. This original data set comprised results from 22
different studies, which utilized either remote viewing or the ganzfeld protocol and for
which exact times, dates and locations of the trials were known. The 1,524 trials in these
studies were collected in various laboratories by different experimenters over the last 20
years and are shown in Table 1. Most of these studies have been published in peer
Apparent Association between anomalous cognition effect size and sidereal time.
Published in The Journal of Scientific Exploration, Vol, 11, No. 2, 1997.
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reviewed journals, conference proceedings, or laboratory reports. It should be
emphasized however, that this collection is not exhaustive of remote viewing and ganzfeld
experimentation. The criteria for inclusion in the original data set were merely that the
laboratory was able to provide data at the trial level with time, location and score, and that
the experiment was of a free response design. The criterion of free response was
established in order to collect data with the highest possible effect size and thus maximize
the efficiency of the search for a physical correlate. It should be noted that the division
into studies was based purely upon the way the experimenter presented the data. In
several cases data from a single protocol was presented as a number of experiment series,
or studies, while in fact in publication they may have been presented as a single
experiment. In some cases the division into series may correspond to a division by
receiver, in others to a division by time period.
Table 1. Original Data Set
STUDY
Start
Year
End
Year
N Effect Size Z P
PEAR 76 84 330 0.33 6.05 7,1 x 10
-10
Schlitz & Gruber 79 79 10 0.56 1.76 0.04
Schlitz & Haight 80 80 10 0.15 0.46 0.3
Carpenter 86 90 90 0.08 0.73 0.2
Edinburgh. Pilot 90 90 69 -0.05 -0.41 0.66
Edinburgh. Training Study 91 91 174 0.07 0.88 0.2
IfP Manual ganzfeld Series 003 86 86 31 -0.28 -1.54 0.9
IfP Manual ganzfeld Series 004 89 89 37 0.12 0.74 0.23
IfP Manual ganzfeld Series 101 86 87 40 0.06 0.36 0.3
IfP Manual ganzfeld Series 987 87 88 48 0.007 0.05 0.5
PRL A 89 89 20 0.68 3.02 0.001
PRL B 87 89 24 0.91 4.45 4.21 x 10
-6
SJPS GMF Study 91 91 101 0.00 0.00 0.5
SJPS PRV 83 83 19 0.66 2.89 0.002
SJPS RAB 84 84 40 0.08 0.51 0.3
SRI Tachistoscope 87 87 160 0.2 2.53 0.006
SRI Precognitive vs Real-Time 87 87 81 -0.07 -0.61 0.7
SRI Hypnosis 87 88 44 -0.07 -0.47 0.6
SRI Fax 87 90 40 0.41 2.57 0.005
Utrecht S1 92 92 50 0.015 0.11 0.4
Utrecht S2 92 93 50 -0.092 -0.65 0.7
Notes:
1. PEAR - Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research, Dept. of Engineering, Princeton University; IfP
- Institute for Parapsychology, formerly Foundation for Research on the Nature of Man; PRL -
Psychophysical Research Laboratories; SRI - SRI International; SJPS - the author; Utrecht -
Parapsychological Institute, Utrecht.
2. Published study Z scores may differ from those shown here due to alternative methods of calculating
overall Z.
Apparent Association between anomalous cognition effect size and sidereal time.
Published in The Journal of Scientific Exploration, Vol, 11, No. 2, 1997.
Page 5
The contributing laboratories included most of the major centers where free response AC
work has occurred. One of the data sets used here, that from the Princeton Engineering
Anomalies Research (PEAR) group, has been subjected to some methodological criticism
(Hansen et al., 1992; Dobyns, Y., 1992). However the effect size and associated 95%
confidence interval of the PEAR data fall within the range reported by other free-response
investigations (Utts, 1996b; Radin, 1996 ). Therefore, their data were included in the
original data set.
This paper examines a relationship between AC performance and the receiver's orientation
relative to the celestial sphere and therefore the appropriate celestial coordinate system is
briefly reviewed. Directions in the sky are conventionally measured with respect to a
coordinate system defined by the earth's rotational axis and equatorial plane. The celestial
equator is the projection of the earth's equator onto the sky and the declination of an
object is defined as the angle north, or south, of this great circle. An object's
right ascension, or RA, is defined as the angle around the celestial equator between
the great circle passing through the object and the celestial poles and a fixed point on the
celestial equator, the vernal equinox. Thus, declination and RA comprise a coordinate
system for the celestial sphere in the same way that latitude and longitude do for the
earth's surface. At any given point on the earth's surface the stars return to their same
positions after one sidereal day has elapsed, this day being approximately 3' 56" shorter
than a solar day.
1
At any location and time, the local sidereal time (LST) is defined as the
RA of the meridian, that is the great circle which passes through the zenith and celestial
poles. Thus at a same value of LST for any observer, the same strip of sky will be directly
overhead.
The trials comprising the AC database occurred at locations in North America and Europe
at times and dates determined by the scheduling of those experiments and entirely
unconnected with the purpose of this study. As such they occurred mostly during normal
working hours, at various times of the year and therefore covered the whole range of LST
values. However, the range of latitudes at which these experiments occurred was quite
limited, nearly all the data being taken between 32 and 55 degrees North. Thus the range
of declination was similarly restricted. This study therefore sought to examine whether
there was any relationship between LST and AC performance.
1
The ordinary 24-hour solar day is slightly longer than the sidereal day owing to the revolution of the
earth around the Sun in the same direction as the daily rotation of the earth. The Earth must rotate a little
more to bring the Sun back overhead from one noon to the next since the Sun has advanced slightly with
respect to the stars in the course of a day. In the course of a year there is one extra rotation os the Earth
with respect to the stars compensating for the single yearly revolution around the Sun.
Apparent Association between anomalous cognition effect size and sidereal time.
Published in The Journal of Scientific Exploration, Vol, 11, No. 2, 1997.
Page 6
Method
The received data was first filtered to eliminate cases where the local time was omitted or
location information was either absent or very approximate. One entire experiment was
removed from the original data set since reliable time information for each trial was not
available. This winnowing reduced the data to 1,468 trials from 21 studies for the original
data set. LST values for all trials were calculated from the longitude and given local time
of each trial. It should be noted that the time data given by the various experimenters is
probably that of the start of each AC trial and may differ from the time of the actual
mentation by a few minutes to as much as a quarter of an hour. The majority of trials
occurred in laboratories in cities and towns and the longitude for these trials was taken
from the values for the city given in an atlas. Local times were corrected for daylight
savings time and used to calculate LST by means of the program Xephem version 2.9. As
a check, LST values for several randomly chosen points were hand calculated to confirm
the accuracy of the software.
The AC score data for the trials was delivered from the various experiments in one of two
forms. In some cases an effect size for each trial had been calculated from a quasi-
continuous measure used in the experiment. These values were used in this analysis
without further processing. In other cases, the trials had been assessed by a ranking
procedure in which either the receiver, in the ganzfeld experiments, or an analyst, in the
remote viewing experiments, had rated the receiver's description against the actual target
and a number of decoy targets in a blind judging procedure. These trials therefore were
scored as a rank, where a value of 1 indicated that the actual target was rated as the
closest fit to the receivers description, 2 as the second closest fit, and so on. These ranks
were converted to trial effect sizes by means of the formula:
( )
es
r r
N
MCE OBS
=
2
1 12
where r
MCE
is the mean chance expectation rank, r
OBS
is the observed rank and N is the
number of targets used in the ranking procedure. In a few experiments the scores were
reported both as quasi-continuous scores obtained from receivers estimating their
preference for the target on a scale and as rankings. In these cases the effect sizes
calculated by the experimenter from the continuous measure were used rather than
computing an effect size from the rank since it is likely that the continuous measure
contains more information about the degree of match between description and target than
does the rank.
Apparent Association between anomalous cognition effect size and sidereal time.
Published in The Journal of Scientific Exploration, Vol, 11, No. 2, 1997.
Page 7
Results - Original Data Set
The original data set had an overall mean effect size of 0.148 (n = 1,468), corresponding
to a Stouffer's Z = 5.99, (p < 7 x 10
-9
), while individual study effect sizes ranged from
-0.28 up to 0.56. These data were collected into 1-hour wide bins of LST and the mean
and standard deviation of the effect size data for each bin were found. An increase in the
mean effect size for trials occurring between 12 and 14 h LST was observed. The data are
shown boxcar smoothed in Figure 1 where the mean effect size for data points within a 2-
hour wide window, moving in 0.1-hour steps, is plotted. When calculating these and
subsequent smoothed plots the data set was padded with two copies of itself where the
time values were 24 h later and 24 h earlier than the actual time. Thus the averaging
occurred over a 2-hour window also for points at the ends of the plots. The dashed line in
Figure 1 is the average effect size and the error bars correspond to ±1 standard deviation
(SD).
Local Sidereal Time (h)
Effect Size
-0.2
-0.1
0.0
0.1
0.2
0.3
0.4
0.5
0.6
0.7
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24
Figure 1. Mean effect size versus LST for the original data set.
The local sidereal time corresponding to maximum effect size was estimated by computing
the centroid of the subset of the data comprising the upper half of the 12 h to 14 h peak
and gave a value of 13.47 h. To assess the significance of this deviation from the average
effect size of the whole data set, various values of time intervals around 13.47 h were
taken and the mean effect size of these subsets compared to that of the remainder of the
Apparent Association between anomalous cognition effect size and sidereal time.
Published in The Journal of Scientific Exploration, Vol, 11, No. 2, 1997.
Page 8
data. The results are shown in Table 2 where the gain is calculated as the ratio of the
effect size within the chosen time range to the effect size for the complete data set. The t
values shown compare the data in the subset around the peak with the remainder of the
data. For instance, the trials which occurred within ±1 hour of 13.47 h showed an average
effect size of 0.507 (n = 83) as compared to the complete data set effect size of 0.148, an
increase of effect size by a factor of 3.42.
Table 2. Original Data.
Time period Around 13.47 h ES N Gain t df p (1 - tail)
± 1.0 0.507 83 3.42 2.83 1466 0.001
± 2.0 0.388 131 2.62 2.80 1466 0.005
± 3.0 0.320 194 2.16 2.49 1466 0.01
± 4.0 0.248 283 1.67 1.83 1466 0.07
It appears therefore that the trials occurring within ± 3.0 hours, or less, of 13.47 h are
significantly different from the remainder of the data and the observed effect size increases
the closer the trial time to 13.47 h.
Validation Data: Collection and Results
After the above analysis was completed, it was hypothesized that there was an
approximately three to four times enhancement in anomalous cognition effect size for
trials occurring near 13.5 h local sidereal time. In order to test this hypothesis against a
new set of data, laboratories were contacted with a request for any further free response
data meeting the same criteria as used for the original data set. Table 3 shows an
additional 23 experiments which were received comprising 1,015 trials. This data set also
shows evidence of AC with an overall effect size of 0.085 (n = 1,015), yielding a
Stouffer's Z = 2.70 (p < 0.004).
Apparent Association between anomalous cognition effect size and sidereal time.
Published in The Journal of Scientific Exploration, Vol, 11, No. 2, 1997.
Page 9
Table 3. Validation Data Set
STUDY Start
Year
End
Year
N Effect
Size
Z P
SJPS ARV 95 96 216 0.00 -0.01 0.5
Edinburgh - KD 95 96 128 0.48 5.38 3.78 x 10
-8
Edinburgh Sender-No Sender 94 94 97 0.14 1.41 0.08
Amsterdam ganzfeld 1982 82 82 32 0.14 0.79 0.2
Amsterdam ganzfeld 1994 94 94 37 0.31 1.90 0.03
Amsterdam ganzfeld 1995 95 95 68 0.058 0.48 0.3
Amsterdam ganzfeld 1996 96 96 39 -0.22 -1.36 0.9
IfP Manual ganzfeld Series 201 87 87 10 -0.48 -1.51 0.9
IfP Manual ganzfeld Series 202 89 89 20 -0.088 -0.39 0.6
IfP Manual ganzfeld Series 203 90 91 46 0.075 0.51 0.3
IfP Manual ganzfeld Series 301 90 91 20 0.018 0.081 0.5
IfP Manual ganzfeld Series 302 90 91 26 0.15 0.76 0.2
IfP Manual ganzfeld Series 400 87 92 38 -0.018 -0.11 0.5
IfP Manual ganzfeld Series 401 88 88 12 0.38 1.32 0.09
IfP Manual ganzfeld Series 989 89 92 17 0.47 1.96 0.03
IfP Auto ganzfeld Series CLAIR1 94 96 50 -0.064 -0.46 0.7
IfP Auto ganzfeld Series EC1 93 95 51 0.13 0.95 0.2
IfP Auto ganzfeld Series FT1 93 94 50 -0.26 -1.84 0.9
IfP Auto ganzfeld Series FT2 94 95 50 -0.065 -0.46 0.7
IfP Auto ganzfeld Series GEN1 93 94 8 -0.04 -0.11 0.5
Notes:
1. Edinburgh - Koestler Chair of Parapsychology, University of Edinburgh; Amsterdam - Dept. of
Psychology, University of Amsterdam.
2. Published study Z scores may differ from those shown here due to alternative methods of calculating
overall Z.
These new data were processed through the same analysis as used with the original data
set and a smoothed plot of the validation data, using a 2-hour averaging window as
before, is shown in Figure 2 along with the original data set for comparison and ± 1 SD
error bars. The validation data set also has a broad peak in effect size near 13 h and the
LST for maximum effect size was found to be 13.47 h, identical to the value found from
the original data set. The effect sizes as a function of window width around 13.47 h for
the validation data are shown in Table 4.
Apparent Association between anomalous cognition effect size and sidereal time.
Published in The Journal of Scientific Exploration, Vol, 11, No. 2, 1997.
Page 10
Local Sidereal Time (h)
Effect Size
-0.3
-0.2
-0.1
0.0
0.1
0.2
0.3
0.4
0.5
0.6
0.7
0.8
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24
Validation
Original
Figure 2. Mean effect size versus LST for original and validation data sets.
Table 4. Validation Data
Time period Around 13.47 h ES N Gain t df p (1 - tail)
± 1.0 0.383 43 4.51 1.96 1013 0.05
± 2.0 0.266 83 3.13 1.69 1013 0.09
± 3.0 0.190 136 2.24 1.29 1013 0.20
± 4.0 0.130 191 1.53 0.68 1013 0.50
Results - Combined data sets
Given that the effect sizes and gains shown here for the validation data set are close to
those from the original data set and that the LST values corresponding to maximum effect
size are not different, it seems reasonable to conclude that the hypothesized peak in effect
size has been confirmed in the validation data set. The data sets were therefore combined
and the analysis repeated for all the data taken together. In this case the overall effect size
is 0.122 (n = 2,483) for a Stouffer's Z = 6.09 (p = 6 x 10
-10
). Using the same methods as
before, the LST for maximum effect size was found to be 13.47 h. The complete data set
is plotted with a 2-hour wide averaging window and ±1 SD error bars in Figure 3, with the
mean for the whole data set dashed. In a Monte Carlo test the effect sizes were randomly
permuted with respect to the time data and the means of all 2-hour wide windows with
Apparent Association between anomalous cognition effect size and sidereal time.
Published in The Journal of Scientific Exploration, Vol, 11, No. 2, 1997.
Page 11
centers spaced at 0.1-hour intervals were computed. In 10,000 such runs 14 produced a
window mean effect size at some value of LST which was greater than or equal to that
seen in the actual data. Thus the probability of finding an effect size peak of the
magnitude observed at any value of LST was estimated to be 0.0014. The increases in
effect size observed in time windows centered on the maximum are shown in Table 5. As
can be seen from these data, it may be possible to increase effect size in AC experiments
as much as four-fold by timing them near 13.5 h. The width of the 13.5 h peak was ±1.25
h, measured at half height above the mean. This plot also shows a suggestion of a
minimum of effect size occurring near 18 h. It is worth noting that although the data used
here are very disparate, both in terms of study effect size and protocol, the subset which
were accidentally taken within ±1 h of 13.47 h yield an overall significance of Z = 5.20, p
= 1 x 10
-7
(n = 124).
Local Sidereal Time (h)
Effect Size
-0.2
-0.1
0.0
0.1
0.2
0.3
0.4
0.5
0.6
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24
Figure 3. Mean effect size versus local sidereal time for the entire data set.
Apparent Association between anomalous cognition effect size and sidereal time.
Published in The Journal of Scientific Exploration, Vol, 11, No. 2, 1997.
Page 12
Table 5. Original and validation data combined.
Time period Around 13.47 h ES N Gain t df p (1 - tail)
± 1.0 0.467 124 3.82 3.85 2481 0.0001
± 2.0 0.353 217 2.88 3.47 2481 0.0005
± 3.0 0.263 331 2.14 2.68 2418 0.007
± 4.0 0.196 472 1.61 1.75 2418 0.08
Replication across studies
To check whether the 13.5 h effect replicated across these studies, the effect size in the
region of 13.5 h, and outside this time interval, was calculated for each study. Owing to
the small numbers of trials in many of the studies, 15 of the 41 total studies failed to have
any data falling in the 13.5 h peak, taken here as 13.47 ± 2 h, while one experiment had all
its data on the peak and none elsewhere. This study contributed 10 trials with a mean
effect size of 0.147. Of the remaining 26 studies, with data both on and off the peak, 18
had a mean effect size on the peak greater than mean effect size for the remainder of the
data (p = 0.02). There is evidence from other types of parapsychological research that
receivers at times significantly miss targets and it is worth noting that 25 out of the 26
studies with data on and off peak had a greater absolute magnitude of effect size on the
peak (p = 4 x 10
-7
).
Possible Artifacts
The trials in these studies occurred primarily during office hours, 81% falling between
0900 and 1700 local time. Since the trials occurred throughout the year, the conversion to
LST for each trial time effectively smeared the distribution of trial times approximately
evenly across the range of LST. One possible explanation for the peak at 13.5 h would be
provided if two things were true: that the effect size in this data were dependent on local
clock time, and that the trials responsible for the LST peak fell at a value of local time
which maximized their effect size.
Figure 4 shows the distribution of effect size as a function of local clock time with the
mean of the whole data set dashed. It is apparent that while the effect size in this data is
approximately independent of clock time over most of the day, there is an increase in
effect size at 6 h; however, this is due to only 4 data points, 3 of which are from one
experiment (PEAR) which had a relatively high average effect size of 0.33. In fact the
whole region from 3 a.m. to 8 a.m. contains only 18 trials and with such a small number of
data points no reliable estimate of the behavior of effect size versus clock time is this
Apparent Association between anomalous cognition effect size and sidereal time.
Published in The Journal of Scientific Exploration, Vol, 11, No. 2, 1997.
Page 13
period can be made. Four trials from this period fall in the 13.37 ± 2 h LST peak and
cannot significantly influence the statistics of the 217 trials comprsiing this region of LST.
Apart from this early morning period, the clock-time distribution is statistically flat.
As an alternative way of looking at the impact of the variations in effect size with local
time, the data was normalized to remove the variation with clock time. This was achieved
by subtracting from each trials effect size the difference between the overall mean of the
data set and the mean for the data in the 1-hour clock time bin containing that point. This
normalized data set therefore had a uniform effect size when plotted against clock time in
1-hour bins. When plotted against LST it produced a plot which was virtually
indistinguishable from the un-normalized plot shown in Figure 3. Thus, any contribution
to the LST peak from clock-time variations in effect size is negligible.
Local Clock Time (h)
Effect Size
-0.8
-0.6
-0.4
-0.2
0.0
0.2
0.4
0.6
0.8
1.0
1.2
1.4
1.6
1.8
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24
Figure 4. Mean effect size versus local time for the entire data set.
Another possible artifact could be created by an interaction between experiments of
differing effect size with restricted ranges of LST values. Due to the slow drifting of LST
versus solar time at approximately four minutes a day, an experiment which was scheduled
to collect data at the same time every day for, say, a month would produce a data set that
all fitted within a two hour slot of LST. If this were an experiment which, for other
reasons, produced a high effect size, and where the scheduled times fell near 13 h LST,
Apparent Association between anomalous cognition effect size and sidereal time.
Published in The Journal of Scientific Exploration, Vol, 11, No. 2, 1997.
Page 14
then the apparent increase of effect size observed at that value of LST would be explained
by the arbitrary timing of such a high effect size experiment.
Before addressing this potential artifact, it is worthwhile clarifying some assumptions
implicit in this retrospective analysis. It is being assumed that the effect size in an
anomalous cognition trial is a function of several parameters:
(
)
ES F LST R E X= , , ,
where R is the type of receiver, expert or novice, E is the experimenter, X represents all
other unknown sources of variance and F is an unknown but fixed, function. It is also
being assumed that in any one experiment R, and E were held constant and that R, E and X
are not functions of LST. Under the null hypothesis of no LST effect it is presumed that
the variation in effect size between studies is due solely to differing values of R, E and X.
Utilizing the 26 studies with data on and off the 13.47 ± 2 h peak, the expected value for
the average effect size on the peak can then be calculated as the weighted average of
individual study effect sizes, where the weighting factor is the number of on-peak trials for
each study. This results in a weighted effect size of 0.154, which is not significantly
different from the effect size of 0.148 for all the data in the 26 studies. In contrast, the
observed effect size on the peak is 0.342 for these 26 studies. Thus, the LST peak cannot
be explained by a fortuitous combination of R, E and X, or by the happenstance timing of
trials in each study. Since LST is a linear function of local solar time and the day of the
year, there remains the possibility that some undiscovered systematic relationship between
effect size and these variables might be responsible for the observed peak.
Discussion
Evidence has been given to support a relationship between the local sidereal time at which
an anomalous cognition experiment occurs and the resulting effect size. The primary
association is an approximately four-fold enhancement in AC effect size at 13.5 h LST.
This association was found in one large data set and confirmed in another, each set
comprising AC experiments with a range of free response protocols, from different
laboratories and investigators. It is likely that the increase of effect size for AC trials
occurring at 13.5 h LST is real, replicable across different laboratories and occurs in the
diverse protocols of the ganzfeld and remote viewing experiments.
The discovery of this effect was motivated by the search for a physical parameter which
unambiguously modulated AC performance. What classes of mechanism are suggested by
the LST effect found here? The prima facie implication is that a causal relationship exists
between an unknown influence at a fixed RA in the sky and AC functioning. Such an
Apparent Association between anomalous cognition effect size and sidereal time.
Published in The Journal of Scientific Exploration, Vol, 11, No. 2, 1997.
Page 15
influence must originate from outside the solar system since within the heliopause the
interplanetary space environment is dominated by solar and planetary effects which would
not be locked to a fixed RA. Similarly, all known solar system objects have varying
positions in the sky; only objects as remote as Neptune and Pluto have moved less than 3 h
of RA during the data collection period of this analysis. As to the nature of the influence
at fixed RA, there are a wide range of signals potentially available to the appropriate
detector at the earths surface which are locked to sidereal time. Most of the
electromagnetic spectrum from gamma rays through low frequency radio have known
cosmic sources. There are also particle fluxes from discrete sources. It may be possible
to single out amongst all these emissions a factor at 13.5 h RA which is associated with
the effect described here.
A noteworthy feature of the 13.5 h effect size enhancement is the narrowness of the peak,
which was ± 1.25 h to half height. As was noted earlier, the trial time data used in this
paper may differ from the actual time of the receivers mentations. Such errors would
broaden the peak and the actual effect may therefore be more time sensitive. This argues
against the hypothesis that the increase in effect size is due to a region of the sky simply
being above the horizon, since if this were the case the peak would be much wider. If the
LST effect were dependent on the altitude of a source, then one would expect the width of
the peak to be dependent on latitude. Interestingly, when the 13.5 h peak is examined for
data taken at high latitudes versus low latitudes there is a suggestion that the peak is
narrower for the high latitude data, but this analysis is confounded by the fact that
particular laboratories and protocols are being selected by the latitude division. Further
work in this direction must await a data set collected with accurate timings of the
receivers mentations, using a consistent protocol and over a wide range of latitudes.
Another implication of this LST effect is that some property of the earth is important to
AC functioning. For instance, one class of models that would be consistent with the LST
effect would posit an AC-enhancing signal from a direction in space associated with RA =
13.5 h and that this signal was at least partially blocked by the earth. An alternative class
of models would postulate a signal from a direction opposite to 13.5 h RA acting as an
AC inhibitor, though this would result in a broader peak than observed. While it is clearly
impossible to reach any conclusions about the mechanism of this effect it would seem that
any model must include the earth as a causal part of the mechanism, either as an absorber
or reflector. In this regard it is interesting to note that there is evidence that AC
performance does not decrease with the distance between target and receiver, at least up
to separations of several thousand km and these long range tests demonstrate that no
Apparent Association between anomalous cognition effect size and sidereal time.
Published in The Journal of Scientific Exploration, Vol, 11, No. 2, 1997.
Page 16
difference in AC performance is made by interposing the earth between receiver and
target.
Assuming that this effect replicates in prospective tests, it will have some important
consequences aside from its impact on theory. Parapsychology has struggled to establish
its main effect, anomalous cognition, in part because of the small effect size seen in these
protocols. The fourfold increase in effect size produced by timing trials at the optimal
value of LST will make a considerable difference in designing proof-oriented experiments
as well as increasing the statistical power of any experiment looking for other moderating
factors.
Much further work needs to be done to elucidate this effect. Prospective tests of the
relationship between AC effect size and LST need to be undertaken and in designing these
it would be useful to collect data at a range of times around the 13.5 h maximum so that
the exact shape of the peak can be found. It may also be important to collect AC data at a
wide range of latitudes to see if AC effect size is related to the declination of the zenith at
the site of the trials. Evidence of a maximum in effect size versus latitude would suggest
that a limited region of the sky, bracketed in both RA and declination, were responsible for
modulating anomalous cognition performance.
Acknowledgments
First, I would like to express my deep appreciation to the many laboratories and individual
researchers who generously provided their data for this analysis. Some even provided
data from work in progress.
The manuscript has seen many iterations and has been significantly improved in content
and in form. The contributions of Dr. Edwin C. MayCSL, Professor Jessica Utts
University of California at Davis, Professor Peter SturrockStanford University and Dr.
Richard Broughton - Institute for Parapsychology are deeply appreciated. This work
could not have proceeded without their support and counsel.
Apparent Association between anomalous cognition effect size and sidereal time.
Published in The Journal of Scientific Exploration, Vol, 11, No. 2, 1997.
Page 17
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... Por añadidura, la cuestión se complica por la coincidencia aproximadamente a las 13 horas TSL del rendimiento óptimo en AC (Spottiswoode, 1997a) y un gran incremento del valor de la correlación negativa entre los resultados de AC y las fluctuaciones geomagnéticas terrestres (Spottiswoode, 1997b). ...
... A fin de detectar una posible mayor capacidad precognitiva en la detección por las aves de los bruscos y molestos sonidos durante el corto período de mayor éxito encontrado por Spottiswoode (1997a) A partir de 1 minuto antes del final del periodo de acomodación de 20 minutos, y durante toda la prueba, cada sujeto era filmado a 25 imágenes por segundo con videocámara (la misma utilizada en el estudio anterior). ...
... Por otra parte, si finalmente se demuestra que existe dicha señal, no tendría por qué ser de la misma naturaleza que la cognición anómala, no estando por tanto ambas sujetas a las mismas reglas. Por ejemplo, la cognición anómala y la presunta señal podrían no disminuir con la distancia, mientras que esta última parece ser al menos parcialmente bloqueada por la masa de la Tierra (Spottiswoode, 1997a), lo que no parece afectar a la cognición anómala. ...
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Presentaré en forma resumida los resultados obtenidos en dos experimentos en que se exploró la capacidad precognitiva a corto plazo (no más de nueve segundos) de dos pequeñas aves estrildinas (la Isabelita de Japón y el Mandarín Listado) (Alvarez, 2010, en prensa). Dado que la predación es una de las más importantes fuerzas selectivas, habiendo modelado en el curso de la evolución multitud de características morfológicas, fisiológicas y de comportamiento de los animales, la respuesta de alarma ante la presencia de un predador parece a primera vista una variable interesante a explorar cuando se trata de detectar la capacidad precognitiva de un animal presa. Además, el comportamiento de alarma es indefectiblemente producido en presencia del peligro, y es lo suficientemente conspicuo como para ser registrado y cuantificado de forma fiable (Alvarez et al., 1976, 2006; Alvarez, 1993; Alvarez y Sánchez, 2003). Como en el primero de estos experimentos se trató tan solo de detectar la capacidad precognitiva, y en el segundo se intentó relacionarla con la hora sideral, resumiré la información disponible en los dos apartados.
... Although the feature of higher effect size at 13.5 ± 1 h Lst was evident, the application of the running-wave power spectrum analysis (that can potentially differentiate real from spurious Lst effects, sturrock, 2004) did not produce significant evidence of an Lst effect. the question is complicated by the coincidence at approximately 13 h Lst of the enhanced Ac performance (spottiswoode, 1997a) and a large increase in the magnitude of the negative correlation between Ac performance and geomagnetic fluctuations (spottiswoode, 1997b). the ability for short-term precognition toward the presentation of a disturbing visual stimulus (a video clip of a crawling snake) has been detected in the bengalese finch, Lonchura striata (Alvarez, in press). ...
... on the other hand, this signal, if finally demonstrated to exist, does not have to be of the same nature as Ac, and therefore may not be subject to the same rules. For instance, both Ac performance and the presumed signal may not decrease with distance, while the latter appears to be at least partially blocked by the earth (spottiswoode, 1997a), but the former is not. ...
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The ability for short-term precognition in relation to local sidereal time (LST) was explored in 25 adult female zebra finches Taeniopygia guttata. To that end I tested the anticipatory response of the subjects to a startle sound stimulus in the 2-hour segments at 13.5 ± 1 h LST, a period found by Spottiswoode (1997a) to correlate with maximum success in the remote viewing and ganzfeld responses of humans, and, as a control, at 18 ± 1 h LST, a period of low effect size in Spottiswoode’s report. Birds were put individually in a testing cage, and after an accustoming period of 20 min during each session, 10 randomly ordered “stimuli” were presented at 3 min intervals: 5 audio startle stimuli and 5 control moments of silence. Subjects were filmed and, in a double-blind fashion, the frequency of their behavior (change of gaze direction and locomotion) was registered 0-6 seconds immediately before stimulus presentation and before the control for each bird. The results showed that at 13.5 ± 1 h LST, during the 0-6 seconds pre-stimulation period, the frequency of change of gaze direction was significantly higher and that of locomotion was significantly lower than their frequencies during the control periods. At 18 ± 1 h LST the trend was the same, although the difference pre-stimulation vs. control of gaze direction was slight and nonsignificant, and that of locomotion was only marginally significant.
... here is an example of a seemingly ineffable, beautiful and mysterious, but utilitarian fact about gaia. Approximately 32 years before james Spottiswoode discovered the local Sidereal Time effect 18 and geomagnetic effect on parapsycho- logical experiments, in childhood i occasionally noticed there was a curious, daily 90-minute period. Particularly in the summer as i would go walk-about in my town, my intuition during those times was especially acute. ...
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We live by the grace of our planet. Through lenses including Gaian consciousness, recent laws and local or personal sketches in economics and natural history, the author explores how consciousness and development have interacted from a personal level to a scalable, planetary one. Humankind’s most effective actions in sustainability, consciousness and development could be distilled into compassionate living, connected to Earth in all our policies. Billions of people are examples in awareness of their own microcosm, each in their own environment. But, to be successful in consciousness or development, one’s personal experiences must be made accessible and shared. This is because humankind’s collective voice, expressed in individual, daily choices will change the world or make it the same. In the aggregation of our individual experiences and compassion we’d find our salvation in sustainability by our own hands.
... In an examination of 3,325 Roney-Dougal, Ryan and Luke Geomagnetic Activity and Psi: Literature Review and Theoretical Model free response receptive psi trials, Sturrock and Spottiswoode (2007) found exactly this, the main effect being a drop in psi effect size from late May to early July. Earlier, in his previous meta-analysis, Spottiswoode (1997a) had reported a relationship between receptive psi and local sidereal time (LST). LST is time measured relative to the stars: thus at the September equinox, local clock time and LST coincide, then LST recesses by approximately 4 minutes each day, until again coinciding with local time on the equinox of the September of the following year. ...
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... In an examination of 3,325 Roney-Dougal, Ryan and Luke Geomagnetic Activity and Psi: Literature Review and Theoretical Model free response receptive psi trials, Sturrock and Spottiswoode (2007) found exactly this, the main effect being a drop in psi effect size from late May to early July. Earlier, in his previous meta-analysis, Spottiswoode (1997a) had reported a relationship between receptive psi and local sidereal time (LST). LST is time measured relative to the stars: thus at the September equinox, local clock time and LST coincide, then LST recesses by approximately 4 minutes each day, until again coinciding with local time on the equinox of the September of the following year. ...
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... We avoided running the sessions around 18.50 ± 4hs (local sidereal time), as recommended by the researchers. This recommendation was based on a series of studies published by Spottiswoode (1997). ...
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... Recently, however, there has been excitement about five physical variables that may, after all, be importantly implicated in psi interactions. There are indications that the momentary geomagnetic field (the earth's electromagnetic atmosphere), the local sidereal time (the time at which a particular part of the sky is directly overhead), the gradient of Shannon entropy (changes in level of information content) inherent in a target (for receptive psi [ESP] tasks), the quality of randomness of a target (for active psi [PK] tasks), and, possibly, other target features (i.e., numbers, letters, and words vs. colors, shapes, and textures, for receptive psi) may influence psi performance (see Braud, 1990Braud, -1991May, Spottiswoode, & James, 1994;Persinger, 1985;Spottiswoode, 1997aSpottiswoode, , 1997b. It remains to be seen if these intriguing findings can be confirmed in additional, careful research studies by other investigators (in an effort to assess possible experimenter effects), if the results are directly related to these physical factors or are mediated or confounded by the latter's influences upon physiological or psychological conditions of the research participants, or if-in the case of randomness-physical or psychological (perceived) randomness is most important. ...
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Response to Hansen, Utts and Markwick: statistical and methodological problems of the PEAR remote viewing (sic) experiments
  • Y H Dobins
  • B J Dunne
  • R G Jahn
  • R D Nelson
Dobins, Y.H., Dunne, B.J., Jahn, R.G. and Nelson, R. D. (1992) Response to Hansen, Utts and Markwick: statistical and methodological problems of the PEAR remote viewing (sic) experiments. Journal of Parapsychology, 56, 115-146.
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