The Parapsychological Association is pleased to announce that the awardee of this year's Robert L. Morris Student Travel Fund grant is Bruno A. Silva. Silva is a Ph.D. student pursuing a degree in Psychology at the Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences of the University of Porto, Portugal. He is also a Science and Technology management fellow and his research interests are exceptional experiences and beliefs, attachment, social representations and complementary and alternative medicine.
At the 59th Annual Convention of the Parapsychological Association, Bruno will be presenting a research brief and a poster analyzing the impact of Daryl Bem's Feeling the future: Experimental evidence for anomalous retroactive influences on cognition and affect (2011) on scientific literature.
162 texts citing Bem´s article were identified from the Elsevier Scopus database from the years 2011 to 2015. Aiming to complement more in-depth approaches to the controversies in parapsychology, he and co-author Gabrielle Poeschl analyzed the summaries of these texts using the Iramuteq program for textual data. Their analysis extracted four classes of vocabulary suggesting that the impact can be grouped in four different areas: 1) The role of replication in psychology research; 2) Bayesian statistical inference; 3) Experimental studies in anomalous experiences and 4) Quantum phenomena and theories.
The Replication vocabulary class is characterized by a vocabulary that addresses the role of replication in psychology research. The lack of replication of some studies, along with questionable research practices, may have contributed to a crisis of credibility regarding psychological science. The Bayesian class points mainly to concepts related with the Bayesian approach. The text segments mainly reflected the perceived merits of this approach when compared with more traditional inferential statistics, namely statistics relying on p-values. The Experimental studies in anomalous experiences class includes frequent terms related to experimental studies and psi phenomena (e.g. remote viewing, precognition, prestimulus), but also terms related to specific methodologies (e.g. non-intentional precognition task, Go/NoGo task) and theory (PMIR – psi-mediated instrumental response). The citation of Bem´s article (2011) is applied in a context of process-oriented research on anomalous experiences (experimental work, designed to find evidence about the characteristics of processes that underlie anomalous experiences), by opposition to a proof-oriented research. Finally, the quantum phenomena and theories set of terms suggests that quantum theories of brain/consciousness function may leave the door open to the possibility of the existence of psi phenomena.
Silva and Poeschl found that the Replication and Bayesian classes were more represented in psychology literature, confirming their hypothesis that psychology sources would have a more critical position. Data still suggest that the replication path is currently the one which is mainly followed in the attempt to reach closure for this controversy.
The Parapsychological Association established the Robert L. Morris Student Travel Fund in 2005 after receiving a generous donation from Joanna Morris in a memorial of her late husband, who held the Koestler Chair of Parapsychology from 1985 to 2004. The PA Board of Directors considered how best to use this donation and believed that Bob Morris would have most liked for the funds to be used to encourage student participation in the PA.
Your continued support will extend the life of this fund. If you would like to make a contribution, please visit our Support Page and note the "Student Travel Fund" when sending your donation.
Bem, D. J. (2011). Feeling the future: experimental evidence for anomalous retroactive influences on cognition and affect. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 100(3), 407-425.