exceptional experiences 2

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  • 8/2/2019 Exceptional Experiences 2


    Psychic Healing, Mediumship and Near Death

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    Experiences that do not seem to fit in ournormal day-to-day schema

    Experiences that have a lasting effect onindividuals

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    Origins pre-date most medical techniquesand are found in every culture in the world

    Administered either by

    Laying on of hands Distant Healing

    Types include Therapeutic Touch



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    Wirth (1990)

    Patients with wounds were treated either with TT orno treatment. The patients didnt know which

    condition they were in (kept eyes shut so couldnt seewhether they were receiving TT or not).

    Results showed that the patients who received TThealed faster

    Wirth and Cha (2001) miracle study Got Christian strangers to pray for infertile women.

    The women who were prayed for were 2x as likely toget pregnant.

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    Wirth has not been able to replicate his ownresearch

    He will not respond to other psychologists who

    try to contact him to discuss the research(Solving 05) A co-author of the second study has withdrawn

    his name from the study Wirth has since been convicted of a 5 year prison

    sentence for Fraud Cha has been accused of plagiarism from

    another journal.

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    Look at the research by Sicher.

    What factors improve the validity of this study?

    Do you have any concerns about the study?

    Now look at the research by Abbott

    What conclusions would you draw from this study

    It seems the two studies dont agree, whatconclusions can we draw from this (keep inmind Occams Razor!)

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    Randomised, double-blind test of the effectof DH (distance healing) on AIDS patients.

    Initial study 10 AIDS patients in treatmentand 10 in control group.

    Healers were instructed to "direct anintention for health and well-being" towards

    participants in treatment group. DV life expectancy. 4 patients in control

    group died, none in treatment group.

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    Follow-up study used 40 AIDS patients. "At 6 months, a blind medical chart review found

    that treatment subjects acquired significantly

    fewer new AIDS-defining illnesses, had lowerillness severity, and required significantly fewerdoctor visits, fewer hospitalizations, and fewerdays of hospitalization

    BUT original plan was to use mortality rates this was changed when only one patient died.

    Sicher analysed data after the completion of thestudy to determine who had which symptoms.

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    What controls make this research convincing? What problems remain, which leave it open

    to claims of pseudoscience?

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    What does Psychic Healing Involve? Describe and evaluate one study that

    examines psychic healing To what extent does research evidence

    substantiate the view that belief in psychichealing is central to its effectiveness?

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    Randi on his OOBE: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1NwKkbd2e-c

    NDE research: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-DkFGWMFfRU http://www.skeptiko.com/sam-parnia-claims-near-death-


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    Dorothy: I couldn't believe it, but I knew, that I was dying. Iwas on the NE corner of the ceiling and adjacent to me onthe NW corner of the ceiling, was a male presence who was

    "pulling" me with some kind of rope or cord that wasconnected to me, and he was telling me, "It's time to go, it'stime to leave this world" and I told him "No! I can't leave myMom, my Dad, Melvin Calvin Pete Marylou and Dolores.

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    6-12% of Cardiac arrests result in NDEs What are the common themes

    Intense emotion OOB

    Move towards light

    Encounters with dead loved ones Life review

    Decision to return to their body

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    Evidence for it being spiritual

    Case studies: Clark94 Maria

    NDE in which she saw a shoe in the operatingtheatre which was out of view (i.e. On a very highshelf) nurse later investigated and found a shoe.

    What problems do you think we will have with this

    case study?

    Look at the other evidence for cause

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    Wendy describes her earliest out of bodyexperience as taking place at home when shewas 2 or 3 years old. She had cut her foot badlyplaying outside, and her mother was treating the

    cut and debris in her foot. Wendys memory is ofbeing sat on the kitchen counter and thensuddenly viewing herself, her mother, and thewhole scene from the other side of the room.

    She recalls making a conscious decision to goback into her body.

    What are the alternative explanations for Wendysstory

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    15-20% of people will have one in their life-time (Blackmore)

    How could we design an experiment to testwhether people who have OOBs perceivethings beyond the range of their senses?

    A famous case study: http://www.realitysandwich.com/flying_tonight

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    In September 2008 it was announced that 25 UKand US hospitals will examine near-deathstudies in 1,500 heart attack patient-survivors.

    The three-year study, coordinated by Dr. SamParnia a Southampton University, hopes todetermine if people without heartbeat or brainactivity can identify pictures placed on a shelf

    above their beds. So far Parnias view is that NDEs are likely to be


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    REM state-It is suggested that the extreme stresscaused by a life threatening situation triggers brainstates similar to REM sleep and that part of the near

    death experience is a state similar to dreamingwhile awake

    Lucid dreaming-Lucid Dreaming occurs when theindividual becomes lucid and realizes they are in adream. Often these states are so realistic as to bebarely distinguishable from reality, even includingthe ability to feel very realistic texture

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    Ehrsson (07) Read through the study:


    What conclusions can be drawn fromEhrssons research?

    What might this suggest about the causes of

    out-of-body experiences? Could this relate to phantom limb

    experiences (i.e. An inverse?)

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    Individual Differences -OBEs reported more by

    Fantasy Proneness (Gow)

    Easily hypnotisable (Gow) Believers in paranormal (Irwin)


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    They are actually having a spiritual experience

    Physiological Some problem with the area of the brain that

    controls our sense of being in our own body

    Temporal lobe stimulation (Blanke)


    They expect it so it happens (Roe Hindus/Christians)

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    What is the difference between NDE andOOB?

    What is an experimenters greatest problemin researching this area? Explain your answermaking reference to research to back up yourclaim

    Discuss the statement near deathexperiences are real psychic phenomena.

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    Where an individual sets themselves up as aintermediately between the living and the

    dead. They may allow the dead to takepossession of them or they may simply beable to communicate with the dead.

    Early examples Witch of Endor whoconjured up Samuel for king Saul

    30% of Americans believe and 10% of Britsregularly visit a medium.


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    Schwartz (2001) tested 5 mediums with two40+ female sitters who were unknown tomediums and had experiences a number of

    deaths recently. The women sat in other roomsand could only say yes or no. The women then

    judged the accuracy of the statements. Results: 83% and 77% accuracy. When the same

    statements were given to undergraduates to seeif they applied to them they were only rated 36%

    What are the problems with this research?

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    Barum Effect French study

    Cold Reading Do you think they would have done as well if

    rather than hearing the women saying yes or nothey saw a light come on?

    They knew the women were over 40 and had lostsomeone so we would expect the material to beless relevant to undergraduates.

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    With a partner draw up 5 statements that arefairly general and complementary. Over lunch

    pick 5 people and ask them to rate how mucheach statement applies to them.

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    Wiseman and OKeefe

    Read through this research

    How did they control for the cold reading effect? How did they control for the Barum effect?

    Pick 4 evaluative issues that can be appliedsomewhere in all of this material andcomplete the bubbles!

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    Wirth Cha

    Sicher Abbot Ehrrson (pick one of the others too) Swartz Wiseman and OKeefe