Saturday, January 5, 2008

ESP vs. fMRI

Two Harvard psychologists, Samuel Moulton and John Lindsley, have a study in the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience which provides yet more evidence against extra-sensory perception. Moulton and Lindsley reasoned that if psi exists it must occur in the brain and thus neuroimaging should be able to detect it. Using several modalities aimed at detecting the existence of different psi abilities (clairvoyance, telepathy and precognition) the authors conclude that, since "the brains of our participants... reacted to psi and non-psi stimuli in a statistically indistinguishable manner", the study provides "the strongest evidence yet obtained against the existence of paranormal mental phenomena".

This probably goes without saying, but I sincerely doubt any true believers will be convinced by this evidence. The contentious issue will no doubt be whether psi abilities would have to be a product of the brain - cue dualist nonsense.

(See also: ScienceDaily's report, Deric Bownds's Mindblog and Scienceblog).

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