The Sciences

Why Debunking ESP Can Be Interesting

The LoomBy Carl ZimmerAug 29, 2012 2:26 PM


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Last year, a Cornell University psychologist named Daryl Bem published a study which he claimed showed that events in the future can influence our minds at the present. I wrote about the study in an essay for the New York Times on the workings of science--how science relies on replication to move forward, and how scientists often struggle to make this happen. When other scientists replicated Bem's experiments, they failed to get his results. But they found it difficult to get their results published in prominent journals, which frown on replication studies. Over at Science-Based Medicine, Steve Novella writes about a newly published replication study appearing in the same journal where Bem's original research was published. Once again, the scientists failed to get Bem's results. That the future does not affect the present is not exactly news, but Novella's post is still very much worth reading, because he takes this moment as an opportunity to talk about the reason that studies like Bem's turn out the way they do in the first place, and how scientists can design experiments better in the future. Check it out.

[Image: Photo by meeni2010 via Creative Commons]

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