Is Precognition Real? Positive Replications of Daryl Bem's Controversial Findings

Crystal Ball

I've previously mentioned the odd way in which most of the science press has covered the controversial 'feeling the future' experiments by Daryl Bem of Cornell University - in that a number of news stories have since been posted pointing out the failed replications of Bem's experiment, but very little has been said about positive replications. So, in the interests of balancing things up, here's a list of the positive replications courtesy of Daily Grail reader John Flynne:

There are, in fact - and this seems not to be widely known - quite a few positive replications of Bem's research. I was hoping you could bring these replications to light, so that public audiences interested in this matter will get all the facts regarding the issue of replicating Bem (2011), and recognize the bias in the view propagated by many pseudoskeptical journalists. If this information was more widely available, the "climate" surrounding the Bem controversy would, perhaps, be a bit different.

Here is a list of several positive Bem replications - these are not all extant conceptually similar "implicit precognition" experiments (which Dean Radin says are under meta-analytic review, presently), but only those studies that specifically replicate the experimental paradigms in Bem (2011):

  • Batthyany, A. (2010). Retrocausal Habituation and Induction of Boredom: A Successful Replication of Bem (2010; Studies 5 and 7). Social Science Research Network, Working Paper Series.

 (Link)
  • Franklin, M. S., & Schooler, J. W. (2011). Using retrocausal practice effects to predict online roulette spins. A talk presented at the Society for Experimental Social Psychology, Washington D.C., U.S.A., October, 2011.

 (Link)
  • Franklin, M. S., & Schooler, J. W. (2011). Using retrocausal practice effects to predict random binary events in an applied setting. A talk presented at Towards a Science of Consciousness, Stockholm, Sweden, May, 2011. {more recently: Franklin, M., and Schooler, J. (2012). Using retrocausal practice effects to predict random binary events in an applied setting. Toward a Science of Consciousness, Tucson X}.
  • Tressoldi, P. E., Masserdotti, F., & Marana C. (2012). Feeling the future: an exact replication of the Retroactive Facilitation of Recall II and Retroactive Priming experiments with Italian participants, Universita di Padova, Italy
  • Subbotsky, E. (2012). Sensing the future: The Non-standard observer effect on an ESP task. Lancaster University, UK
  • Bijl, A. & Bierman, D. (2013). Retroactive training of rational v.s. intuitive thinkers. Proceedings of the 56th Annual Convention of the Parapsychological Association. (Link)
  • Parker, A., & Sjödén, B. (2010). Do some of us habituate to future emotional events? Journal of Parapsychology, 74, 99–115.

 (Link)
  • Savva, L., Child, R. & Smith, M. D. (2004). The Precognitive Habituation Effect: An Adaptation Using Spider Stimuli. The Parapsychological Association Convention 2004, pp. 223 – 229. (Link)

{Regarding Savva (2004): In 2003, Bem presented preliminary data for this paradigm that would later be subsumed in his now infamously controversial 2011 publication, under "Experiment 5". The latter citation above by Savva et al. was a replication of this.}

There are several important findings in some these studies (besides the fact that they are positive). Franklin and Schooler (especially the latter) are two distinguished, mainstream scientists; in their research, they demonstrate an ability to utilize the precognitive habituation effect in "real world" events. Subbotsky found evidence of a psi-mediated experimenter effect. In Parker (2010), only participants who showed a standard habituation effect showed psi-mediated precognitive habituation. The correlation between the two was highly significant.

Thanks John!

Update: Andreas Muller has sent in links to abstracts and summaries for some of the papers, which I've added above. Thanks Andreas.

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