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Are Cornell Students Psychic?

In a series of experiments, Cornell psychology professor? Daryl Bem has demonstrated “numerous ‘retroactive’ psi effects – that is, phenomena that are inexplicable according to current scientific knowledge” among hundreds of Cornell students. As the BPS Research Digest summarizes: “Take priming, the effect whereby a subliminal (i.e. too fast for conscious detection) presentation of a word or concept speeds subsequent reaction times for recognition of a related stimulus. Bem turned this around by having participants categorize pictures as negative or positive and then presenting them subliminally with a negative or positive word. That is, the primes came afterwards. Students were quicker, by an average of 16.5ms, to categorize negative pictures as negative when they were followed by a negative subliminal word (e.g. ‘threatening’), almost as if that word were acting as a prime working backwards in time.” Bern suggests the explanation may lie in quantum effects: “Those who follow contemporary developments in modern physics … will be aware that several features of quantum phenomena are themselves incompatible with our everyday conception of physical reality,” Bern writes. “Many psi researchers see sufficiently compelling parallels between these phenomena and characteristics of psi to warrant considering them as potential candidates for theories of psi.” [%comments]