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Data Collection

Anomalous cognition (a.k.a., extrasensory perception, remote viewing) is defined as the perception and cognition of information that emerges from a distant point in space-time, but which is blocked from the usual sensory systems by distance, shielding, or time. We separate the protocols into to phases: How to collect the data, and how to analyze that data. A paper describing these protocol features can be found in May, E. C., Marwaha, S. B., & Chaganti, V. (2011). Anomalous cognition: Two protocols for data collection and analyses. Journal of Society for Psychical Research, 905, 191-210. This paper is summarized below and can be downloaded from the Library. Please visit the library to read the full paper.

In laboratory studies, there are two collection methods (so far) that have proved successful. Regardless of the particulars of a collection methodology, to be a valid laboratory study it must adhere to two inviolate conditions:

  1. The target stimulus must be chosen randomly.

  2. In the session, the participant, monitor and the future analyst must be blind (that is not aware) to the intended target stimulus.

Target Stimuli Requirements
For laboratory studies, the primary considerations for stimuli construction include subsets that are as different from one another (technically called orthogonal) as possible to aid in the proper analyses of such studies. (See the section below on Analyses.) It is especially difficult to do this qualitatively by visual inspection of candidate stimuli.
The ideal technique involves the application of fuzzy set mathematics. The details of this approach may be found in May, E. C., Faith, L. V., Blackman, M., Bourgeois, B., Kerr, N., & L. Woods (2012). A target pool and data base for anomalous cognition experiments. Journal of Society for Psychical Research, 76.2(907), 94-102. This paper is also available in the Library.
Two Collection Methods
Both methods are what are called free-response; that is, the percipient can respond to the target stimulus in any way at all, as opposed to a forced-choice situation such as the color of a randomly chosen playing card--Red or Black. The two methods in common use are:
1. An interview method by a monitor, who is also blind to the target stimulus, guides, but does not lead the percipient. The monitor encourages the percipient to write and draw his/her experience. Here is an example and its associated target stimulus;

2. The stimulus / response method has is origin in psychological counseling; that is, a therapist conducts  a word association test. In such a test, a word is given, for example 'tall,' and the client is asked to        respond quickly without thinking, for example 'short.' After many such words, the therapist starts asking  key words associated to the client's real problem. This enables the client to reveal hidden emotions. 

So too in the application in data collection, except there is a single key word 'TARGET,' and the percipient is asked to respond without thinking. This is carried out because thinking or conscious cognitive reasoning cannot, by the definition of the blinding conditions, lead to the correct answer. After a quick response, the monitor calls a 'BREAK' and engages the percipient in casual conversation not related to the collection session. This might last a few seconds or even minutes. Then the TARGET / BREAK couplet continues.

Here is an example of this method of data collection. The term EOS stands for End o Session.

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