Pseudoscience - The “experimenter effect” in ESP The...

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Pseudoscience: Prevalence and Characteristics 13:53 Pseudoscience: Prevalence and Characteristics PSEUDOCIENCES: disciplines that look scientific but aren’t; possess superficial appearance of science but lack its substance Astrology Scientology Parapsychology (study of ESP and psychokinesis) UFOlogy Phrenology (study of bumps on head and their effect on personality) Polygraphy (lie detection) Graphology (handwriting analysis) Palmistry (reading palms) Subliminal persuasion Recovered memory therapy Common Characteristics: Are not self-correcting (e.g. astrology); tend to remain stagnant over time Seek confirmation rather than refutation o “the essence of science is bending over backward to prove oneself wrong” (Feynman) Overuse “ad hoc” hypotheses (loopholes) that immunize claims from falsification
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Unformatted text preview: The “experimenter effect” in ESP The presence of skeptical experimenters affect the ‘psychic’ – renders the psychic untestable Freud’s wish-fulfillment theory of dreams All dreams are unconscious fulfillments of some desire Tend to rely on anecdotes rather than controlled evidence (e.g., alien abduction reports) “the plural of anecdote is not fact” who knows if the anecdote is representative of the majority? Lack “connectivity” with other scientific disciplines (e.g., astrology) Lack of replicability (e.g., ESP) None of these features by itself guarantees the presence of a pseudoscience> But when several of these features are present, be skeptical....
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This note was uploaded on 02/15/2012 for the course PSYCH 110 taught by Professor Marino during the Spring '11 term at Emory.

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