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 Post subject: New study will freak your shiitake OUT!
PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2010 6:14 pm 
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A new study is being published in The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. This study purports to show that some psychic phenomena might, in fact, be real. The experiment dealt with an effect called priming. Here's how it works:

I sit subjects down in front of a computer. I tell them they'll see a series of pictures and they need to categorize each one as positive or negative as quickly as they can. Press this button if you think it's a positive thing and this other button if you think it's a negative thing, I guess.

If I flash a word on the screen before I show them the picture—the word is flashed so quickly they might not even be aware of what word it is—that can prime them to categorize the picture more quickly. So, when subjects see the word "happy," say, on the screen and are then shown a picture of a kitten, they categorize the kitten picture as positive more quickly than subjects who see the kitten picture without having seen the "priming" word. (And if I "prime" you with a "negative" word, it'll take you longer to decide the kitten belongs in the positive category.)

Here's where it gets freaky.

In this new study, this guy from Cornell says that subjects can be primed—and make their category decisions more quickly—if they see a priming word after they make their category decision. You will categorize the kitten picture as positive more quickly, he says, if you subsequently were shown a "positive" word. Your decision appears to have been influenced by something that was going to happen.

My mind is all itchy now and wants to throw up a little.

Several caveats:
* I haven't read the study and would probably have nothing interesting to add even if I had.
* The study has not been replicated. (Yet?)
* The study has not yet been scrutinized by the scientific community at large.
* The reported effect is supposedly consistent, but very small.
* I have no idea what to make of this.

Read (slightly) more here.

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 Post subject: Re: New study will freak your shiitake OUT!
PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2010 6:40 pm 
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FootFace wrote:
* The study has not been replicated. (Yet?)
* The study has not yet been scrutinized by the scientific community at large.


Up next:
divination sticks - can they really find water?
buttercups - if your chin glows yellow it means you like butter

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 Post subject: Re: New study will freak your shiitake OUT!
PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2010 6:45 pm 
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Ghost Lips wrote:
buttercups - if your chin glows yellow it means you like butter



This made me pee myself!

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 Post subject: Re: New study will freak your shiitake OUT!
PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2010 6:47 pm 
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Yeah, well, I'm the biggest skeptic there is. But this is an actual peer-reviewed study, not just some guy saying crystals can heal your aura's chakras because his spirit animal told his shaman so.

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 Post subject: Re: New study will freak your shiitake OUT!
PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2010 6:52 pm 
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maybe they're just categorizing them faster because they aren't being distracted by the pre-image primer. even if it's only there for a small fraction of a second, it's still something your brain has to process before you can move on to the kitten. and because kittens are pretty universally perceived as positive, i'd give this more credit if they could prove that after-the-fact "priming" was taking place when they flashed a negative word after the positive image.

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 Post subject: Re: New study will freak your shiitake OUT!
PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2010 6:53 pm 
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acr wrote:
maybe they're just categorizing them faster because they aren't being distracted by the pre-image primer. even if it's only there for a small fraction of a second, it's still something your brain has to process before you can move on to the kitten. and because kittens are pretty universally perceived as positive, i'd give this more credit if they could prove that after-the-fact "priming" was taking place when they flashed a negative word after the positive image.


I'm sure they did that, too.

(And priming doesn't slow you down. It, well, primes you.)

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 Post subject: Re: New study will freak your shiitake OUT!
PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2010 6:53 pm 
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I didn't read the article, but from what you're describing, I was a research assistant for a Cognitive Psychologist who did experiments very similar to this. Priming was involved and pictures were flashed across the computer screen... it was interesting work. I'm going to show her this and see what she says! Thanks, FF!


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 Post subject: Re: New study will freak your shiitake OUT!
PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2010 6:54 pm 
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acr wrote:
maybe they're just categorizing them faster because they aren't being distracted by the pre-image primer. even if it's only there for a small fraction of a second, it's still something your brain has to process before you can move on to the kitten.


I'm assuming they also ran the group through some images with no words at all though.

Read the comments, Face. For once. There are some good points that are brought up.


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 Post subject: Re: New study will freak your shiitake OUT!
PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2010 6:55 pm 
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mel c wrote:
Read the comments, Face. For once. There are some good points that are brought up.


Read the comments where?

I will!

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 Post subject: Re: New study will freak your shiitake OUT!
PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2010 6:57 pm 
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FootFace wrote:
Read the comments where?


On the blog you linked.


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 Post subject: Re: New study will freak your shiitake OUT!
PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2010 7:00 pm 
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mel c wrote:
FootFace wrote:
Read the comments where?


On the blog you linked.


Oh that place! Yeah, I read some of them yesterday. And now here I go to read more.

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 Post subject: Re: New study will freak your shiitake OUT!
PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2010 7:00 pm 
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FootFace wrote:
Yeah, well, I'm the biggest skeptic there is. But this is an actual peer-reviewed study, not just some guy saying crystals can heal your aura's chakras because his spirit animal told his shaman so.

I knew you were going to say that

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 Post subject: Re: New study will freak your shiitake OUT!
PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2010 7:01 pm 
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I can't read the comments because my brain checks out when people mention statistics. Therefore, I accept this as truth and fact.

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 Post subject: Re: New study will freak your shiitake OUT!
PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2010 7:05 pm 
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As soon as you said "Cornell", I knew who the author would be. I was on the math team (and in the math club!) with his son. His son, who was a genius. Like, top-math-student-in-the-world genius.

I occasionally heard about his father's research. I remember that he was working with Ganzfeld experiments at the time, and I think that he performed a meta-analysis that showed significant results.

I remain skeptical.

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 Post subject: Re: New study will freak your shiitake OUT!
PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2010 7:06 pm 
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just mumbles wrote:
As soon as you said "Cornell", I knew who the author would be. I was on the math team (and in the math club!) with his son. His son, who was a genius. Like, top-math-student-in-the-world genius.

I occasionally heard about his father's research. I remember that he was working with Ganzfeld experiments at the time, and I think that he performed a meta-analysis that showed significant results.

I remain skeptical.


Me too! But it's still spooking me!

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 Post subject: Re: New study will freak your shiitake OUT!
PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2010 7:45 pm 
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Have James Randi test it or it didn't happen.

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 Post subject: Re: New study will freak your shiitake OUT!
PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2010 7:49 pm 
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RandiJM wrote:
Ghost Lips wrote:
buttercups - if your chin glows yellow it means you like butter



This made me pee myself!


I am in a giggle fit over here!

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 Post subject: Re: New study will freak your shiitake OUT!
PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2010 7:51 pm 
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After reading about the study, it seems like the lack of a control group is a pretty big omission.

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 Post subject: Re: New study will freak your shiitake OUT!
PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2010 7:53 pm 
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FootFace wrote:
Yeah, well, I'm the biggest skeptic there is. But this is an actual peer-reviewed study, not just some guy saying crystals can heal your aura's chakras because his spirit animal told his shaman so.


You just described 47% of the California economy.

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 Post subject: Re: New study will freak your shiitake OUT!
PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2010 8:25 pm 
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paprikapapaya wrote:
RandiJM wrote:
Ghost Lips wrote:
buttercups - if your chin glows yellow it means you like butter



This made me pee myself!


I am in a giggle fit over here!


It's your chin that's supposed to turn yellow, not your crotch.

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 Post subject: Re: New study will freak your shiitake OUT!
PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2010 8:37 pm 
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I would think that images, the pic and the word, could be flashed quickly enough that your brain would process them pretty much simultaneously, faster than your reaction time to hit a button anyway. Just a theory.

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