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Old 20th August 2003, 08:57 AM   #1
Hogan's Hero
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Ouija

The ouiji Museum.......

http://www.museumoftalkingboards.com/gal1.html

The Magic Marvel board looks liek it came form McDonalds
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Old 20th August 2003, 09:04 AM   #2
Sundog
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Cool site!

I'm curious about Ouija boards, specifically, the standard explanation of how they work, the ideomotor effect.

Now, as I see it, when a Ouija board "says" something, it's either because one person is being dishonest or because of the ideomotor effect. But consider what's involved in the ideomotor effect! Apparently our subconscious minds decide on an answer and actually spell it out letter by letter without our conscious minds knowing about it at all. Does this strike anyone else as a completely spooky demonstration of how little control we really have over our minds?

Am I somehow misunderstanding the ideomotor effect?
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Old 20th August 2003, 09:20 AM   #3
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My mom has the 3rd one down on the page. No pointer thingie though. Really cool. I'd like to try it sometime. The first one I ever used was one that my cousin made out of a big piece of construction paper and a plastic cup cut in half with a plastic baggie rubber-banded over the top (so the spirits couldn't get out of course).
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Old 20th August 2003, 10:25 AM   #4
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The Ideomotor Effect can be interesting, but I wouldn't call it "spooky".

Itís loosely defined as physical movement as directed by the subconscious, or Id as described by Freud. Nervous ticks and the machinations of OCD can be attributed to it. Paranormally speaking, such things like dowsing or free/auto writing are also attributed to it; however, it is claimed that unseen ďforcesĒ direct the movement and/or the subconscious.

Iíve performed a ďparlor trickĒ in which I take a pendant of some kind and hang it from a string or chain in my hand. I then tell it to swing in a direction or a circle or whatever, and miraculously it obeys me. The viewer then says that I was moving it with my hand, but very slightly. And theyíre correct, I was; however, I then let them hold it and it still works. It doesnít matter, because most people so want to believe, they make it happen and then convince themselves subconsciously that they didnít move it.

The only thing ďspookyĒ about it is the gullibility of man.
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Old 20th August 2003, 10:28 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by BNiles
The Ideomotor Effect can be interesting, but I wouldn't call it "spooky".

Itís loosely defined as physical movement as directed by the subconscious, or Id as described by Freud. Nervous ticks and the machinations of OCD can be attributed to it. Paranormally speaking, such things like dowsing or free/auto writing are also attributed to it; however, it is claimed that unseen ďforcesĒ direct the movement and/or the subconscious.

The only thing ďspookyĒ about it is the gullibility of man.
Huh? You don't consider it spooky that this effect can apparently use your brain to construct a sentence and then spell it out, letter by letter?

It even borrows your eyes to see where the letters are.

That's DEFINITELY spooky to me. We're not talking about a twitch here and a twitch there; we're talking about premeditation on a pretty amazing level taking place completely below the level of conscious thought.

Edited to add: I mean "spooky" in the sense of "hair-raising", not in the sense of "paranormal".
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Old 20th August 2003, 11:32 AM   #6
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I know it's a jolly popular explanation of how ouija boards work, but it sounds a bit suspect to me, given the iffy and outdated nature of the popular notion of the 'subconscious'.

I wonder if we need the ideomotor effect to be any more complicated than the version involved in dowsing and pendulum-questioning. Wouldn't the default position be outright fraud in these cases? It certainly has been in my own experience with ouija boards.

Whenever I've done a ouija board with people I absolutely trust not to move it on purpose - even when all of us have really believed it can work (when I was a woo-woo teenager) - it hasn't moved at all, or just wanders a bit. Whenever I've been with people I feel a bit less sure about, we've made contact with Elvis and all sorts.

It's a tempting thing to apply the ideomotor effect to ouija boards, but I can't help but be, well, sceptical.
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Old 20th August 2003, 11:45 AM   #7
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Re: ouiji

Quote:
Originally posted by Hogan's Hero
http://www.museumoftalkingboards.com/gal1.html
Hmmm ... half of those boards have "Yes" in the upper-left corner and "No" in the upper-right, but the other half have them the other way around.

It must be confusing as hell to the Spirits.
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Old 20th August 2003, 11:54 AM   #8
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I am an idiot when it comes to Ouija Boards.

What was the purpose of them? Were they originally made to contact the spirits? If this is so, I wonder how many sales they had. I wouldn't imagine that enough people would buy into that crap back then to make it profitable.

How many here have used them and feel that there is something mysterious to them, and how many have used them and feel that it's a bunch of balony?

I've never seen one, other than in photos. I think it's a bunch of balony, for those who don't, why don't you?
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Old 20th August 2003, 12:10 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by Sundog
Cool site!

I'm curious about Ouija boards, specifically, the standard explanation of how they work, the ideomotor effect.

Now, as I see it, when a Ouija board "says" something, it's either because one person is being dishonest or because of the ideomotor effect. But consider what's involved in the ideomotor effect! Apparently our subconscious minds decide on an answer and actually spell it out letter by letter without our conscious minds knowing about it at all. Does this strike anyone else as a completely spooky demonstration of how little control we really have over our minds?

Am I somehow misunderstanding the ideomotor effect?
The easy way to debunk Ouija, and to prove it is the ideomotor effect, is to blind-fold the operators, while an observer writes down the messages..

Of course a die-hard believer will suggest the spirits are now speaking in ' tongues '.

Still won't explain why a blind-fold, on someone in this world, affects the speech patterns of someone in the ' other ' one...
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Old 20th August 2003, 12:17 PM   #10
BNiles
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Quote:
Originally posted by Sundog


Huh? You don't consider it spooky that this effect can apparently use your brain to construct a sentence and then spell it out, letter by letter?

It even borrows your eyes to see where the letters are.

That's DEFINITELY spooky to me. We're not talking about a twitch here and a twitch there; we're talking about premeditation on a pretty amazing level taking place completely below the level of conscious thought.

Edited to add: I mean "spooky" in the sense of "hair-raising", not in the sense of "paranormal".
Is it any different than multiple personalities? One doesn't know what the other is doing. I think this is a case of taking a small brain function and ascribing it to greater things.

One person says it's possible that I have a twitch coming from my subconscious, and another takes that ball and runs with it. In the case of the Ouiji board, everyone sits down with all of their idiosyncrasies and preconceived notions deeply ingrained in their brain. Once a question is asked, the person(s) with the strongest feelings about the answer starts to move the object and everyone else follows suit.

This is not very special. Don't you think about doing something before you do it? We all do. And everyone's 1st thought (though not always acted upon) is always from the subconscious. It is our most primal instinct. A gut reaction or feeling. Like swatting at a fly while having a conversation. We don't think about it, we just do it.
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Old 20th August 2003, 12:20 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by Diogenes


The easy way to debunk Ouija, and to prove it is the ideomotor effect, is to blind-fold the operators, while an observer writes down the messages..

Or pull their hat down over their eyes?

Don't miss my point here. I don't for a moment believe it's actually paranormal. I'm just marveling at the complexity of the ideomotor explanation. Consider the process necessary when a question is asked:

Subconscious constructs a plausible "answer" and forms it into a sentence.

Subconscious over an extended period of time does the following:

Think what the next letter in the "answer" is.

Look for that letter.

Override conscious control of the hands, moving the pointer stealthily - not obviously, notice - to the letter.

All of this is happening beneath our conscious awareness!

This is a truly incredible phenomenon, wouldn't you say? Or is something still wrong with my understanding of the ideomoter effect?
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Old 20th August 2003, 12:21 PM   #12
Sundog
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Quote:
Originally posted by BNiles


Is it any different than multiple personalities? One doesn't know what the other is doing. I think this is a case of taking a small brain function and ascribing it to greater things.

No - but that's rather spooky too, don't you think?
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Old 20th August 2003, 12:35 PM   #13
BNiles
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OK...its "SPOOKY "
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Old 20th August 2003, 12:38 PM   #14
Sundog
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Quote:
Originally posted by BNiles
OK...its "SPOOKY "


OK, excuse the word "spooky", it's bound to be a loaded word around here. Substitute "highly unsettling". I don't particularly like the idea of my brain having that much autonomy behind my back! (Excuse the bad joke...)
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Old 20th August 2003, 12:39 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by Sundog


Or pull their hat down over their eyes?



I didn't suspect that you suspected it was paranormal.. I apologize for the inference..

I just quoted you without looking for a deeper meaning, while doing my imitation of someone with profound information to pass on..
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Old 20th August 2003, 01:00 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally posted by Sundog




OK, excuse the word "spooky", it's bound to be a loaded word around here. Substitute "highly unsettling". I don't particularly like the idea of my brain having that much autonomy behind my back!
I agree that it can be unsettling. But at the same time, it is a much-needed function with just as much chance of being damaged or misinterpreted as any other brain function.

In the case of the Quiji, assuming no deception is present, it's usually a case of ignorance of what is happening and a wanting to believe. I would bet that most people, who have tried it, did so when they were young and havenít touched it since. This is because A.) They now realize what was happening, or B.) They convincingly scared themselves to a point of which they won't try it again. I can only hope there are more A's than B's.
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Old 20th August 2003, 01:08 PM   #17
Sundog
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Quote:
Originally posted by BNiles


In the case of the Quiji, assuming no deception is present, it's usually a case of ignorance of what is happening and a wanting to believe.
Hmm, interesting... so their conscious wish to believe translates into the subconscious performing this amazing sequence of acts, while the conscious mind "looks the other way."

Think about what this might mean when applied to very religious people. Who knows what paper moons their subconscious constructs to support their beliefs, from visions of angels to UFO's?

The mind is a very weird thing.
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Old 20th August 2003, 01:52 PM   #18
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Oh absolutely. Just look at people who display "Blind Faith" in the face of scientific data. Or people who have experienced traumatic events only to develop an acute loss of the memory or a replacement of the memory with something else. Like victims of child molestation who black out the event or claim that the boogieman attacked them or dismiss it as a childhood nightmare altogether.

It's the minds defense mechanism to hide reality until the conscious mind can rationally deal with it. Now obviously we have stepped well beyond Ideomotor Effect here, but you are correct, the brain is an amazing organ and the mind is capable of even stranger things.


SPOOKY
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Old 20th August 2003, 05:18 PM   #19
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Like I said before, this ideomotor explanation for ouija boards stems back to the Freudian heyday. I just don't think it's a convincing explanation for anything beyond the simple yes/no stuff any more.

What makes us think it's not simple deception?

Diogenes, your blindfold thing obviously demonstrates it's not spirits, but doesn't prove the complex ideomotor effect and all its corollaries as you claimed.

Seems to me us sceptics aren't being very sceptical about our favourite explanation.
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Old 20th August 2003, 08:35 PM   #20
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If Ouija boards were really all that effecatious for contacting the spirit world, why can't you just place the planchette on the board and sit back while the spirits moved it and spelled out words.

Why do so many things paranormal have to befacilitated by humans? At least Poltergeists can move stuff on their own...

Damn lazy spirits...
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Old 20th August 2003, 09:01 PM   #21
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I used to use Ouija boards all the time back in high school. I know I was never doing any of it on purpose. I can't say for sure that others I used them with weren't moving it, but I'm pretty sure they weren't trying to pull anyone's leg. For instance, one friend of mine got so freaked out a couple days after we'd used it, that he insisted that we needed to exorsize(sp?) my basement. I knew it was all a load of crap, but he was serious so I went along with it.
But I don't buy the ideomotor effect working on a subconcious level. I don't think the brain works that way. I think that when the movement starts its very easy for the people using it to get into a rhythem with one another. It usually doesn't start making sense until someone starts asking questions. The answers to these questions are usually obvious and so it's easy for the users to answer them themselves without realizing it. Does that make sense?
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Old 20th August 2003, 11:00 PM   #22
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Hexxanhammer said:

"The answers to these questions are usually obvious and so it's easy for the users to answer them themselves without realizing it. Does that make sense?"

That just demostrates the limited scope of the participant's intellect. Just try doing ouija asking specific questions about local history with serious people. You will be amazed, unless of course you are an idiotometer.
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Old 21st August 2003, 05:59 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally posted by Explorer
Hexxanhammer said:

"The answers to these questions are usually obvious and so it's easy for the users to answer them themselves without realizing it. Does that make sense?"

That just demostrates the limited scope of the participant's intellect. Just try doing ouija asking specific questions about local history with serious people. You will be amazed, unless of course you are an idiotometer.
If you got specific correct answers about things you yourself didn't know, someones moving the pointer. You won't get good specific answers if no one with their hands on the pointer knows them already. What I mean is if you ask:
"Who are we talking to?"
The pointer stops at "B"
You think maybe it's Billy.
Now the pointer finishes spelling out Billy.
I noticed this tendency of "mind reading" many times. I would think of something, and the board would spell it out. Yet it did not feel like I was trying to move the pointer.
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Old 21st August 2003, 07:04 AM   #24
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Before this goes too far, I want to make my point clear.
I do not believe that spirits move the Quiji !

My earlier posts were only an attempt to explain the Ideomotor Effect, and how the human brain does things all the time that most people never give a second thought to how it was accomplished.

I agree that in a vast majority of Quiji "playing" it is a purposeful attempt by at least one of the participants to manipulate the outcome. However, I also acknowledge the possibility that some responses can be caused by a subconscious thought of one of the participants.

It is these cases that individuals may convince themselves that they didn't intentionally move it. A better explanation is they didn't consciously move it. But to claim, "it was the spirits guiding me" would require a much higher degree of proof. A degree of which I feel is not possible simply because if it existed someone would have proved it by now.
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Old 21st August 2003, 07:44 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally posted by Nucular
Like I said before, this ideomotor explanation for ouija boards stems back to the Freudian heyday. I just don't think it's a convincing explanation for anything beyond the simple yes/no stuff any more.

What makes us think it's not simple deception?

Diogenes, your blindfold thing obviously demonstrates it's not spirits, but doesn't prove the complex ideomotor effect and all its corollaries as you claimed.

Seems to me us sceptics aren't being very sceptical about our favourite explanation.
I must admit, I just barely buy this explanation. As I've shown, the process necessary would require that our subconscious perform feats requiring an amazing amount of premeditation right under our noses. I accept it only in the absence of anything better. Is there evidence anywhere else that shows that the subconscious can play such elaborate tricks on the conscious mind?

Your explanation of simple deceit could be the real answer in the end.
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Old 21st August 2003, 08:12 AM   #26
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Itís not as elaborate as youíre making it out to be. Itís much like a Rorschach test. It brings out your first response before youíve had time to seriously think about it. The faster you answer the deeper in the subconscious it comes from. We all have thoughts on our mind at all time. Most of these thoughts we donít even register consciously until something sparks it into the forefront.

Itís like working on a math problem that youíre having trouble with, and then setting it aside to go watch TV for awhile. Then, suddenly the light over you head goes on and BAM! thereís the answer. You may not realize it, but you were working on the problem the whole time and never consciously registered this action until you had the answer.

Remember, in the example of the Quiji, weíre only talking about a fraction of a second to establish an answer from the subconscious. Once the answer enters the personís conscious thoughts the movement of the object is done under complete control, and the other participants passively follow the persons lead. All too willing to believe itís the spirits instead of one of the players.

The claims made by Free Writers would be an example of something far too elaborate for Ideomotor Effect.
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Old 21st August 2003, 08:29 AM   #27
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Quote:
Originally posted by BNiles
Itís not as elaborate as youíre making it out to be. Itís much like a Rorschach test. It brings out your first response before youíve had time to seriously think about it. The faster you answer the deeper in the subconscious it comes from. We all have thoughts on our mind at all time. Most of these thoughts we donít even register consciously until something sparks it into the forefront.

Itís like working on a math problem that youíre having trouble with, and then setting it aside to go watch TV for awhile. Then, suddenly the light over you head goes on and BAM! thereís the answer. You may not realize it, but you were working on the problem the whole time and never consciously registered this action until you had the answer.

Remember, in the example of the Quiji, weíre only talking about a fraction of a second to establish an answer from the subconscious. Once the answer enters the personís conscious thoughts the movement of the object is done under complete control, and the other participants passively follow the persons lead. All too willing to believe itís the spirits instead of one of the players.

The claims made by Free Writers would be an example of something far too elaborate for Ideomotor Effect.
This century-old Fraudian mumbo jumbo doesn't vaguely qualify as a scientific explanation. The Rorschach is bunk (no matter what Exner claimed) and the "subconscious" is a useless explanatory concept. It's not falsifiable.
(And it's spelled "ouija".)
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Old 21st August 2003, 09:08 AM   #28
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Quote:
Originally posted by Jeff Corey

This century-old Fraudian mumbo jumbo doesn't vaguely qualify as a scientific explanation. The Rorschach is bunk (no matter what Exner claimed) and the "subconscious" is a useless explanatory concept. It's not falsifiable.
(And it's spelled "ouija".)
I was wondering why my spell check didn't like Quiji... sorry about that.
As for the rest, you're right, I can't argue with mumbo jumbo, nor was I trying to state an absolute scientific explanation. I was however pointing out that the human thought process is much more involved than just what's in front of us.

I'm typing this post, but that's not the only thoughts in my mind right now. I'm also thinking about processing my companies payroll today, and moving into my house tomorrow, and taking a sip of coffee as soon as I post this......and countless other things.

Please donít get me wrong. Iím not claiming to be an expert on the human psyche. What Iíve offered here is only my opinion; not fact, not proof, and certainly not a scientific explanation. Just my opinion.
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Old 21st August 2003, 09:18 AM   #29
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Quote:
Originally posted by Jeff Corey

This century-old Fraudian mumbo jumbo doesn't vaguely qualify as a scientific explanation. The Rorschach is bunk (no matter what Exner claimed) and the "subconscious" is a useless explanatory concept. It's not falsifiable.
(And it's spelled "ouija".)

What do you suppose the real explanation is? I'm pretty curious now. I don't believe 'spirits' are involved (never really cared, it is a game after all) but the way it actually works is probably quite interesting.
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Old 21st August 2003, 09:43 AM   #30
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To find the real explanation we would have to start with the question, "Real explanation of what, exactly?"
What phenomenon are we trying to explain?
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Old 21st August 2003, 09:48 AM   #31
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It's not a phenomenon. We're asking why people believe the ouija works as it does.
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Old 21st August 2003, 09:50 AM   #32
Sundog
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Originally posted by Jeff Corey
To find the real explanation we would have to start with the question, "Real explanation of what, exactly?"
What phenomenon are we trying to explain?
How about "Leaving out conscious fraud, what reasonable explanation exists for the apparent construction of meaningful sentences from two honest persons operating a Ouija board?"
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Old 21st August 2003, 10:06 AM   #33
Jeff Corey
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Originally posted by Sundog


How about "Leaving out conscious fraud, what reasonable explanation exists for the apparent construction of meaningful sentences from two honest persons operating a Ouija board?"
That's not a good question, it's an assumption that such a phenomenon exists.
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Old 21st August 2003, 10:11 AM   #34
Sundog
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That's not a good question, it's an assumption that such a phenomenon exists.
Oh c'mon, don't go all Hoyt on us. Is your contention that the phenomenon doesn't exist, that it's all based on deceit?
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Old 21st August 2003, 10:33 AM   #35
jj
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Originally posted by Sundog
Does this strike anyone else as a completely spooky demonstration of how little control we really have over our minds?

Am I somehow misunderstanding the ideomotor effect?
Having run rather a lot of subjective tests in my life, I think you understand how little control we have over our minds' ability to integrate knowledge without any intent very well.

Having worked mostly in audio, I can tell you how it works out there. Basically, we seem to have evolved to very effectively integrate our senses, NOT depend on each one separately (well, it makes sense if the Jaguar is about to jump, yes?).

So, if I run two identical tests, but I tell the listener in ONE of the tests which test item is which, and in the other one, I properly hide the identity of the probe part of the test (leaving any references identified to the best one can do in the test protocol without violating it), in the first one nearly every listener will "hear something", and will report strong impressions. In the second test (let's assume that the probe is detectable for the time being), the listeners will statisticaly have very non-random results, but the impressions will generally be weaker, EXCEPT for a few people who may have just-about-random reactions that ARE STILL STRONG.

In fact, even running a null test (probe = reference 1 = reference 2 in an ABX or ABC/hr, for instance) where the "different' signal is somehow identified (via some sense or even understanding that is other than hearing) will result in a high level of distinction even though no such audible distinction exists.

This is not 'cheating'. The subjects are not doing it on purpose. It is not a question of "training", even though some "golden-ears" claim an ability not to do this, nobody who's taken the test has done anything but one of two things, which are either 1) respond to the outside information, or 2) desensitize themselves because they are so aware of the outside influence that they discount their own experiences.

So, a "double blind test" or a cognate (there are ways to do tests using mechanical means that aren't DBT's that still avoid bias) is something that is absolutely required for anything but the most simple audio distinctions.

As I've said before, this is NOT accepted in the "high end" of the audio world, and there is where we see the solid-unobtanium cables, the "speaker cones", the "quantum clips", and the like that plague high-end audio.
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Old 21st August 2003, 10:36 AM   #36
jj
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Originally posted by BNiles
It's the minds defense mechanism to hide reality until the conscious mind can rationally deal with it. Now obviously we have stepped well beyond Ideomotor Effect here, but you are correct, the brain is an amazing organ and the mind is capable of even stranger things.
I think that's going a bit far when discussing a simple question of intersensory linkage, isn't it?
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Old 21st August 2003, 10:43 AM   #37
Jeff Corey
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Originally posted by Sundog


Oh c'mon, don't go all Hoyt on us. Is your contention that the phenomenon doesn't exist, that it's all based on deceit?
You assumption is that it does exist.
Prove it.
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Old 21st August 2003, 10:44 AM   #38
Sundog
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Originally posted by jj


Having run rather a lot of subjective tests in my life, I think you understand how little control we have over our minds' ability to integrate knowledge without any intent very well...
Forgive me, I'm slow today. How does this relate to whatever mechanism is in control (if any) of the Ouija board?
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Old 21st August 2003, 10:47 AM   #39
Sundog
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Originally posted by Jeff Corey

You assumption is that it does exist.
Prove it.
You are mistaken, I assume nothing (note the word apparent), and I don't play these sorts of games. If you have a point, make it, don't make us guess what it is; I'm not that interested.

I assume that your answer to the perfectly clear question I just asked you is "yes". Surely it would be easier just to say that.
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Old 21st August 2003, 10:57 AM   #40
Jeff Corey
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Originally posted by Sundog


You are mistaken, I assume nothing (note the word apparent), and I don't play these sorts of games. If you have a point, make it, don't make us guess what it is; I'm not that interested.

I assume that your answer to the perfectly clear question I just asked you is "yes". Surely it would be easier just to say that.
It might be easier, but it wouldn't be accurate.
I am stating that your original question contained the assumption that it did exist.
Do you have any proof?
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