Experimenter differences in cognitive correlates of paranormal belief and in PSI

Caroline Watt, Richard Wiseman

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    12 Citations (Scopus)


    It has been claimed that experimenter effects may account for inconsistent findings in the study of cognitive correlates of paranormal belief and in psi research. The present study investigates these 2 strands by having 2 experimenters each administer to 30 participants a paranormal belief questionnaire, 2 tests of cognitive ability (a syllogistic reasoning task and Ravens Progressive Matrices), and an ESP task. For all 60 participants, a significant negative correlation was found between paranormal belief and syllogisms performance. This correlation was attributable to just 1 of the experimenters, and the experimenters' belief-cognitive ability correlations significantly differed, thus demonstrating an experimenter effect for this measure. Additional post hoc analyses were conducted to clarify the mechanism underlying the belief-cognitive ability correlation. There was no evidence of an experimenter effect for the ESP task.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)371-385
    Number of pages15
    JournalJournal of Parapsychology
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2002


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