Ganzfeld Setting

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Ganzfeld Setting

A development in modern parapsychological techniques popularized by Charles Honorton, director of research at the Division of Parapsychology and Psychophysics at Maimonides Medical Center, New York. The term Ganzfeld roughly translates as "total field," and the Ganzfeld Setting is basically a sensory isolation situation used for testing ESP. The subject, wearing earphones and blinders, sits in a comfortable chair in a soundproof booth and is instructed to stare at a bold red light, creating a diffused glow. Over the headphones comes a soft hiss of white noise.

The subject normally stays in the isolation booth for about 35 minutes and is instructed to think aloud, describing mental images, thoughts, and feelings. This monologue is monitored by an experimenter on an intercom system. Meanwhile another assistant (often a friend or associate of the subject) starts looking at pictures (often on slides held to the light). Experimenters have found frequent similarity between the images viewed by the assistant and the reveries of the subject in the Ganzfeld Setting.

In the first 30 tests initiated by parapsychologists Honorton and Harper in 1973, 43.3 percent of the subjects demonstrated a match with selected targets, as against a 25 percent chance expectation. In other cases, there was a suggestion of possible clairvoyant or precognitive faculty. Remarkable results were also achieved by parapsychologist D. Scott Rogo in California with the gifted subject Claudia Adams, a Los Angeles actress. During tests, Adams displayed such uncanny prescience that problems arose in limiting her ESP faculty to the disciplines of a given test. For example, in one test Rogo had prepared four pictures in sealed envelopes, only one of which was to be used, leaving the other three for later tests. However, Adams accurately described all four pictures during one test.

Sources:

Berger, Arthur S., and Joyce Berger. The Encyclopedia of Parapsychology and Psychical Research. New York: Paragon House, 1991.

Blackmore, Susan. "A Report of a Visit to Carl Sargent's Laboratory." Journal of the Society for Psychical Research 54, no. 808 (July 1987).

Harley, Trevor, and Gerald Matthews. "Cheating, Psi, and the Appliance of Science: A Reply to Blackmore." Journal of the Society for Psychical Research 54, no. 808 (July 1987).

Rogo, Scott. "ESP in the Ganzfeld: An Exploration of Parameters." In Research in Parapsychology 1975, edited by J. D. Morris, W. G. Roll, and R. L. Morris. Metuchen, N.J.: Scarecrow Press, 1976.

. "Free Response Ganzfeld Experiments With a Selected Subject." In Research in Parapsychology 1975, edited by J. D. Morris, W. G. Roll, and R. L. Morris. Metuchen, N.J.: Scarecrow Press, 1976.