A psychological analysis of ganzfeld protocols.
ABSTRACT: To assess the psychological state of the percipient at
the time of the ganzfeld session, the author constructed a rating system
for analyzing the mentation reports of the participant in terms of a
number of discrete indicators of emotional, physical, and cognitive
functioning. Thirty-six scales were developed and manualized to a
satisfactory level of interrater reliability. Transcripts of 364
ganzfeld sessions drawn from several different studies from 3 different
laboratories were scored on all dimensions by at least 3 independent
raters who were blind to the participant's identity, the actual
target content, and the degree of ESP success of the session. To guard
against overanalysis, the author defined a composite cluster a priori made up of several scales that were most strongly expected to predict
scoring, and this was tested against rank scores in a relatively large
pilot subset. This cluster did predict performance significantly. A
slightly revised version of the cluster was tested against rank s scores
in a smaller confirmatory sample, with a roughly comparable degree of
association found that was not significant given the smaller N. Post hoc
analysis made it clear that the cluster predicted performance well for
participants in both subsets who were not professionals in the
performing arts but did not predict well for the artists. In light of
this, single-scale correlational analyses were conducted of the data as
a whole and for the artist and nonartist samples separately. It was
found that, in general, participants tended to hit when their scores
suggested a very positive adjustment and when imagery was allowed to
develop in a free and personally involving way. Participants who missed
showed more signs of anxiety and obsessive attempts to control the
experience. Participants whose imagery showed signs of regressed
reasoning and primitive affect scored well when anxiety was low but not
when it was high. The relationships found in a subset of highly creative
participants (who scored quite highly) we re generally the same as those
in the data of the larger, less-creative population but differed
primarily in the importance of reports of physical experiences.
Expressions of physical discomfort, in particular, were strongly
associated with psi-missing for this group. The less-creative group did
better when there were reports of positive physical experiences in the
session, but this was not the case for the artists. The expression of
odd, particularly "altered" physical experiences, which was
expected to predict hitting in both groups, did not do so in either.
The measures also provided sensible discriminations between the
more- and less-creative participants, irrespective of ESP scores.
Protocols of the artists contained more images and expressed less
pleasurable physical experience, and their imagery differed in being
more colorful and active, showing more tolerance of negative affect,
expressing more regressed types of reasoning and more primary process
emotion, and showing less defensive constraint and intellectualization.
These latter findings suggest that these measures show promise in
addressing several questions of general psychological interest to
researchers concerned with the ganzfeld.