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Perceptual defensiveness and ESP performance: reconstructed DMT ratings and psychological correlates in the first German DMT-ESP experiment.

The persistent difficulty in coming up with experimental findings with an acceptable degree of replicability has remained the most important serious criticism of parapsychology. For several years ESP experiments done with the Ganzteld technique have been considered by some as a candidate for acceptable replicability (Hyman & Honorton, 1986), and so has ESP in dreams (Child, 1985). One of the candidates for a replicability status are experiments relating perceptual defensiveness, as measured by the Defense Mechanism Test (DMT), to ESP. These experiments were initiated by Martin Johnson (Carpenter, 1965; Johnson & Kanthamani, 1967), who took part in developing the DMT that has been primarily used by the Swedish military for personnel selection (Kragh & Smith, 1970). The concept of perceptual defensiveness is related to subliminal perception and preconscious processing. A subliminal threat in perception is assumed to cause submanifest anxiety that leads to defensive responses in perception, such as are measured by the DMT.

By 1977 Johnson and associates had conducted six experiments with a total of 120 participants. Throughout these experiments, ESP scores were obtained by administering a forced-choice ESP task. Significant DMT-ESP correlations were obtained in all but one experiment, as can be seen in Table 1. The DMT ratings were coded so that a low level of perceptual defensiveness corresponds with a high rating. A meta-analysis (see Haraldsson, Houtkooper, & Hoeltje, 1987) revealed a combined Zof 3.483 (p = .00025, one-tailed).

In 1977, the first author, Erlendur Haraldsson (EH), decided to make a major independent attempt to test the replicability of the DMT-ESP correlations by conducting several experiments. To exclude any possibility of contamination between the DMT and ESP scores, and to ensure a double-blind study, EH obtained the cooperation of Martin Johnson (MJ), who would make a brief visit to Iceland from his residence in Holland and later in Sweden to administer the DMT. MJ would then evaluate the DMT after his visit to Iceland. EH would design and conduct the experiment and collect the ESP data. Alter the completion of each experiment, EH and MJ would on the same predetermined date mail their respective data to each other. Ten experiments were conducted in the years from 1977 to 1991 at the University of Iceland with a total of 462 participants. Several papers have been published on these experiments (Haraldsson, 1978; Haraldsson & Houtkooper, 1992, 1995; Haraldsson et al., 1987; Haraldsson &Johnson, 1979; Houtkooper & Haraldsson, 1995, 1997; Johnson & Haraldsson, 1984).

The results revealed a significant relationship between perceptual defensiveness as measured by the DMT (note that a high DMT rating corresponds with a low level of defensiveness) and performance on standardized ESP tests. High-scoring participants were less defensive than low-scoring participants, who tended to be more defensive. Results of 10 individual experiments are listed in Table 2.

A meta-analysis of these results revealed a Z = 2.60, p = .0046, one-tailed. (The effect sizes in this article are of the type ES = z/sqrt(N).) A closer look at Tables 1 and 2 reveals a decline in positive results. Johnson's six experiments started with a correlation of .79 between DMT and ESP and ended with a negative correlation of -.19. A similar trend is found in the Icelandic data with a much larger participant pool of 462. They started with a correlation of .47; only two of the experiments were independently significant and two had a slightly negative correlation, in spite of the overall significant result of the whole series. A significant decline effect was observed across the 10 Icelandic experiments, [r.sub.s](8) = .636, p < .05, two-tailed, despite the Pact that psychology students of both sexes recruited the participants and administered the ESP tasks--in different experiments the number of student experimenters varied from 3 to 14, with almost all of the experimenters only taking part in one experiment. By using many experimenters and changing them with each experiment, it was hoped that experimenters' fatigue could be kept at a minimum and some enthusiasm could be sustained in the hope of avoiding the much debated and controversial "decline effect" that has been reported within and between some parapsychological experiments (Palmer, 1978; Rhine, 1969). Also across all 16 experiments conducted so far, the decline is significant, r,(14) = .794, p < .001, two-tailed.

Furthermore, the relationships of ESP scores with religiosity (ES = .136, p = .008, two-tailed) and the Psychotism factor of the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire (ES = -.103, p = .04, two-tailed) were also overall significant in the 10 Icelandic experiments.

Background and Rationale of the DMT

The DMT was invented and developed by Ulf Kragh of Lund University (Kragh, 1969, 1985; Kragh & Neuman, 1982; Kragh & Smith, 1970, Sjoberg, 1981; Smith & Westerlundh, 1980). The aim of the test was to predict performance in stressful situations. It is a projective test in which pictures of threatening motifs are presented tachistoscopically in standardised low-lighting conditions. In group presentations, the exposure times vary from an initial very short presentation of 8 ms to a gradual increase up to 250 ms per exposure. After each exposure, the participants wrote and sketched on a protocol form what they thought they had seen. By sequential analysing of a participant's responses, it is found how a perception of a picture gradually takes form.

Considerable individual differences have been found in the gradual increase of correct perception and in the number of perceptual distortions. This points to cognitive factors that influence the formation of perception as it is taking place at a subconscious level. Responses, containing distortions of perception, are used to measure what has been referred to as perceptual defensiveness or, according to Kragh's terminology, preconscious defensive organisation (PDO).

The rationale behind the DMT has been derived from two main sources:

1. The percept genetic analysis originating from the German school of Aktual Genese, in which analysis is made of the process of percept formation in time. In the DMT an emphasis is placed on the developmental and sequential analysis of perception.

2. Assumptions in psychoanalytic theory about the function and dynamics of defense mechanism. Subliminal threat is assumed to evoke submanifest anxiety in the individual, which leads to defensive responses in perception. In the DMT the subliminal threat is induced by short exposures of pictures with a somewhat obscure, unpleasant-looking, and threatening "secondary person" who stands peripherally behind a centrally located "hero" (with whom the participant is supposed to identify). The identification with the "hero," or the possible false identification with the "secondary person," means that these figures are to be of the same sex as the participant. Therefore, different pictures are used for male and for female participants--the test for females having been developed more recently.

Furthermore, the relationship with ESP may be related to Bergson's (1914) filter theory based on the principle of eliminating from consciousness external impressions that have no survival advantage or no relevance to the organism's "attention to life" (Ehrenwald, 1977). The DMT might represent a way of evaluating this filter function.

The strength of the DMT lies apparently not least in the validity that has been demonstrated in several studies on personnel selection in the military. The Swedish air force has validated it for the selection of fighter pilots (Kragh, 1960). Neuman (1978) showed that it can predict accident-proneness among air force pilots and is the only psychological instrument that still has some predictive power left after the pass/fail criterion of pilot training had been applied. However, other air forces have rejected the test as being insufficiently objective and validated.

The reasons for the restricted distribution of the DMT may be its primary development for use by the military and the fact that the administration and evaluation of the test is rather time consuming and complicated and requires considerable training. Two articles have been written about the DMT for British psychological journals (Cooper & Kline, 1986; Kline, 1987). According to Dixon (1971, 1981), the DMT is probably the best researched instrument for the study of preconscious processes.

Further DMT-ESP Research

During a 2-year stay of EH and the second author, Joop M. Houtkooper (JMH), at the Institut fur Grenzgebiete der Psychologie und Psychohygiene in 1993-1995, they conducted thorough analyses of the 10 DMT-ESP experiments conducted in Iceland and of the scoring and evaluation of the DMT protocols (Haraldsson & Houtkooper, 1995; Houtkooper & Haraldsson, 1995, 1997). The present study reports on a DMT-ESP experiment, conducted in Freiburg in 1995, using a novel method of evaluating the DMT.

The usual evaluation of the DMT, resulting in a DMT rating, consists of two stages. As described later in the Method section, the administration of the DMT results in a protocol for each of the exposures. The first stage of the evaluation consists of the protocol for each exposure being classified and coded according to the DMT manual. In the second stage, the sequences of codings are rated by a trained psychologist for an overall measure of defensiveness. In the 10 Icelandic experiments, MI coded and rated the DMT. He had given his criteria for the rating of the DMT, and these were put in the form of several scoring rules. In an earlier study (Houtkooper & Haraldsson, 1995), we used these to calculate components of the DMT rating by computer. To obtain computerized DMT ratings, we applied regression analysis to these components, or scoring rule variables, combined with the prevalences of the main defense mechanisms. This regression analysis resulted in a fairly good predictor of the DMT ratings (multiple R = .623, multiple [R.sup 2] = .389, adjusted multiple [R.sup 2] = .288). The scoring rule variables showed more predictive power than the main defense mechanisms. The predictor of MJ's DMT ratings, which can be regarded as the objective part of the DMT rating, was then examined for its correlation with ESP performance. This resulted in a nonsignificant negative correlation. Therefore, our surprising conclusion was that the predictive power of the DMT seems to reside in the nonobjective part of the DMT ratings (Houtkooper & Haraldsson, 1995).

It was originally planned that MJ would rate the DMT test protocols in this experiment as in the earlier Icelandic experiments. Regretfully, he was not available to do this. Thus the replicability of the results from the Icelandic DMT-ESP experiments based on MJ's scoring method of the DMT could not be directly tested. Moreover, the DMT has undergone distinct stages in its development from its conception by Kragh (1960) almost half a century ago. The way of coding and the scoring rules have changed in the attempt to make the test more objective. Therefore, the original and modern scoring of the DMT are only partially comparable. It hence follows that this experiment cannot be considered a replication of earlier experiments, or only to a limited degree.

As in the present study, MJ was not available to evaluate the DMT, and we thus followed an indirect route to obtain comparable DMT ratings. The fourth author, Martin Backstrom (MB), coded the defense mechanisms in the protocols of 9 of the 10 Icelandic experiments (Experiment V was missing) according to a newer version of the DMT manual (Kragh, 1985). The codings by MB were used as a benchmark to derive a predictor of MJ's DMT ratings in the 10 Icelandic experiments. The resulting regression equation delivered a formula to produce the reconstructed DMT ratings from MB's codings of the Freiburg experiment.

This first, and so far only, German DMT-ESP experiment was conducted in the summer of 1995, about 4 years after the last Icelandic experiment. In view of the decline of the DMT-ESP correlation in the Icelandic DMT-ESP experiments and the suggested recovery in the last of those 10 experiments, we were hopeful to find again the relationship between DMT and ESP. In the present experiment there were new experimenters handling the participants, who were, except for a few, German rather than Icelandic as in the previous experiments. Moreover, the relationship of ESP scoring to several personality and attitude variables was to be explored. Some of these were purely exploratory, whereas others such as psi belief and religiosity (see Haraldsson, 1993) were based on relationships found in previous studies.


The experiment consisted of two sessions. In the first, the DMT was administered by Rohny Stridh, a German-speaking Swedish psychologist, and the questionnaires were filled out by the participants. In the second session, the participants did the clairvoyance task, in pairs or singly when there was no coparticipant available. Subsequently, they did the paper-and-pencil precognition test and filled out some biographical questions. Coding of the DMT protocols was done in Sweden by MB, who was unaware of the ESP scores. The experimenters for the ESP test were unaware of the DMT codings. Thus the experiment was double-blind.


The experiment was planned and supervised by EH, but he did not test any participants. ESP tasks were administered by two student assistants, Birgit Immen and Rainer Schneider (RS). Before the experimental sessions started, the experimenters did the clairvoyance task themselves, for a total of four sessions. Rohny Stridh administered the DMT, and MB coded the DMT protocols in Sweden. JMH did the analysis of the data, including the reconstructed DMT ratings. RS was involved in some of the exploratory analyses.


Participants were recruited by advertisements at the University of Freiburg and also by word of mouth. The vast majority of the participants were students. In the experiment, a total of 70 participants took part in the experiment, but 17 of' them participated only in the ESP tasks, whereas 3 participated in the DMT session but did not turn up for the ESP session. The latter 3 were dropped from the experiment; the 17 who took the ESP test were persons interested in taking part in the ESP task. For the DMT-ESP correlation, we preplanned for 50 participants and indeed have complete data for all 50. Of the 70 of the total sample, 33 were female and 37 were male; their ages ranged from 19 to 38 years (M = 24.8, SD = 4.1, Mdn = 24). (Only males were participants in previous DMT-ESP experiments.) The sample with complete data consisted of 20 female and 30 male participants, ages ranging from 20 to 34 years (M = 24.6, SD = 3.5, Mdn = 24). Of the total sample, 25 studied humanities including arks, 17 studied social science, 13 studied physical science, and smaller numbers studied economics (3), medicine (2), or law (2). Five participants did not indicate a subject of study. Participants who completed both sessions were paid 20 DEM (about 10 Euro).


The following questionnaires were administered in the experiment.

Psi belief. The translated three-item Icelandic Sheep-Goat Scale (Haraldsson & Houtkooper, 1992) was included.

Global personality. The German version of the NEO-Five-Factor Index (NEO-FFI; Costa & McCrae, 1992), the 60-item NEO-FFI (Borkenau & Ostendorf, 1993), was administered to obtain measures of Neuroticism, Extraversion, Openness for Experience, Agreeableness, and Conscientiousness.

Psychotism. The short form (12 items) of Eysenck's Psychotism scale was included in our questionnaire (Eysenck & Eysenck, 1964, 1991 German version of Eggert, 1983).

Optimism. The Life Orientation Test (Scheier & Carver, 1985; German version by Wieland-Eckelmann & Carver, 1989), consisting of eight items, represents dispositional optimism, that is, a transsituational tendency to react with positive expectations toward a stressful situation.

Attitude toward the future. The Attitude Toward the Future profile (Vaughan & Houck, 1993) was developed to distinguish a tendency of orientation toward the future from an orientation toward the past. The test consists of four items in the form of alternatives, regarding planning the future ("intuition to see in the future"--"analyze past events"; "set goals for the future"--"take life one day at a time"), daydreaming ("daydreams about the future"--"daydreams about the past"), and expectation about the future ("world will be a better place in the future"--"world will be worse off in the future").

Religiosity. A nine-item religiosity scale (Haraldsson, 1993) was administered. Items referred to reading about religion, belief in God, praying, belief in life alter death, and self-reported religiosity.

Belief in the occult. A 20-item scale on general beliefs in occult phenomena (Mischo, Boller, & Kodjoe, 1995) was included. Items were concerned with spiritism/reincarnation, ESP, astrology, magic powers, and a few others.

ESP Task

The ESP task consisted of 80 trials (guesses). Forty trials of clairvoyance (computer game) and 40 trials of precognition were administered. These tests were essentially the same as those used in the Icelandic DMT-ESP experiments (see, e.g., Haraldsson & Houtkooper, 1992).

Clairvoyance test. Each participant had to guess which target (one of four possibilities) had been selected by the random number generator (RNG) in the computer for each of the 40 trials. Participants were tested in pairs, alternately doing 10 trials, as described by Haraldsson and Houtkooper (1992). Feedback was given immediately after each trial. The computer program was developed commercially; it ran on a PC, using a Bierman-Houtkooper Zener noise-based RNG, also known as the "Orion" RNG, connected to the serial port. The task consists of guessing in which one out of four windows a picture will appear. Pictures were of landscapes or people, for each trial randomly chosen from a set of 16. Only the first guess in each trial is registered and counted, but the participant has the possibility to open the other windows to see which picture it was. The numbers of trials and hits (correct guesses) were automatically recorded and displayed continually during the ESP game. After the first participant had completed his or her first 10 trials, the second participant made his or her 10 trials, and so on alternatively until both participants had completed a total of 40 trials. The experimenters attempted to evoke a competitive spirit among the 2 participants who participated each time in the game. In a few cases, only a single participant turned up for the session. In those cases, the participant did the clairvoyance task alone.

Before and after each session, the computer automatically tested the randomness of 1,000 trials (P = 1/4) of the Bierman-Houtkooper Zener noise based RNG and performed a chi-square test of the frequency of the four alternatives. No deviations from chance were observed in these tests. For further details about the nature and administration of the ESP test, see Haraldsson (1978), Haraldsson and Johnson (1979), Johnson and Haraldsson (1984), Haraldsson et al. (1987), Haraldsson and Houtkooper (1992).

Precognition test. This test consisted of 40 trials and was conducted immediately after the clairvoyance computer game. The participant received a sheet of paper with 40 numbered boxes. He or she was asked to guess which of four letters (B, N, O, V) a computer would select for each of the 40 boxes. When all participants had completed their ESP task, we obtained from a computer program running on a PC with an Orion RNG a different set of 40 random numbers (P = 1/4) for each participant. These random numbers (1 to 4) were converted into letters (B, N, O, V) by the computer program and then checked manually against each participant's guesses, and the number of hits were recorded. This checking was done twice for each participant, in both cases by experimenters who were unaware of the DMT codings at the time. The production of the random numbers took place a few days after all the participants completed their guesses.

Administration of the DMT

The group version of the DMT was administered to groups of 5 to 8 participants by Rohny Stridh. The groups were either all males or all females, as the DMT stimulus pictures differ between sexes. Testing was done for the appropriate illumination level of the 45 x 35 cm screen when the projector lamp was on and the shutter open (1130 lux), and also for the illumination level as measured from the first and second row of seats for the participants (10 and 7 lux, respectively). The distance was kept at approximately 180 cm between the screen and the first row. Detailed instructions were read to the participants before administration.

A tachistoscope consisting of a projector equipped with a time-calibrated camera shutter (LumenMasterTM, V25 Viewiex, manufactured by Lafayette Instrument Company, Lafayette, Indiana, USA) was used to project the pictures tachistoscopically on the screen beginning with very short exposure times that were gradually increased. Two series, of 12-15 exposures each, were used to increase the reliability of the test. In both, the picture contained a central figure or "hero" and a threatening-looking "peripheral person." The hero was a young adult male or female, the peripheral person an older male or female. The stimulus pictures used in all experiments were of a version of the early 1970s, not those that came into use with the 1985 manual. To avoid overt information about the DMT pictures, distractor pictures were presented a few times in each series. These were not evaluated.

After each of the 30 exposures, the participant had to report what he or she thought he or she saw, both by a written report and by making drawings and "markings." These markings refer to whether the participant thought he or she saw one or more persons in the picture; of what sex he or she thought the person or persons were, and whether the person(s) were sympathetic or unsympathetic and so on. Any changes from one exposure to another should be reported meticulously. This allows for a detailed "serial analysis" of what the participant experienced or was willing to report. For a detailed description of the administration and scoring, see the test manual (Kragh, 1969, 1985; Kragh & Neuman, 1982).

Evaluation of the DMT

The evaluation of the test takes place by first classifying and coding the responses to each exposure, and then by a global assessment of the codings, which result in a rating on a stanine scale. For a detailed description of the administration and scoring, see the test manual (Kragh, 1969, 1985; Kragh & Nenman, 1982) and Haraldsson and Houtkooper (1992).

For the coding of signs, a phenomenological analysis is carried out of the descriptions in the hand-written report and the drawing made after each exposure. This leads to the scoring of one or more codings of signs or "sign variants" according to rules given in the test manual. Each sign variant (coded as a three- or four-digit number) falls into 1 of 10 categories, or "main signs": (1) Repression; (2) Isolation; (3) Denial; (4) Reaction formation; (5) Identification with aggressor; (6) Turning against the self; (7) Introjection: identification with the opposite sex; (8) Introjection: polymorphous identification; (9) Projection; and (10) Regression.

Furthermore, the following phase variables are coded: first phase (P1), when the participant for the first time reports seeing a living being or an object at the place of the hero or the peripheral figure; threshold phase for correct recognition (TI), when the participant first correctly recognises a threat from the peripheral person to the hero; and last phase or C phase, when the participant correctly and conclusively sees all of the important elements of the stimulus picture.

Coded signs are considered to reveal that preconscious defense mechanisms have been activated in the participant's perception. These so-called PDOs are thought to be related to classical defense mechanisms such as repression, isolation, denial, and so forth, a view that Kragh (1985) reports as supported by empirical studies carried out on clinical patients.

Rating the Codings

For most purposes, no global assessment is made of the test results. MJ, however, rated the overall performance of the participant generally on a stanine scale (ranging from 1 to 9; 1 = most defensive, 9 = least defensive). This he did usually after ranking the participants according to their degree of defensiveness as he considered applicable for ESP performance.

The protocols of the present experiment were coded in Sweden by MB. The coding in the Icelandic DMT-ESP experiments had been done by MJ, emeritus professor of parapsychology of the University of Utrecht, who was not available this time. Another matter that complicated things was that MI had been using a way of rating the DMT protocols that could not readily be duplicated by MB, who has been involved intensively in research on the DMT (Backstrom, 1994). This meant that we had to reconstruct the DMT ratings as would have been produced by MJ, based on MB's codings.

Despite the result of the earlier, unsuccessful, attempt to computerize the DMT rating process (Houtkooper & Haraldsson, 1995), there are good reasons to use the same method again, despite the fact that the outlook is not promising: The earlier attempt at producing DMT ratings by computer made use of the original codings by MJ of the Icelandic DMT protocols. The result was that the computer-generated ratings correlated nonsignificantly with the ESP scores, whereas the difference between MJ's ratings and the computer-generated ratings did correlate with them. This was despite the fact that the computer ratings had been created by regression analysis with MJ's ratings as the dependent variable, and thus both types of rating correlated quite highly (r = .623). Therefore, our conclusion was that the predictor of MJ's DMT ratings, which can be regarded as the objective part of the DMT rating, did not reveal a significant correlation with ESP performance, whereas the predictive power of the DMT seemed to reside in the nonobjective part of the DMT ratings. The prima facie explanation of this is that MJ used his ESP to predict the participants' ESP scores and that influenced his DMT ratings.

The reasons to attempt computerized rating of the DMT again are as follows:

1. The DMT codings by MB appear to be more regular and systematic than MJ's codings.

2. It may have been that the codings were no more than an aid to memory for MJ and he really rated the protocols themselves. Therefore, the codings may have been sketchy, containing insufficient information to produce--as we tried--objective ratings correlating with ESP.

3. MJ's codings were made over a 14-year period, and the coding manual was further developed during this period. Therefore, MJ's codings of 1977 (the 1st Icelandic experiment) are not comparable with his codings of 1991 (the 10th experiment). These differences in coding style make the derivation of a predictor of the DMT ratings too difficult.

Preplanned Analyses

Preplanned were DMT-ESP relationship and the ESP scores in relation to all the different questionnaire scores. The analysis of the overall ESP scoring, including the 17 "extra" participants, was done post hoc and is to be considered as exploratory.


Reconstructing the DMT Ratings

Using the scoring rules that MJ formulated and that were made explicit in our earlier analysis (Houtkooper & Haraldsson, 1995), it appeared that the coding scheme used by MB necessitated a reweighting of components of these scoring rules whereby their rationale was kept. Scoring rules are of three different types: the psi-hitting type (A), the psi-missing type (B), and rules that indicate a tendency toward chance scoring or toward the defensiveness scale mean (C). The background of this is that certain features in the protocol characterize psi-hitting, whereas others predict psi-missing. Consistent with this idea, the numerical value produced by a scoring rule is required to be nonnegative. Negative values are converted to zero. The calculation is performed separately for each exposure series. Both exposure series of a participant are then combined.

The following eight scoring rules were formulated:
Rule Type Characteristic

 1: A Quality of correct recognition
 2: A Lack of discontinuity with perceived threat
 3: C The number of different main defense mechanisms
 4: C Emptiness of protocol
 5: B Serious discontinuities
 6: B Denial or discontinuity but not a rigid system of defenses
 7: B Quality of denial or discontinuity
 8: A Weighted presence of correct and threat recognition

In the present analysis, the three scoring rules of Type A (psi-hitting) and the three of Type B (psi-missing) were used as independent variables in a linear regression analysis. Including the rules of Type C (tendency toward the scale mean) would involve nonlinear regression. As the present analysis is limited to linear regression, Rules 3 and 4 were left out.

On the basis of the six scoring rule variables and the frequencies of occurrence of the 10 main signs as calculated from MB's codings, a regression analysis was carried out on the Icelandic experiment, with MJ's DMT ratings as the dependent variable. The results are given in Table 3.

Comparison of these results, based on MB's codings, with the analysis based on MJ's codings, reveals a smaller multiple correlation (R = .429 vs. R = .623) and a lack of significance of the main defense mechanisms for MB's codings. This result might be examined in the light of MB's experience when coding the protocols that there were considerable differences in protocol quality between experiments. To explore these differences, we calculated the regression per experiment. In Table 4, we give the results as p values of the analysis of variance (ANOVA), as this is an indicator of the quality of the regression:

As can be seen in Table 4, there are striking differences in the predictability of the DMT ratings from the codings. Remarkable is the complete lack of significance in Experiment I, in which the DMT-ESP correlation was highest. If the DMT ratings by MJ indeed had been contaminated by his ESP, this is just what could be expected. To take this into account and to derive the most proper predictor of the DMT rating, we decided to leave out Experiments I, III, and VII and to base the DMT predictor on Experiments II, IV, VI, and VIII to X (using an arbitrary criterion of p = .10). The DMT protocols of Experiment V could not be found and were probably lost when moving the protocols between Iceland, Germany, and the Netherlands. The regression analysis on the selected experiments is given in Table 5.

Not unexpectedly, the regression that used only the experiments showing consistency between DMT ratings and the codings reveals a higher significance. The regression coefficients in Table 5 are then used as in the formula for the reconstructed DMT ratings in the Freiburg experiment.

ESP Tasks

In both the clairvoyance and the precognition task, the mean chance expectancy is 10 hits. We list the average numbers of hits and standard deviations of each task for males and females separately in Table 6.

The clairvoyance task resulted in significant psi-hitting (z = 2.186, p = .029, two-tailed), whereas the paper-and-pencil precognition task produced a tendency toward psi-missing (z = -1.695). The difference in scoring between the two tasks was significant ([z.sub.d]= 2.744, p = .006, two-tailed). The differences between males and females did not approach significance, but the females reveal independently significant psi-hitting on the clairvoyance task (z = 2.324, p = 020, two-tailed).

Correlation Between ESP and the DMT Ratings

From the outset, the DMT-ESP relationship constituted the main hypothesis of the experiment. As the distribution of the reconstructed DMT ratings may not be normal, the nonparametric correlation coefficient Kendall's tau ([tau]) was calculated. The results are given for males and females and for the total sample in Table 7.

None of the correlation coefficients approached significance: The correlation between DMT rating and clairvoyance was in the expected direction: [tau] = .101 (z = 1.03, ns). The correlation with the total ESP score was virtually nil.

Correlations Between ESP and Religiosity, Psychotism, and Other Variables

The relationship with religiosity was found to be even stronger than the DMT-ESP correlation in the 10 Icelandic experiments. Therefore, we tested the correlation between religiosity, as determined by the nine-item scale, and the ESP scoring. A second item of interest concerns the negative correlation between ESP and psychotism found in the Icelandic experiments. These results, together with the correlations with the other psychological variables, are displayed in Table 8.

In the Freiburg experiment, the correlation between religiosity and clairvoyance is in the expected direction, [tau] = .0894 (ns); with precognition, [tau] = .0754; and between religiosity and the total ESP score, [tau] = .1223 (N= 50, z = 1.245, p = .22; ES = 0.176). Note that also here, effect sizes are calculated as ES = z/sqrt (N).

The correlation of total ESP with psychotism is also in the expected direction: [tau] = -.0853 (z = 0.866, ES = 0.122) but is not significant either. Further results are examined in the Discussion section.


The results of the Freiburg DMT-ESP experiment, carried out in 1995, 4 years after the last experiment in the Icelandic series, contain a few surprises. An overall psi effect was not hypothesized, but there is significant psi-hitting in the clairvoyance task. This may have to do with the fact that the computer program for this task had been newly developed, and, before the experimental sessions started, the experimenters did just four sessions to familiarize themselves with the final version of the program. Incidentally, the experimenters also scored above chance: The results of these sessions were 13, 18, 13, and 8 hits, or overall 12 hits above chance, which is significant (z = 2.191, p = .028, two-tailed). This suggests the computer game is a very good one, or it is, in the light of later experience (Houtkooper, Schienle, Stark, & Vaitl, 1999), a novelty effect.

In contrast with the ESP computer game, the paper-and-pencil precognition task produced below-chance scoring (z = -1.695). As both tasks were always administered in the same order, the significant difference ([z.sub.d] = 2.744) between them cannot be distinguished from a within-session decline.

With regard to the correlation between ESP performance and the reconstructed DMT ratings, the result does not confirm the results of the 16 preceding experiments. However, given the effect sizes, the present result is also not at variance with the overall result of the preceding experiments. Of course, the reconstructed ratings might have been of lower quality than the human DMT ratings, but there also were a priori reasons expecting the opposite.

What might shed more light on the DMT as a predictor of ESP performance is the result of the regression analyses on each of the Icelandic experiments. As shown in Table 4, the DMT ratings could not in all cases be predicted by the DMT codings. In particular, Experiment I, which revealed the highest DMT-ESP correlation, showed a disconcerting lack of consistency in this respect, as did Experiments III and VII, with VIII and X showing little relationship between DMT ratings and DMT codings. In contrast, this relationship is very strong in Experiments VI and IX. However, these last two reveal no significant DMT-ESP correlation (in Experiment IX it is negative). This points once more to MJ using his ESP, when assigning DMT ratings, to predict the participants' ESP scores. (The methodology of the experiments precluded normal means of information transfer.) This would mean that the DMT-ESP series of experiments stands out as the manifestation of a consistent and long-lasting experimenter effect (see also Haraldsson & Johnson, 1980), unparalleled in the history of parapsychology.

An alternative explanation might be that MI was detecting something else in the participants' DMT protocols that is not included in the formal coding system. This explanation, which maintains the relationship between the participants' DMT protocols and their ESP scores, has been rendered unlikely by the predictability of MJ's DMT ratings by the variables derived from his scoring rules.

Yet another possible explanation might be that, if MJ administered the DMT, through demand characteristics he elicited in some participants a particular DMT response or even a later ESP performance, resulting in the DMT-ESP correlation. This explanation assumes MJ to be able either to predict each participant's ESP score and then influence his DMT rating accordingly or to guess the participants' DMT ratings and be able to elicit in these participants the appropriate ESP performance.

The likelihood of such explanations is pure speculation, but what is important for future research is that all these explanations are based on a specific ability of MJ. The question whether it has been his psi, or him influencing the participants social psychologically to produce the DMT-ESP relationship, is a moot point: The replicability of the DMT-ESP correlation has very much been drawn into doubt.

If experimenter effects come up, it might be mentioned that MJ and EH competed once on the computerized ESP task, with the result that MJ got 8 hits and EH 18. This last result paralleled one of the three highest scores in the DMT-ESP experiments, 19 hits having occurred twice and 18 hits only once in a total of 787 tasks.

With regard to the finding of a positive correlation between religiosity and ESP performance in the Icelandic experiments, the present experiment corroborates this. Comparing the effect sizes ES = 0.136 in the 10 Icelandic experiments with the present result of ES = 0.176, the overall finding is strengthened. The same can be said for the negative correlation between psychotism and ESP scoring, where the previous result was ES = 0.103 and the present ES = 0.122.

Other psychological variables gave few notable results: Of the 33 correlation coefficients in Table 8, 4 are significant, where between 1 and 2 are expected to occur by chance. The sheep-goat effect was not present, but an interesting correlation occurred in relation to extraversion: Both the clairvoyance and the total ESP score correlate significantly with extraversion. However, these correlations are negative, which is at variance with the conclusion of a review by Palmer (1977).

In conclusion, the present experiment and the more detailed analysis of the previous DMT-ESP experiments it engendered suggest that the explanation of the DMT-ESP correlation may be explained by either a parapsychological experimenter effect or a specific ability of MJ to interact with the participants' ESP to produce the correlation or a nonformalized ability' to derive from the DMT protocols ratings that correlate with ESP performance. In any case, a person-specific ability to produce the DMT-ESP correlation appears to be certain. This means that, despite an interesting rationale and an underpinning by highly significant combined evidence in favor of its reality, the DMT-ESP correlation cannot be regarded as one of parapsychology's reproducible findings.

Experiment N Spearman's [rho] P

U.S. I 10 0.79 .01
U.S. II 16 0.67 .005
U.S. III 11 0.59 .05
Dutch I 18 0.42 .05
Dutch II 49 0.26 .05
Dutch III 16 -0.19 ns

Note. Total N= 120. Meta-analysis: z= 3.483,
p = .00025, one-tailed.


Kendall's [tau] Spearman's [rho]

Experiment N ESP1 ESP2 ESP total p (ESP total)

I 37 .46 C1 .10 Pr .4659 .002 .3888
II 37 .20 C1 .01 Pr .1696 ns .1157
III 41 .07 C1 .01 Pr .0312 ns .0094
IV 54 .21 Pr .14 Cl .2539 .03 .1898
V 46 -.08 Cl .30 Pr .1108 ns .0845
VI 44 .06 C1 .07 Pr .0562 ns .0594
VII 48 .25 C1 .01 C1 .1116 ns .0962
VIII 50 -.11 Cl -.13 C1 -.0882 ns -.0639
IX 50 -.11 Cl -.03 Pr -.0409 ns -.0334
X 55 -.16 C1 .19 Pr .0997 ns .0756

Note. Total N = 462. Meta-analysis: z = 2.6014, p = .0046
(one-tailed); effect size = .1210, average t = .0855.
Cl = clairvoyance; Pr = precognition.


Variable (Main defense mechanisms) Coefficient t p(2-t)

1 Repression -0.2478 -1.54 .1234
2 Isolation 0.0543 0.65 .5147
3 Denial -1.3987 -1.86 .0639
4 Reaction formation 0.1054 0.78 .4380
5 Identification with the aggressor 0.3974 0.77 .4395
6 Repression 0.0318 0.18 .8584
7 Introjection: sex identification -0.0355 -0.53 .5989
8 Introjection: polymorphous 0.0310 0.41 .6793
9 Projection 0.0886 0.29 .7722
10 Regression -0.7477 -0.85 .3968

Scoring niles

1 Quality of correct recognition 0.0895 3.15 .0018
2 Lack of discontinuity with threat 0.0941 1.82 .0697
5 Serious discontinuities -0.0502 -2.61 .0095
6 Denial or discontinuity but not rigid -0.0144 -1.56 .1196
7 Quality of denial or discontinuity -0.0187 -2.26 .0246
8 Weighted correct/threat recognition -0.0913 -0.65 .5134


 Sum-of- Mean-
Source squares df square F-ratio p

Main defense mechanisms 612.04 10 61.20 0.8648 .566
Scoring rules 3,723.62 6 620.60 8.7693 .000
Residual 28,025.01 396 70.77

Note. Dependent variable = MJ's DMT ratings; n = 421; multiple
R = .429; multiple [R.sup.2] = .184; adjusted multiple
[R.sup.2] = .135.


 p value in the ANOVA

 Main defense Scoring rules
Experiment N mechanisms

I 37 .48 .81
II 37 .16 .012
III 41 .64 .12
IV 52 .62 .002
VI 47 .045 .00005
VII 48 .16 .15
VIII 54 .99 .097
IX 50 .047 .00034
X 55 .45 .049


Variable Coefficient t p(2-t)

1 Repression -0.0490 -0.26 .798
2 Isolation 0.2128 2.20 .029
3 Denial -1.3639 -1.63 .104
4 Reaction formation 0.0972 0.59 .559
5 Identification with the aggressor -0.1629 -0.24 .807
6 Repression -0.0324 -0.16 .869
7 Introjection: sex identification -0.0941 -1.21 .229
8 Introjection: polymorphous 0.0937 0.99 .321
9 Projection 0.3513 1.05 .296
10 Regression -0.9522 -1.03 .302

Scoring rules

1 Quality of correct recognition 0.0959 2.84 .005
2 Lack of discontinuity with threat 0.2078 3.43 .001
5 Serious discontinuities -0.0671 -2.98 .003
6 Denial or discontinuity but not rigid -0.0096 -0.86 .392
7 Quality of denial or discontinuity -0.0351 -3.58 .0004
8 Weighted correct/threat recognition -0.0578 -0.35 .730


 Sum-of- Mean-
Source squares df square F-ratio p

Main defense mechanisms 823.67 10 82.37 1.2248 .27478
Scoring rules 4,150.14 6 691.69 10.2855 .00000
Residual 18,358.96 273 67.25

Note. Dependent variable = MJ's DMT ratings; n = 295; multiple
R = 0.495; multiple [R.sup.2] = 0.245; adjusted multiple
[R.sup.2] = .187.


 Average number of hits (SD)

Group N Clairvoyance Precognition Total ESP

Females 32 11.125 * (2.871) 9.719 (2.762) 20.844 (4.266)
Males 35 10.371 (2.658) 9.171 (2.395) 19.543 (3.346)
All 67 10.731 * (2.767) 9.433 (2.572) 20.164 (3.840)

* p < .05, two-tailed


 Kendall's [tau]

Group N Clairvoyance Precognition Total ESP

Females 20 .0779 .1203 .0979
Males 30 .0971 -.1845 -.0989
All 50 .1010 -.0361 .0077


 Kendall's [tau]

Variable Clairvoyance Precognition Total ESP

Religiosity 0.0894 0.0754 0.1223
Psychotism -0.0780 -0.0781 -0.0853

Psi belief -0.0937 0.0621 -0.0185
Belief in the occult 0.0053 0.0983 0.0752
Attitude toward the future -0.0579 -0.0361 -0.0613
Optimism -0.0040 0.2005 * 0.1369

Neuroticism -0.0096 0.1711 0.1434
Extraversion -0.2353 * -0.0342 -0.1949 *
Openness fbr experience -0.1003 0.1591 0.0114
Agreeableness 0.2135 * -0.1658 0.0176
Conscientiousness 0.0577 0.0096 0.0694

* p < .05, two-tailed


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Department of Psychology

University of Iceland

101 Reykjavik


Center for Psychobiology and Behavioral Medicine

University of Giessen

Otto-Behaghel-Strasse 10

D-35394 Giessen



Institut fur Umweltmedizin und Krankenhaushygiene

Arbeitsgruppe Evaluation, Naturheilverfahren und Umweltmedizin

Hugstetter Strasse 55

D-79106 Freiburg i.Br.


Department of Psychology

University of Lund

P. O. Box 117

22200 Lund, Sweden
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Author:Haraldsson, Erlendur; Houtkooper, Joop M.; Schneider, Rainer; Backstrom, Martin
Publication:The Journal of Parapsychology
Date:Sep 1, 2002
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