Thursday, June 11, 2009

Results of First Scientific Experiment on Twitter Released

What was billed as the first scientific experiment using Twitter has been completed (Berman Post: Psychic Experiment on Twitter) (Berman Post on Twitter at The results are now in on this test of psychic ability, specifically remote viewing. More specifically, remote viewing using 'the wisdom of the crowd'.

Over a thousand people participated in the experiment, the result is a disappointment for believers in the paranormal. The test asked for people to tweet their choice of five pictures given that they believe showed what Richard Wiseman (the researcher) was looking at. The choice which received the most votes was considered the group's guess. In all four trials the group was wrong.

The researcher analyzed the believers and the skeptics separately and found no appreciable difference. I disagree with his conclusion that "the study didn’t support the existence of remote viewing". I think in a more technical sense, the study did not support the existence of a 'wisdom of the crowd' remote viewing. A few true remote viewers could easily have been out voted and remain hidden among the vast majority of random guessers. His conclusion would only be correct if he has analyzed each participant individually and found none that had been correct more frequently then random chance. While he makes no mention either way, it would not make much sense for him to do that type of analysts. That is because given the number of people involved, it extremely likely that at least a few who were right at a rate above random chance even if everyone is just guessing.

I do agree that "perhaps the most important outcome was to demonstrate that thousands of people are happy to take part in an instant Twitter study".

More at

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