Controversial Reading - Well Worth Discussing

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Scarts
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Controversial Reading - Well Worth Discussing

Unread post by Scarts » Tue Mar 11, 2014 9:22 pm

Eyewitness to the Paranormal: The Experimental Psychology of the ‘Unexplained’

Matthew J. Sharps
Volume 36.4, July/August 2012


Research in experimental psychology has shown that many paranormal sightings fall directly within the realm of eyewitness memory. Experiments reveal that such “sightings” derive from the psychology of the observers rather than from supernatural sources. Experiments show these proclivities.
If many sources on cable TV and the Internet are to be believed, the world is currently under attack by a variety of supernatural forces, apparently acting in concert.

Such reports are ubiquitous. Aliens appear at night on deserted country roads. The ghosts of hoary and defunct Scottish peers turn up on castle battlements, demanding retribution for ancient defeats at the hands of the Sassenach. Bigfoot, all eight or nine feet of him, runs past a given cabin on his way to some cryptozoological tryst—and all of it winds up on television.

What, exactly, is going on?

There is a difficulty in explaining many of these paranormal “sightings.” At first, one might expect that the witnesses to these phenomena would be residents of the wilder shores of psychological instability; however, many of the people who report these things are sober, educated, reasonable individuals. Many are ac­tively adverse to publicity, and an ap­preciable fraction of them passes polygraph tests. In short, many of these witnesses—in fact, probably the majority of them—are neither lying nor mentally ill. They have normal nervous systems, and they are convinced that they have experienced something extraordinary.

Logically, therefore, there are only two viable explanations for the events these people claim to experience. Either Bigfoot, the ghosts, and the Gray aliens actually exist, or the individual witnesses to these exotic beings have actually observed and misinterpreted relatively prosaic phenomena. If the latter is the case, then these misinterpretations are very literally eyewitness errors and, as such, are governed by the same psychological principles that operate in eyewitness processes in the forensic world.

Eyewitness Memory and the ‘Paranormal’
On average, most of us think of eyewitness memory in relatively narrow terms, such as criminal identification via police lineups. In fact, the eyewitness field has much broader significance both in the criminal justice system and beyond. Every human phenomenon involving reportage—from recall of childhood memories in psychotherapy to the observation of a planetary transit—coalesces around some kind of account of some variety of human experience. This means that the processes involved in eyewitness cognition per se are continually operating, albeit at a relatively subtle level, through the entire fabric of human existence.

Unfortunately, eyewitness memories are frequently wrong. In my own work I have found that people, including and perhaps especially jurors, tend to think of the human nervous system as some kind of digital recorder, faithfully reproducing what we’ve actually seen when, in fact, nothing could be further from the truth. Eighty years ago (Bartlett 1932) it was demonstrated that human memories become reconfigured—changed in terms of gist, brevity, and personal belief. Our memories lose detail; they become shorter; and what we think we’ve seen frequently replaces what we’ve actually seen. These aspects of human memory have been reconfirmed by modern studies (e.g., Ahlberg and Sharps 2002) and have been shown as far back as the 1970s to be directly important for eyewitness memory; for example, Loftus (1975) showed that witnesses will typically “remember,” and confidently re­port, the color of a barn in a given scene as red even when there is no barn in the scene to be observed. This illustrates the effect of personal belief on an individual’s memory. People generally expect barns to be red; therefore, when Loftus asked experimental witnesses for the color of the barn they had seen, their imaginations obligingly provided the most typical color even though no actual barn had been presented to them.

Our recent experimental research has underscored this effect (Sharps et al. 2009; see also Sharps 2010). In studies of witness errors derived from a violent crime scene, the most prevalent error
(an average of nearly two errors of this type per witness) was a mistake in the physique or clothing of a gun-wielding perpetrator. However, the second most prevalent error (an average of 1.25 errors of this type per witness) was one of “inference, extrapolation, or imagination”: in other words, the average witness simply made up, out of whole cloth, one and one-quarter nonexistent “facts” about a given violent crime.

‘Seeing’ the Supernatural
Human memory, therefore, is malleable: what you see is not necessarily what you get. This concept has obvious relevance to sightings of the “unexplained.” It is clearly possible for a human being—for example, at twilight when visual acuity is reduced—to see an angry cow behind a bush but come out of the situation with a clear memory of a menacing Bigfoot. A wisp of fog or smoke seen in the indirect glare of a streetlight becomes a ghost; the bright lights of a factory, seen at night through an industrial haze, become a UFO.

Yet how does a given witness transform the prosaic into the miraculous? What are the psychological processes operating in a normal person by which this transmutation is to be accomplished? In other words, what psychological factors would be likely to turn prosaic reality into a supernatural or paranormal representation in the mind?

The Psychology of Atypical Perception
My students and I (Sharps et al. 2006) focused on three specific psychological characteristics—depression, dissociation, and tendencies toward attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD)—in a study of seventy-eight adults. This study employed standardized instruments for the measurement of ADHD, dissociation, and depression in each respondent and evaluated these measurements against respondents’ self-ratings of paranormal beliefs of various types. We chose these characteristics for two reasons.

The first reason is that while none of these conditions is something you’d want to have, none constitutes mental illness per se. Although these conditions may, at their higher levels, become classifiable as symptoms of mental illness, at their lower, everyday levels, virtually everyone experiences depression or dissociation at times. Even symptoms of ADHD are distributed normally in large populations (Buitelaar and Van Engeland 1996). In other words, you don’t have to have a diagnosable condition of ADHD to have a little ADHD. Subclinical, non-diagnosable levels of these three conditions are highly prevalent in the human population.

The second reason we focused on these three conditions is that they make sense as potential predisposing agents for belief in and perception of the paranormal.

Consider ADHD, especially those forms that involve a degree of hyperactivity. Individuals with these characteristics tend to be attracted to active, ex­ploratory activities and lifestyles (Bark­ley et al. 2008) similar to those often de­picted in science fiction. There­fore, it makes sense that people with subclinical levels of ADHD might find themselves thinking about, wishing for, and believing in strange and menacing animals such as Bigfoot and the Loch Ness monster, or in UFOs and space aliens, which would provide evidence of adventurous possibilities beyond the Earth.

Similar considerations apply to the de­pressed, although these involve different paranormal objects. While we could find no reason why a depressed person would be attracted to Bigfoot, ghosts are another matter—they represent the prospect of an afterlife in which things might get better. Also, the depressed might be more likely to believe in aliens and their UFOs as well: an abundance of movies and TV programs preaches the joys of being selected for a benevolent alien abduction, removed from earthly torments, and presented with exotic new cosmic possibilities.

What about dissociation? People with some level of dissociation tend toward a diminished critical assessment of reality. Dissociated people may feel “strange” about themselves, even to the extent of feeling that they are undergoing out-of-body experiences. They may have anomalous perceptions of the passage of time or of their own experience. The world may appear to be “not quite real or … diffuse” (Cardena 1997, 400). This disconnection with reality might incline those with even subclinical levels of dissociation to view impossible or highly improbable things with an enhanced level of credulity. For this reason, it was anticipated that people with dissociative tendencies would be prey to paranormal beliefs at higher levels than the general population. However, here we see no thematicity as we did with depression or ADHD; in short, we would not expect individuals with dissociation to focus on any specific area of the paranormal.

Therefore, we hypothesized a higher degree of belief in “cryptids” (unknown animals such as Bigfoot) and in aliens for those with ADHD tendencies; a higher degree of belief in aliens and ghosts for those with depressive tendencies; and a generally higher level of nonspecific belief in the paranormal for those with dissociative tendencies.

Experimental Confirmation
These hypotheses were entirely supported by the empirical results of our study (Sharps et al. 2006). We found this result exciting because, for the first time, we had proof of the involvement of specific psychological processes in paranormal beliefs. Very specific hu­man psychological characteristics can be used to predict belief not only in supernatural prospects generally, but also in specific kinds of paranormal “beings.” In view of abundant research demonstrating the malleability of memory in the face of personal beliefs, this research clearly brings belief in the paranormal into the realm of predictive scientific psychology. What you are like as a person contributes in scientifically predictable ways to what you’re willing to believe.

However, this initial study addressed belief, not perception. While we would theoretically expect belief to drive perception, the question of perception itself is another matter. There is, after all, a significant difference between believing that there might be a Bigfoot and seeing one in your yard. What evidence is there that specific psychological characteristics drive the tendency to see paranormal things, to misinterpret the prosaic as if it were the fantastic?

Why We See Things That Aren’t Really There
My students and I addressed this issue in a second study (Sharps et al. 2010) of ninety-eight adults, using the same standardized instruments for the measurement of dissociation, ADHD, and depres­sion. We acquired from public-domain Web sources a series of digital photographs purporting to depict Big­foot, space aliens, or ghosts, which we then presented in counterbalanced series to our respondents via PowerPoint. Re­spondents were asked to rate the probability that the given photograph actually depicted the Bigfoot, ghost, or alien in question.

This study, then, tested directly the effects of psychological characteristics on the tendency of an individual to identify a stimulus item as paranormal in nature. In this study, dealing with effects on perception as opposed to belief, the in­fluence of neither ADHD nor depression was sufficiently powerful enough to influence perception. How­ever, dissociation strong­ly predicted the tendency to perceive a given photograph as actually depicting a paranormal being. More specific analyses demonstrated that this influence of dissociation was significant for Bigfoot and for aliens but not for ghosts. Thus, although the effects of psychological characteristics were shown to be different and more limited for perception than for belief, the overall effect was confirmed: those with dissociative tendencies were more likely to identify “beings” as genuinely paranormal or supernatural than were those without these tendencies. Since the majority of human beings report some dissociative experiences (DePrince and Freyd 1999), this result may be of substantial interest in explaining the burgeoning numbers of paranormal beings infesting our cable television.

Experiments in Context
These studies showed us two things.
First, people with identifiable psychological profiles are not only more likely to believe in the paranormal or supernatural, but their psychological tendencies may also be used to predict the exact types of “unexplained” phenomena in which they are likely to believe.
Second, one of these psychological characteristics—a tendency toward dissociation—allows us to predict individual proclivities toward seeing a given stimulus item as a paranormal creature, whether Bigfoot or an alien.

Seeing Is Not Believing
It should not be surprising that the influence of psychological factors on perception is different from that influence on belief. Beliefs in the paranormal can be “gestalt” (Sharps 2003, 2010), lacking immediate direct challenge from the physical environment; people can believe in Bigfoot, for example, without actually expecting to see one. However, perception of a given paranormal being is much more immediate and feature-intensive; therefore, some psychological tendencies that influence belief may not be powerful enough to alter feature-intensive perception of immediate reality—to actually transform a bear into a foraging Sasquatch. Only dissociation, we found in our experiments, is sufficiently powerful to influence both belief and perception, to propel a real-world stimulus into the realm of the paranormal.

Why Don’t the Dissociated ‘See’ Ghosts as Well as Cryptids and Aliens?
Bigfoot and alien perceptions were subject to the effect of dissociation, but ghost perceptions were not. Why? In Western culture, cryptids and aliens are largely perceived as “fringe” constructs. Ghosts are less so; for example, many sober individuals, the late novelist Michael Crich­ton among them (1988), feel and report a strong conviction that a dead loved one is “present” in the mortuary or at that person’s funeral. In short, “seeing” or “feeling” a ghost may be more socially legitimized than the same perception of a cryptid or a space alien, with a resulting enhancement in feelings of credulity. If so, this phenomenon points to the need for further research on the intersection of culture with individual psychology in this area.

A person need not, in any technically accurate sense, be mentally ill to “see” a paranormal “being.” This is a crucial caveat. Our respondents were not in any sense “crazy” or mentally ill. All three of the conditions addressed are those that many people in the normal population experience at subclinical levels. These were normal people, yet their proclivities in these regards made them particularly susceptible to beliefs and perceptions of a paranormal or supernatural type. Since normal people in their everyday lives are not typically subjected to psychological analysis of their subclinical tendencies, we are faced with an interesting fact: anybody could be the person who sees Bigfoot or a space alien emerging from his UFO. The unfortunate individual who sees such a thing is vanishingly unlikely to know of the psychological quirks that rendered the given observation—or rather its interpretation—possible.
Why do we characterize such a person as unfortunate? This is a critical point, more important than it may at first appear. If searching for Bigfoot, looking for the Loch Ness monster, or delving after little green men from the planet Grak were merely a pleasant diversion, an excuse to hike in the woods and deserts or to buy a really good telescope, there would be little reason to extend scientific anathema to these concepts. These ideas obviously don’t elevate the level of scientific discourse; but beyond that, for most people, what’s the harm?

Unfortunately, these ideas can prove harmful. Much of the evidence is anecdotal or derived from popular sources, but it appears that an encounter with the perceived paranormal can be a life-damaging if not life-destroying experience. Social, marital, and economic harm can readily accompany the obsessive interest of a “contactee” whose life, relationships, and career are derailed by the conviction that “the truth is out there.” The author alone has known intelligent individuals whose lives of semi-employment and solitude have resulted at least in part from the search for nonexistent beings from beyond; none of this is necessary, for the simple reason that we now understand what brings human beings, with human nervous systems, to paranormal perceptions and beliefs. We can now demonstrate, using well-established methods of experimental psychology, that the human mind is perfectly capable of constructing the beliefs and the perceptions that frequently lead to a profitless search for the creatures of the Twi­light Zone. We hope these findings will help lead intelligent, educated individuals to pursue the genuine mysteries of neuroscience, zoology, and astronomy to the exclusion of the useless pursuit of the phantoms that reside in the interstitial spaces of our infinitely inventive minds.

References
Ahlberg, S.W., and M.J. Sharps. 2002. Bartlett revisited: Reconfiguration of long-term memory in young and older adults. Journal of Genetic Psychology 163(2): 211–18.
Barkley, R.A., K.R. Murphy, and M. Fischer. 2008. ADHD in Adults: What the Science Says. New York: Guilford.
Bartlett, F.C. 1932. Remembering: A Study in Experimental and Social Psychology. Cam­bridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge Uni­versity Press.
Buitelaar, J.K., and H. Van Engeland. 1996. Epidemiological approaches. In S. Sandberg (ed.). Hyperactivity Disorders of Childhood. Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press, 26–68.
Cardena, E. 1997. Dissociative disorders: Phan­toms of the self. In S.M. Turner and Michel Hersen (eds.). Adult Psychopathology and Diagnosis, third edition). New York: Wiley, 400.
Crichton, M. 1988. Travels. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.
DePrince, A.P., and J.F. Freyd. 1999. Dissociative tendencies, attention, and memory. Psycho­logical Science 10(5): 449–52.
Loftus, E.F. 1975. Leading questions and the eyewitness report. Cognitive Psychology 7(3): 560–72
Sharps, M.J. 2003. Aging, Representation, and Thought: Gestalt and Feature-Intensive Process­ing. Piscataway, New Jersey: Transac­tion.
———. 2010. Processing Under Pressure: Stress, Memory, and Decision-Making in Law Enforcement. Flushing, New York: Looseleaf Law.
Sharps, M.J., J. Janigian, A.B. Hess, et al. 2009. Eyewitness memory in context: Toward a taxonomy of eyewitness error. Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology 24(1): 36–44.
Sharps, M.J., J. Matthews, and J. Asten. 2006. Cognition, affect, and beliefs in paranormal phenomena: Gestalt/feature intensive processing theory and tendencies toward ADHD, depression, and dissociation. Journal of Psy­chology 140(6): 579–90.
Sharps, M.J., E. Newborg, S. Van Arsdall, et al. 2010. Paranormal encounters as eyewitness phenomena: Psychological determinants of atypical perceptual interpretations. Current Psychology 29(4): 320–27.


Matthew J. Sharps
Matthew J. Sharps is professor of psychology at California State University, Fresno, and serves on the adjunct faculty of Alliant International University in forensic clinical psychology. He specializes in eyewitness phenomena and related areas in forensic cognitive science. He is a Diplomate and Fellow of the American College of Forensic Examiners, as well as the author of more than 160 publications and professional papers, including the 2010 book Processing Under Pressure: Stress, Memory, and Decision-Making in Law Enforcement (www.LooseleafLaw.com). He has consulted on eyewitness issues in numerous criminal cases. Email: matthew_sharps@csufresno.edu.

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Re: Controversial Reading - Well Worth Discussing

Unread post by Scarts » Tue Mar 18, 2014 4:48 pm

Forty-Four views of this article, and not one reply! Interesting! This article is the academic approach to this entire topic, and honestly, if there's any truth to it, it's true the hardest thing you can do in life is look yourself in the mirror and see what's really there and looking back.

It's a long read, so here I have reduced it!

The article is essentially about belief and perception, the way one can influence the other, and an an exploration of what psychological factors are likely present in a Witness of a crypto-creature or supernatural being.

Firstly, it stresses a number of home truths. Witnesses to these phenomena are sober, educated, reasonable individuals actively adverse to publicity, pass polygraph tests, are neither lying nor mentally ill, have normal functioning nervous systems, and are convinced they have experienced something extraordinary.

Secondly, it stresses the human memory does not faithfully reproduce what we've actually seen, like a digital recorder, but that human memories can become reconfigured, or changed in terms of gist, brevity, and personal belief, losing detail, becoming shorter, and with what we think we've seen replacing what we've actually seen. An important point raised is at twilight when visual acuity is reduced— it is possible for a human to see an angry cow behind a bush but come out of the situation with a clear memory of a menacing Bigfoot. As we know, what time of day are the bulk of reports? Dusk and Dawn – or Twilight.

Thirdly, it explores what psychological factors would be likely to turn prosaic reality into a supernatural or paranormal representation in the mind, by conducting two studies. The first study focuses on three specific psychological characteristics—depression, dissociation, and tendencies toward attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD)—in a study of seventy-eight adults. The first reason these conditions were chosen is none constitutes mental illness per se. Although these conditions may, at their higher levels, become classifiable as symptoms of mental illness, at their lower, everyday levels, virtually everyone experiences depression or dissociation at times. Even symptoms of ADHD are distributed normally in large populations. Subclinical, non-diagnosable levels of these three conditions are highly prevalent in the human population. The second reason these three conditions are focused upon, is that they make sense as potential predisposing agents for belief in and perception of the paranormal.

Fourthly, the first study addresses beliefs associated with each of the three psychological characteristics. It concludes people with subclinical levels of ADHD might find themselves thinking about, wishing for, and believing in strange and menacing animals such as BIGFOOT and the Loch Ness Monster, or in UFOs and space aliens, which would provide evidence of adventurous possibilities beyond the Earth. People with DEPRESSION might find themselves thinking of ghosts which represent an afterlife where things might be better, and ALIENS and UFOS which also represent places beyond Earth as seen in tv shows and movies, where life is better and more exotic. People with some level of DISSOCIATION being a disconnection with reality, might incline those with even subclinical levels of dissociation to view impossible or highly improbable things with an enhanced level of credulity. It was anticipated that people with dissociative tendencies would be prey to non specific PARANORMAL BELIEFS at higher levels than the general population.

Fifthly, the second study addresses the difference between believing there might be a Bigfoot and seeing one in your yard. It addresses the evidence that specific psychological characteristics drive the tendency to see paranormal things, to misinterpret the prosaic as if it were the fantastic. It concludes the influence of dissociation was significant for Bigfoot and for aliens but not for ghosts.

Sixth, it identifies people with identifiable psychological profiles are not only more likely to believe in the paranormal or supernatural, but their psychological tendencies may also be used to predict the exact types of “unexplained” phenomena in which they are likely to believe.
Of these psychological characteristics—a tendency toward dissociation—allows us to predict individual proclivities toward seeing a given stimulus item as a paranormal creature, whether Bigfoot or an alien. Only dissociation, found in the experiments, is sufficiently powerful to influence both belief and perception, to propel a real-world stimulus into the realm of the paranormal. This is explained by virtue of in Western culture, cryptids and aliens are largely perceived as “fringe” constructs.


The final conclusion is a person need not, in any technically accurate sense, be mentally ill to “see” a paranormal “being.” All three of the conditions addressed are those that many people in the normal population experience at subclinical levels. These were normal people, yet their proclivities in these regards made them particularly susceptible to beliefs and perceptions of a paranormal or supernatural type. Since normal people in their everyday lives are not typically subjected to psychological analysis of their subclinical tendencies, anybody could be the person who sees Bigfoot.. The unfortunate individual who sees such a thing is unlikely to know of the psychological quirks that rendered the given observation—or rather its interpretation—possible.

These ideas have proven harmful. Much of the evidence suggests an encounter with the perceived paranormal can be a life-damaging if not life-destroying experience. Social, marital, and economic harm can readily accompany the obsessive interest of a “contactee” whose life, relationships, and career are derailed by the conviction “The Truth Is Out There.” These beliefs and perceptions frequently lead to a profitless search for the creatures of the Twi­light Zone. The author hopes these findings will help lead intelligent, educated individuals to pursue the genuine mysteries of neuroscience, zoology, and astronomy to the exclusion of the useless pursuit of the phantoms that reside in the interstitial spaces of our infinitely inventive minds.

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Re: Controversial Reading - Well Worth Discussing

Unread post by Scarts » Tue Mar 18, 2014 5:14 pm

This study has major implications for this site, and all members of this forum.

What this article suggests is anybody here who is generally only attracted to the Yowie, most likely has a sub-clinical level of either ADHD or dissociation. Anybody here who is generally attracted to all paranormal aspects in general, including cryptids, will have a sub-clinical level of dissociation. Anybody here who is most attracted to ghosts will have a sub-clinical level of depression.

Anybody here who has actually seen a Yowie, Bigfoot, or Alien, will on a psychological level, have a sub-clinical level of dissociation.

Now that we know this, anybody here who has seen a yowie and become obsessed with it, can now take control before it becomes a "Life-damaging if not life-destroying experience. Social, marital, and economic harm can readily accompany the obsessive interest of a “contactee” whose life, relationships, and career are derailed by the conviction “The Truth Is Out There.” These beliefs and perceptions frequently lead to a profitless search for the creatures of the Twi­light Zone."




Dissociation Anonymous Meeting:
Hi, my name is.........., and I have a sub-clinical level of dissociation. I saw a Yowie.

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Re: Controversial Reading - Well Worth Discussing

Unread post by Dion » Tue Mar 18, 2014 6:14 pm

Scarts wrote:Witnesses to these phenomena are sober, educated, reasonable individuals actively adverse to publicity, pass polygraph tests, are neither lying nor mentally ill, have normal functioning nervous systems, and are convinced they have experienced something extraordinary.
Ok got that........
Scarts wrote:What this article suggests is anybody here who is generally only attracted to the Yowie, most likely has a sub-clinical level of either ADHD or dissociation. Anybody here who is generally attracted to all paranormal aspects in general, including cryptids, will have a sub-clinical level of dissociation. Anybody here who is most attracted to ghosts will have a sub-clinical level of depression.

Anybody here who has actually seen a Yowie, Bigfoot, or Alien, will on a psychological level, have a sub-clinical level of dissociation.

Now that we know this, anybody here who has seen a yowie and become obsessed with it, can now take control before it becomes a "Life-damaging if not life-destroying experience. Social, marital, and economic harm can readily accompany the obsessive interest of a “contactee” whose life, relationships, and career are derailed by the conviction “The Truth Is Out There.” These beliefs and perceptions frequently lead to a profitless search for the creatures of the Twi­light Zone."
Now here you are confusing me a little, your posts seem to be contradicting each other, to have a level of Depression is a form of Mental illness,

So are you saying that people who have seen something abnormal to most others have a history of dissociation, truama or mental illness?

I would like to know why you posted what you did and your thoughts as to where you are trying to head with this?
Scarts wrote:This study has major implications for this site, and all members of this forum.
Only if you or the individual believes so.
“ It is stated because my studies have lead me to think that these creatures could very well be a diluted remnant of the Nephilim. ”- Ron Morehead

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Re: Controversial Reading - Well Worth Discussing

Unread post by EyeShine » Tue Mar 18, 2014 8:42 pm

Thanks for posting this, Scarts - and for going to the effort of distilling the ideas. Definitely food for thought, though I'm not sure it's in any way conclusive. Perhaps these theories hold water and explain many reported encounters with phenomena such as yowies, I don't know. What is better known is that academics don't all agree on things, so other positions on this subject might be held in academia. Another thought that comes to mind is how well this position accommodates collective sightings, where two or more people share the same encounter. Assuming such reports are not hoaxes are we then to assume that all present had sub-clinical conditions predisposing them to sightings of paranormal phenomena?

EyeShine

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Re: Controversial Reading - Well Worth Discussing

Unread post by Scarts » Tue Mar 18, 2014 9:28 pm

Thanks Eyeshine! This is an academic piece, and like you said, other academic pieces will contradict it. I'm pretty sure it even clashes with the other academic article I posted. You raise an interesting issue regarding multiple witnesses. Multiple witnesses always contradicts psychological explanations. The article does suggest all those present had sub-clinical conditions of either ADHD or dissociation, which doesn't gel well! Obviously, the article doesn't explain some photos or footprint casts, does it?


Dion, you'll have to re-read the article. I didn't write the article. It specifically says sub-clinical levels of these psychological conditions does not qualify as mental illness because the levels are so low. I'm not saying people who see these things have a history of anything. I posted this because it deals with bigfoot/yowie sightings, and more specifically the witnesses themselves, from an academic level dealing with psychology. I'm not going anywhere with the article.

It is what it is, and if you want to debunk it, Dion, then debunk it.

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Re: Controversial Reading - Well Worth Discussing

Unread post by forestguy » Tue Mar 18, 2014 9:30 pm

Hey Scarts - is there any particular reason that in cutting and pasting the article in your first post you appear to have deliberately removed the source publication?

Perhaps unsurprisingly based on the tenor of the article, the publication was The Skeptical Inquirer - official mouthpiece of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, which was founded by such luminaries as James Randi.

Beyond that, the article itself is pretty sloppy - an initial study based on 78 people, followed up 4-5 years later with another 98. So from a total of 176 people - with no info about group selection, the testing, any controls, the basis of them 'diagnosing' the "psychological characteristics" (what standards applied, etc etc) - the author's then extrapolated his findings to fit a sample that numbers in the hundreds of thousands and is drawn from right across all levels of society.

Beyond all of that, if his 'research' was really as compelling and proven as he claims then he would have been able to get it published in a legit scientific journal and not just the scofftics own newsletter.
"What is reported is different to what is remembered which is different to what was seen which is different to what was present."

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Re: Controversial Reading - Well Worth Discussing

Unread post by Dion » Wed Mar 19, 2014 6:36 am

Scarts wrote:It is what it is, and if you want to debunk it, Dion, then debunk it.
Not trying to debunk anything, just would like to know why you posted it up and or reason for doing so.

Seeing as you posted up a thread called "Serious Truama" in the Yowie / Bigfoot Discussion board here. viewtopic.php?f=45&t=4775

I am presuming your posting here may have something to do with your In depth University essay?
“ It is stated because my studies have lead me to think that these creatures could very well be a diluted remnant of the Nephilim. ”- Ron Morehead

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Re: Controversial Reading - Well Worth Discussing

Unread post by Scarts » Wed Mar 19, 2014 11:37 pm

Forestguy, locating this article in "The skeptical inquirer", is a moot point. The author of the article is highly reputable. One of his recent books is, "Processing Under Pressure: Stress, Memory, and Decision-Making in Law Enforcement". On top of that he's written over 160 articles, including articles in "The Police Chief". That this article appears in a publication you happen to detest, doesn't detract from it's merit.

I disagree the article is sloppy. The studies include 176 people. If he were to interview and test thousands of people, he would never ever finish his study. Ofcourse the more test subjects used would create more accurate findings, but let's be realistic, he's used a manageable sample of the population.

I don't know if this article appears in a legitimate scientific journal, but much of his other articles do. Naturally the skeptics snapped this one up!

Dion, a bigfoot sighting comprises essentially 4 main elements. The Witness, the Location, the Observation, and the Evidence supporting the observation. Location, Observation, and Evidence, have been discussed and analysed to death. With the exception of some interesting photos, the Witness is the last frontier. Yes, I am doing an article on serious trauma, and whether that article has any relevance to our beloved yowie is simply too early to tell. The only relevance it may have is in trauma affecting perception in post, as in years later, linked in with beliefs.

I hope this helps clear up where I'm going with this.

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Re: Controversial Reading - Well Worth Discussing

Unread post by themanfromglad » Sun Mar 23, 2014 7:06 am

The original article appears to be a bit of a crock. It presumes that anything paranormal is not possible nor real. It further presumes that the only recording device being memory, is flawed. Neither of which are the case. Thus, it is a crock based on faulty assumptions.

I record my paranormal audio experiences so that I can review them like a photo album, facinate others as the ocassion arises and repeatedly prove to myself that they are very real indeed. End of story.

Scarts, I recommend that you spend a little more time in the field at night. And less time perusing through books or the internet, looking for a chink in the armor of Yowie/Bigfoot. The prove lies in the field. Not in either books or on the internet.

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Re: Controversial Reading - Well Worth Discussing

Unread post by Scarts » Mon Mar 24, 2014 9:51 am

Manfromglad, how can you say memory is the only recording device and it is not flawed? Then you say you make audio recordings of paranormal occurrences which you amaze your friends with, which confirms the reality of what you've experienced? Wouldn't audio and video be the clincher?

I've spent time in the field, Manfromglad. I'm happy to spend more time in the field, but doubt you will approve the results I bring home.

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Re: Controversial Reading - Well Worth Discussing

Unread post by themanfromglad » Mon Mar 24, 2014 4:13 pm

Scarts wrote:Manfromglad, how can you say memory is the only recording device and it is not flawed? Then you say you make audio recordings of paranormal occurrences which you amaze your friends with, which confirms the reality of what you've experienced? Wouldn't audio and video be the clincher?

I've spent time in the field, Manfromglad. I'm happy to spend more time in the field, but doubt you will approve the results I bring home.
Scarts, you ought to reread what you just stated, and then reread what I stated. Only then will you see that I never stated that man's memory is the only recording device. Now read my lips carefully this time. The article that you copied and pasted, implies that man's memory is the only available recording device. And since it is subject to certain inconsistencies, it cannot be relied upon.

If you have somehow obtained a video of a Yowie, it is not likely going to prove that the Yowie is paranormal. Consequently, your Yowie would not fall into the paranormal category that original article discussed.

Please share your results of your field work. Just stick with the results obtained after dark, in order help us get to the meat of your research. And remember now, no cherrypicking the results in order to arrive at a 24/7 flesh & blood Yowie. Also, pleas include all of the audio noises that came from a location where nothing could be seen. Also include observations of trackways that suddenly start or suddenly end. Don't worry because I am not going to ask you to include pictures of anything that is invisible. lol

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Re: Controversial Reading - Well Worth Discussing

Unread post by Gavin » Mon Mar 24, 2014 10:50 pm

The article states that logically there are two explanations for witnessing phenomena. 1. It's real or 2. It's a mistake. If suppose it's a mistake, e.g. I saw a cow that I think is a bigfoot, then a shrink could possibly make a guess as to how you think. All the rest is big words and much repetition.

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Re: Controversial Reading - Well Worth Discussing

Unread post by Gavin » Mon Mar 24, 2014 10:52 pm

No offense intended Scarts it makes sense once you boil it down.

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Re: Controversial Reading - Well Worth Discussing

Unread post by Scarts » Mon Mar 24, 2014 11:45 pm

Yeah, alright Manfromglad. The article argues that man's memory is flawed, even though we rely heavily upon it in Court cases under the presumption man's memory is perfect. Courts rely upon memory being reliable because not everything that happens in life is conveniently audio or video recorded. Besides, as human beings, we depend on our memories to inform us of what we have experienced in life and to inform us of who we are.

A video recording of a "yowie" would at least substantiate objective reality to the creature. The invisible creature argument for everything, achieves nothing.


Gavin, nice work! I like we're your thinking's at. I boil the article down to the following equation:

Sub-Clinical level of dissociation + A Belief = Perceived experience which reaffirms a belief.
Perceived experience which reaffirms a belief = Sub-clinical level of dissociation + A Belief

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Re: Controversial Reading - Well Worth Discussing

Unread post by themanfromglad » Tue Mar 25, 2014 6:38 am

In conclusion, A + B = C
also C = A + B

?!?!

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Re: Controversial Reading - Well Worth Discussing

Unread post by Dion » Tue Mar 25, 2014 11:23 am

themanfromglad wrote:..........It presumes that anything paranormal is not possible nor real. It further presumes that the only recording device being memory, is flawed. Neither of which are the case........
Have to agree here.
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Re: Controversial Reading - Well Worth Discussing

Unread post by Gavin » Tue Mar 25, 2014 6:20 pm

Read the fourth paragraph it says it's either real or not. It then expands on "not". p.s. It took me a few headaches.

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Re: Controversial Reading - Well Worth Discussing

Unread post by Scarts » Fri Mar 28, 2014 1:49 pm

That's right. The article matter of factly states they are either real or not and then explores what it means if they are not real. Yep, A + B = C, or C = A + B. Too confusing for you, Manfromglad?

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Re: Controversial Reading - Well Worth Discussing

Unread post by Gavin » Fri Mar 28, 2014 2:16 pm

Maybe not confusing, maybe confronting.

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Re: Controversial Reading - Well Worth Discussing

Unread post by themanfromglad » Sat Mar 29, 2014 1:15 pm

? Explores if they are real?

No, not really. It uses the word "disassociation" in place of "hallucination". Then you realize that the author is insulting every person that has reported a paranormal experience. Which is why there is so much resistance to reporting paranormal experiences. I already emailed the author and pointed out to him where he can obtain the more proper research for his diatribe on the paranormal. He emailed back and thanked me for pointing him in the direction of the University of California at Berkeley, but appeared to not be interested in finding the other side of the coin.

The twin formulas "A + B = C, or C = A + B" is something that a genius would come up with who could not tie his own shoes, and then believe that he just discovered the true meaning of life, IMO. Which is why it is not particularly earth shaking.

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Re: Controversial Reading - Well Worth Discussing

Unread post by themanfromglad » Sat Mar 29, 2014 1:17 pm

Scarts, I am still waiting for you to share your paranormal experiences. I don't require proof. Just a good story.

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Re: Controversial Reading - Well Worth Discussing

Unread post by Dion » Sat Mar 29, 2014 2:09 pm

themanfromglad wrote:It uses the word "disassociation" in place of "hallucination". Then you realize that the author is insulting every person that has reported a paranormal experience. Which is why there is so much resistance to reporting paranormal experiences.
Yep pretty much how I interpreted the article.
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Re: Controversial Reading - Well Worth Discussing

Unread post by Scarts » Sat Mar 29, 2014 11:18 pm

The difference appears to be hallucinations do not require physical stimuli and are memory based. Dissociation requires imagination and is a detachment from immediate surroundings.

My interpretation of this to bigfoot is all reports are in immediate rural, forested, natural environments which serve as the stimulus, with that which is seen being imagination based rather than memory based. Both disociation and hallucination can be coping mechanisms for stress. Extreme fatigue can trigger hallucinations.

Of note, dissociation is much more common among those who are traumatized, including a history of trauma, yet at the same time there are many persons who have suffered from trauma but who do not show dissociative symptoms.

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Re: Controversial Reading - Well Worth Discussing

Unread post by Scarts » Fri Apr 04, 2014 12:22 am

Of relevance is this little test I stumbled upon! Open invitation to all to do the test, and out of sheer curiousity, see where they score....

http://www.healthyplace.com/psychologic ... ces-scale/


I guess if everybody here scores low, the theory has no real relevance to our research, huh?

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Re: Controversial Reading - Well Worth Discussing

Unread post by Bilinydjan » Fri Apr 04, 2014 7:06 am

Scarts you make some valid points on the Psychological stuff, been there researched that, spent time working in the mental health system and been exposed to the Dreaming.
I have had a great life, some would call it a Blessed life, No trauma's or events that one might say would bring on a hallucination as such, my question for you, can something which is a Hallucination, touch you?

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Re: Controversial Reading - Well Worth Discussing

Unread post by Scarts » Fri Apr 04, 2014 10:08 pm

Bilinidjan, from this psychological perspective, the experience isn't restricted to images. In many many experiences, the witness smells the repugnant odor of the creature, hears it's laboured breathing and footsteps, and feels the dreads - an intense fear. If a psychological state can utilise the senses of sight, hearing, smell, and incite the feeling of fear, why couldn't it also utilise the remaining senses of touch and even taste?

These articles do not touch on it, but a related psychological component is that of archetypes as proposed by Jung. Bigfoot or Yowie encompasses the archetype of the ape-man. Allow me to quote from a book titled, "The Archetype of the Ape-Man", by Dawn Prince Hughes. This author refers to all such experiences we are discussing, as "liminal" experiences. On page 12, the author asks, "What are these archaic ape-man experiences really?"
"Ape-man experiences are those of a directly experienced, externalized archetype, informed by biological memory and contextualised and made increasingly material in the remembering and retelling of the experiences to receptive and contributing listeners., who are themselves effected by their own memory matrixes. In other words, people out in the woods, going about their business in a natural setting, really do "experience" encounters with the ape-man. They are not hallucinating, they are externalizing-- during states of "possessedness" -- a set of feelings, ideas, and actions to make sense of a set of internal and external representations. When they relate these experiences to a listener who holds the same archetype within themselves (as we all do) the experiences take on additional life. It becomes more real in the collective sharing."

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Re: Controversial Reading - Well Worth Discussing

Unread post by Gavin » Fri Apr 04, 2014 10:54 pm

Really? That's a bit of a stretch even for a shrink.

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Re: Controversial Reading - Well Worth Discussing

Unread post by Scarts » Sun Apr 06, 2014 4:24 pm

Gavin, I added that quote from the book by Dawn Prince Hughes, as it raises consistent themes from the article in question.
The themes are:
1. The act of experiencing a bigfoot or yowie, is not a hallucination.
2. The witness must be out in the woods or similar natural setting.
3. It is a liminal experience or an experience of dissociation.
4. Bigfoot is an idea or archetype internal to the witness in the form of a belief which presents itself to the viewer during the experience.
5. The only addition that piece makes, is it suggests the image and behaviour observed by the witness is informed by the witness's own biological or DNA memory.

Ok, Gavin, perhaps point number 5 is indeed a stretch! Granted!

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Re: Controversial Reading - Well Worth Discussing

Unread post by Gavin » Sun Apr 06, 2014 6:03 pm

How then do you explain footprints? Strange noises? The behaviour of surrounding birds and/or animals? Tree breaks? Not all encounters follow a textbook setting, e.g. " A hairy man ran across the road." There's also the elephant in the room - multiple witnesses.
I think it's a great theory but there are huge holes. To imagine the thousands of encounters can be explained by disassociation IS a stretch. Anyone who believes otherwis :D e probably would find it beneficial to see a psychologist. :D

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