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Essay Instructions: Biography on William Carey (Particular Baptist, England) The paper must include the following: 1.
The article describes psychologist Daryl Bem’s quest to demonstrate the existence of extrasensory perception (ESP) through a 10-year series of experiments in his lab at Cornell. Using conventional techniques in experimental design and statistics, Bem successfully demonstrated that participants in his research could predict the future.
He ultimately published his work in one of his field’s top publications, the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.
There’s lots to be said about the challenges of changing the way science is done, but that’s mostly for another blog post.
Instead, I’m interested in another aspect of Bem’s work that, as far as I can tell, has been mostly ignored in the coverage of his crazy findings: He had no theory. The Slate article overlooks this, and describes Bem’s “hypotheses” as well as the earlier, theoretical blocks on which he built his work.
Bem’s tale is equally interesting and disturbing because he’s no Brian Wansink (though that story is also equal parts interesting and disturbing).
In other words, the crazy effects he describes in his paper are seemingly not a result of fraud — he didn’t fabricate his data, he did not purposefully mislead readers with his description of his methodology, and he encouraged others to attempt to replicate his findings.As we dig in to this, it helps to know a bit of background: Almost all of the discussions about this are referencing a paper by Daryl Bem from 2011, where 9 different studies were run on the phenomena.Bem is a respected psychological researcher, so the paper made quite a splash at the time. Interestingly, Bem actually works out of Cornell and has been cited in the whole Brian Wansink kerfluffle, a comparison he rejects. Bem has been more transparent about what he’s doing, and did invite replication attempts.Psychological science is beautiful and powerful when it builds on itself to deepen our understanding of how the mind works.Everyone in the world can observe weird stuff that their brains seemingly do, but the role of scientists is to elucidate not just what, but Bem’s work does raise interesting questions: Is it valuable to publish work that just illuminates effects? How much evidence should there be for a probable effect before its existence is investigated? The staff gets back to me quickly with any concerns that I might have and they are always on time. Thesis statement References: Use only journal articles, books and scholarly academic sources. I'm not a good writer and the service really gets me going in the right direction.” without any sort of testable explanation for why that would be the case.It’s hard to articulate why, but I think there is a fundamental difference between discovering something that’s hard to explain, and actively searching for an effect without a reason.In fact, he justifies his entire 10-year investigation with the following sentence in his paper’s introduction: To me, this sentence demonstrates his work’s most egregious flaw.Bem seems to conflate the idea of serendipitous scientific discovery with actively searching for an effect without any sort of mechanistic hypothesis.