In spite of the great diversity among the world’s cultures, each of them reports parapsychological phenomena; however, few controlled experiments have been performed to test these claims, and these experiments have yielded inconsistent results. Therefore, during 2002-3, two cognitive DMILS studies were carried out in Bali, Indonesia, to test whether an experiment based on a protocol employed in the US and in Scotland could achieve positive results in a very different, non-EuroAmerican culture.
The psi task consisted of one person (Helper) in one room trying to help another person (Helpee) in a second room to achieve success in their focus meditation. Helpees were asked to press a button each time their mind wandered from their focus meditation, and then to commence their focus meditation, again; these presses were recorded on a computer.
Each run consisted of 8 one-minute Help periods randomly counterbalanced with 8 one-minute Control periods. Psi success was measured by comparing the button presses in the Help and Control conditions.
In the first study, half of the forty unpaid participants (ages 23-48, 16 females, and 24 males) were trained in meditating on a lit candle to investigate if meditation training improved psi success in this task. Ten groups of four were run; within each group, meditators and non-meditators were paired in counterbalanced conditions. Significance was achieved overall, with fewer button presses in the Help period as opposed to the Control period, t(37) = 2.151, p < .025, one-tail, Cohen’s d = .36, power =.33). Questionnaires were given to elicit their ability to focus in daily life and during the experiment.
Since the most successful condition resulted from Helpers who were trained in meditation paired with Helpees who were not trained, and who said that they were easily distracted, we pursued this set of conditions in Study 2. Each Helper was a practiced meditator, while each Helpee was not a meditator but was someone who was easily distracted and therefore needed help in focusing. Thirty unpaid volunteers, ages 23-45, participated (16 Females, 14 males). The Study consisted of 60 runs over a five day period. Again, we achieved significant results t(59) = 2.23, p < .02, one-tailed, Cohen’s d = .21, power = .20. These effect
sizes were similar to those in the experiments carried out in the US and Scotland.