This study is carried out as a test of some basic ideas drawn from first sight theory (FST). Some of the main ideas being tested include the assumption that extrasensory information has a part to play in the formation of all experience in a continuous, implicit, unconscious way. First sight theory also proposes that experience is created by unconsciously sampling all sources of potential information holistically, including psi information, and that all of these sources of information are treated in similar ways. And it also proposes that valuing the extrasensory domain of information, openness toward and interest in inward experience of the inadvertent sort that most implies unconscious processing (called liminal experience), being relatively free of fear, and being open to intimate communication with other people, also predispose one to make positive access to psi information.
The esthetic experience of preference is chosen as an everyday form of experience for study in terms of these propositions. Considerable research has demonstrated a tendency for persons to experience greater liking or attraction for things as a function of having been exposed to them previously. This is called the Mere Exposure Effect (MEE). This is often demonstrated especially strongly if the exposures are implicit, subliminally presented, and never available to awareness. The assumption is made here that
an extrasensory MEE should obtain as readily as a subliminal one, and this study attempted to induce both in its participants.
Participants also responded to a number of psychological tests used here to assess aspects of unconscious motivation or intention. We measured whether or not one thinks ESP is possible in such situations, different aspects of openness to inner experience, tolerance of ambiguity, tolerance for interpersonal intimacy, creativity and fearfulness because FST predicts that each of these should relate to the utilization of extrasensory information. We also assessed the Need for Cognition, the Need for Structure, and Boredom-Proneness because these have been found to moderate the subliminal MEE.
Finally, we used a subliminal, implicit means to induce two different moods in our participants. Half were exposed to a stimulus aimed at enhancing a mood of symbiotic security and well-being, and consequent openness toward the situation, while the other half were exposed to a stimulus intended to evoke a mood of relative isolation, constriction and vigilance.
Participants were subliminally exposed to a series of pictures, the mood manipulations, and a series of ESP targets (different pictures that were totally covered by an opaque block, such that they would convey no information even if seen supraliminally), in order to effect mood and induce the MEEs.
We expected to find an overall subliminal MEE but did not, and expected that participants would show similar directions of functioning in their subliminal and extrasensory MEEs, but they did not. We did find a number of predicted relationships with the motivational, attitudinal variables, particularly in the case of the extrasensory MEE, and particularly in the context of the induction of the open, positive mood. Discussion focuses on the development of a greater understanding of unconscious thought and how extrasensory information contributes to it.
|Carpenter, J., Simmonds-Moore, C., & Moore, S. (2009, August). ESP contributes to the unconscious formation of a preference. Paper presented at the 52nd Annual Convention of the Parapsychological Association, Seattle, USA. |