Hyman, Ray (1928– ) An outspoken critic of experiments that seem to show that extrasensory perception (ESP) is a real phenomenon, skeptic Ray Hyman has worked as an investigator for the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP), which publishes a journal called Skeptical Inquirer. In 1982 he publicly disagreed with parapsychologist Charles Honorton’s conclusion that there was ample evidence to prove that some people are telepathic. Shortly thereafter, the two agreed to embark on separate studies of the same data related to ESP, with each analyzing the same forty-two ganzfeld studies conducted in ten laboratories around the world. (In ganzfeld studies, the test subject attempts to “receive” images, by mental telepathy, from someone who is viewing and “sending” the image from a remote location.)
Honorton’s analysis of the data was published in the Journal of Parapsychology in 1985; Hyman’s analysis was published in 1986. Not surprisingly, both again disagreed on whether the results proved the existence of ESP, but both agreed that tighter controls on ESP testing methods were needed. As a result, they developed recommended procedures for ESP testing, commonly called the Honorton-Hyman guidelines, to make sure that testers do not intentionally or unintentionally influence test results.
In 1995 Hyman again took the opposing viewpoint in an ESP study after the American Institutes for Research appointed him to a panel to evaluate the results of an ongoing remote-viewing project sponsored by the Central Intelligence Agency and other government agencies. This project was designed to find out whether telepathy could be used to gather information about remote sites for spying purposes. One of the members of the panel, statistics professor Dr. Jessica Utts, felt that the data indicated that remote viewing did have potential as an intelligence-gathering tool. Hyman countered that while the data did indeed suggest that remote viewing was a real skill, there was no proof that this data was accurate.
As with Honorton, Hyman suggested that the testing methods were flawed, and after his report was submitted, along with Utts’s report, the government decided to stop funding the remote-viewing project.
- Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal
- Ganzfeld studies
- Charles Honorton
The Greenhaven Encyclopedia of Paranormal Phenomena – written by Patricia D. Netzley © 2006 Gale, a part of Cengage Learning