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Attempting to Elicit a Precall Effect Using Emotive Images and Participants with High Levels of Belief in Psi

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Precall refers to the explicit recall of target material, such as words or images, which incorporates the unusual notion that practice occurring after the recall test will influence previous recall performance. A recent attempt to elicit such an effect using arousing images was unsuccessful. However, it was noted that the failure to elicit a precall effect may have been the result of relying on images that were not sufficiently arousing and that the participants completing the task had lower than average levels of belief in psi. Hence, the current study addressed these points by utilizing both positive and negative images and by selectively recruiting participants with high levels of belief in psi. The prediction was that post-recall practice would lead to greater precall of those items practised compared to items not practised. Comparison of recall accuracy between images that were subsequently repeated and those that were not showed no evidence of a precall effect. Nevertheless, post-recall practice did improve recall performance. The failure to find any evidence of a precall effect is consistent with the notion that such effects do not exist and echoes the claims and findings of others who take a more sceptical approach to psi-based effects. Nevertheless, reflection on the methodology of the current experiment offers some speculative possibilities as to why no precall effect was elicited.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: School of Psychology, Politics & Sociology, Canterbury Christ, Email: [email protected]

Publication date: January 1, 2017

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