Thursday, February 6, 2014

The Psychology Of Anticipation

The Un-Haunted

The premier question of anomalous experiential anomalies is the question immediately posed in the observers mind, was it my imagination?  Images and imagination could be turned against perception by anticipation wherein what is anticipated is formulated as input that derives a expression of physicality, or, it may be a case of superimposing preconceptions upon prosaic events in a case of mistaken identity due to preconceived assumptions.  Which is it? It may be in the eye of the beholder than in circumspect may defy both measurement and the laboratory as they too, carry with them the weight of hypothesis to be affirmed or denied. Anticipation in relation to one's sense of probable outcomes is nearly impossible to avoid, whether it is biased from past experience or the question posed is an abstraction of a more subtle nature perhaps of a certain philosophic bent. 

On a deeply buried level we have Gertrude Stein saying much the same thing as Gregory Bateson, that a rose is a rose because we call it a rose, and what we imagine as our consciousness, our awareness of ourselves in relation to our environment and that very aspect of variability, accident versus intent, is incommensurable to statistical analysis because we have no idea what consciousness is... although we label it as a proverbial rose. 

In many ways a recent paper brought to mind the identification of the mind as an architecture while we have no means to determine what it is and by way of relations what even our most prosaic observations represent, especially if they resist repeat-ability beyond our daily habits or the apparent actions and reactions of physicality in of themselves. These are effects and not causation.

A case of biocentrism run amuck? Observable relations and un-observable relations seem to mirror the mind\brain relationship. We can eat an entire meal without ever having stepped foot in the kitchen or having gone to the farms where the ingredients and were grown and yet this metaphor seems apt where the prosaic and the paranormal walk hand in hand when it comes to the confounding aspects of attribution in relation to experiential cognizance.

An interesting paper published in the SPR regarding psychological anticipation or what the author, Chris Romer termed  a psychological contagion case. That being said, this study is too small a sampling to provide anything definitive one way or another, although the report carries a patina by it's form, that it is scientific, but to this writer the results while in a scientific format do not represent an accurate survey.
On one hand, attribution to paranormal causation by the respondents are absent while the suggestion is that one should focus on such events and keep a diary of such events in a format that is well..self referential. 
The concept was to send a survey to those who have never experienced anything they would consider an experiential anomaly to determine if a survey constructed to indicate a "difference" in paranormal terms would have an influence on their observations. 
None of this proves any theory in particular which is interesting as I suspect a larger survey in scope would be just as inconclusive. Did they observe genuine events because they were more attenuated to observation? Did the events not occur and were the result of suggestion? The author seems to make a peremptory conclusive argument in favor of the presentation of the survey skewed the results of the survey in of itself.
A good example of the extreme difficulties in science while in my opinion, it is not scientific, it illustrates the gaping holes in the measurement of observation as a process of abstractions created from statistical models.

One aspect of this paper brings to mind that lately I have been unintentionally bridging the gap between my past and present as in the last post here entitled something like "Who Throws The Ball?" made me realize how utterly simplistically I once viewed the realities I inhabited and that this may serve me to comprehend how my current conjectures may be made of the same imaginary lego blocks of presumed rationality in the present and yet that keeps the ball in play, in mid court I suppose the medium is the message as far as not encasing myself in amber or a box.
What do I anticipate?
I would say that anything I have contributed is neither worthy of a heaven or a hell as a presumptive and conclusive epilogue as I suspect taking my own ego in check I have done nothing that is so important as to warrant either alternative, but then one never relation to a butterfly effect and yet I plod on machete in hand cutting a swath with no particular destination in mind.


  1. From my own experience, I had a good laugh immediately after the experience. Not only did I question what I had seen but the shape of what I had seen. My exact remark to my wife who also was witness to the event was "of course it just had to be saucer shaped". Did I impose the image of a saucer like object over some other object? Did my wife see what I saw as a sympathetic event? I had and still have only questions and conjecture about what occurred that night. Why me, is still one of the questions that is always at the forefront. I'm not haunted by the lack of answers, I would describe it as more amused.

  2. You hit the nail on the head in terms of the gist of this post which is the equivalent of why me?, which was put in terms of why them? I had a string of such incidents nearly fifteen years ago and I was fascinated by them and I never felt any notable fear. However as time went on due to the fact there was more than one incident, I gained a sort of a mild paranoiac perspective in questioning what was pursuing me and like you, why me? Disorienting is the best word I can think of in regard to them. Yet, life went on and other than getting internally jostled..I was fine. There are darker aspects to it but I still cannot bring myself around to write of them and in a sense relive them..and like you... I will more than likely never know from whence they appeared only never to reappear.

  3. Sometimes I wonder if this is just stable forms in Time searching for meaning in Space, and looking a bit out of place in the process. See it happen, same thing from either end. Platonic solids subject to cybernetics, wake up and run around. All I know, gravity is gravity, temporal and spatial markers are like fish looking for water.

    1. Neal
      I have no idea one way or the other in regard to this "experiment" as I think its interesting to consider what made these individuals apply for participation in it considering that a qualifier was that they had no previous anomalous experiences.
      The fact that their interest in the subject led them to find the application process and then respond is also a qualifier which the fellow did not seem to recognize. I think there will always be holes in this sort of premeditated "randomness" which in of itself is a paradox.

  4. The "experiment" in question lacks sufficient data to provide anything resembling an in depth analysis. So too do most discussions involving anomalous experiences. In fact I would suggest that for the most part we don't even know or understand the amount and or type of data we are missing. A little like trying to write a book report by only looking at the cover.

    1. Michael
      I certainly agree and to whom is this proof directed toward and further, I think it searches for a fairly simplistic solution to an overwhelmingly complex issue.
      There is a tendency to avoid recognizing that in many instances, a simple answer does not suffice and to me it seems every time one is accepted by most, it becomes the basis for more convoluted reasoning to keep it afloat.