Project Viola Ten: Testing Round Two

Round two of testing took place on 3 August 2017 in the observation rooms of the UCC Applied Psychology building. The research team included Nurse Una Cronin from the UCC School of Nursing and four researcher/lecturers from the School of Applied Psychology (Dr.’s King, Dempsey, Murphy, and Ryan). The researchers proposed two significant changes from the previous round of testing. Firstly, replacing the physical Zener cards with randomly computer-generated Zener card images. Secondly, the expulsion of both the videographers and cameras. In total, 109 trials were conducted with randomly computer-generated Zener card images. Of these trials, 59 were conducted after the expulsion of the cameras and videographers. In all of these trials, there were no significant deviations in my overall hit rate, which remained nearly 25% above MCE. My hit rate, however, did fluctuate more widely than in Testing Round One, reaching a new low (8 of 25; or 12% over MCE) and a new high (13 of 25; or 32% over MCE).

Two series of trials yielded particularly interesting results, but were not included in the overall statistical analysis. In one instance, the researchers decided to conduct a series of 25 trials in which the computer monitor was covered so that the randomly generated Zener images were not seen by any of the researchers. I was not informed that this procedure was taking place. I completed nine trials before becoming demonstrably shaken and faint, and requesting that the series of tests be stopped. I said that I felt ‘very unsteady’ and ‘like fainting’ and that I felt as if I was ‘only guessing’ and that I ‘did not feel pulled toward any particular shapes.’ I was then informed that there had been no sender for those nine trials. I was also informed that during those nine trials, I had scored – for the only time in the two days of testing – at chance levels (1 correct out of 9). This was the only series of trials with Zener cards which was stopped.

The second noteworthy instance involved a series of 30 trials conducted with clear plastic casino dice provided by the researchers. In consideration of my unpleasant physical response to the nine Zener card trials without a sender, the conditions were disclosed to me in advance. It was proposed that in 50% of the trials, the researchers would look at the die after I made my call. In the other 50% of the trials, they would look at the die before I made my call. I would have no knowledge of which trials were which.

After consenting to the experiment, the trials were conducted and the following results were obtained: In trails in which the researchers looked at the die after I made my call, my guesses yielded a hit rate of 5 out of 24 (20%) versus the MCE of 4 out of 24 (16%). The 4% over MCE is considered statistically insignificant considering the low number of trials. In trials in which the researchers looked at the die before I made my call, my guesses yielded a hit rate of 12 out of 24 (50%) versus the MCE of 4 out of 24 (16%), yielding an extremely significantly deviation from chance of 34%. While these results were regarded as highly statistically significant – since dice and Zener cards do not share a common MCE, and because of the low number of trials with dice – these trials were not included in the overall statistical analysis.

Nevertheless, the two series of senderless trials would seem to support – if not confirm – the importance of the physical presence of human senders in these experiments. Several theoretical hypotheses for this will be explored in subsequent sections of this document. At the conclusion of Testing Round Two, the researchers concluded that they were unable to detect any instances of, or possibilities for, fraud in these trails. They were also unable to offer any explanations for the anomalous results which I had consistently achieved under such conditions. It was determined that further tests should be conducted in the following academic year.