Monday, October 6, 2008

Spontaneous Psychic

As I have warned before attempts to understand human behavior by using personality tests have limited validity. It can be an aid but we should not rely too heavily on them. At best, they tell what mood the person was in when they took the test. But again sometimes that is just what we need to know. As I said in earlier blogs those personality tests that were given along with some test of a group’s psychic ability may be very useful in understanding what made a psychic event happen in the mind of someone.

Attempts to measure spontaneity with ordinary written tests have not been very successful, at best you get that person’s self image which may not be what is seen by others. Still this has been studied by a number of parapsychologists. Ways have been devised to define and measure spontaneity. One test was done by Drs. Alan C. Ross, Gardner Murphy, and Gertrude R. Schmeidler. They tested grade school children between the ages of 4 and eight-and-a-half for ESP. Then the judges divided the children into two groups: one was “spontaneous” the other group wasn’t. The judges were psychologists and teachers.

Spontaneity was defined as, “a quality which is found in the young child before he becomes encrusted by the habits of social routine and invention. It is shown a wholehearted, fresh, and unconstrained approach to life situation. A zestful, fluid approach and usually an unreflective originality are considered attributes of the spontaneous individual.”

They found a high degree of correlation between their various estimates of which child was and was not spontaneous, so it is reasonable to assume that there is such a thing as spontaneity, and that they all knew it when they saw it. There were only thirty students used yet they had correlation with high ESP and high spontaneity. The correlation was P = .06. This was still not the .05 that makes for a “marginally significant” result but they did say, “it was concluded that the highly spontaneous subjects seem to have a tendency to score higher in ESP than the less spontaneous subjects and that this was especially true in the spontaneity-favoring situation.

One of the possible tests is the Factor R on the Gifford Inventory used by Nicol and Humphrey. They call it “Rhathymia” and describe those who score high as “happy-go-lucky types.” It gave a P = .05 correlation. But not every attempt at duplicating this was successful. Some tests have attempted to find out who reacts to projects in an uninhibited way, occasionally these scores correlated significantly with psi ability.

“Adequate spontaneity” is one of the measures that a psychologist will consider important for a normal person, it is good. So again we find that what is considered a good personality factor will also be seen at the time a person is psychic.

Yet, it can lead to “impulsiveness.” Many tranquilizing drugs inhibit spontaneity. Impulsive people say things they are sorry for later, or they may behave immorally on an impulse and cause embarrassment to themselves or others sometimes. Impulsiveness is not good. But where do we draw the line between spontaneity and impulsiveness? To answer that we must take a larger view. What goals you are working toward? What behavior does your society need?
Ross, A.O.; Murphy, G.; and Schmeidler, G.R. 1952. The spontaneity factor in extrasensory perception. The Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research 46: 14-16.

Nicol, J. F., Humphrey, B.W. 1955. The repeatability problem in ESP personality research. The Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research 49: 125-156.

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