Patricia Putt, who claims to be psychic, had agreed to be tested in order to qualify for the $1 million prize awarded by the James Randi Educational Foundation. Putt took the failure well and she did not blame the test nor the testers.The test was administered at Goldsmiths University by Professor Christopher French, Professor Richard Wiseman, and psychology students Panka Juhasz, James Munroe, Suzanne Barbieri, and Fabio Tartarini.Patricia Putt was asked to write a "reading" on 10 volunteers, whom she was not allowed to look in the face, nor to touch. She had to listen to each one of them while she or he was reading a text from WilliamBlake’s ‘The Auguries of Innocence’, and write down her conclusions.Once the test was over, the ten volunteers each received a package with the ten readings and they had to pick out the one that applied to them.
Patricia would have passed the test if five of the volunteers had been able to do so. Why only five? Because no human talent is perfect, and any fair test must include the possibility of failure without invalidating the test.
After the test, it appeared that not a single volunteer had been able to identify the reading associated with her/him.
The JREF reports that
Patricia putt took her failure well and that she did not blame the test
or the testers but rather her own powers for failing.
It is important to note
that this test does not prove that psychic powers do not exist.It does
not even prove that Patricia Putt has no psychic powers. All it shows
is that Patricia putt failed utterly to pass a test... this time.
In order to understand this
properly, we can look at school/university exams. These exams are not
meant to prove that a person is an able mathematician, psychologist,
computer programmer, anatomist... They could not possibly accomplish
that. However, they are meant as a filter that increases the chances
that a person who passes to the next study year, and the next... is
indeed qualified to do so.
In studies, students are
often studying in such a way as to maximise their chances to have a
high score. This does increase the possibility that a certified
geologist, linguist, doctor... is in fact not actually capable of doing
this job. At the same time, there is no guarantee that people who are
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