The scientist who studied whether dreamers could be telepathic

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Don’t rush to judgement because there’s a great deal about this world we don’t know.

Given statistically significant findings (and the bar should be rather high), the resulting science would be rather fascinating. It’s a shame there hasn’t been more investigation, especially now that we have more refined / less intrusive monitoring equipment.


The only paper by him I could find in print (quick and dirty search only) was:

Krippner, S. (1975). Dreams and other altered conscious states. Journal of Communication, 25(1), 173-182.

Summarizes 12 studies of paranormal effects in altered conscious states. Several conclusions are drawn from these studies: (a) Telepathy and dreams can be demonstrated in the laboratory. (b) Orientation, expectancy, and volition are necessary for ESP to occur in dreams. © Male Ss are more effective telepathic receivers in the dream state than females. (d) Telepathic effects have occurred in dreams with imposed distances between S and agent of as much as 45 miles. (e) Emotional stimuli are more effective in dream than in nondream experiments. (f) Altered states of consciousness are conducive to ESP. (40 ref)

Which makes some pretty bold and interesting claims. Participant numbers were pretty low in all the studies, so the effects must have been large to be statistically significant. Or there was significant expectancy bias by the experimenters and too little done to control for that that so it affected the outcomes. This is why replication studies are a good thing.

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And I suppose your ears need to expect to hear a trumpet in order to hear it.

What this sounds like to me is: “it only works if you take it seriously and believe in it. Being skeptical makes it not work.”

That’s not what the paper says:

“During 1966, several pilot sessions were conducted in which the subject was not told that an agent would attempt to influence his dreams telepathically; these sessions were devoid of target-dream correspondences. In a four-night study, a subject was told to try to dream about a randomly selected art print placed in a box attached to the ceiling of his room. At the same time, an agent was attempting to telepathically transmit a different picture — but without the subject’s knowledge. Direct target dream correspondences were detected by judges on all four nights of the study for the clairboyance targets but on only one night for the telepathy targets. These results suggest that orientation, expectancy, and volition are necessary in order for ESP to occur in experimental dream studies.” (ibid)

The implication being that the target had to choose to engage and expect a particular form of ESP.

I’m sceptical too. Personally I’d be surprised if there wasn’t a shed load of expectancy bias affecting the validity of the experiments. I couldn’t find the original papers to check their methods to check whether they blinded to reduce that. But it is an interesting potential effect.

And it’s not like expectancy doesn’t do weird stuff in the natural sciences too

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