Psychophysical Effects on an Interference Pattern in a Double-Slit Optical System
An Exploratory Analysis of Variance
Keywords:mind-matter interaction, double-slit, psychophysical, observation, micro-PK
Objective: A two-year online experiment tested the hypothesis that focused human attention alternatively directed toward or away from a double-slit optical system would affect the interference pattern in a predictable, unidirectional fashion. A control condition was employed by having a web server periodically simulate a human observer. Method: Based on the results of an independent reanalysis of these data and the outcome of an independent conceptual replication, we revisited the original directional hypothesis to explore the possibility that mind-wandering and other distractions might have caused attention or intention to unpredictably fluctuate. That in turn might have caused the hypothesized psychophysical influence to be more readily detected as a bidirectional effect (i.e., a shift in variance) rather than as unidirectional effect (a shift in mean). To test this idea, we developed a variance-based analysis using data collected during the first year of the experiment and applied it to data from the second year. Results: The first year’s data showed that experimental sessions conducted by humans resulted in significant variance differences as compared to control sessions conducted by a computer, z = 4.16, p = .00002. The same analysis applied to the second year’s data resulted in z = 3.14, p = .0008. Examination of environmental and apparatus variables indicated that those factors were not responsible for the observed changes in variance. Conclusion: The results suggest that a variance analysis may be more sensitive to psychophysical effects in this type of experiment.
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