Ganzfeld Effect: What It Is, Characteristics And How It Was Investigated

Ganzfeld effect

Does telepathy exist? At the moment everything seems to indicate that no since there is no reliable experiment that has shown that a person can transmit their thoughts to another by means of psychic waves.

Despite this, there are many who are still interested in demonstrating that telepathy exists and one of the most used methods to prove it is with the Ganzfeld experiment.

Also known as Ganzfeld effect, this consists of putting a person in a situation of sensory deprivation in order to make them more sensitive to what someone is trying to say to them without saying a word. Let’s delve into this curious and interesting parapsychological experiment.

What is the Ganzfeld effect?

The Ganzfeld effect or Ganzfeld experiment (in German “homogenized field”) is a technique used in parapsychology to supposedly prove the existence of telepathy and extrasensory experiences The premise behind this idea is that, in order to observe a telepathic phenomenon under experimental conditions, it is necessary to deprive the senses of the experimental subject, facilitating the reception of information from other sources, generally images.

Those who apply this experiment claim that when one is exposed to a uniform and unstructured field of stimulation, such as seeing blackness and hearing a constant sound, such as television static, The brain responds by amplifying neuronal noise to find missing visual and auditory signals From a parapsychological perspective, this would allow us to pick up telepathic signals from other people, although it could also result in visual and auditory hallucinations.

This peculiar experiment has gained popularity in recent years for studying telepathy, but the truth is that it is quite old, attributing it to the German psychologist Wolfgang Metzger in the 1930s. Metzger is considered one of the most important figures in psychology. Gestalt, a movement that emerged in Germany at the beginning of the last century. Metzger suggested that when people looked at a featureless field of vision they were able to see things that weren’t really there.

Despite being a quite interesting experiment, it is important to mention that there are many scholars who point out that this technique lacks the slightest reliability due to the lack of preparation of the subjects, the conditions of the space used and, naturally, , the fact that the study of telepathy is more part of the esoteric world no matter how much one tries to study it from an experimental psychology perspective.

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Ganzfeld experiment

History of the phenomenon

Since time immemorial, human beings have wanted to know if telepathy exists. Being able to transmit words, images or even feelings through our mind, without having to say a single word, is something that attracts due to its aura of mystery but, also, because of how functional it would be to be able to talk to someone without others they notice.

It is believed that the first studies on sensory perception and extrasensory experiences were carried out by the aforementioned psychologist Wolfgang Metzer in the 1930s, who raised the possibility that human beings were capable of achieving these states under certain conditions of sensory deprivation. By reducing the perception of physical stimuli, it could be possible for a person to capture the thoughts of another without having to speak

Several decades later, in the 1970s, the first formal experiments on this issue were carried out under the supervision of the American parapsychologist Charles Honorton, who was interested in analyzing dreams and discovering whether telepathy existed. To achieve his goals, Honorton made use of the Ganzfeld effect by depriving and limiting the experimental subjects’ senses of him.

The Honorton Studies

Honorton’s experiments on telepathy began in 1974 in different laboratories, all of them aimed at verifying the existence of extrasensory perception regardless of the environment in which it was carried out. This set of experiments were carried out for several years, continuing until 2004.

In 1982, Honorton himself presented an article to the annual convention of the Parapsychological Association that “confirmed” having had a success rate of 35%, “demonstrating” the existence of extrasensory experiences. However, when these data are presented, Psychologist Ray Hyman pointed out a series of failures that occurred during the experiments, which would have contributed to altering the results

Both Honorton and Hyman studied these results separately with the aim of further analysis. After a short time, what Hyman had said was confirmed, which showed the need to apply stricter controls during the performance of these parapsychological experiments.

In 1989 these experiments were replicated, obtaining results more or less similar to those obtained in Honorton’s first experiment. At this point, Hyman asked the entire community of experts and psychologists to carry out these same experiments independently in order to be able to draw more precise conclusions from a greater amount of opinions and evidence.

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Although studies continued to demonstrate the existence of telepathy, involving several laboratories and scholars, no reliable evidence has been verified or obtained that this parapsychic phenomenon exists. In fact, some of the results obtained were inconclusive or were criticized for the lack of rigor in the experiments.

How is the Ganzfeld experiment performed?

The main objective of the Ganzfeld effect is to verify the existence of extrasensory perception In order to achieve this, it is necessary to have a series of requirements:

The experiment begins by taking an element that can be placed over the subject’s eyes in order to prevent him from seeing In many cases, this phase begins by taking a ping-pong ball, breaking it in half and placing each fragment over the participant’s eyes, although this step can be done in a more professional way by taking special glasses or using a mask.

Subsequently, headphones are placed on the subject, making you hear a soft and continuous noise, without interference. This sound should isolate you from possible accidental noise made by others involved in the experiment while you are in the room.

The experiment usually involves three people:

  • The receiver, who is in the room.
  • The sender, which will be located in another space or far from the receiver.
  • The researcher, who will be in charge of reviewing and monitoring the results.

Phases of the experiment

Next we will see in detail the phases of the Ganzfeld experiment.

Phase 1

The recipient’s senses will be limited for about 15 to 30 minutes. The objective of this first phase is to ensure that the participant achieves a state of relaxation but without falling asleep.

Phase 2

Phase 2 occurs with the subject completely relaxed, but making sure that they are not asleep. To make sure he maintains consciousness, You can talk to him either through his headphones or by approaching him and asking him if he is asleep This should be done in the least disruptive way possible.

Phase 3

In phase 3 the sender will begin to see images, either on a screen or having some photos that the researcher has given him, and will try to send them telepathically to the receiver The researcher will record the reactions that are occurring during this moment.

At the end of the telepathic bombardment, the receiver must identify which images were sent to him by the sender. The researcher will have some decoys in order to confirm if the experiment has been successful

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critics

There are several weak points in the experiments in which the Ganzfeld effect has been applied to demonstrate the existence of telepathy. In the first experiments it was usually the case that no all rooms were soundproof or completely empty, which could have affected the perception of the study subjects

Added to this, the way in which the subjects were chosen was not rigorous or methodical, and since those who carry out these parapsychological experiments usually lack real scientific knowledge, their experiments usually have serious flaws in their experimental design.

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Hacking the brain with the Ganzfeld effect

Our brain is a machine that, as long as it does not suffer from injuries or diseases, works very efficiently. Despite this, this organ can be deceived relatively easily and the perfect example of this is optical illusions. Although the Ganzfeld effect was originally conceived to demonstrate the existence of telepathy, It seems that it serves to demonstrate a phenomenon that we could well consider contrary: that of being able to hack the brain

With the Ganzfeld experiment we can make a person feel confused, experience the situation they are in as very strange and disturbing without having to resort to the consumption of chemical substances of any kind, just using sensory deprivation something that the Scam Nation YouTubers demonstrated in a video on their YouTube channel.

These content creators created a sensory deprivation situation using some common household objects such as duct tape, rope, sheets of paper, cotton balls, and other items. To cancel out the surrounding noises, they used headphones through which they heard white noise from a recording hanging on the video viewing platform itself, playing without pause for at least 30 minutes and serving to cancel the noise in the room.

They noticed the effects after between 10 and 30 minutes, guaranteed to see “colored flowers” ​​similar to when you rub your eyes hard and, later, they began to see shapes like dinosaurs, jellyfish, and there even came a time when they saw something similar to the “Eye of Sauron” from the “Lord of the Rings” saga. They also had auditory hallucinations, with one hearing screams and the other laughing.

Thanks to elements of going at home, the Scam Nation boys managed to create an atmosphere similar to that which occurred in the Honorton experiments, also replicating the same thing that happens in the sensory isolation tanks.