Thursday, February 28, 2008

APRU Telephone Telepathy Experiments

The Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit (APRU) at Goldsmiths, University of London is currently engaged in a collaborative research project with Dr Rupert Sheldrake investigating the phenomenon of "telephone telepathy". This is the fairly common experience of feeling that you know who is calling you on the telephone before you answer it - even on occasions when you had no particular reason to expect a call from that person. Obviously, skeptics and believers in the paranormal have different explanations for what is going on in such situations, but Rupert Sheldrake claims to have demonstrated that a genuinely paranormal phenomenon may be in operation here. The only way to find out is to carry out well controlled empirical studies and that is what researchers at the APRU are doing.

They are looking for volunteers to act as participants in this experiment, people who feel that telepathy is possible in relation to phone calls - knowing who is ringing before they answer the phone. Each volunteer is asked to find 4 people who this might happen with. The test itself should take less than an hour and a half. During this period, the volunteer will be in one building, being filmed on videotape, and the four callers will be in another building. They will be selected at random by the throw of a dice for a series of ten trials. The person who is selected to make the call will also be filmed on video while calling the participant.

These videos are for research purposes only, and will not be shown in public unless those involved give their permission. All those who take part will remain anonymous in any publications or reports about this work. The APRU has limited funding for this project but they are offering a payment of £50 total to each group of people who take part, that is to say the volunteer and his/her four callers. They can also cover some travel costs, and can provide more details if requested.

Note that the APRU only wants people who genuinely believe that they often have this experience to take part as the "receivers" in this study. Obtaining null findings from a bunch of skeptics wouldn't really prove anything...

If you might be interested in taking part (or know someone who might be), further details can be found at

You can sign up for this and other projects at

1 comment:

MFL said...

From personal experience I suspect that the experiment would not show positive "paranormal" results. I do think "telephone telepathy" exists, as do other forms of telepathy; but I think that in my case at least (of course others may well be different), the experimental conditions would prevent it taking place. Sceptics would not be surprised at this but I think it might be something to do with the conscious mind interfering. In my experience telepathy tends to happen either when you don't expect it, or when you can get beyond wanting it to happen (or not).