Sunday, February 01, 2009

Super Bowl XLIII Field RNG Demonstration (Part Three)

Super Bowl XLIII Field RNG Demonstration (Part Three)
By, Bryan Williams

Super Bowl Field RNG Explorations: 2005 – 2008

To further explore the plausibility of a mass “group mind” effect occurring in conjunction with the widespread attention and emotional response to the Super Bowl, I collected field RNG data during the past four consecutive Super Bowls. Here, we provide a brief summary of the results, which add further basis for the planned field RNG demonstration here on Public Parapsychology. As described in Part Two, two individual predictions were made each year for the Super Bowl: one for the football game, and one for the halftime show [1].

First Prediction: Football Game

Based on all of the hype I had heard about it around my local university, I first decided to collect field RNG data during Super Bowl XXXIX in February 2005 (this is the only year in which the two test predictions were not specified in advance of the event, so examination was made after the fact). Figure 1 shows the graphical representation of the RNG output during the game.

Figure 1. Graphical representation of the field RNG data collected during NFL Super Bowl XXXIX, 4:37 – 8:14 PM Mountain Time (+2 Eastern), February 6, 2005. The level of statistical significance at p = .05 (i.e., odds of 20 to 1 against chance) as time passes is indicated by the smoothly curved red arc.

Ordinarily, one would expect to see RNG data produce a nominally random sequence over time that hovers around mean chance expectation (MCE; indicated in the graph by the pink horizontal line at zero) with no steady directional pattern. The data in Figure 1 show such a sequence throughout the first 90 minutes of the game, but then seem to take on a steadily increasing trend during the halftime period. The data even out following halftime, then steadily decrease around 7:00 PM Mountain time, and gradually return to a random sequence towards the end of the game. Overall, the result is consistent with chance (Chi-Square = 13066.37, 13055 df, p = .470) [2].

With the two predictions pre-specified for the first time in 2006, a follow-up exploration was done during Super Bowl XL, and the result is shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2. Graphical representation of the field RNG data collected during NFL Super Bowl XL, 4:27 – 8:03 PM Mountain Time (+2 Eastern), February 5, 2006.

The data are mostly random as expected, with the exception of a sharply increasing trend soon after the first score that lasts until halftime, after which it sharply decreases back to MCE. In all, the result is almost exactly at chance and statistically non-significant (Chi-Square = 12955.93, 12955 df, p = .496).

Super Bowl XLI on February 4, 2007, once again drew a lot of hype in my local university community, mainly because one of the Chicago Bears players was a New Mexico native. Interested to see if this might help facilitate a mass group mind, I again collected data, which are shown in Figure 3.

Figure 3. Graphical representation of the field RNG data collected during NFL Super Bowl XLI, 4:27 – 7:58 PM Mountain Time (+2 Eastern), February 4, 2007.

The data in Figure 3 show a modest increasing trend throughout most of the game, reversing into steady decreasing trend during the last hour of play. Although in the predicted direction, the overall result is nonsignificant (Chi-Square = 12693.98, 12685 df, p = .476).

Figure 4. Graphical representation of the field RNG data collected during NFL Super Bowl XLII, 4:28 – 8:03 PM Mountain Time (+2 Eastern), February 3, 2008.

The data from the most recent Super Bowl XLII on February 3, 2008, shown in Figure 4, are mostly random throughout, with little sign of a clear trend, and very close to chance overall (Chi-Square = 12890.83, 12901 df, p = .524).

Second Prediction: Halftime Show

Given that the halftime concerts tend to draw great attention (and in some cases, participation) by the crowd, the second prediction focused on the RNG data during the halftime period. Initially, when analyzed with theoretical mean and SD, these data seemed to produce some promising results for Super Bowls XXXIX and XL. However, after being reanalyzed using the empirical mean and SD of their datasets, the results fell to chance, suggesting that they are statistical artifacts due to the difference between the theoretical values, and the empirical values obtained from the RNG output [3, 4]. Since these and the other halftime results are mostly consistent with chance expectation, we will not present them here.

Tentative Conclusion

In general, the field RNG explorations conducted over the past four consecutive Super Bowls have not shown clear statistical evidence for a mass “group mind” effect. At times, some graphical results appear to show some brief trends in line with the predictions (e.g., the game results for Super Bowl XLI), although these are not clearly distinguishable from pure chance fluctuations that are expected to occasionally occur in random data.

It is also important to keep in mind that the magnitude of the effect observed in both RNG-based PK studies and field RNG studies is appreciably small, so obtaining clear results on the level of individual events can often prove difficult. Given this, we will examine a combined result using the data from all of the Super Bowl explorations (including those for the upcoming Super Bowl XLIII) in Part 4.

Will the results for Super Bowl XLIII and its halftime be similar to those described here? The answer will be revealed in Part 4, to appear in the days following Super Bowl Sunday...

The rest of the series can be read in Parts One, Two, and Four.

Bryan Williams

Bryan Williams is a Native American student at the University of New Mexico, where his undergraduate studies have focused on physiological psychology and physics. He is a student affiliate of the Parapsychological Association, a student member of the Society for Scientific Exploration, and a co-moderator of the Psi Society, a Yahoo electronic discussion group for the general public that is devoted to parapsychology. He has been an active contributor to the Global Consciousness Project since 2001.


[1] A description of the procedure, statistical analysis, and predictions used in each exploration is provided in the second post.

[2] An important technical note: When the analyses for Super Bowls XXXIX – XLI were first carried out, the theoretical mean and standard deviation (SD) were used in calculating the statistical outcomes (see Post 2). Following the decision to use the empirical mean and SD of the device output in May 2007, each result for the football game and the halftime show was recalculated using the empirical mean and SD of its respective dataset. As a result, the results for the above three Super Bowls have changed from their original results as first calculated with theoretical mean and SD (See Notes 3 & 4). Having been originally calculated with empirical mean and SD, the Super Bowl XLII results remain unchanged.


Tumbleworld said...

That's some serious navel gazing.

I hate to break it to you, but the great bulk of the world has barely heard of the Superbowl. If you want to find something that's going to impinge the global consciousness, try looking for something that will inflame India/Pakistan, or China. For the former, I recommend cricket...

(And while I might be a Brit, yes, I personally hate cricket! Tea is rather good, though.)

Bryan Williams said...

This probably wasn't made too clear in the post, but the aim here was not necessarily to explore a mass group consciousness on a GLOBAL scale (as the GCP does), but rather on the smaller NATIONAL (i.e., U.S.) - or even smaller, LOCAL STATE (i.e., New Mexico) - scale, since the Super Bowl is primarily U.S.-centric and presumably the greatest focus would be within its local vicinity.

Admittedly, the term "mass group mind" is rather ambiguous and should have been outlined better in the post. In the case of a global consciousness, the term "global mind" could probably be used.