Great Experiment II

This is an interesting event. I made a formal prediction, but with reservations as described in the prediction registry entry, quoted below. The outcome is as exactly neutral as is practically possible, with Chisquare 599.66 on 600 df, for a p-value of 0.496. See also the figure, showing the 10 minute period of the prediction, where the cumulative deviation looks like a quite ordinary random walk with no trend. This might be interpreted as a failure of the hypothesis, or as an indication that the Great Experiment II did not have the sort of effect on global consciousness that we have often seen. Of course this result also can be interpreted as a confirmation of the "experimenter effect" in that, as experimenter, I was at best equivocal, as noted in the Prediction Registry:

On Easter Sunday, April 23, 2000, at 2pm New York time (7pm, GMT) a global meditation and prayer event called The Great Experiment II is being promoted by Gregg Braden, Doreen Virtue and James Twyman. The event is described in more detail on their website. Briefly, the suggestion is to, "... at the appropriate time in your time zone, stop for ten minutes and follow this simple format: Begin by breathing deeply and get very comfortable. If you have a small piece of cloth hold it in your hands ... [You can repeat thoughts such as,] "I accept peace this moment for myself and for all sentient beings on this and every planet. I accept my role as an Emissary of Light, ... May peace prevail on earth."

The GCP prediction is that there will be a positive deviation during the 10-minute period from 19:00 to 19:10, UTC (corresponding to the time specified in the announcement). Analysis will use 1-second blocking and the expectation is medium.

Note: Although this is a formal prediction, it has a curious quality, especially with regard to the possibility of experimenter influence. The Twyman group announced that I would be measuring the effect of their "Great Experiment" in 1998, but that was not true. I perceive this event as driven in part by self-promotion, which imparts an undesirable flavor, but at the same time I believe it has a good central core and that many people will appreciate it and benefit from it. Thus the prediction is made in a context of potential contradictions: I think the event per se properly belongs with other widely promoted global meditation events, while at the same time, the outcome might be affected by the mixed motives projected in the organizers' promotional literature, and which I, as experimenter, keenly feel.

Great Experiment II, Apr 23 2000

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