About VFF
  Induced 1
  Induced 2
  First study
  Second study
  Results 1
  Results 2
  Results 3

Second Study - never took place!

In order to have a test of my paranormal claim, I had to first study my claim in order to learn more about how it works, what it claims to detect, and under what conditions. Based on this learned information, a test protocol could be formed and a real test could be had. The first study seemed to indicate that I did no better than two of three control persons in identifying health information, however I found several problems with the first study procedure. The second study was going to try a different approach but still be able to provide data against the claim if it is the case of a non-ability.

This second study which was being planned, did not take place as I got ready to take the real test before then, and the IIG test took place in November 2009.

No questionnaire matching this time
During the first study, I had the option of writing specific and additional health related information that I sensed in a volunteer and to have an assistant ask the volunteer whether this information applied to them or not. This would be information that was not already included in the health questionnaire. In three of the five volunteers that we had, I perceived something extra like this. In one I perceived depression, in another a tired middle portion of the back, and a third that he uses eyedrops. The assistant would ask the volunteer after me and the three controls had finished seeing the volunteer and all paperwork for that reading had been handed in. I was correct in all three accounts of extra information.

With the eyedrops case I saw a clear image in my mind seeing this volunteer from behind as he is standing before the bathroom mirror and how he pulls down the lower eyelid to expose the underneath of the lower eyelid which is very reddened, and how he puts a few drops of eyedrops into each eye this way. I tried to ignore the image but perceived the same image of him adding eyedrops twice or three times which is when I decided to have an assistant ask him whether he uses eyedrops. And yes he does. I will never forget how the volunteer turned around to look at me and the surprised look on his face, him knowing that we were conducting some study into what health information can be deduced from external symptoms. He must have thought that we were really good at this. This man wore dark sunglasses during the study and I had never seen his eyes.

It is improper test practice, and is like taking a step backwards in the progress toward an adequate test quality procedure, but I have decided for the second study to allow me to freely write down my impressions rather than to match my impressions on a health questionnaire. That way I can be more specific about what I see.

The first study revealed great ambiguity in the health questionnaires, even beyond what I had expected. Ambiguity such that one ailment could be accurately described in more than one ways and leading to possible source of error (both as false positive and as false negative) in the calculated correlation.

Second Study Procedure
I would like for the second study to take place in a designated location and intend to book a room for this event. The second study will not take place out in the public and that has the advantages of being more test-like since a test will take place indoors, also I think I would prefer to study or test my health perceptions with people indoors because there are fewer distractions. An indoors study also enables convenient arrangement of tables and chairs in a way that is not possible in a natural outdoors environment. We also will not have to worry about interruptions.

The second study will be advertised. For the second study, no one will be approached and asked to volunteer, instead every volunteer will have come across an advertisement describing the study and asking for volunteers and letting them know where to be for it and when. Persons will also be invited to simply come and attend to see the study take place without having to volunteer. The second study will be an open-access public event. Flyers will be posted in shops and restaurants and possibly on the internet and in a newspaper local to the area where the study will be held. I might contact the local media and ask if they would like to attend the event.

Before beginning with the readings there will be a brief introduction and the study procedure will be explained to the volunteers and any questions regarding the study will be answered.

I envision that the volunteers will be seated to watch the study while one of them at a time is called to sit up front for the reading and may after the reading return to the audience. While a volunteer arrives at the front I will be facing the other way or not be present in the room. I will sit near the volunteer and see them from behind, that way there is no eyecontact between us and no speaking is allowed during the reading. I freely write down my impressions of their health and may make drawings and I may consult a human anatomy book to make more precise descriptions.

My sheet also has five spaces onto which I transfer specific health statements from my notes, or if I have fewer than five health statements I must clearly write "blank" on those lines. I do not have to submit all of the medical perceptions that I have had for the test. Although there is no time limit for a reading, I expect to take no more than 15 minutes with each volunteer. The time I spend on readings will be documented so that a better estimate of expected time can be made for any future studies or tests. I will also arrange the time based on how many volunteers show up - if we have few, I may take my time with the readings, whereas if we have many, I may want to speed it up so that I can work with more of them.

Either me or a study participant (which ever it is who will be assigned this assignment) will then transfer those five, four, three, two, one or none specific health statements written in concise form on the sheet onto a test sheet. At this point I will surrender my papers to study participants and must exit the room.

For each reading with a volunteer is prepared two papers each: the sheet onto which I write my notes and select five or fewer specific health statements, and then the test sheet onto which my five or fewer health statements are transferred. The test sheets will all already have various health statements written on them beforehand, and each test sheet has five empty slots in random placement among those health statements and in these slots my five or fewer health statements are placed. Each health statement whether chosen beforehand or based on my medical perceptions is given the same amount of space on the test sheet regardless of how many words comprises it. These methods ensure that my medical perceptions can not be identified from among other general health statements. For each reading with a volunteer, there is also a third paper that has five other health statements to be placed into the one, two, three, four or five empty slots that may not receive a health statement from me, so that all empty slots will be filled on the test sheet.

These precautions are designed to ensure that no volunteer will find out what my medical perceptions of them were during or after the test. This is to ensure that there is no risk that a volunteer receives incorrect statements regarding their personal health and that no one comes to any distress. And even health statements that were true can in some cases be cause for distress. The volunteers will not get to find out what my medical perceptions of them were, no matter what.

If a health statement that I wish to include on the test sheet is already written on the test sheet, then it will not be written a second time on the test sheet and a health statement from the back-up sheet is chosen in its place, yet if the volunteer selects that health statement from the list it may constitute a match.

The three papers associated to one reading are all numbered with a sequence of three randomly generated numbers in their top margins. These three papers come stapled together and are then detached during the test. The numbers ensure that the papers belonging to a particular reading can be matched together. No identifying information will be asked from the volunteer and it should not be possible to match what a particular volunteer answered back to that person. The study must ensure the anonymity of the volunteers since the study involves personal health information.

The volunteer will be handed the test sheet and marks which of them apply to him or her. The volunteer may write additional comments on the sheet if they wish, for instance to explain how a health statement applies to them. This added vagueness should not affect the way the correlation of my medical perceptions is determined, but is there to enhance the learning from this study. Remember it is a study not a test. The volunteer then hands the test sheet to a study participant, who then staples the test sheet, the back-up sheet that had the five extra health statements, and my medical perceptions sheet together again and another volunteer may get ready for the next reading.

Preparation of test sheets
A large list of various health statements that are fairly prevalent among people is prepared and from this, a pre-determined number of them are randomly selected, the same amount will be chosen at random for each prepared test sheet such that each different test sheet that will be given to a different volunteer will have slightly different health statements on it. This will ensure that volunteers can't get together after the study and ask each other what kind of health statements were on their sheets and compare and deduce which ones were my medical perceptions of them. The volunteers should not be able to find out what were my medical perceptions. The order of these selected health statements will also be randomized, and then finally the five empty slots that will be on each test sheets will also be randomly determined, so that my five or fewer health statements do not appear in the same places for each test sheet each time.

From the larger list of various health statements, five additional ones are also randomly chosen for the back-up sheet, whose purpose is to add up to five health statements in case I do not report as many as five health statements from that reading.

The entire test sheet that contains the randomly chosen various health statements and up to five of mine will all be hand-written by the same person and with the same pen to be indistinguishable from one another. I may involve one or two study participants to act as controls who will follow the same procedure as I, so that my level of accuracy can be compared with theirs. In that case, ten or fifteen (depending on if we have one or two controls) empty slots will be left on each test sheet, and ten or fifteen back-up health statements be available for each reading.

A study participant will assess the number of matches by comparing the stapled together sheets. The results will be assessed and announced to the audience before ending the study and that should make it more fun for them to attend.

Once all the readings have been done, a study participant will announce out loud from one reading at a time how many health statements I made and how many of them were marked by the volunteer. I would like for the specific health statements I made to be read out loud, but some might be obvious what volunteer they belong to and I don't want to risk offending anyone so this might not be done. And after going through the number of correlating health statements from each reading the total correlation will be announced, and, if controls were used in this study, a conclusion will be made as to how my results compared to those of the controls, at least in terms of the number of correlating health statements made.

At the end of the study there will be an opportunity for discussion and questions, and also I will announce what my upcoming plans are in this investigation based on the outcome of the study. I will do what I can to have my second study video recorded so that I can share it with everyone through my website.

Purpose and conclusions
The purpose of this second study is to be part of the investigation I am having to determine the extent of correlation between the medical perceptions I have and with actual health information of people. It is then a matter of whether I perform better than chance or guessing and better than a skilled control person who is attempting cold reading or statistical methods to try to reach a high correlation. The outcome of this second study will determine how I proceed in this investigation. If I was happy with the study procedure then I may allow the results from the second study to be able to falsify the claim of having medical perceptions that describe the health of persons and to conclude that the medical perceptions are likely another expression of my synesthesia. Or, I may be encouraged to proceed to a third study if I feel I need to learn more and have more experience with experiencing the medical perceptions and with checking for their accuracy, or I might be ready to take the real test and attempt to verify an ability of extrasensory perception!

Several aspects of the second study will be documented and provided on my website, such as examples of the papers that are used. And as long as it does not violate the privacy of the volunteers, the specific medical perceptions I had and whether those were marked by the volunteers will be provided.

The second study will use a screen, I am already trying out various screens (with people I know) just to see whether I experience seeing images of their tissue with the person standing behind the screen. Different materials of different density and different visibility are tried. The densest and with least visibility through screen material that still enables medical perceptions is selected. Secondly the size and coverage of that screen will be tried, ranging from concealing from vision the full body or only covering certain parts of the body in various ways. Also to find out whether seeing the outline of a person is necessary or can be eliminated, as it will be eliminated from further procedures if possible. I am trying out test conditions one at a time and adding the strictest and hardest ones into procedures because that will make a test more agreeable from a test point of view. We want to eliminate all "ordinary" sources of health information to narrow down to what might be the source of the information or the clues that translate into vivid imagery and information about the body. I have already begun trying out various screens.

Plywood On two separate occasions I tried plywood screens by having a friend stand behind a board of plywood in a store and to see whether I can form medical perceptions or not. On both occasions I can not perceive medical perceptions of the part that is behind plywood. Boards that are three layers glued together are thick and they disable perceptions. Various boards with a laminated glossy surface also block the perceptions since I feel that surface rather than the tissues of the person behind it. There were thinner boards one sheet thick and they worked better for perceptions even though they block ordinary vision equally well. I found a nice board that is probably masonite. It is thin, its material is not densely packed and it is not see-through at all. They only sell very large ones so I will have to go back for it. For some reason it seemed to work, but further tests at home will verify. In those at-home tests I will have a friend behind the screen who will do various things that I should be able to feel when he does it and on which hand, such as holding an ice cube at random times. I would love to be able to use it in the 2nd study! The controls would not stand a chance! (Controls are participants who also look at the volunteers with me during the study so that my correlation can be compared with theirs.)

Glass The IIG have asked that we have a pane of glass between me and the volunteers during the real test to block out scent and sound. On two separate occasions I have tried having a friend stand behind a pane of glass and on both occasions to my surprise the perceptions are brighter and clearer through glass. The information feels filtered and cooler. It remains to try out being in a room surrounded by walls and with the pane of glass to see whether my perceptions remain, but that can be done by being indoors and having a volunteer outdoors and seeing them through a window.

Plastic At first I assumed that plastic simply would not work, but I tried it anyway. I found a sheet of plastic large enough to cover an entire person. It is mostly not see-through, but in some angles of light, a very faint outline or shadow of a person can be seen. I paid $30 for it so obviously I found it promising.

Fabrics Fabric screens still remain to be tried.

The progress in arranging the second study
July 1 2009 - Planning to have the second study soon.
July 15 2009 - Planning the second study and deciding to include a booked location and marketing into it.
July 18 2009 - I have decided to end the study now that I have chosen a suitable ailment to include in the test. The second study will not take place and next up is the test.
July 22 2009 - The second study doesn't need to take place. I have already chosen a suitable health information to base the test on!
September 7 2009 - A second study will by the way not take place. I have already decided to test the claim on detecting the number of kidneys in a person.
September 7 2009 - While the IIG and me are preparing the test protocol I will try to arrange a preliminary test with another Skeptics group. Two other Skeptics groups have already shown interest.
November 15 2009 - There will be no preliminary testing with other Skeptical organizations before the IIG Preliminary demonstration. It was not possible to arrange for any before the IIG Preliminary demonstration takes place.