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2023 Vol. 87(1) 66-86

John G Kruth
Parapsychology Press


Storm, L. (2023). Attitudes and Beliefs as Predictors of Psi Effects in a Pseudo-Gambling Task. Journal of Parapsychology 87(1) 66-86.


Attitudes and Beliefs as Predictors of Psi Effects in a Pseudo-Gambling Task

Lance Storm

School of Psychology, University of Adelaide

Believers in psi (sheep) will use psi to hit a target, but as far as non-believers (goats) are concerned, the conventional understanding is that they will inadvertently use psi to avoid the target. In other words, goats do not tend to psi hit; they tend only to score at chance or occasionally psi miss, and since the sheep-goat effect is sufficiently demonstrated when sheep score significantly higher than goats, little thought is given to the fact that goats are never specifically asked to psi miss. The present study looks at the sheep-goat effect in the context of compliance (from sheep) and noncompliance (from goats). The psi task is five trials at guessing the Ace of Spades playing card while avoiding Ace of Clubs. We administered tests of paranormal belief, belief in luck, and attitudes towards gambling to determine correlates of psi performance. All the gambling attitude scales inter-correlated significantly as did most luck scales. For the whole sample (N = 120), effect sizes were at chance for spade-hitting and club-hitting as was the case for sheep and goats. Sheep and goats did not score differently from each other on either psi measure, and none of the scales correlated significantly with the two psi measures. The spade-hitting/ club-hitting correlation was negative and significant thus replicating the effect reported by Storm and Thalbourne (2005b). This correlation suggests that if participants successfully targeted Ace of Spades they tended to avoid Ace of Clubs (and vice versa), but more is implied—participants could still avoid noncompliance (if they were sheep) or compliance (if they were goats) by displacing to King cards. Also, belief in psi and luck, and attitudes toward gambling (whether positive or negative) do not appear to influence gambling success.


compliance, gambling, psychic ability, sheep-goat effect

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