Exploration, Brahms Requiem, Thrilling Moment

One of the possible sources of the apparent "global consciousness" effect is an anomalous influence of the experimenter. It is difficult to pin down such a possibility, but occasionally oportunities arise that seem to offer some insight. On March 24, 2000, I went to a rehearsal of the Deutsche Requiem by Brahms, a magnificent chorale with orchestra. Near the end of the 6th, I experienced a moment of the physiological "thrill" that sometimes comes from especially beautiful music. As the enjoyment gave way to contemplation, it occurred to me that it would have been nice to have a Fieldreg recording, and this led immediately to the idea of checking the GCP data at the time. So I noted the time fairly accurately and resolved to check the data around that time when I had a chance. The noted time was 15:25:20 EST !! I just realized that the data I pulled (and which show a nice effect!) are UTC time. Well, I'll get the correct data shortly. This may simply amplify the "experimenter effect" point I want to make here. The (wrong) data show a significant outcome for the 40 second period I chose to use (15:25:00 to 15:25:39) centered on the noted moment. The first following graph shows these data, which have Chisquare = 64.65 on 40 df for a p-value of 0.008.

Brahms Requiem exploration

Having realized the error, there was no choice but to accept it and go ahead with the correct analysis, using the appropriate UTC time equivalent (20:25:00 to 20:25:39). The result is a classically non-significant cumulative Chisquare (39.805, 40 df, p = 0.479), as can be seen in the next figure.

Correct Brahms Requiem exploration

What does this mean? Of course it may all be subsumed under statistical fluctuation, but if taken at face value, the "successful" result with irrelevant data obviously cannot be interpreted as representing some effect of the thrilling moment, and instead would have to be seen as a reflection of the experimenter's desire to have a striking and "meaningful" result. The correction washes that momentary success from the slate, and replaces it with a result that might best be regarded as an indicator that the experimenter needs to be more careful, both in selecting useful applications and in collecting the appropriate data.

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