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The Reliability of Zener Cards

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I decided to temporarily get back into the "psychic game" as it were and test my abilities. I have taken online Zener tests before. There are times when I have come up with average scores, and there are times when I have come up with scores deemed to be above what chance would allow (I really only counted the "significant" scores of those guesses that numbered in the hundreds). Admittedly, and after some hindsight, much the data I collected (when I did a meta-analysis of my scores) was above what chance would supposedly allow, but some of this data was collected from an earlier phase when I only recorded my high scores, so they cannot truly be regarded as useful. Therefore, I decided to just test myself again, recording all scores whether I liked them or not. I decided to take hundreds of runs, because, according to the theoretical laws of probability, were I truly psychic, I would maintain above (or in case of psi-missing, below) average scores on a consistent basis, whereas if I were not psychic, the scores would eventually revert back to the mean.

The results were as follows:

564/2575, when a chance guess would suggest that I would get 515 right. It seemed to show "fair" levels of psychic ability.

Now many people might say, "Congratulations! This proves you have the gift!" My response would be, "Meh...."

Am I psychic? After years of self-testing (with things other than Zener Cards), I have come to a conclusion that I will leave secret for now.

However, basing whether or not your psychic solely on the use of Zener Cards is flawed because, in may ways, the philosophy of Zener Cards, and that philosophy is this"

If it doesn't deviate significantly from chance, then that means that one does not have psi.

If it deviates significantly from chance, then that means that on DOES have psi.

Sounds pretty logical, right? I mean, if you aren't psychic, you would only get chance scores. If you are, you would get above or below that. Right?

Well, to me, after some thought, that is like saying the following

All people who go to jail are bad.

All people who don't are good.

While those who have gone to jail have obviously done something wrong, and while the severity of the sentence and number of crimes a person has committed may indeed be indicative of their deeper nature, many people who go to jail eventually reform, and many have in fact have gone on to be upstanding and influential citizens, while many people who have never gone to jail are what one may consider "morally compromised".

In short, A is not always the cause of B.

When it comes to Zener Cards, actual probability may sometimes differ significantly from theoretical probability. The authenticity of a Zener Card test is dependent on many factors.

For instance, if you go by theoretical chance, one should only get 20% right, but if you remove the card that is guessed from the deck, those chances increase, and in many ways this is because a person can count cards and eventually make a safe assumption of what is coming next; there are 25 cards with 5 different types of shapes, and each shape is placed on 5 cards: 5 squares, 5 circles, 5 stars, 5 waves and 5 crosses.

Let's say I have already made 5 guesses, and let's say my score was as follows

1 square, 2 circles, 2 stars, 0 waves, 0 crosses

There are now 4 squares, 3 circles and 2 stars left.

I can now make the assumption that my guesses should probably be more towards the waves, crosses, and to a lesser extent, squares

This can be done consciously or unconsciously, but there is also the potential of outright cheating, sensory leakage (intentional or otherwise), transparent cards, and perhaps some other possibilities.

One might read this post and counter that eventually, J.B. Rhine (the man most associated with Zener Cards) eventually tried having tighter controls, and that later on, participants and testers were placed in separate buildings to prevent sensory leakage. I should note two things

1) The results generally returned to chance levels with stricter controls

2) Even if they hadn't, just because someone scores significantly above chance, it is not necessarily indicative of psi, because, as stated earlier, theoretical and real-world probabilities sometimes differ significantly.

Just so you know, while I at first had some suspicions regarding the online Zener Card test I had taken, since it was a random online generator, I couldn't count cards (if you wanted a "closed deck", or a deck in which the card that is guessed is permanently removed, you were not allowed to see which cards you were guessing, having to rely solely on your alleged clairvoyant abilities. If you chose an "open deck", where the cards were reshuffled after every guess, you could see them), and so all I had to go on was my ability to sense things (quite honestly, I often would guess randomly without trying to sense anything, though the further along I got, the more I tried to focus my abilities, with the above score as a result). But then, if I am basically saying that one should not put all their psi-balls in this one basket, how can I still think it has hope?

Because if you truly are psychic, your abilities should be, and will, work outside of the "laboratory", so to speak.

The visions you have will occur in your daily life if you use your abilities actively (or sometimes when it is unconscious). In short, you will have long known before a Zener Card test whether or not you are psychic. If you are truly psychic, taking a Zener Card test might be more valid, because if you truly do guess above chance in this test, based on the other evidence, you could safely assume that it is do to psychic ability instead of just some fluke.

What do you guys think?

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