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Study: Psychic ability doesn't hold up (+video)

A new study supports skeptics of psychic abilities. Researchers failed to find evidence to support claims that extrasensory perception is real.

This panel, held at Harvard University in 2011, featured psychologists Daryl Bem, Jonathan Schooler, and Samuel Moulton. It was moderated by Harvard psychologist J. Richard Hackman.
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Bad news for Miss Cleo and other alleged clairvoyants: A new study has failed to find evidence that psychic ability is real.

Skeptics may scoff at the finding as obvious, but the research is important because it refutes a study published in a psychological journal last year that claimed to find evidence of extrasensory perception. That research, conducted by Daryl Bem of Cornell University, triggered outrage in the psychological community when the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology announced in 2010 that the paper had been accepted for publication. Psychologists immediately leapt on Bem's statistics and methods, finding reasons how he may have come up with the unbelievable results.

But the real key to a strong scientific finding is reproducibility. If no other researchers can replicate a particular result, it's not likely that the result is real. So University of Edinburgh psychologist Stuart Ritchie and colleagues decided to mimic one of Bem's experiments almost exactly to see if they would also find evidence of psychic powers.

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