From the archive, originally posted by: [ spectre ]

Virtual Reality Puts Telepathy To The Test

Scientists at The University of Manchester have created a virtual
computer world designed to test telepathic ability.

The system, which immerses an individual in what looks like a life-size
computer game, has been created as part of a joint project between The
University’s School of Computer Science and School of Psychological

Approximately 100 participants will take part in the experiment which
aims to test whether telepathy exists between individuals using the
system. The project will also look at how telepathic abilities may vary
depending on the relationships which exist between participants.

The test is carried out using two volunteers who could be friends, work
colleagues or family. They are placed in separate rooms on different
floors of the same building to eliminate any possibility of

Participants enter the virtual environment by donning a head-mounted 3D
display and an electronic glove which they use to navigate their way
through the computer generated world.

Once inside participants view a random selection of computer-generated
objects. These include a telephone, a football and an umbrella. The
person in the first room sees one object at a time, which they are
asked to concentrate on and interact with.

The person in the other room is simultaneously presented with the same
object plus three decoy objects. They are then asked to select the
object they believe the other participant is trying to transmit to

The system was designed by Dr Craig Murray of the School of
Psychological Sciences, and implemented by Toby Howard and Dr Fabrice
Caillette, from the School of Computer Science.

Dr Toby Howard said: “This system has been designed to overcome the
many pitfalls evident in previous studies which could easily be
manipulated by participants to produce an effect which looks like
telepathy but is not.

“By creating a virtual environment we are creating a completely
objective environment which makes it impossible for participants to
leave signals or even unconscious clues as to which object they have

The system has been designed to make the task as realistic as possible.
In addition to selecting objects and hearing the sounds they make,
participants are able to hold and move them within the virtual

Project researcher David Wilde, of the School of Psychological
Sciences, said: “By using this technology we aim to provide the most
objective study of telepathy to date. Our aim is not to prove or
disprove its existence but to create an experimental method which
stands up to scientific scrutiny.”

The results of the experiment are expected to be published early in

For further information:
Email: craig [dot] murray-2 [at] manchester [dot] ac [dot] uk
Telephone: 0161 275 2556

Simon Hunter, Media Relations Officer, University of Manchester,
telephone: 0161 2758387 or email: simon [dot] hunter [at] manchester [dot] ac [dot] uk

The University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester UK M13 9PL Tel:
+44 (0) 161 306 6000

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