Sheep are being separated from goats by the members of the Society for Parapsychology in their newest excursion into the science of unknown psychic powers.
The Society is an organization devoted to telepathy, which is the process of sending thought messages from one person to another, and with clairvoyance, which is one person's mental awareness of certain physical occurrances around him.
But there is a twist to the classification. The animals are not the ordinary farm livestock variety; they are human. Sheep are persons who believe in the possibility of extra-sensory perception, and goats are those who disbelieve that such a power exists.
The object of the experiment is to see whether a person's "belief" affects his extra-sensory ability. In tests conducted at the Harvard Psychological Clinic several years ago, the sheep, or believers, have shown telepathic ability repeatedly in scientific tests, so that the experimenters considered the results significant proof that this power exists. The goats, on the other hand, have shown consistently telepathic aptitude.
Cards are used in all of the tests. There are 25 cards in a dock, five each of five different symbols. The telepathic sender draws a card from the deck and thinks of it, and the receiver attempts to name what variety it is.
By laws of chance alone the receiver should average five correct guesses in each run through the deck.
The goats don't do so well, however. Over many runs their average may be only five, which shows that merely chance is determining the results. Sometimes, however, a particularly defiant disbeliever scores a significantly negative result. His average may run three and a half or four correct guesses. This has led the experimenters to believe that perhaps the goat is unconsciously using extra-sensory powers to negate the results in order to be consistent with his belief that positive results cannot be obtained.