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Professor E. G. Boring, Head of the Department of Psychology, Calls Duke University Extra-Sensory Experiments "Negative"

Says "Psych. Research Is Field Where People Get Excited About Ignorance"


"I never have free time; I only see People when I haven't," began Edwin G. Bering, head of the Department of Psychology, as he launched into a discussion of the new mental telepathy experiments now being conducted at Duke and Harvard Universities.

Asked about the Duke experiments, Professor Boring replied that they are very "Interesting." But he claims that the results are so far "negative." "No one yet has any plausible hypothesis as to what extra-sensory perception is. When you investigate and find a phenomena occurring, all you have is something you don't understand.

"Psychic research is the only field in which people get excited about something concerning which they are ignorant. We want to find out what the facts are.

"Harvard is really the mother of the Duke experiments," the emphasized. "William McDougall, professor of Psychology from 1919 to 1926, went to Duke in 1926. It is he who has sponsored the recent research there, and it is he who was instrumental in bringing to Duke Professor Rhine, the man who has conducted the recent phenomenal experiments there. No academic experiment in America has had the publicity of the Duke tests."

But Professor Bering was very reluctant to give any publicity to the details of the new experiments which are now being carried on in the Harvard Psychological Department. "Ninety percent of our experiments necessitate the use of human material," he explained, "and the student doesn't and shouldn't know what the experiment is about.

"In making an experiment one usually spends one semester looking over the prospects, one semester in getting results and facts, one semester in cleaning up, and one semester in writing it up.

"If you were as old as I am, you'd realize that one thing after another turns out to be of little scientific importance," closed Professor Bering. "Just as the German horse and Mrs. Crandon did not withstand scientific investigation, so the Rhine effect may not bear fruit."

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