Dangerous Game? Psychologists Use Ouija Board to Tap Subconscious

New Scientist has just published an find this that examines the relationship between the controversial Ouija board and the human subconscious.

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Psychologists at the University of British Columbia in Canada say that there is growing evidence to suggest that the unconscious plays a role in cognitive functions we usually consider the preserve of the conscious mind.  Speaking at the http://rodrigoseixas.com/academic-writing-process/, Hélène Gauchou asserts that we are not always fully in control of our own actions or movements.  There are times when the unconscious takes over and we release, as she puts it, our “inner zombie”.  According to Gauchou, the pressing matter for psychologists is, “How can we communicate with that unconscious intelligence?”  The answer according to researchers may be found in Ouija.

In an effort to prove this theory and to explore options of tapping into that subconscious mind and bring it to the surface, these researchers have been holding studies involving the Ouija Board and study participants.  The find this states of Gauchou’s experiements:

To keep things simple her team has just one person with their finger on the planchette at a time. But the ideomotor effect is maximised if you believe you are not responsible for any movements – that’s why Ouija board sessions are most successful when used by a group. So the subject is told they will be using the board with a partner. The subject is blindfolded and what they don’t know is that their so-called partner removes their hands from the planchette when the experiment begins.

The technique worked, at least with 21 out of 27 volunteers tested, reports Gauchou. “The planchette does not move randomly around the board; it moves to yes or no. It seems to move almost magically. None of them felt responsible for the movement.” In fact some subjects suspected that their partner was really an actor – but they thought the actor was deliberately moving the planchette, never suspecting they themselves were the only ones touching it.

Goucher’s team has not yet used the technique to get new information about the unconscious, but they have established that it seems to work, in principle. They asked subjects to answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to general knowledge questions using the Ouija board, and also asked them to answer the same questions using the more orthodox method of typing on a computer (unblindfolded). Participants were also asked whether they knew the answer or were just guessing.

The results yielded from the studies have excited researchers to the point where they are now looking for ways to incorporate Ouija into office visits.  They report that one drawback of the traditional board is that it takes too long, and they are looking for ways to reduce the rate of results to two minutes or less.  They’re even looking into creating an “Ouija app” specific to the psychology field.

To those who consider the Ouija Board to be a spiritual device, this all may sound frightening.  Bringing a divining tool into the doctor’s office may legitimize the use of an object that could compromise patients in a spiritual sense.

What do you think?