Of course no real conclusions can be drawn from just one series of 32 sessions. However, the results suggest an improvement compared to results of the standard Ganzfeld procedure with static targets in general (with meta-analysis showing an overall effect size of around 30%), and specifically compared to our own previous findings using this standard method (a replication programme yielding little more than chance results, see e.g. Bierman et al., 1993; Bosga et al., 1994). Then again our experiment contains no real direct test of the effectiveness of the ES technique per se over this standard Ganzfeld procedure. Also, the influence of the magic extension cannot be properly compared to scoring in 'no-magic' standard ES. There was no proper random allocation of sessions to ES and ES+ conditions - then again participants could never have been blind to the hypothesis anyway, and more important (as we have argued in some notes on the use of magic) beneath its surface the standard ES (and even the standard Ganzfeld) procedure could itself be considered a paradigm of magic in a broader sense, leaving only a gradual, cosmetic distinction between ES and ES+.
Against method, such detailed comparisons were never our object since, in accordance with our doubt of the analytic stance, we take psi as an indication of the limits of applicability of analytic thinking in general. Therefore, all we claim is that psi may manifest itself somewhere between the beginning and the end of an Eigensender session, yet it cannot analytically be reduced to the outcome of a function of critical moments, interactions, or mechanisms, which ostensibly constitute that session. Like a work of art, a parapsychological experiment embraces more than the total sum of its constituting elements.
As an instance of this analytical indeterminability, we have to tolerate the ambiguous outcomes concerning possible confidence of J's rating, since in a way it confirms the idea - expounded in some notes on the philosophy of science - that psi phenomena cannot simply be reduced to isolated cognitive mechanisms within the individual. In fact ES does not allow a clear allocation of experimental roles. Roles and double-roles compile an interwoven script. If we were to report on Eigensender in an analytical way, several current frameworks would have been at our disposal. In terms of the OT's, the S at stage III could be said to non-locally connect target observations with his/her impressions during I (during which cognitive functioning is relatively 'random'), the report of which is heard through the head phones. The second, more conventional framework that has guided mainstream parapsychology for several decades, comprises of models that are inspired by principles of functionalistic and representationalistic cognitivism. Here explanations are construed around a concept like 'psi input', that activates 'detection mechanisms', the 'functioning' of which is 'facilitated' by the 'attenuation of sensory and somatic stimuli'. In a cognitivistically oriented Eigensender model, E doubles as 'sender' for S during stage I and for J during III, while S takes on the role of an additional (Eigen) 'sender' during stage III, as well as that of ('normal') 'sender' for J (J's are aware of this possible construct). Less conventional conjectures would still involve analytical localisation of psi. For example, RNG-target selection by E could be modelled as a PK or data augmentation process, or - stretching Jung's concept somewhat - as a 'synchronicity event', a proces in which the designated target will correspond maximally to S's mentation (Bosga et al., 1994), or as a combination of any of these perspectives, a combination that might then vary per experiment. This lack of analytical determination would ultimately leave us with perhaps the successful results of a future meta-analysis, but without trace of a theoretically relevant 'core process'. In short, psi may show to better advantage if we appreciate its phenomenological complexity and try not to reduce it to our favourite essentials.
For some philosophical background notions from which this study originated, see