Sunday, October 30, 2016

In time for Halloween

Vox has a good article up all about Ouija boards, and the ideomotor effect that makes them work.  Well, most of the time [insert ghostly, mad laugh].

Here are a couple of parts that I found particularly interesting: 
Before Ouija boards were invented, spiritualists and other would-be ghost communicators used makeshift devices called “talking boards” that served a similar purpose. Talking boards first became popular in mid-19th-century America, when millions of people suddenly gained an interest in talking to the dead following the tremendous loss of life in the Civil War. The popularity of talking boards, and their use as a tool to exploit grieving war families, meant scientists actually started studying the ideomotor effect in the mid-century, well before Ouija boards and planchettes were patented in 1890.
I don't think I heard of "talking boards" before, but the internet knows all, and here's a very comprehensive (if not particularly well designed) website called The Museum of Talking Boards. 

And here's another bit of information that's rather curious:
The effect might also make the Ouija board an effective tool to help you tap into your own subconscious. In one study published in 2012, scientists found that using the Ouija board allowed subjects to recall factual information with more accuracy than if they weren’t using the board. Participants were instructed to answer a series of yes/no questions and to rate whether they were confident in their answers or merely guessing. Later, they were subjected to another round of questions, but used a Ouija board to indicate “yes” or “no,” once again rating their confidence level in their answers. In cases where participants believed they didn’t know an answer, they were able to give more correct answers, more often, when using the Ouija board than when they believed they were only guessing on their own.
The researchers behind that study have gone on to speculate that using the Ouija board as a technique to unlock subconscious knowledge could lead to insights about the early onset of Alzheimer's and other neurodegenerative diseases.
Well, I did post once before about ouija, and the subconscious, but it's worth following that last link for some further information.

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