Additionally, Carlson would determine whether participating volunteers undergraduate and graduate students, and others could match astrological interpretations, written by the participating astrologers, to themselves. From the time of its release, the Carlson study has been criticized for the extraordinary demands it placed on the participating astrologers, which would be regarded as unfair in normal social science.
Eysenck, 8; Hamilton, This may give the impression of a fair method, but given the narrow demographics of the sample, there is an elevated likelihood of receiving similar items from which to choose, which makes it unfair Hamilton, 12; Ertel, Given this skewed design, the irregularities of which are not obvious to the casual reader, Carlson directs our attention to the various safeguards he used to assure us that no unintended bias would influence the experiment.
He describes in detail the precautions used to screen volunteers against negative views of astrology, how the samples were carefully numbered and guarded to ensure they were blind, and the exact contents of the sealed envelopes provided to test participants. The experiment consisted of several separate tests.
The volunteer students performed three tests, a natal chart interpretation ranking test, a natal chart interpretation component rating test, and a CPI ranking test. In the CPI ranking test, astrologers were given, for each single natal chart, three CPI profiles, one of which was genuine, and asked to make first and second choices.
There were 28 participating astrologers who matched natal charts with CPIs. Success, Carlson states, would be evaluated by the frequency of combined first and second choices, which is the correct protocol for this unconventional format. In addition to the ranking test of first, second, and third best fit, the astrologers were tested for their ability to rate the same CPIs according to a scale of accuracy. This task allowed for finer discrimination within a greater range of choices.
This observation is scarcely relevant, given the stated success criteria of the first and second choice frequencies combined.
Correlation :: The Journal of Research into Astrology
Then, to determine whether the astrologers were successful, Carlson directs our attention to the rate for the third place choices, which, as already noted, was consistent with chance. Thus he declares that the combined first two choices were not chosen at a significant frequency. This conclusion, however, ignores the stated success criteria and is in fact untrue. He shows a weighted histogram and a best linear fit graph to illustrate each of these three groups of ratings. Carlson directs our attention to the first choice graph as support for his conclusion for this test. The slope is actually slightly downward.
Confirmation bias in the Wyman and Vyse experiment
The graphs for the other two choices are not remarked upon, but show slightly positive slopes. These point ratings should not be grouped as though they were quantitatively related to the later three-choice test. Volunteers were divided into a test group and a control group. Members of the test group were each given three choices, all of the same Sun sign, one of which was interpreted from their natal chart Carlson, For the results of this test, Carlson shows a comparison of the frequencies of the correct chart as first, second, and third choices for the test group and the control group again ignoring his stated protocol to combine the frequencies of the first two choices.
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However, he does note an unexpected result for the control group, which was able to choose the correct chart at a very high frequency. He calculates this to be at 2. It is reasonable to think that the astrologers could write good quality chart interpretations after having successfully matched charts with CPI profiles.
This raises suspicion that the data might have been switched, perhaps inadvertently, but this is unverifiable speculation Vidmar, Like the participating astrologers, the student volunteers were also given a rating test; in this case for the sample chart interpretations they were given. They were asked to rate, on a scale of 1 to 10, the accuracy of each subsection of the natal chart interpretations written by the astrologers. This test would potentially have high interest to astrologers because of the distinction it made between personality and current situation, which is a distinction that is not typically covered in personality tests.
Also, the higher sensitivity of a rating test could provide insight, at least as confirmation or denial, into the extraordinary statistical fluctuation seen in the three-choice ranking test. Secrets that anyone can use to inspire young people to love learning about science and technology By Shawn Carlson, Ph. That fact is that we live in an America where one in four adults believes that the sun revolves around the earth, and over 40 percent think humans lived with dinosaurs.
Everyone who cares about science education has a role to play in stopping this slide into irrationality and political extremism. In this informative and delightful talk Dr. Carlson will share some of his experiences in the trenches fighting astrologers, faith healers, and religious hysterics, and reveal the best ways known to inspire people especially young people to love learning about science and technology. This talk is for anyone who cares about the science literacy crisis in America. A renowned skeptic whose original work shed light on astrology, religious miracles and the Satanic Panic of the s and 90s, Dr.
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He has also been instrumental in building the modern citizen scientist movement and has been the creative force behind a number of STEM-based education and research projects for both adults and children. Carlson has raised over a million dollars in support of science education.
Content published here is not subjected to the peer review process.
The tests involving student volunteers were especially suspect. Ertel noted that half of the data ratings were so poor they could not be analyzed, and the half that could be analyzed was not carefully completed. More than one in three students failed to complete their assignments. At the time, astrologers protested that the profiles they were asked to compare were very similar.
More fairly, in a test like this, astrologers should be asked to compare the profiles of individuals known to have dissimilar personality traits, Ertel believes. And a statistical reanalysis of the one to 10 numerical ranking system the astrologers were asked to use to subjectively indicate how strongly they felt about their individual choices weighed in their favor as well. You must be logged in to post a comment.
American Federation of Astrologers. Association for Astrological Networking.
International Society for Astrological Research. National Council for Geocosmic Research.