New research suggests that researchers may have a sixth sense that allows them to correctly predict the upcoming publication of poorly conducted ESP research. Scientists at the University of Greenland asked 24 frustrated researchers to sit quietly in a room and ‘try their best’ to guess when a new, poorly controlled and poorly reasoned study purporting to upend the laws of the universe might be released.
In the 2 x 2 x 3 x 5 experimental design, several marginal effects were observed (p=0.047). Strikingly, the effects were largest in left-handed males less than six feet tall tested on Tuesdays, and single women who had recently considered buying a Segway (unless the data was collected during a solar eclipse). According to lead author Janus Taakuk the findings make perfect sense: ‘Tuesday derives its name from the Proto-Germanic ‘Tiwaz’, which means ‘God-In-The-Sky’. We think this striking ability to portend new hand-wavy studies about ESP on Tuesdays might have caused some of our ancestors to be perceived as gods. Similarly, Segways are very futuristic, so it is to be expected that these people would be good at predicting the future. Also, evolution something-something-something’, says Taakuk.
One of the participants describes the eerie sensation of predicting a poor study, sometimes even before it underwent peer review. “It’s hard to put into words, but the sensation was a bit like someone staring at you from behind. The first thing I noticed were certain words popping up in my mind, such as ‘quantum’, ‘approaching significance’, ‘Galileo’, and ‘five-way interaction’. This was followed immediately by an overwhelming feeling of emptiness. Days later yet another poor study was published. It’s uncanny’.
Future funding for the line of research is expected to be cut short after an unfortunate yet deadly incident involving a reindeer, an umbrella and a pair of nailclippers predicted to occur in 2015.