“How to reveal the hidden presence of false-positives in scientific experiments?” The program in metascience at Phenoscience Laboratories targets the development of advanced scientific methodologies and the testing of the scientific method itself. In addition, the metascience program researches selected issues in the philosophy and the foundations of science.

Recent Presentations

Walleczek, J. (2019) Counterfactual Meta-Experimentation and the Limits of Science: 100 Years of Parapsychology as a Control Group. Metascience 2019 Symposium, Stanford University, September 6, 2019. Click here for the abstract. 

Von Stillfried, N. and Walleczek, J. (2019) Sham-Experiments Reveal a Statistical Error and the Need for Confirmatory Research in the Radin Double-Slit Experiment. Metascience 2019 Symposium, Stanford University, September 5, 2019. Click here for the abstract. 

Advanced Meta-experimental Protocol (AMP): Detecting Class-A and Class-B Error

Walleczek, J. and von Stillfried, N. (2020) False-positive Effect in the Radin Double-slit Experiment: HARKing is used by Radin et al. to Misrepresent the Advanced Meta-experimental Protocol used in Walleczek and von Stillfried (2019).

As is described below, Walleczek and von Stillfried (2019) reported (i) the absence of any true-positive effects and (ii) the presence of one false-positive effect in a commissioned replication study of the Radin double-slit (DS) experiment on observer consciousness. In their recent misrepresentation of our report, Radin et al. (2019, 2020) regrettably used the malpractice of HARKing, i.e., (undisclosed) hypothesizing after the results are known. HARKing can increase greatly the risk of false-negative or false-positive conclusions. Specifically, Radin et al. (2019, 2020) deviated in two major ways from the pre-specified protocol for this commissioned study, which (i) was agreed to by Radin before data collection was started (Radin, 2011) and (ii) included data encryption to prevent the use of p-hacking and HARKing. First, Radin et al. (2019) violate the original research design by reporting a so-called “true-positive outcome of a secondary planned hypothesis”. Contrary to the claim by Radin et al. (2019, 2020), that hypothesis was not, however, part of the planned test strategy, but, instead, the associated statistical analysis – a chi-square test – was chosen by Radin sometime after the planned statistical analysis had been completed and the data unblinded. Second, Radin et al. (2019, 2020) violate the funder-approved research design in an additional way by falsely claiming that the newly developed protocol, i.e., the Advanced Meta-experimental Protocol (AMP), implements a non-predictive test strategy when – in fact – the AMP-based test strategy is strictly predictive.

Walleczek, J. and von Stillfried, N. (2019) False-Positive Effect in the Radin Double-Slit Experiment on Observer Consciousness as Determined with the Advanced Meta-Experimental Protocol. Front. Psychol. 10:1891.

Phenoscience Laboratories has developed a novel research protocol for improving the scientific process towards more robust findings: The Advanced Meta-Experimental Protocol (AMP). As a first test case, the AMP was implemented to test this controversial claim: Observer consciousness collapses the quantum wave function in a double-slit experiment. For explanation, one potential mechanism for mind-matter interaction is based on quantum mechanics, in particular the proposal that observer consciousness collapses the wave function. Previously, in a series of studies, Radin and collaborators have claimed laboratory evidence for the intentional action of observer consciousness on laser light-interference intensity in a double-slit apparatus. To rigorously test the validity of this claim, the novel research protocol (AMP), which includes systematic sham-experiments, i.e., counterfactual meta-experimentation, was adopted in a confirmatory replication attempt of the Radin double-slit experiment. Whereas the replication study was unable to confirm the original results, the AMP identified a false-positive effect with the sham-experiment in the absence of test subjects. Specifically, the sham-experiment detected a significant amount of systematic class-A error for a predicted test category (p = 0.021; σ = −2.02; N = 1,250 test trials). The false-positive effect, which indicates the presence of systematic methodological error in the Radin double-slit experiment, suggests that skepticism should replace optimism concerning the radical claim that an anomalous quantum consciousness effect has been observed in a controlled laboratory setting.

Conference Organization

Phenoscience Laboratories is a co-organizer of the Metascience 2019 Symposium on „The Emerging Field of Research on the Scientific Process“ at Stanford University. Click here for the scientific program. The symposium is sponsored by the Fetzer Franklin Fund (FFF) of the John E. Fetzer Memorial Trust. Previously, Phenoscience Laboratories was co-organizer of a Metascience symposium in 2012, titled “The Decline Effect: Evidence, Explanations, and Future Directions” (see FFF events).

Deciphering the Decline Effect Project

Phenoscience Laboratories is a member of the prospective multi-laboratory replication study initiative. Click here for the project description.

Technology Development and Artifact Detection

Walleczek, J. (1995) Method and Apparatus for Performing Dual-beam, Dual-wavelength Fluorescence Spectrophotometric Evaluation of a Biological Specimen. US–Patent #5,383,023. Read more

Jones, R.A., Walleczek, J. and Adey, W.R. (1996) Mechanical Vibration in “Double-Wound” Magnetic-Field Exposure Coils. Bioelectromagnetics 17, 516-518. Read more

Walleczek, J., Shiu, E. and Hahn, G. (1999) Increase in Radiation-induced HPRT Gene Mutation Frequency after Nonthermal Exposure to Nonionizing 60 Hz Electromagnetic Fields. Radiat. Res. 151, 489-497. Read more

Synopsis: The article introduces the systematic negative control (SNC) protocol. Its purpose is to detect potential artifacts related to the application of the standard control condition in association with a particular experimental design. 

Wolsko, P.M., Eisenberg, D.M., Simon, L.S., Davis, R.B., Walleczek, J., Mayo-Smith, M., Kaptchuk, T.J. and Phillips, R.S. (2004) Double-blind Placebo-controlled Trial of Static Magnets for the Treatment of Osteoarthritis of the Knee: Results of a Pilot Study. Altern. Ther. Health Med.. 10, 36-43. Read more

Past Project

Jan Walleczek was a co-organizer of a workshop on the „The Conceptual Foundations of Science“ (Parmenides Foundation, Germany). The three-day workshop, held on September 18-21, 2018, addressed the foundations of science in light of the challenge to conceptualize the relationship between matter, life, and mind. The workshop program was sponsored by the Fetzer Franklin Fund (FFF) of the John E. Fetzer Memorial Trust.