Reality and Imagination:
A psi-conducive confusion?

Susan J. Blackmore and Nicholas Rose

Paper presented at the 40th Annual Convention of the Parapsychological Association, Brighton, August 1997


Situations or states of consciousness in which reality and imagination are confused appear to be especially psi conducive. This may be either because such confusions lead people to mistake normal events for paranormal, or because psi is facilitated in some way by the uncertainty. On the former hypothesis we would expect experiencers and believers in the paranormal to be more prone to such confusions. On the latter we would expect reality-imagination confusions to be psi-conducive.

An experimental procedure was designed to induce false memories for pictures of objects. 33 subjects were shown slides of some objects and were asked to imagine others. Over a four week period they were questioned about the objects and finally asked whether they had seen them or only imagined them. To test for psi half the imagined objects, randomly chosen for each subject, were used as targets in a clairvoyance task.

There was no correlation between the number of false memories and BPS score. There were significantly more false memories on target objects than non-target objects. This suggests that confusing reality and imagination may be psi-conducive.

We would like to thank the Perrott-Warrick Fund for the financial support of this project.

This work was subsequently published as:

Blackmore,S.J. and Rose,N.J. Reality and Imagination: A psi-conducive confusion? Journal of Parapsychology, 61, 321-335