Committee for the Scientific Investigation of
Claims of the Paranormal
Commission for Scientific
Medicine and Mental Health
Center for Inquiry
Test Design and Procedures for
Preliminary Study of
1.) The entire test, including pre-test briefing will take place at the New York Academy of Sciences, or other suitable facility.
2.) The Subject Recruiter will choose and "shepherd" the test subjects to the testing facility and will provide us with each subject's "target" medical condition, such as implanted pace maker, resected lung, bone plate and screws, that are clearly documented by medical records and/or x-rays. The target conditions will all be different, no two subjects will have the same condition.
3.) Seven subjects will be provided, one of whom will not have any of six different target medical conditions. The task Natasha will be provided is to match the 6 target conditions to the correct 6 subjects who have the medical conditions
4.) A test card for each condition will be created. On each card, a target condition will be clearly described using non-medical terms in Russian and in English. The card may also contain a simple illustration of what Natasha should look for, such as a drawing of an artificial hip joint, or a drawing of a human body showing a missing left kidney. Below that will be numbers 1 to 7 corresponding to the 7 subjects who will be identified only by number and not their name. Natasha will be required to circle the correct patient number that matches the target medical condition. (See attached example.)
Natasha will also be required to sign each card when she is done and
to hand the card to the Test Proctor. The Proctor will then hand her
the next card until all 6 cards have been marked, signed, and turned
in. The Proctor will also sign each completed card and place it into
the completed card envelope.
6.) In interest of keeping the test clear and meaningful -- and more importantly -- to protect the privacy and other rights of the volunteer subjects, Natasha will not be permitted to offer any other diagnosis or observation about the subject's health. She simply must look for the target condition in the subjects and correctly identify the subject who has the condition on the test card.
any subject is interested in obtaining Natasha's opinion, they may do
so on their own after the testing is over.)
7.) No other information will be provided on the test cards.
8.) The test cards will be placed in a random order within a sealed envelope and given to the Test Proctor (probably Ray Hyman) to be opened during the test briefing. The Proctor (and all others involved in the test except for the Subject Recruiter) will be completely blinded as to the identities of the subjects and their medical conditions.
9.) Likewise, the entire Discovery Channel crew must be blinded and none of them will be allowed to directly speak with any of the subjects until the test is completed and unblinded.
10.) In a room away from the test room, Natasha and her translator will be shown the cards and all the test rules will be explained by the Test Proctor. Natasha will be told that, on each card, she will have to identify the subject who has the condition by marking the subject's number on the card.
11.) In the test briefing room -- and in the test room -- the number of people must be kept to a minimum to reduce distractions, possible interference, noise, and tension. The Test Proctor and video person will be the only personnel from CFI and CSMMH who will be present within the test briefing room and test room.
12.) When ready, the Test Proctor will open the test card envelope and hand Natasha the 6 test cards. He will explain to her what is required and how she is to mark the cards, and other rules of the test. Natasha may ask for clarification of anything she doesn't understand - including the target medical conditions or the test protocols. Explanations may include generic drawings of the organ or surgical implant in question.
13.) The Test Proctor will ask Natasha if she understands what the test requires, how the test will proceed, and whether she has any questions. When she says she fully understands and is ready to be tested, the Test Proctor will escort her and the translator into the test room (and any of her friends and family members), where the test subjects will already be waiting. The test rules must also be explained and agreed to by all of Natasha's friends and family members who she wants to bring with her into the testing room.
14.) At no time will Natasha or her translator (or any other person other than authorized CSICOP/CSMMH personnel) be allowed to talk to any of the subjects until the test is fully completed. If she needs a subject to turn to a different angle, she must step out of the room and make her request to the Proctor. The Proctor will then enter the test room and have ALL the subjects turn to the requested angle. Then Natasha and her translator will be brought back in.
All 7 subjects will be standing in a line and numbered 1 to 7. They
will be wearing normal clothing that fully covers every part of their
body except for their hands, neck, and head. Natasha must conduct her
examination from one spot in the room that provides her a clear and
close view of the subjects. She must not approach any of the subjects
-- which could cause an exchange of body language cues that could
reduce the accuracy of this test.
If for any reason, any subject has to move or leave the room, Natasha and her translator (and any of her friends or family members) must first be taken to another location so that they cannot view the subject walking.
16.) Because this is a test of Natasha's abilities, Natasha will not be allowed to talk with anyone (including her friends and family members) during the test other than the Test Proctor.
17.) To further reduce the risk of unintentional non-verbal communication between the subjects and Natasha, all subjects will wear mirror lens sunglasses that will prevent anyone from seeing the subjects' eye movements.
18.) Neither Natasha or her translator will be allowed in any way to discuss the targeted medical conditions in the test room. If she wants to ask a question, she must ask the Test Proctor to leave the room.
19.) The Test Proctor will not know the subjects or their target conditions until the test is over and the results are opened.
20.) During the test, the Subject Recruiter will not be in the test room, since he or she knows the subjects' medical conditions.
21.) When Natasha is finished marking and signing each card, the test proctor will take the card from her, sign it, and randomly hand her one of the remaining cards from the test card envelope until all cards are completely marked.
22.) After all cards are filled out, signed, and collected, the proctor will take Natasha and her translator into another room and ask her how well she thinks she has done. She should be encouraged to say which "diagnoses" she is most confident with and to explain why.
23.) The unblinding of the test should then be conducted in the presence of the test subjects, who will then have available for showing radiological or other medical records that document their targeted medical conditions (if we can get this documentation because of lack of time -- at the very least, we should offer to help arrange for the Discovery Channel people to obtain appropriate medical documentation.).
24.) At this point, the Test Proctor will interpret the results of the test. The goal of this test is for Natasha to match at least 5 of the target medical conditions to the correct subject.
If Natasha correctly matches 5 or more target medical conditions, the Test Proctor will declare that she has demonstrated that she achieved a significantly better than chance score and therefore further, more thorough scientific testing of her claimed abilities are certainly warranted.
If Natasha correctly matches fewer than 5 target medical conditions, then the Test Proctor will declare that results are more consistent with chance guessing and does not support any belief in her claimed abilities.
25.) It is imperative that the Test Proctor be allowed to explain in the Discovery Channel program that the CSICOP/CSMMH test is not in any way a definitive test. It is too simple and brief to determine the truth of Natasha's claims with comfortable certainty. It can only help decide whether further study of Natasha's claimed abilities are warranted.
Throughout the design and conduct of this test, we must observe all
rules regarding the ethical treatment of human subjects. We will have
each subject sign a statement that fully informs them of the testing
procedure, their medical information that will be made public, and
how this information will be used (ie. Broadcast on the Discovery
Channel and possibly published in The Skeptical Inquirer, The
Scientific Review of Alternative Medicine, or other