Originally posted by Arbitrageur
I agree some letters are legible, but I also agree
it's a guessing game for the rest, and 80% is overly optimistic. Do you know a study was done on this memo to see how much of it can really be
Originally posted by Monts
As you can see, it is still a kind of guessing game... however as the researcher in the video notes, he is able to confidently transcribe about 80% of
the message. For some of the words, such as "victims", in which some letters are illegible, using the legible letters and then "filling in the
blanks" to make logical assumptions is more than good enough for revealing the message.
In other words when people were told the memo was about an atomic bomb, they found unique words in that context in the
memo like "flash" "atomic", and "laboratory", whereas the people that were told about a crashed UFO not surprisingly found the words "crash"
and "UFO" which the atomic group didn't find.
investigators of this
document suggested, however, that it was ambiguous stimuli being interpreted
by pro-Roswell investigators in accordance with their expectations. To assess
the possible extent of bias in these interpretations, we had three randomly assigned
groups of participants attempt to decipher the document under different
suggestion conditions: one condition in which we told participants (N = 59)
they were looking at a document pertaining to the famous Roswell UFO case, a
second condition in which we told participants (N = 58) that they were looking
at a document pertaining to secret testing of the atomic bomb, and a final condition
in which participants (N = 59) were told nothing about the possible content
of the document.
Many participants indeed claimed to be able to read the document,
although their subsequent solutions appeared to follow directly from the
experimental suggestions. Moreover, the number of words deciphered was related
to participants’ ages, tolerance of ambiguity, and relative exposure to the
UFO field and especially the Roswell case. However, a few words in the same
locations in the document were consistently perceived across the three suggestion
conditions and these matched the words identified in previous investigations.
We conclude therefore that future research of Ramey memo might be potentially
informative if certain methodological criteria are established. Such
protocols are outlined.
Regardless of what else you make of this study, it blows the 80% legibility claim out of the water. On the other hand, the study confirms that some
words are legible across all three study groups, such as "story", "Fort Worth TX", and "balloons" in the blind group vs "weather balloons" in
the other two groups.
edit on 25-12-2010 by Arbitrageur because: fix typo
The Randle/Houran study is a total disaster of bungled statistics, inept experimental design, and faulty peer review, which should have rejected this
paper outright. If you want to see all the serious problems with it, read this critique carefully:
1. Although Randle/Houran claim there is a major biasing or "priming effect" from different contexts, their actual data shows exactly the opposite.
The real statistics show that maybe 1% of all words read were probably strongly influenced by context. The rest of their so-called
"exclusive"-to-context words were actually quite neutral. (E.g., how are words like "meaning", "morning", "remains", or "fundamental"
somehow biased by a "Roswell" or "atomic" context? And how can the one and only "exclusive" word "flew" in the control group, who were told
*nothing at all*, be "biased" or "primed" by anything? )
2. In fact, they provide only 10 words total out of about 550 words total that are supposedly "bias" words. Throw out the obviously neutral ones,
and you're down to maybe 5 or 6 out of 550. How does 1% "prove" that readers were reading only according to their expectations? Please
3. When one peer reviewer asked them for the actual numbers of each "primed" word, they admit they didn't have the numbers, because allegedly
their graduate student threw out the data. No kidding! What sort of peer review accepts a paper where they don't even have the proper data to back
up their main conclusion?
4. They don't even talk about half the words read, which they call "other words", neither "exclusive" to a group or "common" across all groups
("common" words being like "weather balloons" and "Fort Worth, Tex."). If they are neither exclusive nor common, what in the world could they
be? Probably totally neutral, simple, short, common words like "the", "and", "of", etc., that make up about half the words used in English,
many of which are relatively easy to pick out. In other words, these "other words" are almost certainly many more "common" words that
Randle/Houran seem to have deliberately ignored because they further undercuts their claim of huge reader bias and lack of common readings.
5. Context DOES matter. The Roswell group was far superior to picking out the clearer "common words" that even Randle/Houran are forced to admit
are probably there, again words like "weather balloons", "Fort Worth, Tex.", "story", and "land". In fact they were 2-1/2 times better than
the "atomic" group, even though spending only slightly more time at the task. Was this important and hugely obvious effect discussed? Barely, then
completely ignored, because it obviously again undercut their thesis that people were reading almost entirely due to bias, and that context should be
eliminated completely in future studies. Obviously context helps enormously, just as it does in real life language tasks where there is ambiguity,
such as understanding conversations in noisy rooms, listening to radio broadcasts that are fading and full of static, or reading bad handwriting.
6. There are many other serious problems with this paper, such as very short time spent by readers on the task, lack of enhanced images for them to
use, more bungled statistics like identical, impossible standard deviations for words read per reader in each group (which Houran was finally forced
to admit they had bungled), and on and on.
Of course already biased and gullible pseudoskeptics, who also don't know how to read a science paper properly to check for flaws, or don't bother
to read it at all, will cite only the abstract where Randle/Houran claim to prove a major biasing effect and little agreement across readers, even
though the actual data prove the opposite is true. Their conclusions were based on data they ignored, distorted, and admitted didn't even exist any
more (allegedly thrown out by the convenient scapegoat grad student). Then they used these obviously nonsense conclusions to debunk the Ramey memo.
This paper demonstrates extreme experimenter bias and a lack of due diligence, competence, critical thinking, and/or intellectual integrity on their
part and those of the debunkers who cite them.