SCIENTISTS GET THE OUIJA BOARD OUT
What did they do?
A team of cognitive scientists from Denmark’s Aarhus University and University of Southern Denmark, and Germany’s Bielefeld University, attended a conference for Ouija board users and invited participants, in pairs, to take part in a ‘séance’.
Why did they do that?
Previous research has shown that when a Ouija board is used, one or more individuals is physically causing the ‘planchette’ (or more commonly, glass) to move – but that those individuals are often unaware they are doing so. The team wanted to use eye-tracking equipment to find out what’s going on.
What did they find out?
When subjects were asked to deliberately spell out a given word, tracking either individual’s eye movements would predict the next letter accurately. In a so-called ‘séance’, no one individual’s eye movements could predict what the next letter would be – but combining those of both subjects could. It is believed words are therefore spelled out as the result of a subconscious joint effort.