Forty-six undergrads watched a two-minute video of a performer bending a key, apparently using mind power, and then placing it on a table. For half the students only, the performer could be heard uttering one sentence suggesting the key was continuing to bend once on the table (it wasn't). Afterwards, 40 per cent of the students who were played the performer's suggestive comment agreed with the statement that the key had continued to bend. In contrast, only 5 per cent of students who weren't played his comment agreed it had continued bending.
The experiment was repeated with 100 students and an open-ended questionnaire for them to describe what happened. Those students played the performer's suggestive comment were more likely to write afterwards that the key had continued bending. But they seemed unaware of the performer's suggestion - of those students who wrote that the key kept bending, few mentioned his comment.
The results show that it is "possible to create... psychokinetic metal bending 'after effects' via verbal suggestion alone", the authors said.
Wiseman, R. & Greening, E. (2005). 'It's still bending': verbal suggestion and alleged psychokinetic ability. British Journal of Psychology, 96, 115-129.
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