Dr. Jessica Utts is Professor of Statistics at the University of California, Davis. In 1988/89 she spent a year as a visiting scholar with the Remote Viewing Program at SRI International and worked as a consultant at SRI and SAIC for the duration of the program.
In 1995, the American Institutes for Research (AIR) appointed a panel composed primarily of Utts and Ray Hyman to evaluate the STAR GATE project, particularly with regard to remote viewing for espionage applications. For this purpose, some (not all!) Files of the project were released for investigation.
The resulting AIR report ultimately led to the official discontinuation of the state-sponsored remote viewing program. The evaluation of the two scientists involved is an interesting testimony to the different perspectives with which the present results were evaluated. Jessica Utts explained that the statistical data can unequivocally prove the existence of ESP, because the hit accuracy is far above statistical probabilities that could only be random. (The talk was of a significance of up to 1: 10,000,000,000 in places). Hyman argued that the results obtained were too vague to apply. Utts has also been accused of being “not independent of the research team” as she has also published papers as a co-author with parapsychologist Edwin May (who took over the helm of STAR GATE in 1985).
Hyman did not write his report at the same time as Utts, but only published it as a commentary after their work was available. In his negative judgment, he did not refer to their consideration of statistical significance, but rather to the fact that the data obtained through remote viewing are not clean and 100% relevant. Since he was not so familiar with the application of the method, however, he was also unable to correctly evaluate the formation of the impressions, for example with regard to the fact that the viewers basically note everything that comes into their consciousness. In addition, the data made available – according to statements by other participants – was probably not exactly a selection of the viewers’ “great moments”. Seen in this way, both opinions are valid side by side – but Hyman’s evaluations were the decisive factor in the fact that the funding of the program was discontinued after the AIR report.
- Prof. Jessica Utts (Homepage)
- Jessica Utts reviewing the evidence for PSI (published on Research Gate)
- May, EC, JM Utts, BS Humphrey, W. Luke, TJ Frivold, and VV Trask. (1990). Advances in remote viewing , Journal of Parapsychology, 54 (3), 193-228.
- Hansen GP, JM Utts, and B. Markwick. (1992). Critique of the PEAR remote viewing experiments . Journal of Parapsychology, 56 (2), 97-113.
- Utts, J. (1993). Analyzing free-response data – a progress report . In PSI Research Methodology – A Reexamination , ed. L. Coly and JDS McMahon, Parapsychology Foundation, New York, 71-83
- Utts, J. (2018). An Assessment of the Evidence for Psychic Functioning . Journal of Parapsychology, 82: 118-146.