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Why we have that spooky sense that a Ouija board is moving by itself

27 July 2018

Psychologists have proposed an explanation for why Ouija board users feel as though a spirit is moving the planchette (an ornate pointer) and spelling out messages.

It is based on the idea that two (or more) living users unwittingly take turns at controlling the planchette, cooperating implicitly to create a message that starts out random but becomes more predictable as the number of meaningful options decreases.

“It seems that meaningful responses from the Ouija board are an emergent property of interacting predictive minds that increasingly impose structure on initially random events in the sessions,” Marc Anderson at Aarhus University and his colleagues explain in their open-access paper in Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences.

Read more about this study in Christian Jarrett's article on our Research Digest blog

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