Advanced Meta-experimental Protocol (AMP)
Metascience Research Reform Movement
"How to reveal uncontrolled false-positives in scientific experiments?"
A novel research protocol has been published for improving the scientific process towards more robust findings: The Advanced Meta-Experimental Protocol (AMP).
To download the manuscript describing the new research protocol click on the link https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01891
As a first test case, the AMP was implemented to study this controversial claim: Observer consciousness collapses the quantum wave function in a double-slit experiment. For explanation, one potential mechanism for mind-matter interaction is based on quantum mechanics, in particular the proposal that observer consciousness collapses the wave function. For sure, the implications for science and for our image of reality would be revolutionary, if a quantum-observer effect could be demonstrated under controlled laboratory conditions. Indeed, a new branch of science would be opened up as a result.
Previously, in a series of studies, Radin and collaborators have claimed laboratory evidence for the intentional action of observer consciousness on laser light-interference intensity in a double-slit apparatus. To rigorously test the validity of this claim, the novel research protocol (AMP), which includes systematic sham-experiments, i.e., counterfactual meta-experimentation, was adopted in a confirmatory replication attempt of the Radin double-slit experiment. Whereas the replication study was unable to confirm the original results, the AMP identified a statistically-significant false-positive effect with the sham-experiment in the absence of the test subjects.
Publication Abstract (Walleczek and von Stillfried, 2019)
Prior work by Radin et al. (2012, 2016) reported the astonishing claim that an anomalous effect on double-slit (DS) light-interference intensity had been measured as a function of quantum-based observer consciousness. Given the radical implications, could there exist an alternative explanation, other than an anomalous consciousness effect, such as artifacts including systematic methodological error (SME)? To address this question, a conceptual replication study involving 10,000 test trials was commissioned to be performed blindly by the same investigator who had reported the original results. The commissioned study performed confirmatory and strictly predictive tests with the advanced meta-experimental protocol (AMP), including with systematic negative controls and the concept of the sham-experiment, i.e., counterfactual meta-experimentation. Whereas the replication study was unable to confirm the original results, the AMP was able to identify an unacceptably low true-negative detection rate with the sham-experiment in the absence of test subjects. The false-positive detection rate reached 50%, whereby the false-positive effect, which would be indistinguishable from the predicted true-positive effect, was significant at p = 0.021 (σ = −2.02; N = 1,250 test trials). The false-positive effect size was about 0.01%, which is within an-order-of-magnitude of the claimed consciousness effect (0.001%; Radin et al., 2016). The false-positive effect, which indicates the presence of significant SME in the Radin DS-experiment, suggests that skepticism should replace optimism concerning the radical claim that an anomalous quantum consciousness effect has been observed in a controlled laboratory setting.
Walleczek J. and von Stillfried N. (2019) False-positive Effect in the Radin Double-slit Experiment on Observer Consciousness as Determined with the Advanced Meta-experimental Protocol. Front. Psychol. 10:1891, 22 August 2019; DOI https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01891