|Charles Henry Honorton|
|Born||February 5, 1946
Deer River, Minnesota
|Died||November 4, 1992|
Charles Henry Honorton was an American parapsychologist and was one of the leaders of a collegial group of researchers, including parapsychologists, psychologists, psychiatrists, and physicists who were determined to strictly apply established scientific research methods to the examination of what they called "anomalous information transfer" (extra-sensory perception) and other phenomena associated with the "mind/body problem"--the idea that mind might, at least in some respects, have a physical existence independent of the body.
Over several decades, Honorton conducted many experiments, the most famous and significant of which involved the use of the Ganzfeld technique for creating a state of sensory deprivation. His hypothesis was that the information "channel," or transfer mechanism, in ESP was "weak" and easily diluted or drowned out by normal sensory input.
Honorton consistently sought out criticism from scientists in a number of fields in order to perfect his experimental approach. Consequently some of his most dedicated and sophisticated critics ultimately acknowledge the validity of his methodology even when they still hesitated to accept the implications of his findings. R. Hyman, who chaired a National Research Council Report that earlier dismissed parapsychology, said, after reviewing Honorton's autoganzfeld studies, "Honorton's experiments have produced intriguing results. If...independent laboratories can produce similar results with the same relationships and with the same attention to rigorous methodology, then parapsychology may indeed have finally captured its elusive quary" Hyman, R. (1991)Comment, Statistical Science,6(p.392)
An article by Daryl Bem and Charles Honorton, "Does Psi Exist? Replicable Evidence for an Anomalous Process of Information Transfer" provides a thorough discussion of the Ganzfeld research, criticisms, refinements and implications. Psychological Bulletin 1994, Vol. 115. No. 1, 4-18.
Honorton rejected the term parapsychology, instead preferring to approach extra-sensory perception as one would any other area of psychophysics, "for the first time in history, we have begun to forge an empirical approach to one of the most profound and ancient of mysteries, the nature of mind and its relationship to the physical world."
Honorton was a research fellow at the Institute for Parapsychology Durham North Carolina from 1966–67, a research associate, then senior research associate, then Director of Research Division of Parapsychology and Psychophysics at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York from. 1967-79. After that he became the Director Psychophysical Research Laboratories in the Forrestal Research Center located in Princeton, New Jersey from 1979-89 and from there he moved on to become a researcher at Edinburgh University from 1991 until his death.
He died in on November 4, 1992 of a heart attack.
Some statisticians argued that the meta-analysis carried out by Honorton that supported an underlying pattern behind parasychological studies was ill-conceived and ignored basic rules of mathematics. Others, however, validated his research. [need quotation to verify]
- EMILY WILLIAMS COOK (November 19, 1992). "Obituary: Charles Honorton". The Independent.
- John Palmer (March 8, 1987). "Why Is Science Spooked by 'psi'?". The Washington Post.
- Susan Watts (February 15, 1993). "The American Association for the Advancement of Science: Magician presents evidence of ESP". The Independent.
- John Palmer (March 8, 1987). "Pink Noise and Dice". The Washington Post.
- Harris, M. J. & Rosenthall, R. (1988) Human Performance Research: An Overview, Washington, D. C.: National Academy Press