Research: Correlating Mediums’ Accuracy with Five Facets of Mindfulness

Windbridge Research Center Co-founder and Director of Research, Julie Beischel, PhD, will be presenting the findings from a recent study at the upcoming joint conference of the Parapsychological Association (PA) and the Society for Scientific Exploration (SSE), taking place online between June 23-26. Educational materials based on this research will be published in the coming few months.


Correlating Mediums’ Accuracy Under Quintuple-Blind Conditions with Five Facets of Mindfulness

Julie Beischel1, Lisa Conboy2, & Mark Boccuzzi1 
1Windbridge Research Center, Tucson, AZ, USA 
2Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA 

Introduction: It is possible for anyone to experience contact from the deceased and this phenomenon has been reported across cultures since antiquity. A medium is defined as someone who has this experience regularly, reliably and on-demand. Twenty Windbridge Certified Research Mediums were previously screened under controlled laboratory conditions for their abilities to report accurate information about the deceased. They then performed phone readings for deceased individuals and answered specific questions about verifiable topics regularly conveyed during naturalistic mediumship readings: the deceased’s physical appearance when alive, personality characteristics, hobbies or interests, and cause of death. The mediums received no further information about the deceased or their associated living counterparts (sitters) and no feedback during or after the reading. The sitters did not hear or participate in the phone readings; a blinded proxy sitter served in their place. Each medium performed two readings for two different deceased people. Formatted items from the readings were scored for accuracy by the associated sitters. Each blinded sitter scored their own target reading and a decoy reading intended for another sitter. This quintuple-blind protocol addresses potential confounding factors as the source of the reported information: fraud, deception, cold reading, cueing, and overly general information. A previously published study compared the accuracy percentages of blinded target and decoy readings (Beischel et al., 2015). The sections of target readings including the four specific questions listed above received accuracy ratings significantly larger than those sections of decoy readings (52.8% ± 3.9% vs. 36.6% ± 3.8%, p = .002, d = .75, n = 31). An additional previously published study analyzed accuracy data broken out by each of the four questions from readings performed by 12 of the mediums (Beischel & Conboy, 2021). Scored readings were received from 21 of the 24 sitters. The means for each question type (physical description, personality, hobbies, and cause of death) varied (53.9% ± 5.2%, 67.0% ± 7.1%, 49.4% ± 5.5%, 41.3% ± 6.5%, respectively) but no significant differences existed. It was concluded that none of the four types of information requested is more or less difficult to acquire or report during a mediumship reading than any other. In addition, the 12 mediums’ accuracy data were correlated with their scores on three surveys assessing sensory modality preferences and learning styles. No significant correlations were found. It was concluded that these individual characteristics may not impact mediumistic abilities. 

Methods: The current study aimed to compare mediums’ accuracy scores to their mindfulness, the paying complete attention, in a nonjudgmental way, to the present moment’s experiences. The 12 mediums’ accuracy scores were correlated with their scores from the Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ; Baer et al., 2006). This instrument uses 39 items employing a 5-point Likert-type scale to assess the following five facets of mindfulness: Observing, Describing, Acting with awareness, non-Judging of inner experience, and non-Reactivity to inner experience.  

Results: It was determined that accuracy was positively and significantly correlated with the Observing facet of mindfulness. Specifically, mediums’ accuracy scores for the content they provided when asked about the deceased’s physical description, personality, and hobbies were significantly correlated (r = .5, p = .03; r = .469, p = .04; r = .457, p = .04, respectively) to their scores for the mindfulness facet Observing (which includes observing, noticing, attending to sensations, perceptions, thoughts, and feelings). Correlations between accuracy for the cause of death question with any of the five facets as well as any of the accuracy scores with the other four facets (Describing, Acting with awareness, non-Judging, and non-Reactivity) did not achieve significance.  

Discussion: Though this sample size was not large, it may be appropriate to conclude that natural abilities in or intentionally developing the Observing facet of mindfulness may be beneficial to mediums’ accuracy.

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