Perceptual defensiveness and ESP performance: Reconstructed DMT ratings and psychological correlates in the first German DMT-ESP experiment

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The concept of perceptual defensiveness is related to subliminal perception and preconscious processing. Meta-analyses of earlier experiments, 6 in the United States and Holland and 10 in Iceland, on the Defense Mechanism Test (DMT)-ESP relationship had shown significantly higher ESP scoring by less defensive participants. In the present experiment, conducted in Freiburg, Germany, 50 participants completed both DMT and ESP tasks. Questionnaires were administered on personality measures, religiosity, and other attitudes. Evaluation of the DMT in this experiment differs from that in previous experiments Instead of the human DMT ratings, the authors reconstructed the DMT ratings by regression analysis on the codings of the Icelandic experiments. However, the DMT-ESP relationship in the German experiment did not prove to be significant. Other significant correlations in the Icelandic data were the positive correlation between ESP performance and religiosity and the negative correlation between ESP performance and psychotism. In the present experiment, both correlations are confirmed. On the computerized ESP task, the participants scored significantly above chance, whereas the precognition task revealed psi-missing. The outcomes of detailed analyses of the DMT-ESP relationship in the 10 Icelandic experiments, carried out in connection with this study, point to a personal factor connected with Martin Johnson, who hitherto evaluated the DMT in the DMT-ESP experiments. This throws serious doubt on the prospects for replicability of the DMT-ESP correlation in future experiments.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Psychology
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)249-270
JournalJournal of Parapsychology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2002
Publication categoryResearch