Those of us who are familiar with scientific research in the area of paranormal phenomena are keenly aware that experiments into the same have almost always reported nothing of substance, lending credibility to the idea that when tested under sufficient scrutiny, these psychic powers always tend to fail. This has always been a consistent finding when testing various instances of so-called psychic ability, and based on that it isn't too much to expect this experiment to generate interesting results either. However, informal experiment that it is, the application of stringent scientific principles to a wholly randomised and sufficiently chaotic source such as Twitter was an interesting exercise. I don't know if a journal paper will come out of this but it should make interesting reading.
Wiseman carried out his experiment in the following way. At 15:00 (GMT) each day he travelled to a randomly selected location and sent a 'tweet' (message) on Twitter, asking his participants to tweet back their inclinations about his location. Thirty minutes later, he posted another tweet that linked to a website containing photographs of five different locations (the actual location of Wiseman and four decoy locations) and arbitrarily labelled 'A' to 'E'. Participants would be asked to see the photographs, concentrate their abilities and then vote on the location they believed was correct. They would also be asked their gender, rate their belief in the paranormal, and whether they believed they had psychic ability. Voting would remain open for 1 hour. If the majority of people selected the correct location the trial would count as a success. But before carrying it out, Wiseman carried out a test trial to test the procedure and also familiarise the participants with the procedure of the experiment. After some necessary ironing out of the details, Wiseman proceeded to carry out four experimental trials on four successive days, with three or more successful trials considered as evidence of ESP.
The experiment was carried out as outlined above and the results of the trials were posted at the end of each day at Wiseman's blog (Trial 1, Trial 2, Trial 3, Trial 4). More than a thousand participants were reported to have taken part, with believers in paranormal phenomena claiming a high level of correspondence between their thoughts and the actual locations.
The results of the experiment were also posted on Wiseman's blog, essentially stating no differences in choice between paranormal believer and non-believers. The experiment thus failed to support the existence of remote viewing, and suggested that participants claiming paranormal belief were only proficient at claiming illusory correspondences between their thoughts and actual targets.
Certainly this is not an experiment conducted under orthodox means and there are a number of uncontrolled variables operating that were uncatered for. However, it seems that even an informal study using basic scientific procedures and relying on user input is capable of generating interesting results, even non-significant ones. Wiseman states that he hopes to provide further post-hoc analyses of his results such as the difference between paranormal believers and sceptics, males and females, etc., but one update so far states that the data from those who claimed psychic ability and also a high confidence in their choice of target location scored a zero out of four. Surprise surprise.
As I mentioned, it is unknown if a serious analysis can be made of this strategy or if a journal paper will be published, but I think that that even without the stamp of authority given to 'orthodox' experiments this study is still consistent with those orthodox studies of paranormal phenomena that reported insubstantial results. Not a good day for psychics.