A Generalized Rosenthal Effect in Experimental Research in the Social Sciences
If consciousness is able to allocate more or less weight to certain measurement outcomes in a quantum experiment, why shouldn’t it be able to allocate, say, more or less weight to certain ‘non-quantum’ measurement outcomes, e.g., within experiments carried out in the social sciences? The Rosenthal effect (Rosenthal 1976) is well known. It implies that a researcher, convinced of his hypothesis, might unconsciously influence the outcomes of his experiments in a way consistent with this hypothesis, employing, mostly unconsciously, ‘classical’ means (communication, ‘subtle cues’ etc.). The generalized Rosenthal effect introduced in chapter 12 is more fundamental. It claims that consciousness puts more emphasis on realities containing specific measurement outcomes, e.g., those where the outcome is consistent with the expectations. A thought experiment (that might, perhaps with some modifications, be made an actual experiment) will be proposed that tests for such effects. Potential consequences for scientific research are outlined.