Emily Rosa - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
It's an old story, but new to me. Emily Rosa is a science hero.
In 1996, Emily saw a video of Therapeutic Touch (TT) practitioners claim they could feel a "Human Energy Field" (HEF) when they held their hands over — but not touching — the human body and could use their hands to manipulate the HEF for the purpose of diagnosing and treating disease. She heard Dolores Krieger, the co-inventor of Therapeutic Touch, claim that everyone had the ability to feel the HEF and heard other nurses say the HEF felt to them "warm as Jell-O" and "tactile as taffy." Emily was impressed by how certain these nurses were about their abilities. She said, "I wanted to see if they really could feel something."
Using a standard science fair display board, Emily devised a single-blind protocol, later described by other scientists as "simple and elegant," for a study she conducted at age nine for her 4th grade science fair.
Basically, Emily's study tested the ability of 21 TT practitioners to detect the HEF or "aura" when they were not looking. She asked each of the practitioners to sit at a table and extend their hands through a screen. On the other side of the screen, Emily flipped a coin as a means of randomly selecting which of the TT practitioner's hands she would hold her hand over. The TT practitioners were then asked which of their hands detected Emily's HEF. Subjects were each given ten tries, but they correctly located Emily's hand an average of only 4.4 times. The paper concluded, statistically, that "the null hypothesis cannot be rejected at the .05 level of significance for a 1-tailed test, which means that our subjects, with only 123 of 280 correct in the 2 trials, did not perform better than chance."
Some subjects were asked before testing to examine Emily's hands and select which of her hands they thought produced the strongest HEF. Emily then used that hand during the experiment, but those subjects performed no better. This portion of the experiment was filmed by Scientific American Frontiers.
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