Psychiatric Annals

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CME Article 

Measurement of Synchronicity in a Clinical Context

Frank Pasciuti, PhD

Abstract

Synchronicity is defined by Carl Jung as “the simultaneous occurrence of a certain psychic state with one or more external events which appear as meaningful parallels.”1 In this issue, Beitman described synchronicity as one of four categories of coincidence, which also include seriality, serendipity, and what he recently coined as simulpathity (see page 561).

Abstract

Synchronicity is defined by Carl Jung as “the simultaneous occurrence of a certain psychic state with one or more external events which appear as meaningful parallels.”1 In this issue, Beitman described synchronicity as one of four categories of coincidence, which also include seriality, serendipity, and what he recently coined as simulpathity (see page 561).

Frank Pasciuti, PhD, is a licensed clinical psychologist and certified clinical hypnotherapist in private practice in Charlottesville, VA.

Dr. Pasciuti has disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

Dr. Pasciuti would like to thank Bernard D. Beitman, MD, for his ongoing collaboration; Ms. Bobbie Ann Pimm and Ms. Michelle Pasciuti for their assistance; and Ginette Nachman, MD, PhD; Lance Storm, PhD; Mary Kay Landon, PhD; and Edward Kelly, PhD for their comments and support.

Address correspondence to: 918 9 1/2 St., Charlottesville, VA 22902; fax: 434-979-0410; email: frankpasciuti@hotmail.com.

Synchronicity is defined by Carl Jung as “the simultaneous occurrence of a certain psychic state with one or more external events which appear as meaningful parallels.”1 In this issue, Beitman described synchronicity as one of four categories of coincidence, which also include seriality, serendipity, and what he recently coined as simulpathity (see page 561).

When a coincidence meets the theoretical requirement of a synchronicity, resulting in a highly improbable occurrence with unique personal meaningfulness, the result of such an experience can leave an individual in awe. Beholding a synchronicity that feels so tailored to one’s individual circumstances heightens the sense of wonder that follows, and may lead the individual to speculate about a cause for the phenomenon.

The following study examined whether synchronicities can indeed be generated under controlled conditions rather than happen unpredictably. It used an ancient Chinese divinatory book called the I Ching as a means to explore that possibility. Using the I Ching for this purpose is in part based upon Jung’s own experiences. Main noted that Jung saw the I Ching, “as a means of generating experiences of meaningful coincidence with some measure of regularity” and that “because of this amenability to experimental investigation, the system offered a context for looking at some dynamics of synchronicity.”2

History of the I Ching

The I Ching, or “Book of Changes,” is a 4,000-year-old manual originally employed by Bronze Age kings. It is based on Confucian and Taoist philosophy and is considered by the Chinese to be a spiritual document; it is frequently used as an oracle. Alfred Huang, a professor of Taoist philosophy who studied the I Ching wrote, “The I Ching is like a holy bible written by the four most honored sages in Chinese history.”3

At the heart of its Taoist philosophy is the belief that there is meaningful significance when two chance events happen at the same time, leading them to share in the particular quality of that time. The Chinese concept of “correlative cosmology” is the explanation of how the I Ching and its chance-based divinatory process can provide coherent answers to questions posed. According to Main, “Chinese correlative thinking is based on a detailed system of correspondences whereby all the phenomena of experience are considered to belong to one or the other of a number of precisely defined categories: principally, the binary categories of yin and yang and the five “element” categorization of earth, metal, water, wood, and fire.”4

Use of the I Ching

When consulting the I Ching, one poses a question and then engages in a seemingly random process, such as throwing coins six times. This process directs the inquirer to one of the book’s 64 hexagrams or “readings.” These hexagrams are commentaries composed of imagistic, symbolic, and metaphoric concepts filled with the wisdom of Chinese thought. They require the reader to make sense of their meaning as one would approach a poem or a dream; the reader then reflects upon the extracted information in light of the question.

Storm and Thalbourne5 used the I Ching to investigate psi effects that might contribute to its outcome. Employing an experimental design frequently found in psi research, they examined whether people could predict a given hexagram outcome in advance. Rather than use a full set of hexagram readings, however, they employed an abbreviated Hexagram Descriptor Form (HDF). The HDF is composed of 64 sets of two adjectives or descriptor pairs believed to capture the essence of each hexagram reading. Significant hexagram hit rates were found in both studies.

Synchronicity and Archetype

Jung experimented with the I Ching throughout his life. His early fascination with the book’s underlying process contributed to his initial questions regarding synchronicity. Although he never actually proved synchronicity using the I Ching, Jung considered synchronicity to be the I Ching’s basic mode of operation.6 In light of his lifelong use of the book and beliefs about its underlying process, researchers such as Lance Storm question why Jung never undertook empirical studies with the instrument. Nevertheless, Jung found the uncanny results he received when consulting the I Ching for his personal questions intriguing, referring to the book’s content as a “catalog of archetypal information.”

Jung also believed that it was the constellation of an archetype — those unconscious patterns of humanity — that constitute the main contingent condition for the manifestation of synchronicity.7 Other contingencies are also noted to precede or accompany a synchronicity.8,9 Many can be found to occur in the psychotherapy process. Some of these contingencies are the need for guidance, heightened emotion, the emergence of unconscious thought and symbols, transitioning from chaos to a new state of balance, and the presence of trance.

Since these conditions can be found in psychotherapy, and because a catalog of archetypal information is contained within the I Ching, this study hypothesized that when the I Ching is employed in a psychotherapy-like context, sufficient contingent conditions will be present to cause the occurrence of a synchronicity.

But Jung believed a synchronicity cannot be “caused,” or at least not caused by the principles of modern science. He conceptualized it as an “acausal connecting principle” that was a “counterpart to causality.” As Mansfield pointed out, “according to Jung, an inner psychological state such as a dream, fantasy, or feeling acausally connects to outer events through meaning.”10

Causality

There are other researchers who do not fully share Jung’s acausal position. Beloff considered Jung naive to believe that the strict mechanistic requirement of historical causation, where there needs to be an identified connecting principle between A and B, was the only alternative to acausality.11 According to Storm, “In short, synchronicity appears to be more causal than Jung imagined.”12 He argued that there is a difference in what may be considered historical causality and scientific causality. Instead, he suggested that the “sufficient conditions” of scientific causality can accompany the occurrence of a synchronistic event. This study attempted to manipulate what are believed to be some of the sufficient conditions of synchronicity.

Yet, defining the workings of synchronicity can prove to be elusive. According to von Franz, this elusiveness, particularly in its relationship to divination processes such as the I Ching, led Jung to call “synchronistic events parapsychological phenomena.”13 So it was not surprising that Jung corresponded with J. B. Rhine, the renowned parapsychologist of his day. Rhine had been conducting psi research in areas such as telepathy. Psi research is the empirical and controlled scientific investigation of parapsychological phenomena, such as near-death experiences, telepathy, precognition, etc. In early correspondences, Jung mentioned that his recently completed book, Synchronicity: an Acausal Connecting Principle was “largely based” on Rhine’s extrasensory perception (ESP) experiments.14

Storm draws his own parallel between synchronicity and psi, contending “that synchronicity and psi are the same fundamental process.”15 He further suggested that “synchronicity takes the form of psi in laboratory situations”… and that “parapsychologists have simply overlooked the key components of archetype and meaning.”

Despite the elusiveness of capturing synchronicity in I Ching studies or elsewhere, Storm, Braud, and Palmer concluded that synchronicity may indeed be able to be empirically investigated.16,17 This investigation used the I Ching under therapeutic-like conditions to test its ability to serve as a conduit to sensitively capture synchronicity.

Synchronicity and the I Ching

In a similarly structured study, Storm18 then examined those who scored a “hit” and those who missed. He wanted to see how participants, when kept blind to their initial results, would rate the meaningful relevance of their chosen hexagram’s full reading to their presented question. He found this “meaningfulness effect” rating was significantly higher for “hitters” than for “missers.” To this he said, “One might conclude that something other than a statistical anomaly pertains for “hitters,” since it would seem that something purposeful or functional is effected for them.” He considered this “effect” an example of why Jung proposed that synchronicity underlies the workings of the I Ching.18

But the question still remains as to whether there is just one given hexagram that gets generated and perceived as providing the most relevant and meaningful information pertinent to the inquirer’s question. If this were proven to be the case, then when that one hexagram is coincidentally brought about by the process of throwing coins and is found most meaningfully relevant, that outcome would more conclusively appear to fit Jung’s definition of a synchronicity.

Congruence

Shantena Sabbadini suggested that when generating such a “just-right” hexagram, its content has a sense of “felt congruence.”19 Main called this type of outcome “apposite,” as in the opposite of opposite — that is, when a randomly generated hexagram is perceived as the one with the most suitable guidance to the question asked. But he also recognized that the odds of this occurring, ie, when a hexagram, “which arising by chance is perceived to be the one appropriate response” is one “out of a possible 4,096 combinations (64 hexagrams, each with 64 possibilities of combinations of changing and unchanging lines).”20 He wrote that, “What is being claimed is that the coins, quite extraordinarily, manage to fall precisely in the appropriate way to yield this response.”20 Jung noted that this type of outcome in the old traditions was attributed to, “spiritual agencies acting in a mysterious way.”6

Alternatively, some believe that it is not the case of receiving one “just right” hexagram that leads the individual to gain insight into their question. Since the content of all 64 hexagrams contain profound but somewhat ambiguous material, the implication is that the individual might be inclined to project what already exists on the “tip of their unconscious” into any hexagram. Zabriskie stated, “meaning emerges”... “synchronicities involve an active psyche, rather than a passive dependence on the signs, forecasts, and guarantees of magical thinking… When psychology links the I Ching and synchronicity, the psyche is the central reality as inventor and discoverer.”21

Yet in either case, for many, the guidance one receives when employing the I Ching is helpful, and explanations of how the process works may be considered irrelevant. Of interest to this study, however, are the incidences when a given hexagram is perceived to be the one most appropriate to the question posed for guidance. Critical to that determination will be the designation of its content as most meaningfully relevant to the question posed. Palmer recommended that determining the meaningful relevance of a given synchronicity is best done by more than one individual, or if possible, by consensual validation.17

Relevance of Personal Belief

This study was designed to share the determination of the relevant meaningfulness of a given hexagram as it relates to the question posed to the I Ching. Each participant was joined in the process by a clinical psychologist with extensive experience using the I Ching. In that way, the clinician working in what was structured like an initial psychotherapy intake session brought his I Ching experience and clinical insight into making an additional separate determination of what was perceived as the most meaningfully relevant hexagram.

Along with designing this experiment to have a clinician share that determination, this study explored other hypothesized contingencies: personal beliefs, personality factors, styles of perception and judgment, and employing the I Ching under hypnosis.

Personal beliefs can provide critical information in conventional psychological research and may have particular relevance here. Because synchronicity may have a psi-like quality, it is hypothesized that similar to parapsychology research, beliefs may affect outcomes. For instance, a predisposed belief in the legitimacy of psi phenomena has frequently shown statistically significant correlation to positive results in experiments measuring such phenomena. On the other hand, correlations with disbelief have shown results significantly below chance. This is a well-established variable called the sheep-goat effect (ie, the sheep being believers, and the goats disbelievers).22

Rubin and Honorton,23 in one of the earliest experiments on the I Ching, examined this sheep-goat effect as it related to a participant’s ability to identify a generated hexagram from a control. They found that those who believed in ESP had a significantly better result than non-believers. Based on the parallel Jung and others drew between synchronicity and psi, the present study examined beliefs about what is thought to underlie the workings of the I Ching’s synchronistic process.

Besides beliefs, this investigation examined personality factors and psychological type as they relate to one’s ability to perceive synchronicities. Regarding personality factors, Beitman referred to those who possess many of the psychological variables attributed to detecting coincidences in life as “high frequency responders.”24 In their regard, he wrote, “Although many people detect meaningful coincidences, there is a subset of people who notice more of them, derive more meaning from them, and look to them as a primary source of guidance.”24 Coleman and Beitman developed the Weird Coincidence Scale (WCS), and its revised version, WCS-2, to measure those psychological variables.25

On the WCS-2, statements measuring these variables fall into two main factor areas: the interpersonal and the agentic. An example of the interpersonal is: “I think of calling someone, only to have that person unexpectedly call me,” and the Agentic: “Meaningful coincidence helps determine my educational path.” All items are measured on a Likert scale.

Different preferences for employing perception and judgment have also been associated with how people detect synchronicities. Jung elucidated these functions in his work on psychological types. This investigation gave particular attention to the employment of “intuition” as the preferred perceptual style and “feeling” as the preferred style of judgment.26

Jung defined perception as the way we become aware of our environment. He believed people have access to two styles of perception, but prefer using one over the other. Those who favor what he called the “sensor” preference depend more on their objective senses, focusing on what is actually and tangibly before them. Alternatively, those who employ intuition as their preferred perceptual style may move beyond the immediacy of their objective senses and see possibilities, patterns, and associations in their surroundings. According to Jung, “intuitors” also become aware of impressions by way of their unconscious. Employing intuition has been found conducive to perceiving psychic occurrences.1,2,26 Therefore, it is thought to have relevance to this investigation. David Richo wrote about the role of intuition in perceiving synchronicities, “intuition transcends the serial and separate boundaries of cause and effect … it ‘knows’ in an acausal way.”27

Jung defined the judgment function as how a person comes to conclusions about what they perceive — a way of making decisions. He believed some display a preference for thinking and others prefer feeling. “Thinkers” tend to lead with logic and may exercise an impersonal pro and con analysis to what they decide. “Feelers” are more subjective, more attuned to their emotions, and more influenced by what they personally value in their decision-making. The feeling function is of particular interest here because high states of emotion have been identified as a contingence to synchronistic occurrences. This study examined the employment of the preferred combination of intuition and feeling.

The last contingent condition employed, though not tested in this study, is hypnosis. According to Progoff, Jung referred to the partial abaissement du niveau mental (“lowering of the mental level”) as having relationship to synchronicity.28 Jung came to understand trance as a partially unconscious state that activates the deepest most fundamental aspects of the psyche, the psychoid level, from which archetypes arise. Hypnosis is considered an altered state of consciousness (ASC), and Tart suggested that an ASC may enable a person to perceive a pattern in events not available to normal consciousness.29 Trance was therefore used to optimize the I Ching process and enhance what synchronistic outcomes could be facilitated.

Study

Hypotheses

The first and central hypothesis of interest in this study explored whether the meaningful relevance of the target hexagram as it related to the participants’ I Ching questions would be identified by the participant or the experimenter when its content was compared with three other randomly generated decoy hexagrams. When it was evidenced significantly more than 25% of the time, it suggested that a synchronicity can be generated in a controlled setting.

The second hypothesis examined participants’ beliefs about the source of synchronistic outcome when generating a hexagram found meaningfully relevant to the question they posed. Participants were asked to choose between pure chance and external agency (ie, God, spirit, etc). It was hypothesized that those who chose external agency would pick the target hexagram significantly more often.

The third hypothesis investigated whether those designated as “high frequency responders” would identify the target hexagram significantly more often. This identification was based on the score they achieved on the WCS-2. Scores on the WCS-2 place participants into one of six categories, ranging from ultrasensitive to ultra-insensitive to occurrences in their environment. This study examined those who fell into the top two classifications, ie, the very sensitive and ultrasensitive.

The last hypothesis explored the relationship between the participant’s preferred style of perception and judgment as measured by The Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).30 Particular focus was given to the preferred combination of intuition (N) and feeling (F). The study examined whether participants identified as intuitive-feelers (NFs) would select the target hexagram significantly more often.

Method

Participants

Sixty participants were recruited for this study. Most volunteered as a result of two presentations given about the I Ching by the experimenter. A few others responded to an ad run in a local newspaper. The group was composed of 14 men and 46 women, aged 26 to 78. Three were high school graduates, held college degrees, and 31 had completed some level of graduate work.26 Thirty-nine of the participants had previous experience with hypnosis, and 31 were familiar with the I Ching. All participants were offered a 2-hour session to employ the I Ching, and each was assisted by the experimenter.

Procedure

After initially filling out a set of questionnaires, participants were provided a 30-minute structured intake interview by the experimenter. A set of 14 questions was asked of participants respectively to help them focus and distill the question they intended to pose to the I Ching. Besides helping them cognitively sharpen their questions, they were asked why it felt important at this particular time. They were encouraged to explore and express any feelings associated with their questions, asked if any previous attempts were made to gain insight into it, and if so, which methods were used. Dreams, images, fantasies, or memories associated with their questions were surveyed, and a final articulation of their distilled question was confirmed and recorded before bringing a close to the interview.

An assistant was then brought into the room. She accompanied the experimenter/hypnotist while the experimenter hypnotized the participant. When participants were in a relaxed and receptive state, they were guided through a vivid series of images. It was suggested that those images would lead to a library of knowledge where they could find an answer to their question. Their distilled question was then read back to them. They were reminded of the importance they attributed to their question, the present relevance they said it held in their life, and feelings they had shared. They were encouraged to re-affirm their intention to gain insight into their questions. And finally, it was suggested that they would be able to discern the most appropriate hexagram from one of four they would soon be given to read, ie, determine which one offered the most meaningful relevance to their question.

The experimenter then turned his back so no visual contact with the participant or the assistant was possible. At that time, the assistant helped the participant throw three coins six times, assuring while doing so that the participant’s eyes were kept closed during the process. The assistant placed the coins into the participant’s hands for each throw. Participants were able to rest their forearms on a table lying across their laps. All six tosses were dropped from their extended hands onto a surface held below their knees. The table provided additional visual blockage. After making a note of all six throws, the assistant then left the room to determine the generated I Ching hexagram. Since the participants were still in trance, they were re-engaged by the experimenter, brought out of trance, and provided an explanation for the next phase of the experiment.

Three months before the commencement of the study, the assistant generated 225 decoy hexagrams. Besides the 64 main hexagrams, a toss of three heads or three tails awards a “changing line” that is designated in that line for that particular hexagram. As many as six changing lines could conceivably become attached to any given hexagram. Changing lines also contribute additional information to each hexagram. When doing a complete I Ching reading, they lead to yet a second hexagram to be consulted. But for this study, readings were limited to just the primary hexagram and any of its accompanying changing lines.

The assistant also set up 75 index cards with four lines. She arbitrarily chose three of the decoy hexagrams from the deck and randomly placed their corresponding numbers onto one of the four empty slots on each card. After the trial, the existing deck of 75 cards was shuffled seven times with one card selected. The number of the target hexagram just generated and scored was then placed in the open space on that particular card. Two new matching cards were created, as well as a new decoy card to keep the deck at a constant number of 75. The assistant then provided the participant and experimenter with identical index cards of four hexagram numbers and any of their accompanying changing line indicators.

Both participant and experimenter then independently and non-collaboratively read interpretations of each of the four hexagrams and any of their change lines from the same book of I Ching interpretations,31 chosen from a number of alternative I Ching translations, because it combined sufficient depth and accessible language. After exactly 30 minutes, both the participant and the experimenter presented the assistant with their selections of what they perceived to be the most meaningfully relevant hexagram to the question posed. Once they were collected, the assistant notified the participant and experimenter of the generated hexagram.

Discussion

The results (see Table, page 594) of all tested hypotheses failed to show any statistical significance. However, although significance was not attained, outcomes did trend in a positive direction. Hit rates for all tested hypotheses ranged from 30% to 33%.

Study Results

Table. Study Results

The small number of participants (n=60) may partially explain why the statistical outcomes did not reach significance; the unanticipated homogeneity of the group also affects its ability to be generalized. This later problem became evident when results from the MBTI were compiled, and 88% of the total group presented the combination of intuition and feeling. In the general population, the N/F combination typically represents 16%.

The population split on introversion and extraversion at approximately 50%; however, 75% of this study’s participants were identified as introverts. The combination of introversion, intuition, and feeling accounted for 56% of the participants in this study; in the general population, roughly 6% report that combination.

This skewed sample may have undermined needed diversity for this experiment; however, it allowed for other interesting outcomes. For example, in a post-hoc analysis, it was found that 10 participants presented the full psychological type profile of introversion, intuition, feeling, and perception (INFP). They were represented in this study at four times the typical rate of the general population; they also hit the target at a rate of 50%. Though not statistically significant, if this result is replicated in future studies, the psychological preferences they employ may hint at functions favorable to perceiving synchronistic occurrences, or in particular, extracting relevant meaning from I Ching hexagrams. These functions include the introvert’s inward focus on the world of ideas and concepts, the indirect, unconscious, perceptual style of the intuitive; the emotional antennae of the feeling function, and the perceiver’s inclination to remain open-minded and to tolerate ambiguity.

A person’s level of psychological insight is also thought to contribute to his or her recognizing and extracting relevant meaning from a synchronistic occurrence. Aziz32 stated, “Jung maintained that to use the I Ching effectively one must possess considerable psychological insight, just as such insight must also be possessed to accurately interpret the full meaning of any synchronistic pattern.” In this study, participants were asked to reveal if they had any previous experience in psychotherapy. If psychotherapy contributed to the psychological insight instrumental for successful use of the I Ching, the amount of time participants had in therapy may have correlated to their success in picking the target hexagram.

The question offered participants three choices: no previous therapy experience; fewer than 50 sessions; or more than 50 sessions. A post-hoc analysis indicated that people reporting more than 50 sessions of psychotherapy hit the target 37% of the time, which may suggest that psychological insight is favorable.

Another interesting result from post-hoc analysis was the relationship between belief in “external agency” and identification of the target hexagram. Thirty-nine of 47 participants (83%) believed “external agency” lies behind the synchronistic manifestation of a “just right” generated hexagram. Of those, 13 (33%) picked the target. From the other eight participants who believed in random chance, one picked the target (13%). Similar to a sheep-goat effect in psi research — in which belief or disbelief in psi shows statistically significant effects on outcomes measuring psi abilities — it appears here that belief in external agency may affect an individual’s ability to recognize the meaningful relevance of a hexagram when it is synchronistically generated.

The belief that some form of external agency facilitates the timely delivery of needed synchronicities may lead the individual to attribute greater value to their occurrence. That might contribute to believing that a coincidence has something valuable to offer, and lead the beholder to extract what synchronistic relevant meaning it may contain. Alternatively, a belief in random chance might lessen the perceived importance of a coincidence and cause the individual to dismiss or discount it before synchronistic usefulness may be discerned.

Whether one believes the manifestation of a synchronicity results from the influence of some activated “extrapersonal field,”33 the product of grace,34 or the direct result of “God’s hand,”35 believing that we are indeed “provided” what we need through some external process or agency may incline a person to perceive and extract synchronistic meaning from coincidences.

Study Limitations

This research attempted to show that the I Ching evidences a synchronistic effect, but it did not establish that it occurred at a significant level. Part of the failure may be explained by the design’s inability to effectively control for the internal reliability of the I Ching readings.

The 64 hexagrams consist of a combination of any eight trigrams (8 x 8). Each trigram has its own unique meaning and description. Any two trigrams contribute to the articulation of a given hexagram. However, with as many as eight hexagrams potentially sharing the influence of the same trigram, the content of a given hexagram may have some overlap in interpretation. If two or more of those eight hexagrams appeared randomly on the same index card, the separate discernible integrity of each choice would be confounded.

It is, therefore, recommended that for further I Ching studies, the description of each hexagram be briefer. The objective would be to maintain the integrity of each hexagram’s essence but ensure that the interpretation of each hexagram’s content would be expressed with as little repetitive language as possible. Storm and Thalbourne attempted to control for this by using The Hexagram Descriptor Form (HDF), two-adjective descriptor pairs for each hexagram, in their I Ching psi experiments.17 However, for studies where relevant meaningfulness is being investigated in relationship to personal questions, something more extensive than a two-word descriptor is suggested.

It is also suggested that participants be formed in a more heterogenic manner, which would probably require a sampling from the general population, rather than those attracted to I Ching or synchronicity lectures. Those interested in these areas tend to be similar “psychological types” (ie, MBTI).

A study designed exclusively to employ participants who present as INFPs on the MBTI might explain their success at selecting the target at 50% in this study. If success continues to be observed, it might be informative to explore the processes these participants use when consulting the I Ching.

Lastly, future research might find it useful to have multiple clinicians familiar with the I Ching consider participant questions after listening to a tape of the participant’s distillation and focusing session. They could then relate those questions independently to the same random selection of hexagrams and targets. It would be interesting to see if there is consensual validation of perceived meaningful relevance of their choices, and if those choices align with the generated target hexagram.

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  34. Hopcke R. There are No Accidents: Synchronicity and the Stories of Our Lives. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul; 1974.
  35. Perry R. Signs: A New Approach to Coincidence, Synchronicity, Guidance, Life Purpose, and God’s Plan. Sedona, AZ: Semeion Press;2009.

Study Results

HypothesisTest PerformedNotes
The proportion of target hexagrams correctly identified by the participants and experimenter is above chance.Binomial test (two tailed), alpha = 0.05.The percentages of hits for both the participants (30%) and the experimenter (30%) were above chance on all trials (P = .225).
There is a target hexagram hit rate difference between the two belief groups in which receiving a meaningful hexagram is the result of either “external agency” or random chance.Chi square at alpha = 0.05; n=47.Thirteen participants elected to not answer this question regarding source. Results did not support the research hypothesis, x2 (1) = 2.11. The association was not found to be significant. Of the 39 participants who reported a belief in “external agency,” 13 correctly identified the target (33%). One participant from the eight believing in random chance identified the target (13%).
An association exists between high scores on the WCS-2 and correct identification of the target hexagram.Chi square at alpha = 0.05; n=59.One person declined to fill out this survey. Results did not support the research hypothesis, x2 (1) = 1.13. The association was not found to be significant. However, the percentage of hits made by the 24 participants who scored high on the WCS-2 (33%) was above chance.
Those who identify the combination of “intuition and feeling” (NF) as their preferred styles of perception and judgment measured on the MBTI will identify the target significantly more often.Chi square at alpha = 0.05.Results did not support this research hypothesis. x2 (1) = 9 = 0.92. Of the 45 participants who displayed NF as their preferred style of perception and judgment, 31% identified the target.

CME Educational Objectives

  1. Describe the viewpoints on the causal and acausal attribution of a synchronistic occurrence.

  2. Become familiar with the I Ching and how Jung considered it to be based on synchronicity.

  3. Identify contingent conditions found in the psychotherapy process, thought to give rise to synchronistic occurrences.

Authors

Frank Pasciuti, PhD, is a licensed clinical psychologist and certified clinical hypnotherapist in private practice in Charlottesville, VA.

Dr. Pasciuti has disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

Address correspondence to: 918 9 1/2 St., Charlottesville, VA 22902; fax: 434-979-0410; email: .frankpasciuti@hotmail.com

10.3928/00485713-20111104-07

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