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Ideomotor Effect

Summary #

The ideomotor effect is a phenomenon in which people make unconscious movements.

Ouija Board

Most Ouija boards don't move by themselves.

(Photo: Dave Winer at Flickr)

Commentary #

The ideomotor effect is the result of unconscious processing of external stimuli. While much of the brain's functioning is unconscious, these reactions manifest themselves physically (typically in movement).

This is how Ouija boards work. Participants touch a planchette and their brain, expecting a response (from the dead, aliens, or Parker Brothers), which forces small (unconscious!) movements until the piece moves.

More on this later.

See Also #