The Psychosocial Hypothesis (PSH)

EnolaGaia

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#31
I don't think we can generalise. There are a lot of factors. One is the belief system of the witness; if he or she has a very narrow concept of what is possible, the memory of the perception may be censored or forgotten altogether. Or a believer in extraterrestrials would be more likely to bias his report in that direction. Every case has to be assessed on its merits.
Exactly ... No two witnesses, and no two observation situations, are the same. Human categorization / recognition is typically driven by correspondence to a known or perceived context, and once a witness has projected his / her initial framing onto the situation it's very difficult to back off and re-assess options - especially under duress.
 

feinman

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#32
I think that Vallee's control system notion could be key. We are being shown things but in such a way that we can't easily interpret them at a conscious level. They may be intended to have an effect at a deeper level. For one thing, UFOs exercise the mind and after struggling with all these weird things in my teenage years I found it a lot easier to grasp difficult ideas in psychology or other subjects that caught my interest. In fact when my supervisors questioned how I could be interested in such things and yet still work in conventional science I answered (1) that so far these things are outside the boundary conditions of our current science, and (2) they help develop mental muscles that come in very handy when dealing with easier stuff. It may be an educational effort.
I believe they operate from a level of reality beyond ours; connections, and events past and future are calculated by something like godlike AI, and then they enact the program of contact; It is almost like some kind of game or software.
 

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#33
IMHO the biggest problems with the PSH are:

- the concept was more or less adopted from a social psychology* context focused on collective incidents and trends;

- it's original definition was somewhat murky to anyone unfamiliar with the social psychological context; and ...

- the label has been construed (and misconstrued, relative to its original connotations) in a number of sometimes conflicting ways.

*NOTE: As a direct alternative to the ETH, Monnerie's original description of the orientation was labeled "le modèle socio-psychologique". The label construction was flipped from "socio-psych*" to "psycho-social" in the early 1980's as the original French writings and concept(s) were absorbed in English-language publications. Subtle though it may seem, this flip entails a shift in implications among those familiar with academic psychology and / or sociology.
 

Carl Grove

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#34
Overall I think the people who support this hypothesis need to show very specifically why it applies in a particular case. They tend instead to use blanket assertions without justifying their conclusions. When they come up with some substantial evidence in support of this theory, instead of merely reiterating it, I might start to take it seriously.
 
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EnolaGaia

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#35
Another thing ...

IMHO the PSH doesn't conceptually align with the ETH and IDH well enough to treat it as a strict alternative (a specific one out of three equivalent choices).

The ETH and IDH basically differ only in the explanatory factors offered in response to accepted / acceptable observations reported by observers.

The PSH (to varying degrees, depending on which particular 'flavor' is being ascribed ... ) focuses more on explanations in terms of the observers themselves. At the extreme, the observations are treated as evidence of mass illusion / delusion / meme-mobbing, and such collective phenomena are deemed worthy of study regardless of what the reported light(s) in the sky may have really been.
 

eburacum

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#36
there are clearly many alleged UFOs that fall into the black projects category, and it would be absurd to say that a sighting of a discoid object, especially near known research facilities, would be a mistake or a misperception rather than a genuine view of a physical device.
If someone sees a black project aircraft and thinks it is an alien spacecraft, that too is a psycho-social phenomenon.
People are predisposed to think 'aliens' when they see an unidentifiable aircraft, especially one which displays unusual aerodynamic characteristics. Since we know that experimental aircraft exist, the sight of an unusual aircraft should automatically trigger the thought 'experimental aircraft' rather than 'aliens' or humans from the future/an alternate dimension.

Having said that a very large number of sightings that have been identified as 'black ops' aircraft by conspiracy theorists are nothing of the sort- the black triangle phenomenon, for example, includes innumerable sightings of perfectly ordinary aircraft and other phenomena which have been mis-identified.
 
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eburacum

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#37
Overall I think the people who support this hypothesis need to show very specifically why it applies in a particular case. They tend instead to use blanket assertions without justifying their conclusions. When they come up with some substantial evidence in support of this theory, instead of merely reiterating it, I might start to take it seriously.
Do you disagree that the vast majority of sightings are explainable by the psycho-social theory? At least 95%.
 

eburacum

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#38
That reminds me of the famous Ruwa, Zimbabwe case where muliple children saw the little ufo and little alien(s) who then proceeded to send info into them about humans ruining earth. Dr Mack was involved in investigating the case.
Is this an example of the psyco-social hypothesis in action...is this simply the imagination of over 30 children that day? Or is there something else going on here...even beyond a simple ETH theme?

btw....this would be a good case to see if the 'psycho social' works and we could break it down step by step.
We discussed the Ruwa case in some detail on this forum a couple of years back.
https://forums.forteana.org/index.p...chool-ufo-encounter-ruwa-zimbabwe-1994.62854/
This seems a perfect case to demonstrate the truth of the psycho-social hypothesis.
 

Carl Grove

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#40
Do you disagree that the vast majority of sightings are explainable by the psycho-social theory? At least 95%.
I would put it at more like 80%. But the fact that a percentage remain inexplicable by the psychosocial theory shows that it is not capable of accounting for the most significant sightings, and it is those that are of interest.
 

Carl Grove

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#41
If someone sees a black project aircraft and thinks it is an alien spacecraft, that too is a psycho-social phenomenon.
People are predisposed to think 'aliens' when they see an unidentifiable aircraft, especially one which displays unusual aerodynamic characteristics. Since we know that experimental aircraft exist, the sight of an unusual aircraft should automatically trigger the thought 'experimental aircraft' rather than 'aliens' or humans from the future/an alternate dimension.

Having said that a very large number of sightings that have been identified as 'black ops' aircraft by conspiracy theorists are nothing of the sort- the black triangle phenomenon, for example, includes innumerable sightings of perfectly ordinary aircraft and other phenomena which have been mis-identified.
Then you are getting into a theory that in principle explains everything, which was precisely your complaint about the theory of other-dimensional origins of UFOs. We are not talking about somewhat unusual aircraft, but the various field propulsion devices that do present very strange shapes. Little wonder that people automatically think in terms of ET when they see a strange object, because beginning with Roswell the black projects have operated under the cover of UFOs. Certainly some of the sightings in the US probably are of such devices, and some of the black triangles could well be in that category. Nevertheless that theory totally fails to explain the major waves in other countries, e.g. the French 1954 wave, nor does it explain why many of the landings reported there were close to geological fault lines. There are clearly a lot of other, non sociopsychological, variables involved.
 

eburacum

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#43
For the record, I'm arguing entirely for the concept of the pyscho-social theory in this thread, and ignoring my own many-worlds theory (which I've mentioned elsewhere on this forum in the past). My own concept of many-worlds is entirely different to Vallee's, probably isn't true, and is irrelevant to this thread.
 

Carl Grove

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#44
Correlation does not imply causation. Fault lines do not cause UFOs; people do.
People cause UFOs? Did I say "fault lines cause UFOs"? Correlation does not define causation but it shows a pattern. Your theory would be unable to predict any connection between the two. So would the ETH. As you probably know, the MoD claimed that electrical phenomena associated with balls of light could generate hallucinatory experiences, so there may be a connection there.
By all means comment on your many worlds theory -- it sounds more interesting than your default position.
 

feinman

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#45
For the record, I'm arguing entirely for the concept of the pyscho-social theory in this thread, and ignoring my own many-worlds theory (which I've mentioned elsewhere on this forum in the past). My own concept of many-worlds is entirely different to Vallee's, probably isn't true, and is irrelevant to this thread.
Does it involve something like a superposition of different realities, or the "contiguous universe" mentioned in the Podesta leaks? I can't possibly see how the psychsocial theory (popular delusions and madness of crowds), explains UFOs. You're saying scrambled pilots who obtain visuals and radar locks are chasing psychosocial hallucinations?
 

eburacum

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#46
The Condign Report does put forward a very strange theory about plasma phenomena. I think that explanation is mostly incorrect, although some sort of St Elmo's fire might have caused a few of the foo-fighter reports. Sure, a small number of reports are likely to be currently unknown atmospheric phenomena, including Earthlights, but there is no reason to evoke a hallucinatory effect- the human brain does that all by itself.

It turns out the human brain/mind system uses a kind of symbolic shorthand when perceiving stimuli. Instead of just recording the actual pattern of shade and hue that impinges on the retina, the mind/brain system makes a tentative identification, then superimposes a mental image over the perception. This allows us to easily tell a cat from a dog, something a computer has problems with; but it also makes our perception of unidentified phenomena, and especially our memories of such phenomena, subject to a wide range of errors.
 

eburacum

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#47
I can't possibly see how the psychosocial theory (popular delusions and madness of crowds), explains UFOs.
The psycho-social theory isn't about madness of crowds or popular delusions, it is about the way we process unexpected stimuli in the head, and how sometimes that processing is influenced by social factors. Every time we see a UFO (and I see them regularly, and so do you) we go through a process of identification and elimination which rapidly identifies it as a mundane object or phenomenon. This process can take seconds, sometimes minutes. I've often seen an object I couldn't identify immediately, and I've seen many objects that other people might have perceived as a craft of some sort, but which I was able to recognise for various reasons*. So the UFO usually turns into an IFO, for almost all sightings.

But if, for any reason, that period of uncertainty lasts longer than the time it takes to identify the phenomenon in question, then what you have at the end is an unidentified phenomenon - a UFO, or (as I prefer) a UAP (Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon). Many UAPs are not even in the Earth's atmosphere, but are located far beyond it (although atmospheric effects can often change their appearance significantly, for instance the scintillation of Sirius which is the cause of a great number of reports of flashing, coloured lights).

------------------------
*Once I had a phone call reporting a stationary UFO hovering in the night sky; I went outside and I could see it too. It was a close conjunction between Jupiter and Mars, the third- and fourth-brightest natural objects in the sky. They were so close they looked like a single object. Of course the fact that I'd been watching this conjunction develop for a week or so kinda helped - but it is nice to be able to explain someone else's sighting over the phone. I have a fairly strong conviction that absolutely every genuine sighting of this kind can be explained if you have access to enough information, especially if you can actually see the phenomenon yourself.
 

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#48
If you look at the sightings, you will see cases where objects are observed through binoculars theodolites and telescopes for long periods. You see objects under intelligent control, You don't see any conventional means of propulsion (or a radically different kind of propulsion), and you see skeptics making the same arguments all along about hallucinatiins, corpuscles in the eyes, swamp gas, meteors, anything but what people who have seen them say they are; that's almost just as fascinating and bizarre as the objects flying around!
 

eburacum

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#49
You're saying scrambled pilots who obtain visuals and radar locks are chasing psychosocial hallucinations?
Yep; the Belgian case was entirely psychosocial (the sightings made by people in the ground were not consistent with the reports made by the aircrew, and the radar returns received by the aircrew were inconsistent with any possible physical object (physical objects do not fly below ground level).
The Tehran case was consistent with a mistaken identification of Jupiter, at least at first; after that they were chasing spurious radar returns that would not be thought remarkable without the erroneous visual stimuli. Many times, the most interesting cases rely on the coincidence of two or more unrelated phenomenae, unremarkable by themselves, but which reinforce each other to create a false picture. I note that coincidences of this kind must happen very often on a planet with billions of observers, and they surely do.
 

eburacum

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#50
If you look at the sightings, you will see cases where objects are observed through binoculars theodolites and telescopes for long periods.
I look at these telescopic cases, and I notice that they often include a slow movement towards the west, and a gradual fading towards the dawn. This almost certainly means that the object being viewed is a celestial object.
 

feinman

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#51
The psycho-social theory isn't about madness of crowds or popular delusions, it is about the way we process unexpected stimuli in the head, and how sometimes that processing is influenced by social factors. Every time we see a UFO (and I see them regularly, and so do you) we go through a process of identification and elimination which rapidly identifies it as a mundane object or phenomenon. This process can take seconds, sometimes minutes. I've often seen an object I couldn't identify immediately, and I've seen many objects that other people might have perceived as a craft of some sort, but which I was able to recognise for various reasons*. So the UFO usually turns into an IFO, for almost all sightings.

But if, for any reason, that period of uncertainty lasts longer than the time it takes to identify the phenomenon in question, then what you have at the end is an unidentified phenomenon - a UFO, or (as I prefer) a UAP (Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon). Many UAPs are not even in the Earth's atmosphere, but are located far beyond it (although atmospheric effects can often change their appearance significantly, for instance the scintillation of Sirius which is the cause of a great number of reports of flashing, coloured lights).

------------------------
*Once I had a phone call reporting a stationary UFO hovering in the night sky; I went outside and I could see it too. It was a close conjunction between Jupiter and Mars, the third- and fourth-brightest natural objects in the sky. They were so close they looked like a single object. Of course the fact that I'd been watching this conjunction develop for a week or so kinda helped - but it is nice to be able to explain someone else's sighting over the phone. I have a fairly strong conviction that absolutely every genuine sighting of this kind can be explained if you have access to enough information, especially if you can actually see the phenomenon yourself.
True, I've seen many things I can't identify in the sky, and assumed them to be planes, clouds, sundogs, etc. Never felt compelled to call them alien objects. Witnesses do run through a series of conventional explanations before ruling them out; the mind WANTS the object to have a mundane explanation, but, if one is forced to confront an object at close quarters or in certain contexts (e.g. a missile test or it is a structured craft that flies around your plane), it is a disturbing experience that can cause psychological problems. It not "oh, is that a big seagull over there?" though some would make more of a gull for attention.
 

Fahrenheit 451

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#52
I believe they operate from a level of reality beyond ours; connections, and events past and future are calculated by something like godlike AI, and then they enact the program of contact; It is almost like some kind of game or software.
It's also very possible that whilst we include ourselves in the playing out of this drama, we may often be irrelevant. Aliens might be simply visiting places or even joyriding a new spaceship model, without any real consideration of us at all.

After all we go about our own lives without much consideration of the species all around us.
 

feinman

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#53
I look at these telescopic cases, and I notice that they often include a slow movement towards the west, and a gradual fading towards the dawn. This almost certainly means that the object being viewed is a celestial object.
Toss those out, there are plenty of other good ones with corroborating visual sightings, from police, a d astronomers. Many accounts show that the individuals are unable to classify what they see as normal astronomical phenomenon or the other usual things skeptics bring up. And here we are in 2019, still talking about it, governments still studying it, pilots still convinced of it..
 

feinman

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#54
Yep; the Belgian case was entirely psychosocial (the sightings made by people in the ground were not consistent with the reports made by the aircrew, and the radar returns received by the aircrew were inconsistent with any possible physical object (physical objects do not fly below ground level).
The Tehran case was consistent with a mistaken identification of Jupiter, at least at first; after that they were chasing spurious radar returns that would not be thought remarkable without the erroneous visual stimuli. Many times, the most interesting cases rely on the coincidence of two or more unrelated phenomenae, unremarkable by themselves, but which reinforce each other to create a false picture. I note that coincidences of this kind must happen very often on a planet with billions of observers, and they surely do.
You can toss those cherries out too, if you'd like.
 

feinman

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#55
It's also very possible that whilst we include ourselves in the playing out of this drama, we may often be irrelevant. Aliens might be simply visiting places or even joyriding a new spaceship model, without any real consideration of us at all.

After all we go about our own lives without much consideration of the species all around us.
And that's why if we contemplate it we must be wary of anthropomorphizing the phenomenon, (even if anthropomorphic critters are seen).
 

eburacum

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#56
Police sightings are notoriously unreliable. As might be expected- they are supposed to be looking for footprints and felons, not foo-fighters.

Astronomer's reports are more interesting, but unfortunately they are quite rare, almost vanishingly so. Strange, since they are the ones looking at the sky all the time (actually a lot of them sit in nice warm offices and look at screens these days).
 

feinman

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#57
I think when you have police and others looking at them for extended periods and civilians as well, through binoculars or at ranges close enough to see they are not conventional aircraft, and there is corroboration, it's reasonable evidence to consider, or balloon scientists, pilots, veterans, (some police with sightings flew in WWII), right here in Portland in 1947, days before Roswell, a number of officers and civilians and pilots, etc...

Astronomers do see UFOs, not always through telescopes. My friend David Tover saw a formation during the wave in the '50s in the NW, his drawing is in the other thread. Hynek and others have suggested astronomers don't report things that might jeopardize careers.
Some have compiled lists.
https://www.theblackvault.com/casefiles/a-list-of-ufo-sightings-by-astronomers/

I don't think they get here that way anymore, so I don't pay a lot of attention to them. I think most are coming out of the ocean, or cloaked in inaccessible areas. Once here, no need to send in anymore Flash Gordon ships.
 
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feinman

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#58
http://www.project1947.com/fig/1947c.htm


"Police Cars Alerted
The first "saucers" sighted were said to be "right over" Oaks amusement park. Don Metcalfe, Oaks employee, told William LeRoy, park superintendent, that he had seen them.

An "all car" alert by Portland police radio brought reports from Patrolman Earl Patterson, in car 13, and Patrolmen Walter Lissy and Robert Ellis, in car 82, that they had spotted them.

Patterson, an air corps veteran who was at S. E. 82nd avenue and Foster road, said the discs came from the west, passed under the sun and proceeded southwesterly. They were either aluminum or eggshell white, did not flash or reflect the sun, and were traveling fast, Patterson said. It was his opinion they were not airplanes and would have to be radio controlled. They were erratic in flight, wobbling and weaving, he said."


Veterans Spy Objects
Lissy and Ellis, both veterans and civilian pilots, said they saw three discs which remained in sight about 30 seconds. They could not judge speed or height because the objects near Oaks park were traveling at "terrific speed." They heard no sound but said they saw flashes and noted erratic flight including sudden changes of direction.
 

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#59
This is a superb thread, people! I feel as though I'm getting an education by reading it through, as both sides are being so well represented.

I'm on the believer side - but I don't fetishise this conclusion - and agree with pretty much everybody that the vast majority of UFO reports can be explained by reference to the mundane. But it's the small percentage which are more challenging which interest us though.

Eburacum is a formidable opponent but his Achille's Heal is that he is as much invested in his own position as any militant believer is and hence tends to totalise his own insights and make sweeping comments (`Everyone knows that Police accounts are notoriously unreliable...` `The Iran sighting was obviously Jupiter..` `Mack was a comlpletre idiot`... and so on). These he hopes to slip under the radar (pun intended!) so that no one sees them for the brash and but half-baked gestures that they are.

I am reminded of two old maxims (and sorry if they are cliches, but so is much of the above):

`To the believer, no evidence is necessary; to the skeptic, no evidence is ever enough`

...and, courtesy of Nick Pope - yes Nick Pope, deal with it! - `A skeptic has to be right all of the time, a UFO believer only needs to be right once`.
 

eburacum

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#60
The 'sightings by astronomers' link includes some interesting stuff; but it also includes a lot of unusual bolides and transient phenomena that are probably entirely natural, as well as numerous sightings by George Adamski who is somewhat less than trustworthy.
 
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