Rock Breaks Scissors: How an E.S.P. Experiment Inspired the Science of Human Predictability

Sunday, June 1st 2014 at 11:00 am
Sunday, June 1st 2014 at 1:00 pm
Center for Inquiry-L.A., 4773 Hollywood Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90027

In 1937 J.B. Rhine and Zenith Radio staged the biggest test of extra-sensory perception ever. They invited a national radio audience of millions to send in their perceptions of "transmitted" thoughts. The public's guesses were more correct than not, and the results appeared to have impressive statistical significance. But psychologist Louis Goodfellow realized that there was another, more believable explanation than telepathy. He demonstrated that the public's guesses about random mental targets were far from random--which is to say they were predictable. In fact, Goodfellow could predict the public's guesses without E.S.P. Author William Poundstone explores this topic and more in his new book, Rock Breaks Scissors: A Practical Guide to Outguessing and Outwitting Almost Everybody.

Poundstone is the author of 14 books, including Are You Smart Enough to Work at Google?; Fortune's Formula (Amazon editors' pick as #1 nonfiction book of 2005), and the bestselling Big Secrets series. He has written for the New York Times, Harper's, Harvard Business Review, and the Village Voice, among other publications, and is a frequent guest on radio and TV. He lives in Los Angeles. Follow Poundstone on Twitter (@WPoundstone) and learn more at his website,

Friends of the Center: FREE
Public: $8
Students (with ID): $4