Chevreul pendulum

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A device consisting of a weight attached to a length of about 35 or 40 centimetres of string. A person holds the string in one hand, suspending the weight above the centre of a diagram depicting a circle superimposed on a cross, while being asked a series of questions, having been told that the pendulum will sway from left to right if the answer is yes, up and down if the answer is no, and in a circle if the answer is unknown. The pendulum often reveals true answers, as a result of unconscious muscular movements made by the respondent. The device is sometimes used to measure suggestibility or hypnotic susceptibility and has occasionally been used as a crude lie detector. [Named after the French chemist Michel Eugène Chevreul (1786–1889) who first described it in De la Baquette Divinatoire, du Pendule Dit Explorateur et des Tables Tournantes (1854) as an instrument for analysing unconscious responses and discussed it in relation to a possible explanation of the phenomenon of table-turning at spiritualist séances]

Subjects: Psychology.

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