FAQS

WHAT ARE THE GOALS OF THE COPE PROJECT?

o Learning from those who have perceptual experiences that others might not be (example: hearing voices without a person speaking)

o Understanding how individuals gain control and influence over their experiences with hearing voices, having visions/visual experiences, and feeling things without an external stimuli and their lives in general

o Learning from your experiences to help create novel interventions for those who need them 

We do not seek to diagnose, confirm or refute any specific beliefs about spirituality, psychic/mediumship or voice hearing, or provide treatment to any participants.

WILL I BE PAID?

Absolutely! Your time and your story are both valuable to our research.

  • Completion of Screening Survey, Survey B, and the Task Module will result in a payment of $35.

  • Completion of Survey C will result in payment of  $15.

  • Once we have reached our target number of participants who have completed the study, everyone who has completed will be entered to WIN one of twenty Amazon gift cards for an additional $100!

  • If you agree to be re-contacted, there will be options to participate in other modules for additional (often higher) compensation.

However, please note there are reasons you may not get paid. 

  1. If you complete the initial screening survey and are determined ineligible for participation for completion of the study, there will be no compensation offered. The screening survey should take approximately 30 minutes. 

  2. Though you may not qualify for the current surveys and tasks, it is possible that you may qualify for other surveys/tasks that are launched in the near future. 

  3. If you participate in the surveys/tasks but we determine that you do not actually have the experiences you endorse, you will not be paid to participate. 

HOW LONG WILL PARTICIPATION TAKE?

You will be completing 2 surveys and 1 task module, with the option of a 3rd survey You can spend as much time on them as you want/need, and take as many breaks as you need! We estimate that the total time to complete the 2 multi-module surveys and 1 task module links will be 3-4 hours. Upon completion, you will be paid, assuming you meet the criteria listed above. 

After completion of the 3 requirements (Screening Survey, Survey B & Task Module), you will have the option to participate in Survey C, which includes the Story Share, and be paid additional fees for your time and information above and beyond the monies paid for the first 3 requirements. Survey C is entirely optional and will not affect your payment for completion of the Screening Survey, Survey B & Task Module. Survey C takes about 30-40 minutes to complete in total.

To be clear: We are looking for anyone  who has had, or continues to have, perceptual experiences. Perceptual experiences include seeing things that others do not, hearing things that others do not, feeling, tasting, sensing things that others do not. You can be a person with lived experience and a diagnosis or a person with lived experience and no diagnosis. You can have full control or influence over these experiences, some influence or no influence. All with perceptual experiences are welcome. We are currently welcoming all individuals to screen for participation in the study, even if you do not have perceptual experiences. 

Participation in this study is not for diagnostic purposes. There will never be a diagnosis or label attached to any of the information that you or anyone else offers by completing the surveys. We are not here to label anyone as mentally ill, nor are we confirming affiliation with the spiritual world. The purpose of this study is to learn from you. We consider everyone who completes these surveys to be experts in their own life experiences. 

IS YOUR RESEARCH PROVING THAT SPIRITUAL EXPERIENCES ARE REAL?

WHO CAN PARTICIPATE? DO I HAVE TO HAVE A DIAGNOSIS? MORE IMPORTANTLY, WILL YOU BE DIAGNOSING ME?

We believe that everyone's experiences are valid and real for them. However, we are not a research establishment that studies the validity of spiritual experiences or mediums, nor are we parapsychologists.

 

What we do believe is that those who have these experiences and are not distressed by them may have powerful techniques and practices that they apply to remain grounded and well. This interests us and we want to learn more!

If you'd like to connect with research institutions that do work to provide evidence of spirit and mediumship abilities, we can recommend checking out our partners:

The Forever Family Foundation

The Rhine Research Center

Windbridge Research Center

We will not be able to confirm or deny one's participation or performance in the study. Additionally, one's performance is in no way meant to serve as a measure of one's abilities.

DO YOU BELIEVE THAT PEOPLE WITH SPIRITUAL EXPERIENCES HAVE SOME FORM OF PSYCHOSIS OR THAT PEOPLE WITH SOME FORM OF PSYCHOSIS ARE ACTUALLY HAVING SPIRITUAL EXPERIENCES?

No. We have no interest in quantifying or qualifying these experiences as either psychosis or spiritual. We are interested in the nuances of human experience, and why people function differently despite similarity of experience.

 

WHAT WILL YOU BE DOING WITH MY INFORMATION? WILL MY INFORMATION BE PUBLIC?

We will be using the information gathered from the surveys to help us with a variety of ways to improve mental health treatment. Your information will help us validate our control scale, as well as support our development of better treatment for those who struggle with their mental health. Your privacy is our top priority. In addition to your information being de-identified as soon as possible, all of your information will be kept confidential, including your name and location. No one will know you are participating in this study unless you have informed them, or unless they are an approved member of our study team.

Confidentiality and Access of Survey Information: 

All study information will be kept confidential by our researchers and on our website. Your information will not be sent to any government agency or entity. Your information will be de-identified as soon as possible and will only be shared with the research team. 

We will not be able to confirm or deny one's participation or performance in the study. Additionally one's performance is in no way meant to serve as a measure of one's abilities.

DOES THIS STUDY INVOLVE PHARMACEUTICALS OF ANY KIND? ARE YOU LOOKING TO DEVELOP PHARMACEUTICALS BASED ON THE INFORMATION I PROVIDE YOU?

No. We plan to gain an understanding of control of perceptual experiences and eventually to foster that growth by all means possible. We are not anti-psychiatry or anti-med, we are pro-healing. We have no plans to develop pharmaceuticals of any kind based upon the data you provide.

WHAT IF I START PARTICIPATING AND DECIDE I NO LONGER WANT TO?

You may opt out of participation at any time. Any information you have provided will not be deleted. Please note, however, that payment is not prorated and we only pay participants after completion of all surveys and tasks.

HOW CAN I HELP THE COPE PROJECT?

There are many things you can do to help the COPE Project to help us move toward the greater goal of creating better treatment for mental health. 

o Participation in the surveys and tasks (if eligible)

o Telling others who you know have had atypical perceptual experiences about the COPE Project so they can participate too

o Letting your therapist or any mental health workers know that this exists, so they can pass it along to their clients

o Sharing information about the COPE Project on Facebook and other social media platforms, using this link: www.spirit.research.yale.edu

o If you have a large online or social media network or following, please share the information with them and direct them to this link to learn more: www.spirit.research.yale.edu

o Invite/refer us for podcasts, interviews, articles and more to help spread the word.

Please note, while we love and appreciate enthusiasm about the study, please direct any media communication to the directors, Al Powers and Brittany Quagan. We like to ensure no miscommunication occurs in regards to the study. In other words, if people ask what the study is looking at, please refer them to the website or to our direct contact information. 

I DIDN'T GET THE SURVEY LINK

Please double-check that your email address was entered correctly. Please check that the link was not sent to your junk inbox - your email host may not recognize the sender, sending it to the Junk Folder.

WHAT IF I HAVE I.T. PROBLEMS?

If you have any IT problems, please contact our research team by email or phone.

IS ANYONE EXCLUDED FROM PARTICIPATION?

Yes. There are exclusion criteria for participation.

Exclusion criteria is as follows:

o You must be between the ages of 18 and 65 to participate. 

o If you are intoxicated during the time of participation

o Any neurological, medical or developmental problem that is known to significantly impair cognition significantly 

o History of seizures

HOW LONG WILL EACH MODULE OR TASK TAKE?

Each module or task is going to be a different length. Here is the breakdown of estimated length of time per module or task:

Screening Survey: About 20 Minutes

Survey B:

Traumatic Life Events Module: Between 5 and 20 Minutes

Additional Demographics Module: 5 Minutes

Alcohol & Drug Use Module: 5-8 Minutes

Perceptual Experiences Module: About 2-10 Minutes Each (there are 5 of these)

Thoughts on Voice Experiences Module: About 5 Minutes

Thoughts of Voices & Experiences Module: About 5 Minutes

Experiences with Voices Module: About 20 Minutes

Ideas of Control Module: About 5 Minutes

Control Scale Module: About 15 Minutes

Auditory Experiences Follow Up Module: About 15 Minutes

Visual Experiences Follow Up Module: About 15 Minutes

Mental/Emotional Status Module: Less than 5 Minutes

Tasks Module:

There are four tasks. In total, it will take approximately 60 to 90 minutes to complete all four. 

Optional Survey C:

Story Share Module: A free form module for you to share perceptual stories. Maximum time limit for audio or video submissions is 15 minutes. Written stories can be any length, through we suggest limiting your story to 750 words. 

Olfactory (Smelling) Experiences Follow Up Module: About 15 Minutes

Gustatory (Tasting) Experiences Follow Up Module: About 15 Minutes 

Tactile (Feeling/Sensing) Experiences Follow Up Module: About 15 Minutes

Daily Stress Module: About 10 Minutes

Spiritual & Religious Beliefs Module: About 10 Minutes

Sleep Module: About 10 Minutes

Attitudes & Experiences Module: About 5-10 Minutes

WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY "HEARING VOICES?" 

We understand that the phrase "the voices" or "my voices" can seem stigmatizing or lead to labeling. We also understand that for many, "the voices" or "my voices" (in addition to "visions," "senses," "feelings," and other perceptual experiences) really means "My Inner Guidance," "Aspects," "Energy," "Spirit," "My Higher Power," "My Higher Self," "My Guides," "the Universe," and so much more. 


Because we have so many different groups participating in this study, we had to use the most general term of "voices" (and other perceptual experiences like "visions.") However, we encourage you to replace the phrase "my voices" or "the voices" in your mind while reading the questions in the modules to whatever phrase reflects your beliefs.

BY ENDORSING HAVING THESE PERCEPTUAL EXPERIENCES, WILL I BE REFERRED FOR TREATMENT?

No.  It is completely up to you as to whether or not you would like to get treatment for your experiences.

 

If you feel you do need treatment, please visit our resources page to find assistance in your area. 

WHERE DO YOU SEE THIS RESEARCH GOING?

We are very excited about the possibilities for this research. As we learn more about the ability some people have to influence their unusual perceptual experiences, we believe we are opening the door to understanding how this influence develops and what factors might be important for its development.  We hope to develop specific treatments based upon these findings that will help people with these experiences live fuller, more meaningful lives.

THESE QUESTIONS IN THE MODULES ARE VERY GENERAL OR DO NOT ALLOW ME TO EXPLAIN MY RESPONSE. HOW ARE YOU CAPTURING AN ACCURATE PICTURE OF MY EXPERIENCES? WHY IS THIS WORK IMPORTANT?

This is the first systematic effort to learn specifically about top-down influence over perception in the context of voice-hearing. Development of an online cohort of individuals with lived experience that we can learn from and partner with in this mission is groundbreaking. We believe the output of this work has the potential to touch countless lives and foster influence over perceptual experiences in those who feel they have none. 

 The use of multiple questionnaires will help us father information on the multi-faceted experiences participants have to share. In addition to having you answer questions, we will give you space to share your story and to further explain your experiences. There is also a space for feedback at the end of each module for you to share any further explanations to your responses. We appreciate your help in providing as detailed and accurate a depiction of your experiences as you can. 

WHAT IS AN UNUSUAL PERCEPTUAL EXPERIENCE?

The perceptual experiences we are looking at are those where an individual is seeing, hearing, feeling, tasting, or smelling something that no one else is/might not be. For example, hearing a voice when no one is physically speaking to you.

DO YOU TEST FOR ACCURACY OF INTUITION?

While we value the intuitive and spiritual experiences participants have, this study is not focused on accuracy of intuitive experiences. We are, however, interested in the experience itself and how participants perceive and work with these experiences. We are interested in the responses to perceptual experiences; some are perceived as frightening and distressing, and to others, similar experiences are perceived as not frightening or distressing. We are fascinated to learn more about the techniques used to process these experiences so they are no distressing. 

DO YOU SEE HEARING VOICES OR OTHER PERCEPTUAL EXPERIENCES AS A SYMPTOM THAT NEEDS TO BE ELIMINATED?

WHAT IF THE MEDIA CONTACTS ME ABOUT THE STUDY? WHAT DO I TELL THEM?

We see hearing voices and other perceptual experiences as a life experience. There are differences in the way people view their life experiences.  Some of us have experiences that others would find distressing or undesirable, while others have experiences that are seen as positive or manageable.

 

If you don't want to stop or eliminate your perceptual experiences, that is your prerogative. We have no role in that decision, nor do we have an opinion or judgment about anyone's individual choices. 

You are more than welcome to share that you have participated in this study. However, while we appreciate the enthusiasm from everyone to share the study with others, we encourage you to point any media communication to the directors, Al Powers and Brittany Quagan, to answer questions about the study itself and what we are looking at. The reason being is that we want to ensure no miscommunication about the study. 

CAN I GET A SUMMARY OF MY PERFORMANCE IN THE STUDY?

Yes! If you would like a summary of your perceptual experiences sent to you, we can absolutely do that for you. During the screening process, you will be asked if you would like this summary and how you would like it sent. Your options for receipt will be through an encrypted email or through the mail. You can do whatever you like with the information, for example share it with your clinician(s) or peers. 

WHAT IF I DON'T HAVE HEADPHONES? CAN I STILL PARTICIPATE?

While headphones are required in order to play the games and complete the study, we can help if you don't own or don't have access to a pair of headphones or earbuds. If you need a pair of headphones, we will happily loan you a pair! We will send you a pair through the mail, along with a return envelope. When you finish the study, you can mail us back the headphones free of charge. If you decide to keep the headphones and don't send them back, then $5 will be deducted from your payment compensation for the study. If you need a pair sent to you, just send us an email at spirit.alliance@yale.edu and we will get them out to you!

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