These are cases where there is no dishonesty involved but where people are tricked into false results by a lack of understanding about what human beings can do to themselves in the way of being led astray by subjective effects, wishful thinking or threshold interactions. These are examples of pathological science. These are things that attracted a great deal of attention. Usually hundreds of papers have been published on them. Sometimes they have lasted for 15 or 20 years and then gradually have died away.
• The maximum effect observed is produced by a causative agent of barely detectable intensity; the effect's magnitude is substantially independent of the cause.
• The effect is of a magnitude that remains close to the limit of detectability; otherwise, many measurements are necessary because of the very low significance of the results.
• Claims of great accuracy.
• Fantastic theories contrary to experience.
• Criticisms are met by ad hoc excuses thought up on the spur of the moment.
• The ratio of supporters to critics rises up to somewhere near 50 percent and then falls gradually to oblivion.