Friday, November 14, 2008

Telepathy on the brain

A new experiment looking for telepathy (or psi in general) in the brain, using an fMRI scanner, has been published in the International Journal of Yoga, by a group at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, in Bangalore, India. I've posted a pdf copy of their study here.

The article is entitled "Investigating paranormal phenomena: Functional brain imaging of telepathy," by Ganesan Venkatasubramanian and others. With this new study, there are now four published psi studies using fMRI technology. Three of the four found significant areas of brain specialization correlated with psi performance.

21 comments:

Atheistic Mystic said...

Oooh! Way to go India!

gregory said...

but it is not the brain that does this ... that is like saying the dial on the radio is responsible for the sound ...

in sanskrit it is a function of what is called sukshma sharira which in english we will call the subtle body ...

and brain research and probablity statistics is at such a gross level compared to the sumblimity of intuition and "esp" ...

they are far more common abilities than silly western (trained) scientists have the ability to even ask questions about ...

Enfant Terrible said...

Mr. Radin,

some points:

1) The subject of the study, Mr. Gerard, is a mentalist. Don't you think this is highly suspect? I mean, this kind of man knows a lot of tricks to cheat.

2) Is my impression or the researchers tested with just 01 figure the correspondence with telepathy? If yes, don't you think this kind of study would need more figures?

Best wishes.

Dean Radin said...

> 1) Mr. Gerard, is a mentalist. Don't you think this is highly suspect? I mean, this kind of man knows a lot of tricks to cheat.

In the West a mentalist is someone who fakes psychic effects for purposes of entertainment. The same term may not be used that way in the East. In any case, the authors of the paper do indicate awareness of the necessity to prevent fraud. Whether they achieved that sufficiently is not clear from the paper. E.g., in the West we would never create a telepathy target just by thinking of something and drawing it. That method can easily lead to spurious matches due to the non-random nature of spontaneous thought, and to unconscious biases from the environment.

> 2) Is my impression or the researchers tested with just 01 figure the correspondence with telepathy? If yes, don't you think this kind of study would need more figures?

Of course. The authors acknowledged this as a limitation of their study. I suspect they ran this test with no funding, so they may have had limited access to the fMRI and to the "mentalist."

Even with such limitations, the paper is useful in indicating that independent groups are studying psi effects with sophisticated technologies, and achieving interesting results. No one study can ever prove anything (except maybe in physics when the experiment might cost a billion dollars and you can only do it once).

Dean Radin said...

> but it is not the brain that does this ... that is like saying the dial on the radio is responsible for the sound ...

These studies show correlations only. Assigning cause is an interpretation driven by one's worldview.

> they are far more common abilities than silly western (trained) scientists have the ability to even ask questions about ...

Some silly Western scientists know a great deal about silly Eastern concepts. We're all engaged in the same goal -- trying to reduce our collective silliness. In any case, this paper was conducted in India by Indian scientists.

Atheistic Mystic said...

"Three of the four found significant areas of brain specialization correlated with psi performance."

Did those three show a correlation between the right parahippocampal gyrus and psi?

Dean Radin said...

> Did those three show a correlation between the right parahippocampal gyrus and psi?

No, but they were based on different experimental tasks, so it's not surprising the brain correlations differed. The first two studies used a simple flashing light stimulus, and those two studies showed in the same outcome. The third used a new, complex design that attempted to combine all forms of psi perception into a single task. That resulted in nothing systematic. The most recent experiment involved a picture-drawing task.

Dave Smith said...

Dean said,

No, but they were based on different experimental tasks, so it's not surprising the brain correlations differed.

That is an interesting point.

The NIMHN study found activation in an area of the brain thought to be responsible for memory retrieval(among other things). This makes some sense because the telepathy task would require retrieval of the 'correct' mental image, presumably constructed from memory representations belonging to the receiver.

If I remember correctly, one of Dick Bierman's fMRI studies used a presentiment design where an emotional visual stimulus was presented to the participant. Just prior to the presentation of the image, I think he found substantial activation in the visual cortex and some activation in the amygdala (which is associated with processing of emotions).

Perhaps psi doesn't really have a particular area of the brain that we could associate with it's functioning and say "look, this is the psi area". As Dean suggests, perhaps psi imaging studies will only find anomalous activation associated with areas of the brain responsible for the kind of information that the psi task requires.

Enfant Terrible said...

Mr. Radin,

you said: "With this new study, there are now four published psi studies using fMRI technology. Three of the four found significant areas of brain specialization correlated with psi performance."

But I think there are 5, not 4.

01. Using Neuroimaging to Resolve the Psi Debate (Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience. 2008;20:182-192.)Samuel T. Moulton and Stephen M. Kosslyn Harvard University (negative result)

02. Achterberg J, Cooke K, Richards T, Standish LJ, Kozak L, Lake J. Evidence for correlations between distant intentionality and brain function in recipients: a functional magnetic resonance imaging analysis. J Altern Complement Med. 2005 Dec;11(6):965-71. (positive result)

03. Standish LJ, Johnson LC, Kozak L, Richards T. Evidence of correlated functional magnetic resonance imaging signals between distant human brains. Altern Ther Health Med. 2003 Jan-Feb;9(1):128, 122-5. (positive result)

04. Bierman, D. J. & Scholte, H. S. (2002). Anomalous anticipatory brain activation preceding exposure of emotional and neutral pictures. In Proceedings of Toward a Science of Consciousness, Tucson IV. (positive result)

05. Todd L. Richards, Leila Kozak, L. Clark Johnson, Leanna J. Standish. Replicable Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging Evidence of Correlated Brain Signals Between Physically and Sensory Isolated Subjects. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. December 1, 2005, 11(6): 955-963. doi:10.1089/acm.2005.11.955. (positive result)

The last says: "These data replicate previous findings suggesting that correlated neural signals may be detected by fMRI and EEG in the brains of subjects who are physically and sensorily isolated from each other."

Dean Radin said...

Enfant Terrible is indeed correct. There are now six published fMRI psi studies, five of which report significant findings.

When I wrote the post I was thinking specifically about telepathy-oriented studies. The Achterberg et al study was nominally about distant healing (but could be interpreted as telepathy), and the Bierman & Scholte study was about presentiment.

Bharat said...

Slightly off-topic all, but I just heard of a study that was done on comatose patients where they were asked to imagine playing tennis or something and the areas of their brain that were active were the exact same ones as in the conscious patients. Can anyone provide a citation for this and/or any thoughts?

Enfant Terrible said...

Mr. Radin,

it seems to me there is another article that shows good results for telepathy, but I don't know if fMRI was used or another instrument:

01. Persinger, M.A., Koren, S.A, & Tsang, E.W. Enhanced power within a specific band of theta activity in one person while another receives circumcerebral pulsed magnetic fields: a mechanism of influence at a distance? Perceptual and Motor Skills, 2003, 97, 877-894.

Abstract
Four pairs of adult siblings served once as either the stimulus or the response person in two sessions separated by one week. While the brain of the stimulus person, who was seated in a closed chamber, was exposed successively to six different complex magnetic fields for 5 min. each quantitative monopolar electroencephalographic measurements over the frontal, temporal, parietal, and occipital lobes were collected by computer for the response person who was seated in another room. The six configurations of fields served as different stimulus patterns and had been designed to affect consciousness. As predicted theoretically, a significant increase in electroencephalographic power within the 5.0-Hz to 6.0-Hz band over the frontal and occipital lobes was noted for the response persons when the stimulus persons received one of the six specific patterns of weak (1 microTesla range) magnetic fields. This magnetic stimulus was presented for 100 msec. with changes in rate of 20 msec. to each of the eight solenoids that were equally spaced in the horizontal plane around the head of the stimulus person. Derivatives within this narrow frequency band had been hypothesized to be a source of the "binding factor" for the cohesive cerebrogenic electromagnetic fields producing consciousness. The results suggest that an appropriate altered state of one brain can effect specific predictable frequencies of the electro-encephalographic activity of another distant brain which is genetically related.

What can you say about this article?

Dean Radin said...

I hadn't heard of this before. I'll see if I can find a copy of the whole article.

bsanch321 said...

dean,

based on all of the experiments you have conducted and seen, what do u feel consciousness is?

thanks

Jean-Michel Abrassart said...

Hello,

Just to let people know that Rebecca Watson wrote a good article about this - Hum, Hum - research on "The Rogues Gallery" blog: "Idiots Pretend to Do Science, Get Fooled by Magician".

http://www.theskepticsguide.org/sgublog/?p=374

Sincerely,

Dean Radin said...

If indeed Mr. Gerard is a psychic entertainer known for faking psi effects, then the study may have been well intended, but of course the results cannot be taken seriously as revealing anything about psi.

Ronnie said...

"Idiots Pretend to Do Science, Get Fooled by Magician"

These ad hominems are amusing.

David Bailey said...

People like Jean Michel are expressing the same views as I did about 10 years ago - deeply skeptical of psi and willing to accept the debunkers at face value. However, the truth is rather different, as this talk by Rupert Sheldrake demonstrates:

http://www.sheldrake.org/B&R/audiostream/SPR_HowSkepticsWork.mp3

In this be recounts a number of documented instances in which well known debunkers (or skeptics) have deliberately falsified the evidence in a variety of ways. In one case he took a TV production company to court (and won, and won again on appeal).

Brian Josephson details another example on his website in which a book by someone called Dean Radin (Who is he?) was reviewed by Nature and slated because the reviewer had made a statistical blunder. Even after this was pointed out repeatedly, it too Nature ages to print a grudging retraction.

Atheistic Mystic said...

Dean,

Sorry this is off-topic, but I was wondering if you know of any experiments which show "goats" performing BELOW chance expectation.

Other than the work of Gertrude Schmeidler.

Thanks!

Manzelli said...

It’s possible to link together two quantum particles – photons of light or phonons of sound and also atoms or DNA's genes , in an entanglig way , that makes them over the same space-time matrix . The entangling overposition carry out an Quantum state of dense coding, that become identical for all the particles remaining intrigued to the same resonant field. .
Therefore Entanglement generates a no-local dense coding state that would be useful to undestand “entanglement -communication” (or telepathy) through the recent research quantum communication and teleportation. In fact in classical coding, a single photon will convey only one of two messages, or , one bit of information, while in dense coding, a single photon can convey one of four messages, or two Q.bits of information. Besides multi-photons and multi-photons entanglement can produce an new hyper- no-localized space-time and this complex procedure is producing a bidimensional “information energy” (1) ,(2),(3)
Therefore telepathic communication between two separated particles, which is one of the fundamental concepts of entanglement in quantum bio-physics .
Therefore in this line of reasoning it is possible to understand DNA's telepathy (4)
More in general “telepathy”, and “empathy” , respectively are derived from the Greek “tele = distant", and “en = interior” , and “patheia = feeling or phatos” , and are the claimed innate ability of brains to communicate information and emotions from one individual to another in simultaneity, e.g. without the use of extra tools so that without consuming energy.
Recent studies on mirror neurons discovered by Giacomo Rizzolatti of the University of Parma (It) , which confirm the hypothesis that empathy is born is part to an activity of coupling between genes .
Paolo Manzelli www.egocreanet.it
pmanzelli@gmail.com
BIBLIO ON LINE
(1)http://www.wbabin.net/science/manzelli11.pdf
(2)http://www.wbabin.net/science/manzelli43.pdf
(3)http://www.biosemiotics2006.org/media/pdf/pdf83.pdf
(4)http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jp7112297

Paolo said...

Cari amici di Egocreanet , vi propongo ancora una riflessione per la discussione preliminare del 3* Workshop Quantum Bionet a Pavia il 24 Sett. 2010 sulle relazioni tra biologia e quantistica che conducono al rinnovamento concettuale dell' arte e della scienza contemporanea.
http://www.edscuola.it/archivio/lre/3rd_Quantumbionet_Workshop.pdf

Tema: The Brain as a “quantum entangled system ”

I fotoni sono indubbiamente delle particelle quantistiche propagano a distanza informazione utile per percezione dei nostri sensi che il cervello riesce ad elaborare per creare immagini e sensazioni. Pertanto dubbiamo ritenere che il cervello e i fotoni siano interconnessi da una comune struttura di informazione e ricezione di natura quantica.

"quantum entangled connections " : le attivita di interscambio ed elaborazione della informazione per essere quasi istantanee debbono ricorrere non solo alla trasmissione della informazione ma all' utilizzatione di un sistema di interscambio simultaneo di indole non locale basato su sistemi di entanglement information che ebbiamo piu volte descritto nella nostra dicussione preliminare.

Le profonde implicazioni nello sviluppo di una scienza ed un arte che non abbia riferimento ad una concettualita meccanica non piu applicabile alle scienze della vita e' evidente, pertanto mi auguro che il dialogo al 3* WS Quantumbionet. sia utile e creativo , adegueto alla importanza che un cambiamento cognitivo di ampia portata puo evere nel quadro del superamento della crisi della vecchia ed obsoleta societa industriale , coi da dare un impulso allo sviluppo della futura soieta della conocenza . Paolo, pmanzelli.lre@gmail.com



--VEDI: Biblio on line:
Interactive Perception http://www.wbabin.net/science/manzelli5.pdf ; http://www.descrittiva.it/calip/dna/Q-HOLOGRAPHY.pdf
Quantum Entangled Brain : http://www.newdawnmagazine.com/articles/intuition-delusion-or-perception-toward-a-scientific-explanation-of-the-akashic-experience