Consciousness and the double-slit interference pattern

Radin, D. I., Michel, L., Galdamez, K., Wendland, P. Rickenbach, R., Delorme, A. (2012). Consciousness and the double-slit interference pattern: Six experiments.  Physics Essays, 25 (2), 157-171. 

Note: This article is Copyright 2012 by Physics Essays Publications.

We've completed data collection for two replications of the experiments reported in this publication. Both were statistically significant and in the predicted direction. I'm in the process now of documenting the new experiments.


anonymous said…
Can you say what type of Zen meditation was practiced at the Zen center? There are two main types: Rinzai and Soto. Rinzai is more "focused", more "absorptive" than Soto. If it was a Soto Zen center then the results might be consistent with your hypothesis.

Dean Radin said…
Good question about the type of Zen meditation. I'll find out.
butterfly said…
Congrats on the paper, Dean. Very awesome! :)
Tor said…
Thanks for posting your article Dean!

This is the kind of stuff that inspired me to study physics in he first place!
George Williams said…
Great paper, Dean. I'm wondering, however, how the collapse of the waveform effect that you're studying here, might distinguished from the psychokinesis effect found with random number generators and other random processes, apart from the experiment's setting (double-slit interference, which is widely associated with the collapse of the waveform). In other words, could the two essentially be the same thing, or should we think the two are distinct?
TFlynn99 said…
Congratulations, Dean. Just finished reading the paper - excellent work. High methodological quality, as usual with your research at IONS.

By the way, how is IONS' project, "Psychophysiological Correlates of Nondual States of Awareness", coming along? If I remember correctly, this research also employs adept meditators, and uses EEG to identify putative retrocausal influences on states of the brain. (A very clever way to objectively validate the subjective state of nondual awareness!)
Dean Radin said…
> could the two essentially be the same thing, or should we think the two are distinct?

They could be the same. The point of this experiment was to use a system which is well known for illustrating some of the core mysteries within physics, as opposed to use of random systems where the connection to possible quantum observer effects is rarely, if ever, mentioned.
Dean Radin said…
> Psychophysiological Correlates of Nondual States of Awareness

You can download that paper from here:
anonymous said…

In the paper you select subjects based on the type of meditation they do. I think it could also be useful to ask the subjects what they experience during meditation.

The non dual state is quite unambigious and unique in a subjective sense. Subjectively you become "one with everything", the self disappears. There have been experiments with meditators who attain that state readily so I think enough of them can be found who are willing to participate in experiments.

I took a quick look at what Dzochen meditation is and my belief is that concentration meditation is more likely to produce a nondual experience than Dzogchen meditation. But, whether I'm right or not is irrelevant if you would ask the meditators what they experience. In zen the term for the non dual experience is "kensho".
Tor said…
as opposed to use of random systems where the connection to possible quantum observer effects is rarely, if ever, mentioned.

Which is a bit strange as most of these REGs employ sources that are quantum in nature (e.g tunnelling). Whether an electron is reflected from or transmitter through the energy barrier isn't that far from the double slit.
Calculus said…
That's a well done work for sure, Mr Radin. If true, the consequences are staggering.

Now i hope that you will receive feed back from scientists involved in quantum theory. That's the point of your paper I guess, and it would be disgracious for these scientists to ignore your paper.
For example, I've seen A. Aspect commented the paper of Groblacher et al., in Nature (Ref. 2 of your citations, I think) and all of these guys would be well inspired to respond and, if they are really honest, try to reproduce your results in their labs. They already have all the equipment.

Hmmm, maybe you should think about the Einstein EPR paradox now. I don't know, try to influence entangled quatum states at any distance, instantaneously....
Dean Radin said…
> That's the point of your paper I guess.

Yes, that's why I published this in a physics journal.

I do hope that anyone who attempts to replicate this experiment takes to heart that this is not just an ordinary physics experiment. The psychological and contextual factors are as important as the physical equipment.
Calculus said…
Well, no experiment is never a true replication in exactly the same identical conditions, you can't expect that.
Of course if they do it, they'll try to be even more stringent. I had thought about the body heat and interferences from the brain ativity (about 10-20W of power), but not the Earth Magnetic field variations. But i guess there are other possible sources of interferences, which anyway should be statistically erased by the negative control experiments.
Also, your result is a good support of the Schrodinger's cat interpretation which says that the cat is either dead OR alive, but not both, because its consciousness, according to your results, should collapse its wave function to a single state, dead or alive, unless the cat is not conscious enough to do that....
That might be something else to try out. Are Humans the only conscious animals able to interfere with quantum states?
Calculus said…
OK, using 'animals' would probably be a waste of time and resource for your pupose. Although its possible, you could direct the feedback sound to a cage of mice with food delivery only when the quantum effet is most prononced, but that would be hard to publish the (most likely negative) results in a physic paper, so let's forget that. I didn't try to be funny but after all, it would be a good opportunity to separate human from animal consciousness.

Have you considered or propose the following already?: Since your trained meditators don't have to be at any specific distance of the slit, there is the possibility that a physic lab with better equipment accepts to redo the experiment with a single photon source, while the meditators try to focuse in a blind experiment with 'epochs' of attention randomly and independantly decided. That is, there would be no feeed back and the diffraction patterns obtained would be correlated with the periods of attention after the experiment.
Grand Camel said…
The psychological and contextual factors are important in all experiments in quantum mechanics, but by habit researchers put them to the side and do not refer to them as a factor in the results.

Thank you for bridging this obvious gap, Dean.
Dean Radin said…
We are thinking of studies that could be conducted at a distance. Our online experiment is a prototype of this.

Our colleague Helmut Schmidt (now deceased) conducted similar studies many years ago with animals as observers. His results suggested that the "amount" of consciousness did play a factor in this sort of experiment. But those studies really need to be systematically replicated.
Stevie said…
Hi Dean,

What exactly were the observers becoming aware of? Did they gain knowledge of which slit the photons went through? Were they observing the actual slits of the experiment? Not following imagining a double slit and it somehow affecting the actual experiment. Perhaps you might be able to clarify.

Anthony Mugan said…
Dr Radin
Once again can I congratulate you on a most elegent experimental concept that does seem to go to the heart of the Quantum Measurement Problem
I have hesitated to comment more widely as a relative newcomer to this field but plucked up the courage at the risk of making a fool of myself.

I think you are right to emphasise the experimenter effect issues associated with replication in other labs. I begin to wonder if it is necessary to specify such pyschological factors and experimenter expectation as part of the experimental design to the same degree as (for example) the precise models of various components and software packages used etc. Such an approach would be outside the current paradigm and would no doubt raise much controversy but seems to be very strongly supported by the data now.

Amongst the many aspects of this and possibly related experimental results (e.g. REG type data) that provide grave challenges to the theorist is the requirement that we must get to the point where we can understand how conciousness can seem to 'tune in' to a selected area of space time, non-locally, and selectively choose to modify the probabilities of the associated wavefunctions in a controlled manner (albiet with low efficiency, judging from the effect sizes). Equally clairvoyant or remote viewing type data suggests an exchange of information in the other direction with the ability to non-locally interpret an area of space time in something approximating sensory terms.
This is really most puzzling and a huge challenge to figure out what could be going on here. Von Neumann argued that the collapse of the wavefunction required something 'outside the equation' (outside the Schroedinger equation). In a sense there appears to be something like the ability to modify the probability functions within the wavefunction - in this specific case reduing all except one to zero, and to do so so with an element of selective control. There then also seems to be an ability (from remote viewing data) to interpret information flow in the other direction too. With great reluctance I seem to moving towards a conceptual model in which conciousness exists seperately to the contents of the Schroedinger equation but can interact with it.
I am not aware of any theoretical model that even comes close (holographic models might be the least worst in this regard) - wonder if I'm talking nonsense or alternatively missing something that might offer a possible route into the physics?
Dean Radin said…
> What exactly were the observers becoming aware of?

Gaining which-path information from a double-slit system *by any means* will collapse the wavefunction. This experiment tested whether "by any means" includes the ability of the mind to gain information without the use of the ordinary senses, i.e. it tested whether focused awareness alone can obtain information. This is otherwise known as clairvoyance or remote viewing.
Stevie said…
Oh okay. So the observers in the end knew which slit the particle went through?
Dean Radin said…
The observers got continuous feedback about how much the double-slit pattern was declining while they were observing it. The laser was sending about a trillion photons per second through the optical system, so photon by photon feedback was not possible. In another double-slit system we're working with single photon feedback is possible, but that study is still in progress.
I'm going to be interested to see what excuse the "skeptics" come up with to refuse to accept these results. Someone should write a book documenting the novelties of alleged scientific and mathematical methodology that they invent for that purpose.
Unknown said…
Thank you for an important study, very good work!
MickyD said…
Hi Dean,

Someone over at the Skeptiko forum posted a thread over at physics forum asking for opinions on this work but the thread was deleted with the warning of crackpottery. This is terrible injustice to such excellent work. There is no justification for it in my view. The aborted thread is here:
Dean Radin said…
“The only new ideas that are not subject to our skepticism or suspicion are our own.” -- Cullen Hightower
butterfly said…
Two threads at Physics Forums about this paper were deleted. The second one was placed in the "Skepticism and Debunking" section in the hopes that it might be tolerated, but nope. Some comments about the censorship in that forum can be found on the Skeptiko forum, because honest debate is encouraged there:
butterfly said…
The poor kid who tried to start a discussion about this paper on Physics Forums was quickly banned for what the moderator there claimed was "crackpot spam".

Some have suggested that the forum may have just wanted to keep it's standards exceedingly high.

Check it out:

While they don't allow peer-reviewed journal articles that they disagree with to be discussed, they do have threads on just about any sort of paranormal topic one can think of. Yes, this very snobbish upscale haven for aspiring physicists is happy to allow it's members to discuss UFOs, Allison Dubois, the popularity of psychics,ghosts, time machines, cattle mutilations, etc... but nothing that provides evidence they can't easily debunk.
Calculus said…
About the feedback, you said earlyer that it is necessary to motivate the participants, at least in the online experiment. Does it mean that without any feedback, no positive correlation can be obtained?
Dean Radin said…
Is it necessary to have feedback? No. It does help to motivate particpants who have trouble focusing their attention, and meditators sometimes report that for them feedback is distracting.
Calculus said…
Have meditators tried this?:
Imagine 'you or your mind' is moving faster and faster, until it reaches the speed of the light (about 1 second for the distance Earth-Moon) and see what happen.
anonymous said…
"Have meditators tried this?:
Imagine 'you or your mind' is moving faster and faster, until it reaches the speed of the light (about 1 second for the distance Earth-Moon) and see what happen."

Yes. Albert Einstein tried that. That's how he discovered the theory of relativity.
Great experiment, Dean. The only way to remove the appearance of intentionality which you see in the data is to posit and prove some material effect which affects both mind and experiment alike. One candidate could be the nanoTesla magnetic field. Another could be minute variations in local gravity. And so forth. I do note that extraordinary pains were taken to screen the slits from the experimenter, though.
Dean Radin said…
The way we are demonstrating that these results are due to human attention, and not to any obvious local influence, is via the online experiment. While I'm still writing up the results, what that experiment shows is that it is possible to get similar results to what we see in the lab even when the participants are thousands of km away. This doesn't rule out GMF and global gravitational fluctuations, but it does rule out all local artifacts.

Also, the online experiment runs without any experimenter intervention at all, so experimenter effects are reduced. (I'm not sure we can ever completely eliminate experimenter effects.)
Calculus said…
...But you still have to rule out any effect of the 'feedback' by running the experiment in absence of it.
You could ask how come the feedback could possibly influence the experiment, well, maybe it can't, maybe it can. In life sciences where thousands of parameters can possibly influence a result, you cannot discard a control experiment on the a priori basis of an expected null effect.
Plus, going double blind is the way to go, in my opinion.
Dean Radin said…
The online study generates and transmits exactly the same data and performance feedback signal in the experimental and control conditions. The only difference is whether there's a human at the receiving end of that datastream.

How would one run a double blind study in this context? Experimenters can be blinded to whether an experimental run is done by humans or controls, but the subjects cannot be blinded to the instructions otherwise they can't do the test.
MickyD said…
Dean, so it seems that the online test is revealing a PK effect? If so, that is excellent. Can you tell us how the long-term online "psi arcade" results are going. Did you find any interesting correlations or overall effect? I'm personally surprised the online version of the double slit expt is working, given how other online PK expts (i.e., the RSPK study) gave chance results overall. It's as if you need the supportive environment of the lab and investigators in order to cajole a psi effect. So congrats if the online work is replicating the lab work.
Dean Radin said…
Most, maybe all, previous online psi tests, PK or ESP, have allowed anyone to take part with minimal effort. This introduces a huge amount of noise through frivolous use. We made it a bit more difficult to take part in this test, and only about 1 in 20 who visit our site actually end up contributing data. In addition, we ask a number of questions that allow us to predict which kinds of people will do well vs. not so well.

The combination of vetting the users a bit and getting some information about them is producing results more in line with what we see in the lab than what we've seen in prior online tests. Another factor may be that our PK target is not an RNG.

I haven't analyzed the data yet (we have something like 10 years of data!), but there too we might find some interesting correlations between the users, environmental factors, and the results.

Whle the RSPK study does not show overall PK effcts, it does show interesting correlations with lunar cycle, which is consistent with results I saw some years ago with data from a casino.
Calculus said…
" The online study generates and transmits exactly the same data and performance feedback signal in the experimental and control conditions. The only difference is whether there's a human at the receiving end of that datastream..."
Yes, If the sound or graphic display feeback alone had an effect, the control without a participant should positively correlate too. So you are right, BUT, if the goal of the online experiment in general, is to physically isolate the participant from the testing bemch as much as possible, then you might also want to isolate them from the "information" streamed from the testing bench.
Anyway, it would be interesting to know quantitatively the effect of the feedback versus no feedack...among other parameters.

Double blind would mean no feedback at all, random periods of attention and results analysis made a posteriori, plus the controls of course.

Also, forgive me I am curious, do you have pictures of the interference pattern from the camera, and, do you think that you could have recorded the interference on an argentic film?
ccd cameras have noise, artefacts like hot pixels that occur at different temperature. The warmer the camera, the more hot pixels you have. Also, dusts on the ccd chip can create ring patterns.
Dean Radin said…
In a new experiment still under way, we do not provide real-time feedback.

There is a graph of the interference pattern in the published paper. It could be recorded on film, but analyzing the pattern would still require digitization, plus the expense of development, time to process the images, etc.

We're using a digital line camera designed for this sort of optical task. Like any digital camera it will have some pixelation and electronics noise, but it's much better than digitizing film.
Calculus said…
Can you discuss your retrocausal experiment (experiment number 4) ?

Can we speculate that such a retrocausal effect, if it's possible over a period of three months, could be possible over a much longer time period, like 14 or 15 billion years and influence the value of cosmic constants that 'were' (not sure the past tense is appropriate) critical for the compliance to Life's requirements?
Unknown said…
A suggestion for an experiment:
Let the meditators focus their awareness to influence the inteference pattern at a point in the past and let the outcome decide whether the meditators should focus their attention or not. There is two possibly experimental setups:
1) If a deviation is measured then the meditators will not focus their attention, if deviation not measured then the meditators will focus their attention. Since any retro-causal effect would lead to the meditators not focusing their attention this would lead to anparadox, suggesting that the mediators will focus their attention but that any retro-causal effect would not be demostrated under this setup.
2. Deviation would led to the meditators focusing their attention. If the cut-of deviation is set to be highly unlikely to happen by chance (for example once a year), then a positive experiment would be proof of retro-causality. It seems to me that this would also prove that free will exists and exists outside of time and space. Consider the thoguht-experiment that the meditators could choose to not focus their attention after a measured deviation. Then this would lead to the deviation not happening in the first place. So the action of the meditators would be pre-determined given a positive measurement.
@ Dean Radin

Just curious. What is your take on Libet's readiness potential? It seems to me that any evidence that would be employed to invalidate free will may also be employed to validate psi phenomena.
Anonymous said…
When we try to show an animal PSI influence from a human - what about Helmut Schmidts wave collapse view,
that the PSI infleunce only comes into existance at the point of observation - so this would surely make detecting animal PSI difficult/impossible?
Calculus said…
Any feedback from physic scientists yet? Comments or repetition of the experiment?
I mean, beside reactions ranging from indiference to histerical hostility (the majority?), SOME scientists might have at least read your paper and gave it some thoughts.
Dean Radin said…
I haven't heard of any serious interest in replicating this experiment. The few comments I've seen on web forums were made by people who either didn't read the paper or didn't understand it.

I'm not surprised. This experiment is not trivially easy to duplicate, and most people with the required skills and equipment have other interests and demands on their time.
Zal said…
Dear Dean,

What the experiment indicates is that mind can influence the behavior of what we call “matter”. What it would not do, I believe, is solve the measurement problem, or more specifically, answer the question of whether mind is necessary for quantum wave function collapse, a strong form of idealism proposed, among others, by Amit Goswami. From the fact that mind can one need not conclude that mind must. There is, for example, Roger Penrose’s theory of Objective Reduction, which preserves realism, but does not deny the existence or efficacy of mind. Therefore I am not sure the essay is best served by assumption b) if some aspect of consciousness is a primordial self-aware aspect ...etc. It is not necessary for b) to be true in order for the experiment to succeed. The fact that it does (appear to) succeed is astonishing enough.

Keep up the great work!
Dear Dr. Radin, congratulations for your outstanding research on psi phenomena. I have read in the past your book “The Conscious Universe” and really enjoyed the lucidity of your analysis. Please find here below the link to a comment of mine, about your recent paper on Physics Essays, which was also submitted to Physics Essays.

Unknown said…
Thanks for your work Dr Radin, have you any comment on the Quantum Eraser experiments? I was thinking that findings from these show that it is consciousness rather than physical measurement that collapses the wave nature of photons/electrons:

If so would this be relevant to de Bianchi response?
Congratulations Dean
Well I wanted to know how spectral power was measured. Is there an alternative way of measuring the power.Will a powermeter serve the purpose
Dean Radin said…
Double slit spectral power was measured by calculating a spatial FFT of the interference pattern and then taking the real component of the complex wavenumber associated with the double-slit frequency. An optical power meter wouldn't be able to distinguish between the various frequencies that combine to create the interference pattern.
Unknown said…
Hi Dean,

Did you find out the kind of Zen meditation practiced?

What is the state of replication experiments?

Unknown said…
The double slit experiment indicates the wave-particle nature of energy. Photons passing through a single slit behave like particles as seen in the simple pattern created on impact with the measurement device (screen) when the wave function collapses to a distinct value that's no longer a probability of the position of the traveling photon in a given location which demonstrates the particulate nature of energy, but with 2 slits the photons behave like waves that interfere with each other which show up as complicated patterns on the receiving screen behind. Until humans don't interfere with the process by placing a screen to make a measurement, the wave function of the photons would remain intact.

Photon is a bit of information in energy field, a massless particle with velocity approaching that of c and the force carrier of em force, the experimental set up is fabricated from energy concentrate called matter and constructed by humans and machines devised by engineers to record certain outcomes determined by the hypothesis and so in this way it could be said that the instrumental part is fashioned in keeping with the intent and capacity of the human beings involved in inventing/fabricating it. So, the instrument gives us readings of the observed phenomenon in ways that we ascribe to it to suit the way of our thinking, functioning and the capacities of our organs of perception. Every aspect described above is interconnected and as such can influence other in specific ways.

Focusing one's awareness at a beam of fast moving, massless photons supposedly often alters the dynamic of the beam causing the wave function to collapse into a particle.

Probably, concentrated bursts of expelled body energy in the form of electromagnetic signals radiated especially from the eyes and region of the brain when one looks intently at the beam generated by the source in the experimental set up could cause the collapse of the wave function? It could be plausible that if one has a sufficiently focused stare, sufficient quanta of em radiation shoot towards the experimental setup and may cause a change in the interference pattern. Experienced mediators are habituated to gathering their consciousness-energy at one fixed spot and so it's only natural to expect that the outcome of the experiment would be altered to a greater extent in case of experienced meditators.

This experiment does not prove that sentience has an effect on wave function but it simply demonstrates the effect of the exchange of energy of a thermodynamic open system like the human body with the experimental setup.

Had consciousness been the influencer of the outcome of the event, then, consciousness would have directly perceived the underlying mechanism at work and would have simply been a witness to the play of the forces of subject and object. This is not the case. Consciousness observes plans, cogitates, reflects, memorizes or summarizes, while the energy field in which it naturally inheres is the worker or the doer. Consciousness by itself is impotent to act and there can be nothing like pure consciousness existing by itself. Consciousness cannot be converted into energy nor can energy be transmuted into awareness. All that can be said is that energy is conscious just as energy condenses into matter or that energy has both wave and particulate aspects.

Now, instead of human participants, had a sound instrument been used in the double slit experiment, the results would have shown similar results with some differences.

To conclude, everything in nature/being is interconnected with both constituting dual aspects of a unified field and that constant exchanges of energy in varying degrees keep taking place within the entity and with the surroundings thereby modifying the outcome of an event.

Dean Radin said…
> It could be plausible that if one has a sufficiently focused stare, sufficient quanta of em radiation shoot towards the experimental setup and may cause a change in the interference pattern.

In this study, possibly (although I think exceedingly implausible). To explicitly test whether proximity of the body influenced the optical system, another study we conducted was performed over the Internet, with participants ranging from 4 km to 18,000 km away from our lab. That showed results similar to what we observed in the lab. And those results could not have been due to EM. The paper describing this test will be published soon (November 2013).
Unknown said…

"In this study, possibly (although I think exceedingly implausible). To explicitly test whether proximity of the body influenced the optical system, another study we conducted was performed over the Internet, with participants ranging from 4 km to 18,000 km away from our lab. That showed results similar to what we observed in the lab. And those results could not have been due to EM. The paper describing this test will be published soon (November 2013)."

JOEL - EM radiation possibly, no EM radiation certainly, traveled through the EM field of the internet network, over vast distances to influence the outcome of the double slit experiment.

Besides, even if one does this double slit experiment, from, say, Mumbai, without using the internet, then, too, bursts of my heightened conscious-energy field would impinge on the experimental process thousands of kms away by traveling through the deeper spatio-temporal dimensions provided I have the location of the lab and if my force is sufficiently potent it could visibly o radically alter the event outcome.

Actually, one who has in his being the activated higher frequencies of conscious-energy field, would, knowing that Dr Radin would be the lead scientist for the experiment, simply put a strong force formation on Dr Dean Radin by simply thinking of him or by looking at his online pic and put the appropriate force formation on Dr Radin then the beam of photons would get disturbed via the force field of Dr Radin if the force formation put on Dr Radin is powerful enough...

In the subtler functional modes of conscious-energy, there's no near and far.

Everything is intimately connected in a fundamental way and the moment one thinks (from a higher plane of the conscious-energy field) of say Dr Radin then in seconds or at times in an instant Dr Radin's force field is perceived or tangibly felt and can be accordingly worked on or deliberately tweaked.
Unknown said…
A human being's EM radiation can travel vast distances through EM fields generated by global telecommunication devices.
Unknown said…
1) The best way to demonstrate the impact of focused human energies on the interference pattern in the double slit setup would be to run the experiment at a specific time in the lab with the chosen human participants scattered in diverse places - some of the participants could be anywhere in the IONS campus (in the garden, on the roof, seated in the lounge, walking on the road outside the main gate or wherever), while other participants could be walking on the road, at the work desk or seated in a cafe in Chicago, London or New Delhi at the specified time. In all the cases, a short glimpse of the experimental set up should be previously provided to the participants to make them mentally aware of what it looks like and besides the exact location of the lab if need be should be provided on request but the view of the experimental set up via internet or photograph should be blanked out when, at a later stage, the experiment is actually being run in the lab. In another innovation, just a photo of the experimental setup should be given to the participants (who happen to be scattered in different places away from the lab) which they can use to concentrate their energies upon when the experiment is actually underway. In addition, set up a control. Compare the results and see what can be inferred.

2) The practice of making a participant sit 2 m or 4 m away from the the optical system and have him direct his concentrated energies at the photon beam at periodic intervals or have him to do the same through the internet while the experiment is being run would yield biased results since the energy field of the participant seated before the optical system and/or the energy field of the online participant concentrating on the experimental setup (that he can clearly see on his computer screen and on which he's focusing) would travel through the energy field of the internet to the lab where the experiment is being conducted and would as a result add up to influence the outcome of the experiment.

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