Thursday, March 13, 2014

Psychophysical interactions with a double-slit interference pattern

Dean Radin, Leena Michel, James Johnston, and Arnaud Delorme (2013). Psychophysical interactions with a double-slit interference pattern. Physics Essays, Volume 26: p. 553-566

This is the third publication describing our ongoing research program on mind-matter interactions. This line of research focuses on experimentally testing John von Neumann's (and others) interpretation of the quantum measurement problem (QMP). The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy has a good description of the QMP. So far we've conducted 15 experiments and have reported the results of 10 of them. Overall the evidence is consistent with von Neumann's proposal that consciousness is involved in the behavior of quantum systems. Note that consistency doesn't necessarily mean that von Neumann's approach is the only valid interpretation.


Previously reported experiments suggested that interference patterns generated by a double-slit optical system were perturbed by a psychophysical (i.e., mind–matter) interaction. Three new experiments were conducted to further investigate this phenomenon. The first study consisted of 50 half-hour test sessions where participants concentrated their attention-toward or –away from a double-slit system located 3 meters away. The spectral magnitude and phase associated with the double-slit component of the interference pattern were compared between the two attention conditions, and the combined results provided evidence for an interaction. One hundred control sessions using the same equipment, protocol and analysis, but without participants present, showed no effect. 

A Fraunhofer diffraction model was used to explore various interpretations of this outcome. This analysis suggested that the distribution of light between the two slits and the horizontal stability of the laser beam were the principle components of the optical system that were perturbed. 

The second experiment used a duplicate double-slit system and similar test protocol, but it was conducted over the Internet by streaming data to participants’ web browsers. Some 685 people from six continents contributed 2,089 experimental sessions. Results were [significantly] similar to those observed in the first experiment, but smaller in magnitude. Data from 2,303 control sessions, conducted automatically every 2 hours using the same equipment but without observers showed no effect. Distance between participants and the optical system, ranging from 1 km to 18,000 km, showed no correlation with experimental effect size. 

The third experiment used a newly designed double-slit system, a revised test protocol, and a simpler method of statistical analysis. Twenty sessions contributed by 10 participants successfully replicated the interaction effect observed in the first two studies.

The article may be downloaded by clicking here.

Saturday, March 01, 2014

Was Buddha just a nice guy?

This is a talk I gave at the Science and Nonduality Conference in 2013. It's a shortened version of a presentation I've given a number of times about my latest book, Supernormal.

"Predicting the unpredictable" in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience

I conducted my first presentiment experiment in 1996. As of today this type of experiment has been repeated something like 40 times by a dozen labs. In this article, Julia Mossbridge, Patrizio Tressoldi, Jessica Utts, John Ives, Wayne Jonas and I discuss implications and potential applications of this phenomenon. The meta-analysis mentioned in this article considers only a clearly defined subset of the published studies. 

Predicting the unpredictable: Critical analysis and practical implications of predictive anticipatory activity 

A recent meta-analysis of experiments from seven independent laboratories (n=26) published since 1978 indicates that the human body can apparently detect randomly delivered stimuli occurring 1-10 seconds in the future. The key observation in these studies is that human physiology appears to be able to distinguish between unpredictable dichotomous future stimuli, such as emotional vs. neutral images or sound vs. silence. This phenomenon has been called presentiment (as in "feeling the future"). In this paper we call it predictive anticipatory activity or PAA. The phenomenon is "predictive" because it can distinguish between upcoming stimuli; it is "anticipatory" because the physiological changes occur before a future event; and it is an "activity" because it involves changes in the cardiopulmonary, skin, and/or nervous systems.

PAA is an unconscious phenomenon that seems to be a time-reversed reflection of the usual physiological response to a stimulus. It appears to resemble precognition (consciously knowing something is going to happen before it does), but PAA specifically refers to unconscious physiological reactions as opposed to conscious premonitions. Though it is possible that PAA underlies the conscious experience of precognition, experiments testing this idea have not produced clear results.

The first part of this paper reviews the evidence for PAA and examines the two most difficult challenges for obtaining valid evidence for it: expectation bias and multiple analyses. The second part speculates on possible mechanisms and the theoretical implications of PAA for understanding physiology and consciousness. The third part examines potential practical applications.

See the full paper here.