Northwestern University & the Psi’ence of Presentiment

A Modular Model of Mind/Matter Manifestations" (M5)" by Robert Jahn and Brenda Dunne from Princeton Engineering Anomalous Research (PEAR)

Looks like Russell Targ was right on schedule with the publication of The Reality of ESP. Researchers from Northwestern University have conducted a meta-analysis of presentiment studies that is being featured in the current edition of Frontiers in Perception Science.  A lot of terms are being used: presentiment, unexplained anticipatory effect, ‘anomalous anticipatory activity,’ to basically say that they are talking about finding evidence for precognition, at least on the emotive level. They have concluded that there seems to be evidence to support the idea that we are able to perceive an event prior to it’s occurence, despite the fact that there is currently no adequate causal model in mainstream science (ie. what’s included in the text books.)

“Presentiment without any external clues may, in fact, exist, according to new Northwestern University research that analyzes the results of 26 studies published between 1978 and 2010.

Researchers already know that our subconscious minds sometimes know more than our conscious minds. Physiological measures of subconscious arousal, for instance, tend to show up before conscious awareness that a deck of cards is stacked against us.   “What hasn’t been clear is whether humans have the ability to predict future important events even without any clues as to what might happen,” said Julia Mossbridge, lead author of the study and research associate in the Visual Perception, Cognition and Neuroscience Laboratory at Northwestern.

A person playing a video game at work while wearing headphones, for example, can’t hear when his or her boss is coming around the corner.   “But our analysis suggests that if you were tuned into your body, you might be able to detect these anticipatory changes between two and 10 seconds beforehand and close your video game,” Mossbridge said. “You might even have a chance to open that spreadsheet you were supposed to be working on. And if you were lucky, you could do all this before your boss entered the room.”

This analysis supports the research findings of scientists, such as Dean Radin, Russell Targ, Hal Putoff, Ed May, Brenda Dunne, Robert Jahn, Marilyn Schlitz, Daryl Bem, Charles Tart, J.B. Rhine and others who have looked into these areas of anomalous perception over the past 80 years. Targ mentions in The Reality of ESP that the effect size seen in their studies of precognition and presentiment are significantly larger than the effect size shown by researchers who have claimed that aspirin can lower the risk of heart disease. While the findings regarding aspirn have been put into practical use by the medical community, more robust data from research into anomalous perception have been ignored. In their summary, the North Western researchers indicate coming to a similar conclusion regarding the effect size:

“The available data support the hypothesis tested by the current meta-analysis. Specifically, for paradigms producing post-stimulus physiological effects that differ among two or more intermixed and randomized stimulus classes, the group mean difference between physiological responses accompanying these stimulus classes seems to be in the same direction before and after stimulus presentation. For the 26 studies that fit our inclusion criteria (see Table A1 in Appendix), the estimated overall ES is small (most conservative estimate: 95% CI = 0.15–0.27), and is statistically significant. Though the ES is small, it is important to note that important scientific and health advances have been made by further examination of effects about half the size of this one (e.g., achievement scores vs. classroom size ES = 0.11, health outcomes vs. social support ES = 0.11; Rosenthal and Rosnow, 2008).

These results seem not to be an artifact of poor experimental design, as higher-quality experiments that addressed known methodological concerns (randomization and expectation bias analysis) produced a quantitatively if not significantly higher overall ES and level of significance than lower-quality studies. Further, the unexplained anticipatory effect examined here seems not to be due to expectation bias, as the overall effect was still highly significant when we included only those studies that reported expectation bias analyses and found that expectation bias could not explain the effects. Additional examination of other potential moderators of the effect revealed that the male-to-female ratio among study participants was not correlated with study ES; neither was the number of trials performed by each participant in a study correlated with ES.”

It should be noted that the meta-analysis focused on studies that were not necessarily looking specifically for presentiment. As noted in the ABC News coverage of the report,  “Mossbridge said that researchers are not sure whether people are really sensing the future, but added that her group’s findings were particularly interesting because the 26 studies she examined had purposes other than to look for evidence of presentiment.” In a way this points to what parapsychologists and scientists studying psi have said for years, once you look at the data, and are confronted with the phenomena, it’s impossible not to see that there are questions that need to be followed up with further research. In this case the data had to sneak in the back door to avoid getting caught up in bias and preconceived notions of what is and isn’t possible. How’s that for a replication of Daryl Bem’s results?

For a quick fix on this new report, check out Science Daily’s blurb (quoted first above) on the work at North Western University, or for the whole paper, head over to the full write up at the Frontiers in Perception Science website.

11 Comments on "Northwestern University & the Psi’ence of Presentiment"

  1. So David what do you think of the idea that our brains operate in some sense on a quantum level and that its possible for us to basically ascend/descend the Planck scale with information? From Micro to Macro?

    I mean I know there is some research that implies information may be able to travel faster than light speed.

    • David Metcalfe | Oct 24, 2012 at 3:36 pm |

      Some of the researchers are working on that, Dean Radin has mentioned quantum level possibilities, I believe that Stephan Schwartz and Russell Targ have as well in terms of non-local fields. Planck himself thought that this was the case.

      One of the key findings that points that way is the entanglement idea, which may explain why psi effects (at least in terms of anomalous perception) seem to work regardless of distance, time, and any form of shielding.

      Problem is that there is still an argument over the macro-level effects of quantum functions. Although I think this will change as quantum computing, and other areas like that are better understood.

      • Ted Heistman | Oct 24, 2012 at 5:30 pm |

        Yeah, that’s what I was thinking of-quantum entanglement. It would explain things like telephone telepathy.
        I don’t see why the macro thing is a problem though. I mean, you get an image or idea in your brain, commit to to paper or whatever media you are using, wood, clay and bam its macro. I mean its macro before that, somewhere in the brain. But anyway that’s what I think human beings are. We download from the aether and manifest it into five sense reality.
        I was talking about this with Billy the Jean on the other thread. She is a really talented fantasy illustrator BTW. So she probably does this even if she doesn’t believe in it!

    • Calypso_1 | Oct 25, 2012 at 9:00 am |

      “Wet” quantum effects are pretty controversial as far as anything macroscale, especially regarding consciousness. There are some neat things going on in biophysics regarding quantum hydrogen tunneling effects that account for the efficiency in biological enzymes. As to consciousness it all theoretical at this point; I rather like Stuart Hameroff’s work with Roger Penrose. This at least is looking for biological consciousness based mechanisms at quantum scale.

      His website & conferences are a good place to keep up to date with all the ideas and papers that are out their, particularly those focused on this theory.

      • kowalityjesus | Oct 25, 2012 at 11:58 am |

        That the experience of evolution has a vast, cold, living knowledge of all of these new, scientifically-foggy paradigms is a humbling and fascinating prospect…

        • Calypso_1 | Oct 25, 2012 at 12:56 pm |

          Cold in a way that sends shuddering electric harmonies of cosmic
          hosts through every sintered string of your soul.

        • That line is was awesome! I definitely think its useful to look at nature in terms of “collective intelligences”

  2. Laith Muhammad | Oct 24, 2012 at 4:35 pm |

    I note for a Modular Model of Mind/Matter Manifestations” (M5)” in (C) is the conscious mind, (T) is the tangible physical world, (U) is the unconscious underlying the conscious and (I) is the intangible underlying the tangible, through to get the vision, it is possible logical interpretation of some of the things related to these.
    I think it’s an interactive process occurs in the brain when a vision, but the link is missing between of the perceived physical and the physically Intangibles.


    Laith Muhammad

  3. Dean Radin | Oct 25, 2012 at 12:57 am |

    Actually, this meta-analysis does look at studies specifically examining the presentiment hypothesis.

  4. Ryan Tomme | Oct 7, 2013 at 1:10 pm |

    The truth of it is EVERYONE is capable of telepathic
    . That’s what they don’t want you to know.

Comments are closed.