Tag Archives | Mind

A Campaign To Preserve The Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research Lab As A Museum

 Princeton Engineering Anomalies ResearchPresenting a much-needed Kickstarter to save the Twin Peaks-esque headquarters of the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research (PEAR) program. PEAR ran fascinating experiments using strange and fantastic devices with the goal of detecting collective consciousness and the physical manifestation of mental projection:
Operated at Princeton University from 1979 to 2007, PEAR is internationally renowned for its studies of human/machine anomalies and the role of consciousness in the construction of physical reality. Its legacy is now being carried forward by International Consciousness Research Laboratories (ICRL), a not-for-profit organization, which will house the proposed museum in its Princeton, NJ, headquarters. Designed to study the potential vulnerability of engineering devices and information processing systems to the anomalous influence of the consciousness of their human operators, machines that will be in this exhibit were based on some form of random physical noise that produced a statistical output distribution, which was automatically recorded on hard copy and in a computer file.
Continue Reading

Pim Van Lommel On Near Death Experiences And Non-Local Consciousness

I remain somewhat skeptical that near death experiences (NDE) involve a different plane of perception, but Pim van Lommel is far closer to convincing me than Proof of Heaven. Inspired by the transformative encounters described by his patients, the Dutch cardiologist has interviewed hundreds of people who have had NDEs and argues that they are “real”, cannot be dismissed as tricks of memory or the oxygen-deprived mind, and are suggestive of consciousness existing outside of the brain:

I grew up in an academic environment in which i had been taught that there was a reductionist and literalist explanation for everything, that it was obvious that consciousness was a product of a functioning brain. But the phenomenon of near death experiences raised a number of fundamental questions. I was unable to accept most of the answers to these questions because they seemed incomplete, incorrect, or unfounded.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Applying Oneirogens For Better Dreaming

OneirogensVia Utne Reader, Jennifer Dumpert explains oneirogens, substances taken for dream enhancement and manipulation:

Mugwort: Promotes lucid dreams, “astral travel,” and visionary dreams. Contains thujone, the most active ingredient in absinthe.
Roman Chamomile: Calms dreams, reduces stress, and aids sleep. It is helpful for those who experience nightmares or restless sleep.
Lavender: Increases alpha waves, promoting tranquil, calm dreams. Relaxes the nervous system and reduces tension and irritability.

On the last Saturday of every month, Oneironauticum participants worldwide enter dream space together. We do this by sharing an oneirogen. An oneirogen is anything that induces vivid dreams. Our oneirogens are often substances, but sometimes they’re practices or sensory triggers. Whether it’s garlic, galantamine, or Tibetan Buddhist lucid-dream practices, if it promotes dreams and dream recall, we’ll try it. Sometimes our oneirogens are easy to come by. Other oneirogens, like Silene capensis or Blue Water lilies (Nymphaea caerulea), take some effort to find.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Is Spirituality The Result Of A Combination Of Hallucinations And Happiness?


Epiphenom suggests that positive moods and an inclination towards hallucinatory episodes may be the ingredients that produce the spiritual mindset:

Hallucinations and such like are actually a rather common part of the human experience – probably 70% of people experience some form of ‘unusual experiences’ at some time in their lives. You might think that hallucinations would be distressing, but people often report them to be quite pleasant. What’s more, spiritual people often report being happier than average.

James Schuurmans-Stekhoven, at the Charles Sturt University in Bathurst, Australia, speculated that that the two might be causally related. In other words, he thinks that when basically happy people have ‘unusual experiences’ like auditory hallucinations, it inclines them to a spirtual worldview.

To test this, he surveyed Australians about their spirituality, their unusual experiences, and their positive affectivity (mood). As happiness and unusual experiences increase, so to does spirituality.

But [for] people with the lowest levels of unusual experiences, changing levels of positive affect has basically no effect on their spirituality.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

What It’s Like To Live As A Dead Person

cotard's syndrome

From New Scientist, what it’s like to live with the constant, crushing realization that you are dead:

Nine years ago, Graham woke up and discovered he was dead. He was in the grip of Cotard’s syndrome. People with this rare condition believe that they, or parts of their body, no longer exist.

For Graham, it was his brain that was dead, and he believed that he had killed it. Suffering from severe depression, he had tried to commit suicide by taking an electrical appliance with him into the bath.

“When I was in hospital I kept on telling them that the tablets weren’t going to do me any good ’cause my brain was dead. I lost my sense of smell and taste. I didn’t need to eat, or speak, or do anything…everything was meaningless.”

Neurologist Adam Zeman said, “He felt he was in a limbo state caught between life and death.”

Some people with Cotard’s have reportedly died of starvation, believing they no longer needed to eat.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Is Following The News Bad For You?

too much newsAs they say, the medium is the message, and the 24-hour breaking news cycle may be degrading your mind and your life. Via the Guardian, Rolf Dobelli argues thus:

News is bad for your health. It leads to fear and aggression, and hinders your creativity and ability to think deeply.

News misleads. News leads us to walk around with the completely wrong risk map in our heads. So terrorism is over-rated. Chronic stress is under-rated. Astronauts are over-rated. Nurses are under-rated.

News works like a drug. As stories develop, we want to know how they continue. With hundreds of arbitrary storylines in our heads, this craving is increasingly compelling and hard to ignore. The more news we consume, the more we exercise the neural circuits devoted to skimming and multitasking while ignoring those used for reading deeply and thinking with profound focus. The physical structure of the brain changes.

News makes us passive.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Researchers Successfully Use Subjects’ Brain Waves As Personal Identifiers

brain wavesIn coming years, allowing a machine to momentarily observe your mental activity may be the key to open your email account or front door. Via Dark Reading:

It sounds like something straight out of science fiction: brainwaves taking the place of passwords in the name of authentication. A new study by researchers from the U.C. Berkeley School of Information examined the brainwave signals of individuals performing specific actions to see whether they can be consistently matched to the right individual.

Participants were asked to imagine performing a repetitive motion from a sport of their choice, singing a song, watching a series of on-screen images and silently counting the objects, or choose their own thought and focus on it for 10 seconds.

To measure the subjects’ brainwaves, the team used the NeuroSky Mindset, a Bluetooth headset that records Electroencephalographic (EEG) activity. In the end, the team was able to match the brainwave signals with 99 percent accuracy.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

A Sense Of Being Watched Is Hardwired Into Our Brains, Say Researchers

brain sense of being watchedIf when in doubt, we tend to feel that eyes must be upon us, could this help explain much of our behavior? From belief in a god staring down at us, to paranoid fantasies, to reluctance to break social norms even when no one is actually paying attention? Via the Telegraph:

The feeling that others are watching us is an evolutionary mechanism designed to keep us alert, experts said.

Prof. Colin Clifford, a University of Sydney psychologist who led the research, explained: “A direct gaze can signal dominance or a threat, and if you perceive something as a threat you would not want to miss it. Simply assuming another person is looking at you may be the safest strategy.”

The researchers asked volunteers to determine in which direction a series of faces were looking. Even without being able to clearly see where the eyes were focused, the participants felt as if they were being watched.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Experiment Gives Lab Rats The Ability To Communicate Telepathically

There’s something a bit dark about this impressive experiment, in which one rat telepathically gives orders to the other. New Scientist reports:

The world’s first brain-to-brain connection has given rats the power to communicate by thought alone. “Many people thought it could never happen,” says Miguel Nicolelis at Duke University. Nicolelis’s team has demonstrated a direct interface between two brains – with the rats sharing both motor and sensory information.

The feat was achieved by first training rats to press one of two levers when an LED above that lever was lit. A correct action opened a hatch containing water to drink. The researchers wired up the implants of an encoder and a decoder rat. The pair were given the lever-press task, but only the encoder rats saw the LEDs come on. Brain signals from the encoder rat were transmitted to the decoder rat. The team found that the decoders, despite having no visual cue, pressed the correct lever.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Love Is Just Small Moments Of Positivity Resonance

You can fall in and out of love every day, and experience the benefits of brief moments of “positivity resonance,” just by being open to other people. Via the Atlantic:

Psychologist Barbara Fredrickson, a leading researcher of positive emotions, presents scientific evidence that love is not what we think it is. It is not a long-lasting yearning and passion that characterizes young love or sustains a marriage; and it is not the blood-tie of kinship.

Rather, it is what she calls a “micro-moment of positivity resonance.” She means that love is a connection, characterized by a flood of positive emotions, which you share with another person—any other person—whom you happen to connect with in the course of your day. You can experience these micro-moments with your romantic partner, child, or close friend. But you can also fall in love, however momentarily, with a stranger on the street, a colleague at work, or an attendant at a grocery store.

Read the rest
Continue Reading