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La mente estesa: prove scientifiche dell'esistenza dell'E.S.P.?
post pubblicato in filosofia, il 26 settembre 2011


In questo lungo articolo prendo in considerazione i lavori di 2 scienziati noetici, dei quali è descritta una breve biografia presa da Wikipedia che ringrazio. Più in basso vengono riportati i maggiori lavori scientifici in versione integrale in inglese, di pubblico dominio, per evidenziarne e salvaguardarne il valore:

  • Rupert Sheldrake (link1);
  • Roger D. Nelson e collaboratori (link2).

Rupert Sheldrake (Newark-on-Trent, 28 giugno 1942) è un biologo e saggista britannico, noto soprattutto per la sua controversa teoria della "causalità formativa", che implica un universo non meccanicistico, governato da leggi che sono esse stesse soggette a cambiamenti. L'idea che ogni specie, ogni membro di ogni specie, attinga alla memoria collettiva della specie, si sintonizzi con i membri passati della specie e a sua volta contribuisca all'ulteriore sviluppo della specie, comporta una specie di "risonanza" fra gli individui e i gruppi della specie (per esempio i sottogruppi, razze, etnie, gens, famiglie, ecc., nel caso umano). Nel libro The Presence of the Past, Sheldrake avanza l'ipotesi che i "campi ricordi" non siano effettivamente memorizzati nel cervello, ma piuttosto che possano essere memorizzati in un campo di informazioni al quale si può accedere mediante il cervello. Se questo fosse dimostrato, ciò avvalorerebbe la tesi che la coscienza umana, i nostri ricordi personali e il nostro senso dell'io possano sopravvivere alla morte biologica. Di particolare importanza, nella teoria di Sheldrake, è il concetto di risonanza morfica. Ogni struttura organizzata di attività, che comprende anche sogni, esperienze mistiche, stati alterati della coscienza, ha una sua struttura, e dato che questi stati mentali e queste attività hanno una struttura, allora queste strutture possono spostarsi da una persona all’altra grazie alla risonanza morfica. Per questo il veicolo attraverso il quale le informazioni vengono trasmesse da un sistema ad un altro viene definito risonanza morfica.Secondo la teoria di Sheldrake, se un certo numero di persone sviluppa alcune proprietà comportamentali o psicologiche od organiche, queste vengono automaticamente acquisite da altri membri della stessa specie. Così, se una buona parte dell'umanità raggiunge un certo livello di consapevolezza spirituale, questa stessa consapevolezza si estenderebbe per risonanza morfica ad altri gruppi, coinvolgendo quindi l'intero sistema (questo numero di persone o comunque di individui appartenenti ad ogni altra specie in cui si verificherebbe un analogo fenomeno è chiamato massa critica). Ogni trasformazione individuale comporta una modificazione del sistema e chi si trova all'interno di questo sistema viene inevitabilmente coinvolto. Cominciamo quindi a trasformare noi stessi. Questo è il massimo che possiamo fare. La trasformazione personale è l'arma più potente che si possa usare per modificare l'umanità e l'intero pianeta.
Questa esemplificazione discende dalla controversa teoria della "causalità formativa" di Sheldrake, che ovviamente implica un universo non meccanicistico e governato da leggi che sono esse stesse soggette a cambiamenti.

 

 

Il senso di essere osservati

  La sensazione di essere osservati da qualcuno che sta dietro di noi è molto comune, e fin troppo spesso a tale sensazione corrisponde il fatto che qualcuno ci stia realmente guardando (come è possibile verificare girando lo sguardo). Una delle cose più incredibili è che molto spesso in tale frangente si indovina a colpo sicuro la posizione della persona che ci sta guardando.

Una cosa curiosa è che la gente che si sente osservata da dietro le spalle a volte non si gira (forse non vuole razionalmente credere alle proprie sensazioni) ma mostra in tal caso un caratteristico nervosismo, ad esempio spesso si gratta la nuca.

Rupert Sheldrake (un biologo decisamente controcorrente) nel suo libro 
La mente estesa (Urra edizioni) racconta diversi aneddoti di persone che percepiscono non solo gli sguardi, ma persino le osservazioni fatte col binocolo da grande distanza, o fatte con le telecamere a circuito chiuso, o gli sguardi da dietro un vetro. Nei sondaggi da lui eseguiti ha rilevato che una percentuale di circa l’80% delle persone è consapevole del fatto che può sentire su di sé gli sguardi delle altre persone anche quando queste sono fuori dal proprio campo visuale.
  http://www.sheldrake.org/homepage.html

 

Trascrivo solo una breve testimonianza dalla pagina 145 del suddetto libro di Sheldrake:
“Stavo ascoltando una lezione, quando dopo circa un quarto d’ora mi sentii a disagio e fui presa da una sorta di sconforto. Quando mi voltai, sette file indietro vidi l’ex mogie di mio marito che mi fissava”

Ma fin qui potremmo essere ancora nel campo del “si dice” e dei racconti aneddotici. E gli scettici potrebbero ancora pensare che si ricorda con facilità il caso in cui la sensazione di essere osservati si dimostra esatta (ossia quando voltandosi si scorge la persona che ci osserva), mentre ci si dimentica dei casi in cui la sensazione si dimostra errata; insomma si potrebbe in teoria tirare in ballo la cosiddetta scusa della “memoria selettiva”.

Invece esistono delle ricerche in cui sono stati misurati sperimentalmente dei parametri fisici e registrate delle correlazioni che non possono assolutamente essere attribuite al caso.

La prima di cui vi racconto è stata eseguita da Mikio Yamamoto e dai suoi colleghi presso l’Istituto Nazionale di Scienze Radiologiche di Chiba, in Giappone. Si tratta di una ricerca sul tao-ate, tecnica marziale per attaccare l’avversario senza contatto fisico.

Nell’esperimento cui l’attaccante, (un maestro di qigong cinese) ed il ricevente furono posti a tre piani di distanza in stanze schermate. Il comportamento del ricevente (la persona “attaccata”) era monitorato da riprese video, così come la sua resistenza cutanea ed il suo elettro-encefalogramma (EEG). Obbedendo alle indicazioni degli sperimentatori, che seguivano una procedura randomizzata in doppio cieco, l’attaccante mandava i suoi “attacchi energetici” e molto spesso il ricevente in quell’istante si ritraeva (osservazione visiva comprovata dalle riprese) e mostrava alterazioni dell’EEG e della resistenza della pelle. L’analisi statistica delle correlazioni osservate ha esclusa la possibilità che ciò sia avvenuto per caso e si è arrivati alla conclusione che il tao-ate comporta una forma di trasmissione che non è attualmente spiegabile dalla scienza (ma non di meno è reale).
Secondo il maestro “attaccante” ciò che viene trasmesso è l’energia che tradizionalmente gli orientali chiamano qi (o ki o ch’i, a secondo delle trascrizioni)

Gli estremi di tale ricerca sono i seguenti:

Yamamoto M. et al (2000) “Study on analyzing methods of human body functions using various simultaneous measurements” Journal of international Society of Life Information Science 18, 61-97
 

http://www.scienzenoetiche.it/forum/viewtopic.php?p=350

 

Pubblicazioni scientifiche di Sheldrake sul "senso di essere osservati":

 

 http://www.sheldrake.org/Articles&Papers/papers/staring/

1. http://www.sheldrake.org/Articles&Papers/papers/staring/pdf/JCSpaper1.pdf

2. http://www.sheldrake.org/Articles&Papers/papers/staring/pdf/JCSpaper2.pdf

3. http://www.sheldrake.org/Articles&Papers/papers/staring/artefacts_abs.html

 

 

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Roger D. Nelson is the director of the Global Consciousness Project (GCP), an international, multi-laboratory collaboration founded in 1997 to study collective consciousness. From 1980 to 2002, he was Coordinator of Research at the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research (PEAR) laboratory at Princeton University. His professional focus is the study of consciousness and intention and the role of mind in the physical world. His work integrates science andspirituality, including research that is directly focused on numinous communal experiences.[1]

Building on years of laboratory experiments studying the effects of human intention on sensitive engineering equipment, Nelson began using random event generator (REG) technology in the field to study effects of special states of group consciousness. This led to the GCP, a globally distributed network of REGs around the world sending data continuously over the Internet to a server in Princeton, NJ. The network is designed to register indications of a hypothesized global consciousness responding to major world events such as 9/11/2001, the beginnings of war, or New Year's Eve.

Nelson's professional degrees are in experimental cognitive psychology. His work in design and analysis is supplemented by a background in physics, statistical methods, and multi-media production. Until his retirement in 2002, he served as the coordinator of experimental work in the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research Lab (PEAR), directed by Robert Jahn in the department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, School of Engineering/Applied Science, Princeton University.

 

Un dispositivo "capterebbe" i turbamenti della "coscienza collettiva" addirittura in anticipo!

 

Screenshots of the REG-1 software

Come più volte descritto nella trasmissione Voyager, esisterebbe un congegno simile.

Uno scienziato (Roger D. Nelson) ha inventato un generatore di numeri casuali che sfrutta dei principi della meccanica quantistica (REG).

Stranamente si è osservato che gruppi di persone concentrandosi con la mente possono influenzare la successione dei numeri casuali dell'apparecchio (REG).image

 

Allora si è deciso di mettere i REG in punti strategici nelle principali città del mondo e di collegarli con un server centrale.

Si è visto che in corrispondenza di eventi di importanza mondiale (attentati, terremoti, maremoti, elezioni di presidenti, crolli o exploit di borsa, ecc. ecc.), esiste una correlazione tra l'evento e la modificazione del grafico del REG.

Addirittura per alcuni eventi tipo l'attentato delle Torri Gemelle di New York, la perturbazione della "coscienza collettiva" sarebbe incominciata 4-5 ore prima (vedere grafico).

Questa storia dei REG è così pazza che quasi, quasi ci credo!

 

http://noosphere.princeton.edu/

http://www.psyleron.com/

http://www.lfr.org/lfr/csl/library/sep1101.pdf

http://lottovolante.plnet.forumcommunity.net/?t=38076435

 

 

Vedere filamato esplicativo: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lXBk-vRZru8&feature=related

 

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Testo della bibliografia principale:

Experiments on the Sense of Being Stared At
The Elimination of Possible Artefacts

 

Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, Vol. 65, pp.122-137 (2001)

by Rupert Sheldrake


ABSTRACT:


INTRODUCTION 
The feeling of being stared at from behind is very well known. Surveys in Europe and North America have shown that between 70 and 97% of the population have experienced it (Braud, Shafer & Andrews, 1990; Sheldrake, 1994; Cottrell, Winer & Smith, 1996). 

For many years this phenomenon was surprisingly neglected by psychical researchers, and experimental investigations were few and far between. Nevertheless, most studies gave statistically significant positive results indicating that people really could tell when they were being looked at from behind (for reviews see Braud, Shafer & Andrews, 1993a; Sheldrake, 1994). Recent studies have also given significant positive results. 

Two kinds of experiment have been carried out. In the first, in a randomized series of trials the subjects were looked at directly, or not looked at, and for each trial guessed whether they were being looked at or not (Sheldrake,1994, 1998, 1999, 2000a). Their guesses were either right or wrong. (In this context the term "guess" is used for want of a better way of describing the process the subjects employed in trying to detect the lookers' influence.) 

In the second kind of experiment, subjects were viewed through closed circuit television (CCTV) by a looker in a different room, and could not have received any clues about when they were being looked at through normal sensory channels.. In these CCTV experiments, the subjects did not have to make any conscious guesses; their reactions were measured automatically by recording their galvanic skin response (GSR), as in lie-detector tests (Braud, Shafer & Andrews 1990, 1993a, 1993b; Schlitz & LaBerge, 1994, 1997). 

A great advantage of simple experiments in which subjects make conscious guesses is that they enable many more people to take part in this research than the CCTV method. They are also closer to the real-life phenomenon, and permit a range of investigations of different variables that affect the sensitivity of subjects or the effectiveness of starers. 

These experiments have again and again shown a characteristic pattern whereby the scores in the looking trials are very significantly above the chance level, whereas in the control not-looking trials the scores are not significantly different from chance (Sheldrake, 1998, 1999, 2000a). 

This pattern makes sense if people really do have a sense of being stared at from behind. The sense would be expected to operate when they are indeed being stared at. By contrast, in the control trials, the subjects are being asked to detect the absence of a stare, which is a unnatural request with no parallel in real-life conditions, so it is not surprising that their guesses were at chance levels. This characteristic pattern also implies that the results of the trials are not simply a matter of cheating, subtle cues, implicit learning or errors in recording the data. These possible sources of error should have affected scores in both looking and not-looking trials. 

Many people familiar with the field of psychical research, proponents and sceptics alike, find it difficult to believe that a seemingly 'paranormal' phenomenon can be investigated meaningfully by such simple and inexpensive methods, and that these experiments can give repeatable positive results. It all seems too good to be true, and arouses the suspicion that more or less subtle artefacts must underlie this effect. If so, what could they be? 

The most important potential problems are as follows: 
1 Peeping or peripheral vision. This seems unlikely because it is not possible to see someone sitting directly behind, and if the head were turned sufficiently to do so the movement of the head would be obvious. Nevertheless, this possibility needed to be tested experimentally, and in one of the experiments reported in this paper I did this by comparing the performance of subjects with and without blindfolds. If peeping or peripheral vision were involved, the use of blindfolds should reduce or eliminate it.
2 Auditory or olfactory clues. The subjects might hear the lookers moving their heads, or hear differences in their breathing, or hear paper rustling when they turned away, or even detect different smells depending on which way they were facing and breathing. These possibilities have been tested in a series of experiments in which lookers and subjects were separated by closed windows. The fact that there was still a still a significant positive effect showed that sounds and smells could not explain the phenomenon (Sheldrake, 2000a). The CCTV experiments also eliminated the possibility of such sensory clues.
3 Implicit learning. In trials in which feedback is given, subjects could learn to respond to subtle sensory clues or to any patterns present in the trial randomization. If so, then these forms of learning should not take place when subjects are not given feedback. One of the experiments reported in this paper was designed to investigate the effects of feedback by comparing the performance of subjects with and without it. 
4 Cheating. The lookers might whisper or in some other way signal to the subjects whether they were looking or not looking. This possibility was tested and eliminated by separating lookers and subjects by closed windows (Sheldrake, 2000a), and it was also eliminated in the CCTV experiments. 
5 Faults in recording the responses. The lookers could have made mistakes in writing down the subjects' responses. This is a general problem with any kind of research in which recording is done by human observers, rather than a specific problem with staring experiments. Although careful supervision of the lookers can reduce this possibility, perhaps it cannot eliminate it altogether. On the other hand, in experiments such as these, recording errors would not be expected to have a differential effect in test and control trials, such as those repeatedly observed in experiments of this kind. In the CCTV trials, the records of GSR were made automatically and hence would not have been subject to human recording errors.
6 Experimenter effects. These could play a part when experimenters themselves serve as lookers, especially if they expect their stares to be ineffective. Their negative expectations might influence the way they stare, for example by reducing their concentration. Under these conditions experimenter expectancy effects are not only probable, but have actually been shown to occur, as discussed below. 

Experimenter Effects 
Although most experiments both with direct staring and through CCTV have given significant positive results, a few have failed to detect the staring effect, notably those carried out by sceptics when the sceptics themselves acted as the lookers. Even sceptics have obtained significant positive results when students served as lookers. 

In initial experiments on the sense of being stared at carried out in the laboratory of Richard Wiseman, students acted as lookers. But in these experiments, instead of looking at a single subject, the lookers were looking at two subjects, thus dividing their attention (Wiseman & Smith, 1994). Nevertheless, in a series of CCTV experiments there was a significant difference in the subjects' skin resistance in the looking and not-looking trials (p<0.04). 

Wiseman & Smith (1994) tried to explain this positive result as an artefact. They found that in their randomization, more looking trials preceded not-looking trials than vice versa. They argued that this could have given rise to an artefactual positive result if subjects' galvanic skin resistance (GSR) declined throughout the session as they became more relaxed. Apparently they did not examine their data to see if this was in fact the case, but concluded anyway that their positive result was "almost certainly" artefactual (Wiseman & Smith, 1994). They recommended that in future research of this kind, rather than truly random sequences, counterbalanced sequences with equal numbers of staring and not-staring trials should be used to avoid possible artefacts of this kind. 

I asked Wiseman and Smith if I could examine their data to test their hypothesis. They told me that some of the data were inaccessible, but kindly supplied me with the data for 17 out of 30 subjects, which I examined to see if in fact GSR had declined throughout the sessions, as they had speculated. In 10 cases it declined, while in 7 it increased. If a general trend of decreasing GSR gave rise to artefactual positive scores when more looking trials preceded not-looking trials, in the subjects where GSR increased there should have been an opposite effect. I found that this was not the case. At least for this available subset of the data, the facts do not support Wiseman and Smith's speculation. 

The positive results in this CCTV experiment were obtained with students as lookers. In subsequent CCTV experiments in Wiseman's laboratory, the experimenters themselves acted as lookers, and then there were no significant positive effects (Wiseman et al., 1995). Under these conditions there could well have been scope for experimenter effects, biassing the results in the direction of the experimenters' expectations. Such experimenter expectancy effects are well known in psychological and parapsychological research (e.g. Rosenthal, 1976; Palmer, 1989a, b). 

The possibility of experimenter effects in staring experiments has been tested directly by Wiseman & Schlitz (1997), who jointly carried out a CCTV staring experiment in which half the subjects were tested with Schlitz as looker, and half with Wiseman. As on previous occasions, Schlitz obtained significant positive results (Schlitz & LaBerge, 1994, 1997), while Wiseman's were non-significant. 

The implications of these experimenter effects are not symmetrical. A sceptic could well obtain a non-significant result in accordance with his negative expectations, for example by not concentrating on the subject, but someone with positive expectations could not cause subjects to obtain positive scores by any normal means when all possibilities of sensory information transfer were excluded, as they were in these experiments. 

Recently Colwell, Schröder & Sladen (2000) carried out a staring experiment following similar methods to my own, using randomized sequences I had published on my world wide web site (www.sheldrake.org). In their experiment, the lookers and subjects were separated by a one-way mirror. As in my own tests, in a randomized series of trials, the looker either looked at the back of the subjects' necks, or looked away and thought of something else. The subjects guessed after each trial whether they had been looked at or not. 

In the first experiment, Schröder, a graduate student, was the looker. Over nine sessions in which the subjects were given feedback as to whether their guesses were correct or not, the results were positive and statistically significant (p<0.001). The pattern of results was very similar to that in my own experiments (Sheldrake, 1998, 1999, 2000a), with a highly significant excess of correct guesses in the looking trials, and guesses at chance levels in the control trials, when the subjects were not looked at. There was, moreover, an increasing accuracy as the subjects were tested repeatedly, with a significant linear trend (p < 0.003). 

Like Wiseman & Smith (1994), Colwell et al. (2000) attempted to explain their positive result as an artefact of the randomization procedure. They argued that rather than supporting the possibility that people really can feel stares, their participants' positive scores were an artefact that arose from "the detection and response to structure" present in my randomized sequences. And indeed the sequences they took from my world wide web site were not "structureless". Ironically, this was the case because I adopted the recommendation of Wiseman & Smith (1994) to use counterbalanced sequences with equal numbers of looking and not-looking trials. 

The crux of Colwell et al.'s argument was that because of the deviations from "structureless" randomness in my sequences, participants could have implicitly learned to detect patterns, for example that there was a relatively high probability of an alternation after "two of a kind". But they offered no evidence that their participants in fact learned to follow such rules. They could have examined the trial-by-trial scores to see if there actually was an excess of successful guesses after two of a kind, or after any other pattern they chose to postulate. Instead, they offered no more than a speculation that this might have been the case. 

The arguments of Colwell et al. (2000) were reiterated in a simplified form in an article in The Skeptical Inquirer by Marks Marks & Colwell (2000), who failed to mention a fundamental flaw in this hypothesis of pattern-detection through implicit learning. The problem is this. Implicit learning should in principle enable participants to improve equally in looking and not-looking trials. But this is not what happened. Significant improvements occurred only in the looking trials (Colwell et al., 2000). So how could implicit learning work in looking trials, but not at all in not-looking trials? 

Colwell et al. (2000) recognized this problem, but could only suggest that participants may have "focused more on the detection of staring than non-staring episodes." This begs the question. The subjects must have selectively detected when staring trials were happening, otherwise their scores would not have been above chance levels and shown such an improvement in successive sessions. But this effect could well have occurred because they really could detect when they were being stared at. 

Colwell et al. (2000) did a second experiment to test their hypothesis using a "structureless" randomization procedure and this time obtained non-significant results. But in their discussion, as in Marks & Colwell's (2000), they omitted to mention that in their second experiment there was not only a different randomization procedure, but also a different looker, David Sladen. As one of the proponents of the pattern-detection hypothesis, Sladen was presumably expecting a non-significant result. His negative expectations may well have influenced the way in which he stared at the participants. It would be interesting to know if Sadi Schröder, the graduate student who acted as starer in their first experiment, was more open-minded about the possibility that people really could detect stares. 

Thus the difference between the results of Colwell et al.'s first and second experiments could well be have been due to an experimenter effect, rather than to differently randomized test sequences. 

Colwell et al. (2000) and Marks & Colwell (2000) used the results of this second experiment to suggest that my own findings in staring experiments were an artefact due to implicit learning of structures present in the counterbalanced randomized sequences. If my experiments had involved feedback, as required by their hypothesis, this criticism might have been relevant. But this is not how the tests were done. 

In more than five thousand of my own trials, the randomization was indeed "structureless", and was carried out by each starer before each trial by tossing a coin (Sheldrake 1999, Tables 1 and 2). The same was true of more than 3,000 trials in German and American schools (Sheldrake 1998). Thus the highly significant positive results in these experiments cannot be "an artifact of pseudo randomization", as Marks and Colwell (2000) suggested. 

When I developed the counterbalanced sequences, I changed the experimental design so that feedback was no longer given to the subjects. Since the pattern-detection hypothesis depends on feedback, it cannot account for the fact that in more than 10,000 trials without feedback there were still highly significant positive results (Sheldrake 1999, Tables 3 and 4). 

Finally, in another recent paper in The Skeptical Inquirer, Baker (2000) reported that in a staring experiment (through a one-way mirror) with himself as the starer the results were non- significant. Baker made no secret of his sceptical attitude and indeed regarded his experiment not so much as a test as a "demonstration" of the non-existence of an ability to detect stares. In addition to the likelihood of a strong experimenter effect, his experimental design was seriously flawed. His instructions to his subjects were confusing, ambiguous and (at least in their published form) contained serious errors, as he now recognizes (Sheldrake, 2000b). 

By contrast with these experiments carried out by sceptics, the positive and highly significant results in the far larger number of experiments carried out by other investigators and by myself have involved hundreds of different people acting as lookers, with no selection for sceptical or non-sceptical attitudes. Overall, there was an extremely significant positive effect (p< 1x10-15) (Sheldrake, 1999), indicating that people really can tell when they are being looked at from behind. 

The Effects of Blindfolding Subjects and Giving Them Feedback 
In this paper I describe the results of experiments I carried out in a school in North London to examine the effects of blindfolding the subjects, compared with not blindfolding them, and giving them feedback, compared with not giving them feedback. 

I also report a series of experiments in a school in Ireland in which all subjects were blindfolded and given no feedback. The Irish experiments also examined the effects of different kinds of relationship between lookers and subjects, in particular comparing unrelated pairs of children with pairs of siblings and with twins. The twin studies are of particular interest in view of the wealth of anecdotal evidence (e.g. Eason, 1994) and scientific studies (e.g. Dossey,1997) that suggest that monozygotic twins are closely linked, and may be subject to unexplained influences from each other. 

The results confirm that simple experiments on the feeling of being stared at can give remarkably consistent results, even when carried out as projects by schoolchildren, and illustrate that such experiments can be used to explore new questions. 

METHODS 
My experiments were carried out in February and March, 1997 at University College School Junior Branch (UCS), a boys' school in Hampstead, London. Each experiment took place with a different class, either in the fourth form (age 10-11), or in the third form (age 9-10). The experiments were carried out in the school science laboratory and were supervised by myself and the class's science teacher, either Mr Mark Albini or Mr John Hubbard. Before the experiment began, I gave a brief introductory talk explaining and demonstrating the procedure. 

The boys worked in pairs, one (the subject) sitting with his back towards the other (the looker). The distance between them was 1 to 2 metres. They sat in places where there were no reflective surfaces (such as mirrors or windows) that could have enabled the subject to see the looker's reflection. Each pair of boys sat in a different part of the room, and proceeded with the trials at their own pace. 

In a set of 20 trials, in a random sequence, the looker either looked at the back of the subject or looked away, and was instructed to think of something else. The random sequence was set out on previously prepared sheets, with 24 different random sequences of looking and not-looking trials, compiled on the basis of standard random number tables. These sheets were given to the lookers only after the subject was in place and unable to see the sheet. Following the suggestion of Wiseman & Smith (1994) that trial sequences in staring experiments be counterbalanced, 12 of these 24 trial sequences were the inverse of the other 12. 

The looker indicated to the subject when a trial was beginning by a click, made with a mechanical clicker, and the subject then guessed whether he was being looked at or not, saying out loud "looking" or "not looking". The looker recorded the result on the instruction sheet. In trials in which feedback was given, the looker then told the subject whether the answer was correct or not. 

Usually subjects indicated their guess within 10 seconds, but if they had not done so already were asked to do so after 20 seconds. The procedure was therefore quite fast, and most pairs could complete 20 trials in 10 minutes or less. 

The blindfolds worn by subjects were kindly supplied by Virgin Atlantic Airways, and were of the type widely used by air passengers in order to sleep on planes. They are held on by elastic bands that go round the back of the head and block out all sideways peripheral vision, although light can sometimes leak in under the blindfolds right next to the nose. These blindfolds effectively eliminate any possibility of the subjects seeing what is going on behind them. 

Experiment 1: The effects of blindfolds 
The experiments to test the effects of blindfolds were carried out by classes 4B and 4W. Each class was divided into two groups, 1 and 2, consisting of 4 or 5 pairs of boys. The experiments took place in two phases, and within each phase there were two sessions. In the first phase of the experiment, the subjects in group 1 wore blindfolds, while those in group 2 did not. In the first session, each subject completed a set of 20 trials, and then for the second session the looker and subject changed places and carried out a second set of 20 trials. In the second phase of the experiment, the subjects in group 1 did not wear blindfolds, while the subjects in group 2 did so. Again, there were two sessions in which first one and then the other member of each pair took his turn as subject. In the case of class 4B there was sufficient time for a third phase, in which the pairs in group 1 again used blindfolds, and those in group 2 did not. In all cases, subjects were told after each guess if they were right or wrong, in other words they received feedback. 

Experiment 2: The effects of feedback 
In the experiments on the effects of feedback, all subjects wore blindfolds in all trials. These experiments were conducted with classes 4S and 3E. 

As in the experiments on the effects of blindfolds, each class was divided into two groups, 1 and 2. In the first phase of the experiment, the subjects in group 1 were given feedback, while those in group 2 were not; in the second phase the situation was reversed, with the subjects in group 2 receiving feedback and those in group 1 not receiving it. As before, there were two sessions in each phase, in which the lookers and subject reversed roles. 

Experiments in Irish schools 
In 1998, two Irish schoolgirls, Susan and Jennifer Brodigan, who are non-identical twins, carried out a large-scale project on the feeling of being stared at, following instructions I supplied. In their experiments all subjects wore blindfolds, and none received feedback. 

The participants in their experiments were 11 to 18-year -old girls at the twins' own school, Our Lady's College, Greenhills, Drogheda, and also primary school children, both boys and girls, aged 9-11 from a number of different schools: Tullyallen National School; St Patrick's National School, Harestown; Presentation School, Ballymakenny; Cartown National School, Termonfeckin; and Scoil Aonghusa. In their experiments some pairs of children were related, either siblings or twins, while other pairs were unrelated. 

The methods were as described above, except for the fact that instead of each looker signalling individually when each trial began, a signal was given to the whole class by means of a buzzer, so the trials in a given class were synchronized. Each looker had a different score sheet with a different random sequence of looking and not-looking trials. 

The Brodigan twins kindly sent me all the score sheets from their experiments, and I tabulated the data as described below.

Analysis of the Data 
The numbers of right and wrong guesses from each set of 20 trials carried out by each looker-subject pair were tabulated in three columns; "Looking", "Not looking" and "Total", enabling the total number of right and wrong guesses in each column to be obtained. 

For each set of 20 trials, in each column, the data were also scored as follows:

+ if the subject made more right than wrong guesses 
- if the subject made more wrong than right guesses 
= if the number of right and wrong guesses was the same.

 



 

Statistical analysis was carried out in three ways. First, the chi-squared test was used to compare the total numbers of right and wrong guesses in each column. The null hypothesis was that the numbers of right and wrong guesses would be the same. 

Second, the chi-squared test was used to compare the total numbers of + and - scores. The = scores were disregarded. The null hypothesis was that by chance the number of + and - scores would be equal. This method of analysis was suggested to me by Prof. Nicholas Humphrey as a way of testing if effects were broadly spread among participants, since this method gives an equal weight to each.

 

Table 1 

Staring experiments with and without blindfolded subjects (classes 4W and 4B at UCS). 
All subjects were given feedback. 


A: Numbers of right and wrong guesses (percentage of right guesses shown in parentheses).

 

 

Looking

 

 

Not Looking

 

 

Total

 

 

 

right

 

 

wrong

 

 

right

 

 

wrong

 

 

right

 

 

wrong

 

Blindfold

 

260 
(65%)

 

 

140

 

 

202
(50.5%)

 

 

198

 

 

462
(57.8%)

 

 

338

 

No Blindfold

 

240
(63.3%)

 

 

139

 

 

208
(54.6%)

 

 

173

 

 

448 
(58.9%)

 

 

312

 


p values


Comparison of total numbers of right and wrong guesses by chi-squared test:

 

 

Looking

 

 

Not Looking

 

 

Total

 

Blindfold

 

2 x 10 -9

 

 

n.s.

 

 

2 x 10 -9

 

No Blindfold

 

3 x 10 -6

 

 

n.s.

 

 

1 x 10 -5

 


Comparison of right and wrong guesses by paired-sample t-test:

Blindfold

 

0.005

 

 

n.s.

 

 

0.01

 

No Blindfold

 

0.008

 

 

n.s.

 

 

0.001

 

B Accuracy of guesses (40 subjects blindfold (b); 38 subjects not blindfolded (nb))

 

 

Looking

 

 

Not Looking

 

 

Total

 

 

 

b

 

 

nb

 

 

b

 

 

nb

 

 

b

 

 

nb

 

More right 
than wrong

 

28

 

 

25

 

 

19

 

 

18

 

 

24

 

 

26

 

More wrong
than right

 

7

 

 

11

 

 

17

 

 

12

 

 

11

 

 

8

 

Equal 
right and wrong

 

5

 

 

2

 

 

4

 

 

8

 

 

5

 

 

4

 


p values.


Comparison of number of subjects more right than wrong with those more wrong than right by chi-squared test:

 

 

Looking

 

 

Not Looking

 

 

Total

 

Blindfold

 

0.003

 

 

n.s.

 

 

0.03

 

No Blindfold

 

0.02

 

 

n.s.

 

 

0.003

 



 

Third, the numbers of right and wrong guesses were compared using the paired-sample t-test, with the numbers of right and wrong guesses for each group in each session as the paired sample. The null hypothesis was that the numbers of right and wrong guesses would be the same. 

For the comparison of two sets of scores (for example the scores with and without blindfolds ) 2 x 2 contingency tables were used (Campbell, 1989), with the null hypothesis that the proportions of right and wrong guesses in both sets were equal. 

RESULTS 

Experiment 1, With and Without Blindfolds 

In this experiment, all subjects were given feedback. 

As in previous experiments on the sense of being stared at (Sheldrake, 1999), subjects scored considerably above the chance level of 50% in the looking trials: 65.0% correct with blindfolds (p= 0.005 by the paired-sample t test) and 63.3% without (p=0.0008). By contrast, in the not-looking trials, their guesses were not significantly different from the chance level of 50% (Table 1A). The total scores, combining the results from the looking and not-looking trials, were also significantly above chance levels: 57.8% correct with blindfolds (p= 0.01 by the paired-sample t test) and 58.9% without (p= 0.001) (Table 1A). 

Using the alternative system of scoring the results, according to which each subject is scored "+" if they more often right than wrong and "-" if they more often wrong than right, the overall scores were 24+ 11- with blindfolds (p= 0.03 by the chi-squared test) and 26+ 8- without (p= 0.003) (Table 1B). 

Thus blindfolds had little effect on the subjects' performance. There was no significant difference between the scores with and without blindfolds. 

Experiment 2, With and Without Feedback 
In this experiment all subjects wore blindfolds. 

The general pattern of results showed, as usual, that there were significantly more correct than incorrect guesses in the looking trials: with feedback 59.8% were correct (p= 0.001 by the paired sample t test) and without feedback 60.2% (p= 0.01) (Table 2A). Likewise, the subject-by-subject scores showed a significant excess of people who were more often right than wrong both with feedback (31+ 11- ; p= 0.002 by the chi-squared test) and without feedback (28+ 15- ; p= 0.05) (Table 2B). By contrast in the not-looking trials the scores were at chance levels. (Table 2A and B). 

Thus giving the subjects feedback made very little difference to their performance. Overall, there was a slightly higher percentage of correct guesses without feedback (54.9%) than with feedback (53.6%), but this difference was not significant. 

In general the scores were lower than in experiment 1. The subjects given feedback in experiment 2 were tested under the same conditions as the blindfolded subjects in experiment 1, that is to say they were blindfolded and given feedback, but their scores were lower (in total, 53.6% correct guesses as opposed to 57.8%; Tables 1A and 2A).

 



 

Table 2


Staring experiments with and without feedback to subjects (classes 4S and 3E at UCS). All subjects wore blindfolds.


A: Numbers of right and wrong guesses (percentage of right guesses shown in parentheses).

 

 

Looking

 

 

Not Looking

 

 

Total

 

 

 

right

 

 

wrong

 

 

right

 

 

wrong

 

 

right

 

 

wrong

 

Feedback

 

275
(59.8%)

 

 

185

 

 

218 
(47.4%)

 

 

242

 

 

493
(53.6%)

 

 

427

 

No Feedback

 

283
(60.2%)

 

 

187

 

 

233 
(49.6%)

 

 

237

 

 

516 
(54.9%)

 

 

424

 


p values.


Comparison of total numbers of right and wrong guesses by chi-squared test:

 

 

Looking

 

 

Not Looking

 

 

Total

 

Feedback

 

3 x 10 -4

 

 

n.s.

 

 

0.03

 

No Feedback

 

1 x 10 -5

 

 

n.s.

 

 

0.002

 


Comparison of right and wrong guesses by paired-sample t-test:

Feedback

 

0.001

 

 

n.s.

 

 

n.s.

 

No Feedback

 

0.01

 

 

n.s.

 

 

n.s.

 

B Accuracy of guesses (46 subjects given feedback (f); 47 subjects not given feedback (nf))

 

 

Looking

 

 

Not Looking

 

 

Total

 

 

 

f

 

 

nf

 

 

f

 

 

nf

 

 

f

 

 

nf

 

More right 
than wrong

 

31

 

 

28

 

 

15

 

 

19

 

 

21

 

 

24

 

More wrong
than right

 

11

 

 

15

 

 

24

 

 

21

 

 

16

 

 

17

 

Equal 
right and wrong

 

4

 

 

4

 

 

7

 

 

7

 

 

9

 

 

6

 


p values.


Comparison of number of subjects more right than wrong with those more wrong than right by chi-squared test:

 

 

Looking

 

 

Not Looking

 

 

Total

 

Feedback

 

0.002

 

 

n.s.

 

 

n.s.

 

No Feedback

 

0.05

 

 

n.s.

 

 

n.s.

 



Do Subjects Improve with Practice? 
When subjects are given feedback, there is the possibility that can improve their sensitivity with practice. Since all subjects in the experiments of series 1 were given feedback, such an effect should be detectable by comparing the results of phase I of the experiment, in which subjects were tested for the first time, with phase II, in which the same subjects were tested again. In fact, in phase II, the scores did improve: the percentage of correct guesses rose from 55.6% to 62.1%. This increase was statistically significant (p=0.02 by the chi-squared test using two-way contingency tables). 

Another way of evaluating improvement is to compare the first 10 trials with the second 10 in each set of 20 trials . In the experiments in series 1, there was a slight overall improvement, from 57.2% to 59.1%, but this difference was not statistically significant. 

In series 2, with and without feedback, there was no improvement in scores from phase I to phase II: the percentage of correct guesses was 53.5% in both. When the first 10 trials in each set were compared with the second 10, there was a slight decline in the percentage of correct guesses, from 54.7% to 52.1%, but this was not statistically significant. 

Experiments in Irish Schools 
In the experiments carried out in Irish schools by Susan and Jennifer Brodigan, all subjects wore blindfolds and none were given feedback. 

The results showed the now-familiar pattern whereby scores were well above chance in the looking trials with a total of 56.7% correct, and with subjectwise scores of 114+ and 52- (p=2x10-6 by the chi-squared test). By contrast, the scores were at chance levels in the not-looking trials (Table 3). A similar pattern was apparent in all the sets of data. 

There was a tendency for the scores to be higher with the children who were related (overall 55.1% correct guesses) than with those who were unrelated (overall 52.4% correct), but this difference was not statistically significant.

 



 

Table 3


Staring experiments with blindfolds and without feedback in Our Lady's College, Drogheda, Ireland.


A: Numbers of right and wrong guesses (percentage of right guesses shown in parentheses).

 

 

Looking

 

 

Not Looking

 

 

Total

 

 

 

right

 

 

wrong

 

 

right

 

 

wrong

 

 

right

 

 

wrong

 

Unrelated

Total 
Unrelated

 

926
(55.9%)

 

 

730

 

 

815 
(49%)

 

 

849

 

 

1741
(52.4%)

 

 

1579

 

Related

Siblings

 

163
(54.3%)

 

 

137

 

 

151 
(50.3%)

 

 

149

 

 

314
(52.3%)

 

 

286

 

Identical 
Twins

 

93
(58.1%)

 

 

67

 

 

81 
(50.6%)

 

 

79

 

 

174
(54.4%)

 

 

146

 

Non-identical 
Twins

 

131
(65.5%)

 

 

69

 

 

106 
(53.0%)

 

 

94

 

 

237
(59.3%)

 

 

163

 

Total 
Related

 

387
(58.6%)

 

 

273

 

 

338 
(51.2%)

 

 

322

 

 

725
(54.9%)

 

 

595

 


Grand Totals

 

1313
(56.7%)

 

 

1003

 

 

1153 
(49.6%)

 

 

1171

 

 

2466
(53.1%)

 

 

2174

 


p values.


Comparison of number of total number of right and wrong guesses by chi-squared test:

 

 

Looking

 

 

Not Looking

 

 

Total

 

 

 

1 x 10-9

 

 

n.s.

 

 

2 x 10-3

 


p values.


Comparison of number of total number of right and wrong guesses by paired-sample t-test:

 

 

0.03

 

 

n.s.

 

 

0.05

 


B: Accuracy of guesses (166 unrelated subjects; 30 siblings; 16 identical twins and 20 non-identical twins).


Numbers of subjects with more right than wrong guesses (+), more wrong than right guesses (-) or equal numbers of right and wrong guesses (=)

Group

 

Looking

 

 

Not Looking

 

 

Total

 

Unrelated

Total 
Unrelated

 

78+          42-           46=

 

 

51+           68-           47=

 

 

77+           65-           24=

 

Related

Siblings

 

11+           7-           12=

 

 

11+           11-           8=

 

 

16+           11-           3=

 

Identical 
Twins

 

8+           2-           6=

 

 

5+           7-           4=

 

 

7+           2-           7=

 

Non-identical 
Twins

 

17+           1-           2=

 

 

9+           9-           2=

 

 

12+           4-           4=

 

Total 
Related

 

36+           10-           20=

 

 

25+           27-           14=

 

 

35+           17-           14=

 


Grand Totals

 

114+           52-           66=

 

 

76+           95-           61=

 

 

112+           82-           38=

 


p values.


Comparison of number of + and - scores by chi-squared test:

 

 

Looking

 

 

Not Looking

 

 

Total

 

 

 

2 x 10-6

 

 

n.s.

 

 

0.03

 



 

Among the related children, the untwinned siblings did no better than unrelated children (overall 52.3% correct, as opposed to 52.4%). The non-identical twins did better than the identical twins, with 59.3% and 54.4% correct guesses respectively (Table 3), but these differences were not statistically significant. 

DISCUSSION 
Blindfolding subjects made no significant difference to their ability to tell when they were being looked at from behind (Table 1). The type of blindfolds used in these experiments effectively eliminated peripheral vision. Even if were to be argued that these blindfolds allowed for some vision by looking downward along the nose, they could not have allowed the subject to see what was going on behind them unless they turned their head around and tilted it backwards. No subjects were observed to be doing this. The fact that the blindfolds made no significant difference to the results shows that the effect detected in these experiments did not depend on visual clues. 

There was also no significant difference between the scores with and without feedback (Table 2), showing that the ability of subjects to detect when they were being looked at did not depend on receiving feedback. 

A puzzling aspect of the data is the fact that the scores were generally higher in experiment 1 than in experiment 2. Even when the conditions were identical, as they were for blindfolded subjects in experiment 1 (who were given feedback) and subjects given feedback in experiment 2 (who were blindfolded), the subjects in experiment 1 had higher scores than in experiment 2. Why? 

This difference could just be a matter of chance. Perhaps the children in experiment 1 just happened to be more sensitive than the children in experiment 2. But there could be a more interesting reason for this difference. Perhaps in experiment 2 the participants were generally more self-conscious about their performance. Subjects received feedback in some sets of trials, while in others they did not, which could have made them anxious about how they were performing, with the effect of reducing their sensitivity. But in the absence of further research this can be no more than a speculation. 

The relatively low scores in the experiments with and without feedback do not, however, alter the main conclusion that sense of being stared at is still detectable without feedback. 

After completing the experiments described in this paper, I arranged for further experiments on the sense of being stared at to be conducted without feedback in schools in Connecticut, USA, following an earlier series with feedback (Sheldrake, 1998). There were highly significant positive scores without feedback, just as there had been with feedback. Tests were conducted in 8 schools. In a total of more than 5,000 trials the overall proportion of correct guesses was 55.3%. Subjectwise the scores were 149+ 74-, in other words 149 subjects were more often right than wrong, compared with 74 who were more often wrong than right (p= 5x10-7 by the chi-squared test) (Sheldrake, 1999). 

These experiments confirmed that positive scores in these experiments were not dependent on feedback. But they did not did not involve the use of blindfolds. In the experiments in Irish schools described in this paper (Table 3), the subjects not only received no feedback but were also blindfolded. The results confirm that the effect detected in these experiments depends neither on visual clues nor on feedback. 

The positive results of these experiments with blindfolded subjects deprived of feedback shows that they do not arise from artefacts due to visual clues. Nor are they due to implicit learning dependent either on sensory clues, or on the detection of subtle patterns in the randomization of trials. 

The experiments reported in this paper do not, however, eliminate the possibility of auditory or even olfactory clues, because the lookers and subjects were in the same room and only 1-2 metres apart. However, any hypothesis that proposes that such clues were involved would have to explain why they worked only in the looking trials but not in the not-looking trials. Most conceivable clues of this kind (including deliberate attempts to cheat, for example by the looker whispering to the subject) would be expected to elevate the scores in both looking and not-looking trials. But this is not what happened. 

Nevertheless, a sceptic might propose that there were clues present only in the looking trials that the subjects were intermittently and unconsciously aware of. The only way of answering this argument definitively is through experiments in which lookers and subjects are separated by soundproof barriers. I have carried out such experiments through closed windows, and again the results showed a significant positive effect, with the usual difference between looking and not-looking trials (Sheldrake, 2000a). 

Moreover, in the experiments of Colwell et al. (2000), discussed in the Introduction to this paper, the subjects were looked at through a one-way mirror, which served as a barrier to auditory and olfactory cues. With a graduate student as looker, subjects scored very significantly above chance, with the usual pattern of highly significant positive scores in looking trials and non-significant scores in not-looking trials. And in most of the experiments carried out through CCTV there were significant positive results under conditions where there was no possibility of the transfer of any auditory or other sensory clues (Braud, Shafer & Andrews 1990, 1993a, 1993b; Schlitz & LaBerge, 1994, 1997). The exceptions were experiments in which sceptics themselves were the lookers, as discussed in the introduction to this paper, and may well have involved an experimenter effect of the kind reported by Wiseman & Schlitz (1997). 

The pioneering research of Susan and Jennifer Brodigan suggests that twins, both identical and non-identical, perform better than non-twinned siblings or unrelated children; but further research with larger samples would be necessary to reach a firm conclusion on this question. 

The sense of being stared at does not seem to be explicable in terms of normal sensory information. It must therefore depend on causal factors at present unknown to science. Some possible explanations have been discussed by Abraham, McKenna & Sheldrake (1992) and Sheldrake (1994). 

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS 

I am grateful to all the people who took part in these experiments, to John Hubbard and Mark Albini for helping me to do the tests in their classes, and to Jennifer and Susan Brodigan for sending me their results and agreeing to their publication in this paper. I thank the Institute of Noetic Sciences, Sausalito, CA, the Lifebridge Foundation, New York and the Bial Foundation, Portugal, for financial support. 

REFERENCES 
Abraham, R., McKenna, T. & Sheldrake, R. (1992) Trialogues at the Edge of the West. Santa Fe: Bear & Co. 
Baker, R. (2000) Can we tell when someone is staring at us from behind? Skeptical Inquirer (March/April), 34-40. 
Braud, W, Shafer, D. & Andrews, S. (1990) Electrodermal correlates of remote attention: Autonomic reactions to an unseen gaze.Proceedings of Presented Papers, Parapsychology Association 33rd Annual Convention, Chevy Chase, MD, pp14-28. 
Braud, W, Shafer, D. & Andrews (1993a) Reactions to an unseen gaze (remote attention): A review, with new data on autonomic staring detection. JP 57, 373-90. 
Braud, W, Shafer, D. & Andrews (1993b) Further studies of autonomic detection of remote staring: replications, new control procedures, and personality correlates. JP 57, 391-409. 
Campbell, R.C. (1989) Statistics for Biologists. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 
Colwell, J, Schröder, S, & Sladen, D. (2000) The ability to detect unseen staring: A literature review and empirical tests. British Journal of Psychology 91, 71-85. 
Cottrell, J.E., Winer, G.A. & Smith, M.C. (1996) Beliefs of children and adults about feeling stares of unseen others. Developmental Psychology 32, 50-61. 
Dossey, L. (1997) Lessons from twins: of nature, nurture and consciousness. Alternative Therapies 3 (3), 8-15. 
Eason, C. (1994) The Psychic Power of Children. London: Foulsham. 
Marks, D. and Colwell, J. (2000) The psychic staring effect: An artifact of pseudo randomization. Skeptical Inquirer(September/October), 41-49.
Palmer, J. (1989a) Confronting the Experimenter Effect. Parapsychology Review 20 (4), 1-4. 
Palmer, J. (1989b) Confronting the Experimenter Effect, Part 2. Parapsychology Review 20 (5), 1-5. 
Rosenthal, R. (1976) Experimenter Effects in Behavioral Research. New York: John Wiley. 
Schlitz, M. & LaBerge, S. (1994) Autonomic detection of remote observation: Two conceptual replications. Proceedings of Presented Papers, Parapsychology Association 37th Annual Convention, Amsterdam, pp. 352-60. 
Schlitz, M. & LaBerge, S. (1997) Covert observation increases skin conductance in subjects unaware of when they are being observed: a replication. JP 61, 185-195. 
Sheldrake, R. (1994) Seven Experiments that Could Change the World. London: Fourth Estate, Chapter 4. 
Sheldrake, R. (1998). The sense of being stared at: experiments in schools. JSPR 62, 311-323. 
Sheldrake, R. (1999). The 'sense of being stared at' confirmed by simple experiments. Biology Forum 92, 53-76. 
Sheldrake, R. (2000a). The 'sense of being stared at' does not depend on known sensory clues. Biology Forum 93, 209-224. 
Sheldrake, R. (2000b). Research on the feeling of beng stared at. (submitted to Skeptical Inquirer). 
Wiseman, R. & Schlitz, M (1997) Experimenter effects and the remote detection of staring. JP 61, 197-207. 
Wiseman, R. & Smith, M. (1994) A further look at the detection of unseen gaze. Proceedings of the Parapsychological Association 37th Annual Convention. Parapsychological Association. 465-478. 
Wiseman, R., Smith, M.D., Freedman, D., Wasserman, T. & Hurst, C. (1995) Examining the remote staring effect: two further experiments. Proceedings of Presented Papers, Parapsychology Association 38th Annual Convention, pp. 480-490. 

Rupert Sheldrake 
20 Willow Road 
London NW3 1TJ 
England

Fine primo lavoro scientifico

 -------------------------------------------------------------------------

Inizio secondo lavoro scientifico:

White Paper

 Global Consciousness Project: An Independent Analysis

The 11 September 2001 Events

By Edwin C. May, Ph.D. and S. James P. Spottiswoode, B.Sc.

Abstract

We have conducted an independent analysis of the worldwide network of random number generators called EGG’s by the Global Consciousness Project (GCP) personnel. At the time we found direct contradictory statements with regard to the proper protocol between a published account and an account posted on the GCP web site http://noosphere.princeton.edu. (Subsequently, this inadvertent ambiguity has been corrected.) We provide, nonetheless, our analyses of both proposed methods.

The formal test hypothesis according to the published protocol, namely that there would be at least a significant deviation (i.e., p = 0.05) of the accumulation of χ2, which was derived from squaring the Stouffer’s Z across valid EGG’s at each second, was satisfied. However, we show that the choice was fortuitous in that had the analysis window been a few minutes shorter or 30 minutes longer, the formal test would not have achieved significance. We discuss the implications of this finding.

The alternative analysis based upon the instructions posted on the GCP website, however, showed chance deviations throughout.

We also provide verification of a separate analysis posted by Dr. Dean Radin, but we differ markedly with regard to the posted conclusions. Using Radin’s analysis, we do not find significant evidence that the GCP network’s EGG’s responded to the New York City attacks in real time. Radin’s computation of 6000:1 odds against chance during the events are accounted for by a not-unexpected local deviation that occurred approximately 3 hours before the attacks.

We conclude that the network random number generators produced data consistent with mean chance expectation during the worst single day tragedy in American history.

Background

It is, however, appropriate to provide a very brief overview of this interesting study.

-http://noosphere.princeton.edu/

-http://www.psyleron.com/

-http://www.lfr.org/lfr/csl/library/sep1101.pdf

The GCP’s experiment comprises a network of true, not pseudo, random number generators distributed widely around the world. Each of approximately 38 hardware EGG’s generates one trial of 200 binary bits each second, where the probability of obtaining a one or a zero is equal and equal to 0.5. The expected number of one’s is therefore 100 and the expected standard deviation is 50 . The data from each of these generators is up-loaded in 5-minute segments as Internet connectivity permits to a server in Princeton, saved, and made available to anyone. The fact that the GCP operates in such an open way is a testimony to the integrity and curiosity of those involved.

 

Six major terrorist events that shook the world took place on 11 September 2001. Table 1 shows the timing and a brief description of each event taken from data at a seismic observatory at Palisades NY.

 

 

Table 1. Timing and Details of the 11 September 2001 Events

 

 

 

Date

Event Time

(UTC)

Seismic Reception Time Remark

(EDT)

09/11/2001

12:46:26±1

08:46:26

First impact

09/11/2001

13:02:54±2

09:02:54

Second impact

09/11/2001

13:30:??

09:30:00

Pentagon impact

09/11/2001

13:59:04±1

09:59:04

First collapse

09/11/2001

14:28:31±1

10:28:31

Second collapse

09/11/2001

21:20:33±2

17:20:33

Building 7 collapse

 1

 

http://www.ldeo.columbia.edu/LCSN/Eq/20010911_wtc.html. 

We have removed two columns and added one row to the original table for compactness and completeness. We took the timing of the Pentagon attack from http://abc.net.au/news/newsitems/s364516.htm

The question we consider is this: Did the worldwide network of EGG’s respond in some way to these large-scale, tragic events?

Analysis

There are a number of ways to examine the EGG data associated with the 11 September 2001 events, but we will take a "top down" approach. This includes testing the hypotheses posted on the GCP’s web site as well as trying to confirm results posted in the 11 September Results Section on the site.

 

Database

Our database consisted of all the 31 days in August and all of the 30 days in September 2001. Each day consists of 86,400 seconds with the number of binary ones (i.e. hits) associated with each EGG for each second. For each second, we only included EGG’s that were active (i.e., non-zero hits) and whose hits were in the range [50,150]. That is, if the number of hits were less than 50 or greater than 150, which correspond to a z-score of ± 7, we assumed that the EGG in question was faulty. For each second, we computed a Z

 

and Z2 for each egg, a Stouffer’s Z across the valid EGG’s and χ2 as:

where n is the number of valid EGG’s. These two vectors were independently saved for August and September for later analysis.

First Order Look at the Data

For completeness, we have examined the Stouffer’s Z data for all 86,400 seconds of 11 September 2001 in Eastern Daylight Time (EDT). For each Z, there is an associated p- value, which is the integral of the Normal distribution from Z to infinity. We computed the theoretical expectation for the p-values resulting from Z’s in the range [-5.0, 5.0], and the observed values from the data of the p-value for each Z as:

where Zg is the given value of Z. Figure 1 shows the result. For this day, the mean Z and standard deviation computed across all 86,400 Stouffer’s Z’s across EGG’s is -0.00263 and 1.0025, respectively, and the grand Stouffer’s Z across all seconds is -0.772. The expected values for these quantities are 0.0, 1.0, and 0.0, respectively.

 

 

 

 

 

Table 2. Distribution of Rare Z-Scores.

 

http://abc.net.au/news/newsitems/s364516.htm

 

 

 

 

 

Z

Number of Z’s or Greater

Observed

Expected

August

September

Total

 

4

 

90

 

87

 

177

 

167 ± 13

 

4.5

9

 

10

 

19

 

18 ± 4

 

5

 

1

 

1

 

2

 

2 ± 1

 

We conclude that the Stouffer’s Z’s for each second of 11 September were as expected by chance, and that even high values of some selected Z-scores were indistinguishable between     the  months    of  August    (i.e.,  a  putative  control  month)   and  September  and indistinguishable from mean chance expectation.

The above analyses were for the Stouffer’s Z combination across  EGG’s; however, we see similar curves to Figures 1 & 2 when we compute a Z from the ?2 resulting from the sum of Z2 across all generators.

In   parapsychological   experiments   on   the   effect   of   human   intention   on   random   number generators, the average effect size for a trial of 200 bits is about 0.003 (May et al., 1995).
The GCP was conceived as a large-scale version of such laboratory experiments and an effect size comparable to that quoted might be expected for its results as well. However, we   would   not   expect   to   see   any   small   statistical   changes   by   the   above   analyses.   We presented this overview, however, to show that the design and engineering of the GCP’s collection of EGG’s was successful in that they generate well-behaved random numbers.
To determine if these EGG’s were altered by the events of 11 September requires further analyses.

11 September 2001: Hypothesis Testing

 It is to be expected that in the early days of the GCP the primary effort was devoted to hypothesis formulation. After all, this was the first time something of this kind had been attempted and given the results of the laboratory based RNG studies, it was a reasonable expectation the a worldwide network of generators might be affected in some way by human affairs. But in 2001, the hypothesis situation remains murky. On the one hand, for example, we quote from page 257 of Nelson (2001):3

The REG produces random bits at high speed for collection via the egg-host computer’s serial port. The data are transmitted over the Internet to a central server for archiving and processing.

 

The mean deviation from expectation for a single trial across all EGG’s, or the mean of a block of trials across EGG’s, is normalized as a z-score.

The z-score is squared, yielding a χ2-distributed quantity with 1 degree of freedom representing a single trial or block of time specified in the prediction.

Because χ2 are additive, we may sum across EGG’s and blocks of time.

 

The total χ2 represents the deviation for the predicted period of time. It has degrees of freedom equal to the number of segment z-scores.

 

This is compared with the appropriate χ2 distribution to yield a chance probability.

 

For example, let us focus on a 1-second tick of data from 36 EGG’s. Item 3 above suggests that a grand z-score is computed across all EGG’s for this second or equivalently a Stouffer’s Z is computed from the individual z-scores from each individual EGG. Then this z-scored is squared to produce a χ2-distributed quantity with 1 degree of freedom.

 

Yet on the other hand, the GCP web site under Analysis->Statistics something else is suggested. We quote from the site (on 16 October 2001).

 

The focus for most analyses will be anomalous shifts of the segment mean. As noted, the standard test for deviations from expected variation will be a Chisquare comparison of the composite deviation across all EGG’s during the specified event against chance expectation. This composite will be a sum of the squared Z- scores for all EGG’s and all predefined segments (e.g., seconds or 15-minute blocks). We will make exploratory assessments of other parameters, such as intercorrelation of the EGG’s during an event, as possible indicators. Correspondence of computed deviations with the time-line of predictions will provide the primary criteria for statistical evaluation.

 

Navigating to the Chisquare comparison yields from items 6 and 7:

 

6. This χ2 is computed for each Egg, and for each block of time specified in the prediction.

7. Since χ2 are additive, we may sum across EGG’s and across blocks of time.

 

3)We provided this paper in advance to Dr. Roger Nelson and he acknowledged through personal communication a contradiction in the stated protocols. We believe he may have corrected this unintentional oversight on the site by the public release of this document. Nonetheless, this change does not reflect the major difficulties the authors have with the conclusions still posted on the GCP web site.

 

 

So it is particularly problematic for an independent researcher to understand what exactly is the primary hypothesis. From our point of view, it seems squaring in place captures the 2-tailed nature of PSI-mediated RNG deviations; whereas, squaring the Stouffer’s Z across EGG’s appears too restrictive.

This discussion seems quite clear that we should square each EGG z-score in place and then sum across EGG’s.

So to assess any possible 11 September 2001 effects on the worldwide network of EGG’s we are obligated to examine both approaches.

Two χ2 Analyses

For each event under study, researchers are invited to enter their predictions in the appropriate section on the GCP web site. We quote from the site with regard to the 11 September 2001 events:

Prediction, Roger Nelson: (Written on Sept 12, after some preliminary examination of the data recorded on this frightening day. I was distracted but quite clear that this was formally a GCP event, and my prediction was not based on the early analysis.)

 

On September 11, 2001, beginning at about 8:45 in the morning, a series of terrorist attacks destroyed the twin towers of the World Trade Center and severely damaged the Pentagon. Commercial airliners were hijacked and flown directly into the three buildings. The first crashed into the North tower at 8:45, and about 18 minutes later the second airliner hit the second tower. At about 9:40, a third airliner crashed into the Pentagon. At about 9:58, the South tower collapsed, followed by the North tower at 10:28.

 

The formal prediction for this event was not registered before any analysis, but because it is formulated on the basis established for the terrorist bombing in Africa in August 1998, there is no possibility of data selection based on prior examination of the data. The 1998 prediction specified a period "beginning a few minutes before the bombing, and including an aftermath of a few hours." The actual time was from 10 minutes before the bombing to three hours after. In this case we will specify 10 minutes before the first crash to four hours after, which makes the aftermath following the last of the major events, the collapse of the second tower, about the same as the period in 1998. The confidence level is high, and the resolution is seconds.

 

Χ2 of the Stouffer’s Z Across All EGG’s

 

We are in agreement with Nelson’s χ2analysis resulting from the Stouffer’s Z across all

EGG’s. Figure 3 shows our results:

We have computed the sums on a second-by-second basis. The vertical lines ending at 100 (red) represent event markers for the New York attacks and the vertical line at approximately 12:45 (black) represent the 4-hour cutoff described by Nelson in the prediction registry. The quasi-parabolic curve (blue) represents the p=0.05 significance envelope.

 

Technically, the null hypothesis must be rejected at the confidence level of 0.05. In the results section of the GCP site, the exact probability value obtained at this 4-hour cutoff is shown as p = 0.035.

 

Χ2 of Each EGG and Summed Across EGG’s

 

The computation we present here arose because of the conflicting methods from the publication (Nelson, 2001) and what was posted on the GCP web site at the time of this analysis. Even though the site has changed to correct this ambiguity, we leave it here because at the time it was appropriate, and in addition, in the authors’ opinion this particular analysis (i.e., a two-tailed approach) makes more sense given their understanding of the GCP’s conceptual framework.

 

Figure 4. shows the results of an accumulation of χ2 based on a χ2 computed from squaring the z-score on an individual EGG and summing across all valid EGG’s for each second tick. This differs from the analysis shown in Figure 3 above in that a Stouffer’s Z is computed across EGG’s and then squared.

As before the short vertical lines (red) represent the New York attacks and the vertical line at about 12.75 (black) represents the four-hour window suggested by Nelson in the prediction registry. From this point of view there was no statistical meaningful evidence that the EGG network responded to the 11 September 2001 events.

 

Conclusion of χ2 Analyses

 

Leaving aside the fact that Nelson’s preliminary look at the data prior to analyses could have introduced an inadvertent bias in his choice of analyses parameters, we still remain unconvinced that the single alternative GCP hypothesis is true for the following reasons:

 

• We find the choice of a 4-hour analysis region fortuitous and lucky indeed. A case could be made from the prediction registry quoted above that the analysis window should have been the same as in the analysis of 1998 Africa bombing, namely either three hours after the first event or three hours after the last New York City attack. In both these cases, Figure 3 above shows that the test hypotheses would have failed to meet significance. In fact, any choice of analysis window except for an approximate half hour beginning at four hours after the first attack would also have failed. By Monte Carlo analysis, we have determined that the probability of the χ2 summation curve exiting prior to the end of a predetermined analysis period ranges between 0.475 and 0.500 depending upon the length of the interval. Thus, there is an approximate 50% chance of exiting the 0.05 significance envelope somewhere in the interval.

 

• Clearly the September attacks are as large in their impact and probably larger than the others that have been analyzed according to the GCP concept. It seems to us that they should have posted as large a significance level as these others and perhaps, given its impact, the largest deviation. Questioning the meaning of p = 0.05 or just above or below clouds the important question. That is, did the

• Following the procedure from the Analysis->Statistics section of the site, which squares each EGG’s z-core in place and combines the values across EGG’s at each second, Radin’s post hoc Findings

We identify Radin’s analyses as shown in the results section on the GCP’s web site as post hoc in that there was no entry in the prediction registry for these particular analyses.

Odds Based on Stouffer’s Z

Figure 5 is similar to the plot shown in the results section on the GCP site. That is we confirm the spike of z = 4.81 for 1 second resolution at 10:12:47 EDT.

network EGG’s respond to the single largest catastrophe in American history? We remain unconvinced.4 we find that the accumulation of χ2 does not approach significance in the 4-hour summation window.

The p-value associated with a z = 4.81 is 7.75 ×10-7 leading to the odds shown above of 1.29 ×10

 

This indicates that we expect, on the average 1 event of this magnitude or larger each 15 days, or in other terms there is a 1/15 probability of seeing such an event ±12 hours of any    specific   time.   Thus,   while   intriguing    in its synchronicity, it  is  not  particularly interesting to find this spike of odds in the middle of the chaos.

Linear   plots   with   such   large   odds   can   be   misleading   in   their   graphical   representation.
Therefore we show the same graph in Figure 5 as a logarithm plot in Figure 6.
 

6 to one. The fact that there is a z = 4.81 is not particularly surprising, but perhaps that it so happened in the middle of the chaotic events might be. The mean number of days between events of z = 4.81 is given by:

 

4The posting we quote above was on the site, but at the time of the public release of the White Paper, the procedural ambiguity had been removed. any specific time. Thus, while intriguing in its synchronicity, it is not particularly interesting to find this spike of odds in the middle of the chaos.

Linear plots with such large odds can be misleading in their graphical representation. Therefore we show the same graph in Figure 5 as a logarithm plot in Figure

6-Hour Summation Window

Radin’s odds plot for the day of 11 September 2001 is actually the result of a 6-hour summation.

 

 

 

 

 

5 Private communication.

At first look this result appears to suggest that there was a rather significant effect upon the worldwide EGG network during the time of the terrible events on that day. Closer examination, however, reveals a different outcome. Henceforth we move to a logarithmic plot of the odds.

Figure 8 shows the odds plot as a function of summation window width.

 

 

 

The horizontal line (red) in each plot represents odds of 19:1 (i.e., p = 0.05) and the short vertical lines (blue) indicated the attacks in New York. A clue can be seen in the 6-hour plot. There is a sharp drop in the odds near 11:30, which indicates that the odds plot in the region of interest is dependent upon a much earlier deviation. For example, summing backward for 3 hours reduces the odds in the region of interest to near chance, which shows that the odds prior to the events contribute to inflating the odds computed with a 6- window during the events. The 1-hour plot is at chance except, perhaps, for some peaks between 5:00 and 6:30. The last plot is for a 5-minute summation window, and shows chance throughout.

Another way of demonstrating that there is no effect in the region of interest is to force the early χ2s to chance by setting them equal to their degrees of freedom. Figure 9 shows the results of this test. 5 That is, beginning say at 8:45:00 EDT the result for that second is computed as follows based upon the summed Z2 for across EGG’s for each second. 

 

Each plot is computed from a 6-hour summation window with the data from the beginning of the day (i.e., 0:00:00) up to the time shown set at chance. As the last plot suggests, the result shown as an odds plot in Figure 7 above and is posted on the GCP web site is entirely due to an anomaly prior to about 5:45—a full three hours before anyone, except for the group responsible, knew of the impending disaster. As the 1-hour result shown in Figure 8 suggest, there is no significant action during the time of the events when much of the world was riveted to CNN.

 

To confirm this result, we computed sliding windows for the data on 11 September 2001 and 10 randomly chosen days in August. Figure 10 shows the results for a 1-hour summation window.

 

 

 

The dark curve (black) with odds maximum near 06:00 and minimum near 12:30 are the sum of χ2s for a 1-hour sliding window for 11 September 2001. The lighter (blue) curves are the same summation for 10 random days selected from the August data. We notice that the 11 September data are at chance from about 07:00 to 13:00. While the sharp peaks at 6 and at 12:30 might draw attention, they are consistent with the chance result as shown, for example by the August peaks near 1000:1 odds around 8:30 and the August peaks at 7 and 10:30. A post hoc computation of determining the odds of such a separation is simply not valid.

 

Conclusion and Discussion

We have examined in detail the primary results with regard to the 11 September 2001 events as posted on the Global Consciousness Project web site and find that they do not hold up under close inspection. Leaving aside the administrative and organizational ambiguity with regard to how to compute the summation graphs, we did confirm Nelson’s posting of an excursion just through the p = 0.05 envelope at four hours after the first event. Additionally, the accumulation of χ2 based on Stouffer’s Z remains above that level for only approximately 30 minutes out of the rest of the day of confusion, sorrow, and fear-worldwide. The computation of accumulation of χ2 based upon sums of Z2 across EGG’s for each second was at chance at the end of the critical period.

We now address Radin’s post hoc observations. Although there is a single 1-second Stouffer’s Z of 4.81 in the middle of the New York attacks, we find that it is completely consistent with chance expectation and the distribution of z-scores. Furthermore, it has never been the claim that the EGG network would "feel our pain" for just a second and move on.

 

Therefore we conclude that the EGG network did not significantly respond to the single largest, emotional, fearful, and well-publicized event in US history.

The 6-hour sliding window of odds resulting from sum of χ2 based upon sums of Z2 across EGG’s for each second and its associated graph shown above in Figure 7 is problematic. The apparently impressive result in the critical region is not due to what was happening to the worldwide EGG network during the New York attacks, but arises completely from a statistical variation around 5:30 in the morning three hours prior to the attacks. Given the nature of random noise, and the "large" odds excursions from the random days in August, even the 5:30 peak is consistent with chance fluctuations.

Radin’s a priori choice of a 6-hour sliding window we now see was most fortuitous. Had it been 3-hours the odds graph would have looked considerably different and not persuasive at all. (See the 3-hour window plot in Figure 8.)

Similarly Nelson’s choice of a 4-hour summation window was equally fortuitous. Had the choice been three hours after the fist event as the Embassy bombing case might suggest, or 3-hours after the last New York City attack, which could be considered consistent with the Embassy bombing as well, the formal null hypotheses would not have been rejected at the p = 0.05 level.

 

In attempting to understand these "lucky" choices one possibility is that analysts may use their PSI to construct computations to achieve a significant outcome from within an otherwise completely random system. To what extent such a hypothetical selection mechanism might have operated in this case is impossible to determine post hoc.

 

In the future as new events gain the attention of the GCP community, we urge that researchers:

 

• Data mine and formulate hypothesis based upon a randomly chosen subset of half of the EGG’s.

             • Test those formulated hypotheses with the remaining half of the EGG’s.

• Note that it is not good policy to publish easily identified post hoc observations even if they are clearly labeled as such. For example: (From the GCP web site.)

"This graph shows results for a 6-hour sliding window, in terms of z scores, from Sept 6 - 13. In this graph, positive z's mean the RNGs became "more ordered" than expected by chance. Negative z's mean the RNGs became "more random" than expected by chance. The peak value in this graph is 9:10 AM, Sept 11. Between the beginning of the tragedy and 7 hours later this data shows a drop of 6.5 sigma (odds against chance of 29 billion to 1). Such large changes will eventually occur by chance, of course, but this particular change happened during an unprecedented event, suggesting that this "spike" and "rebound" were not coincidental."

Indeed a permutation analysis shows that the likelihood of getting a 6.5 sigma drop in Z-scores (based on a 6-hour sliding window) in one day, and within 8 hours of less (as observed) is p = 0.002"

6 Italics from the original.

Finally, it is tempting to data-mine this case and begin asking post hoc questions whether the day statistics are deviant in some way or whether the month of September, 2001 is somehow special, and so on. All such explorations could possibly achieve is to formulate new hypotheses which remain to be tested. They cannot of themselves be evidential.

Not only is it easy, post hoc, to locate such fluctuations, random data require that they must exist somewhere. Additionally, to the general reader such statements are quite misleading.

The fact remains that if our analyses and interpretations of the data are correct, then it is our view that the worldwide network of EGG’s did not respond to the terrible events of September 11, 2001.

References

May, E. C., Spottiswoode, S. P. S, Utts, J. M. and James, C. L. (1995). Applications of Decision Augmentation Theory. Journal of Parapsychology, 59, 221-250.

 

 

Nelson, R. (2001). Correlation of Global Events with REG Data: An Internet-Based, Nonlocal Anomalies Experiment. Journal of Parapsychology, 65, 3, 247-271.

 

 

The experimenters of the GCP have broadly hypothesized that certain events, which are generally seen to be important, will cause changes in the random data produced, which can be detected by the appropriate statistical tests. The project has been running for three years and during that time they have claimed to see significant departures from MCE during a number of unexpected events, such as the Turkish earthquake in 1999, and in anticipated events, such as the Year 2000 celebration. This paper examines the claim that the GCP EGG’s responded to the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington.

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Laureato a Bologna. Mi affascina occuparmi come hobby della sociologia e filosofia, tenendo ben presenti i problemi della natura, che soffre oltremodo per la presenza asfissiante dell'uomo. Il mio ideale è trovare una forma di convivenza degli uomini che: 1) abolisca le guerre; 2) promuova uno sviluppo sostenibile; 3) trovi un equilibrio permanente con la natura del pianeta Terra; 4) ridistribuisca le risorse tra tutti gli abitanti del pianeta; 5) aumenti le risorse relative su scala mondiale, mediante diminuzione della popolazione con un rientro morbido sotto i 4 miliardi, prima della fine del petrolio. "Imagine there's no countries It isn't hard to do, Nothing to kill or die for And no religion too. Imagine all the people Living life in peace... You may say I'm a dreamer But I'm not the only one. I hope someday you'll join us And the world will be as one. Imagine no possessions, I wonder if you can, No need for greed or hunger A brotherhood of man. Imagine all the people Sharing all the world..." Imagine di John Lennon
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