SHIFT:ATTHE FRONTIERS OF CONSCIOUSNESS
Washington Consciousness Science Laboratory.Kozakdescribed an experiment investigating correlationsin brain activity between people at a distance who hadpracticed a meditation technique called “Primordial SoundMeditation,”developed by celebrated author Deepak Chopra.Volunteers who had been practicing Primordial SoundMeditation for at least two years were asked to meditatewith a partner each day for 30 days prior to participatingin the experiment.Atotal of 16 people wererecruited for the study;each pair came to the laboratory on threeseparate occasions.When arriving at the lab,they ﬁrstmeditated together for 30 minutes,and then theywereseparated into two rooms about 10 meters apart.Eachperson was connected to an electroencephalograph (EEG)monitor to recordhis or her brainwaves,and at randomtimes one of the pair (say,Jack) was exposed to a ﬂashingcheckerboard pattern or an equivalent length controlperiod with a static (nonflashing) checkerboard.Theflashing patternwas used to create the well-known“visual evoked response”in Jack’s brain.Meanwhile,Jack’spartner (say,Jill) was sitting quietly in the distant room.After collecting 150 periods of ﬂashing stimuli and 150 controlperiods with Jack sending,the experimenters reversedtheir roles and now Jill was exposed to the stimuli while Jack sat quietly.If telepathic connections are real,then theprediction was that Jill’s brain ought to become moreactivated when Jack was viewing the stimuli,and vice versa.The study conﬁrmed the prediction (p = 0.0001),andit replicated similar ﬁndings recently reported by labs inScotland,Germany,and at IONS.These experimentssuggest that when pairs of people keep each other inmind,their brainwaves become more intercorrelated thanone would predict based on conventional theories of brain-mind interaction.This provides an objective proof of principle that telepathic-likeinterconnections betweenmind-brains exist,but what these studies do not measureis what’s happening subjectively,inside the minds of both Jack and Jill.
hen more than one
gathers (commonly known as the LarkSparrow),we refer to the group as anexaltation of larks.Other curious termsfor collectives include a charm of hummingbirds,aparliament of owls,and an implausibility of gnus.InAugust 2005 on the IONS campus another implausiblegathering occurred—a haunting of parapsychologists.This fortuitous event came about because IONS hostedthe 48th annual convention of the ParapsychologicalAssociation (PA).The PAis an international scientiﬁcsociety interested in the study of psychic experiences,evidence for survival of bodily death,reincarnation,near-death and out-of-body experiences,and reports of apparitions and poltergeist activity.There are no shortage of societies and groups devotedto these interests.The PA’sdistinction is that its members— about 300 rare birds—approach these phenomena fromascientiﬁc perspective;most hold advanced degrees inconventional disciplines.In recognition of its dedicationto a scientiﬁcapproach,since 1969 the PA has been anelected afﬁliate of the largest scientiﬁc organization inthe world,the American Association for the Advancementof Science.I’ll brieﬂy describe two talks that illustrate progress inunderstanding telepathy.The ﬁrst was presented by LeilaKozak from the Bastyr University/University of
News from the IONS Research Department
TELEPATHY, INSIDE AND OUT
After three decades and thousandsof [ganzfeld telepathy experiments],the overall observed hit rate is about 34 percent, which is astronomicallybeyond chance expectation.