Friday, October 12, 2007

Presentiment in the brain

Just published:

Toward Understanding the Placebo Effect: Investigating a Possible Retrocausal Factor, Dean Radin and Eva Lobach, Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, Volume 13, Number 7, 2007, pp. 733–739

Objective: Conventional models of placebo effects assume that all mind–body responses associated with expectation can be explained by ordinary causal processes. This experiment tested whether some placebo effects may also involve retrocausal, or time-reversed, influences.

Design: Slow cortical potentials in the brain were monitored while adult volunteers anticipated either a flash of light or no flash, selected with equal probability by a noise-based random number generator. Data were collected in individual sessions of 100 trials, contributed by 13 female and 7 male adult participants.

Outcome measures: Ensemble median slow cortical potentials 1 second prior to a light flash were compared with the same measures prior to no flash. A nonparametric randomized permutation technique was used to statistically assess the observed difference. Electroencephalographic data were analyzed separately by gender.

Results: Females’ slow cortical potentials significantly differentiated before stimulus onset (z = 2.72, p = 0.007, two-tailed); males showed a suggestive effect in the opposite direction (z = 1.64, p = 0.10, two-tailed). Examination of alternative explanations indicated that the significant effect in females was not caused by anticipatory strategies, equipment or environmental artifacts, or violation of statistical assumptions.

Conclusions: This experiment, in accordance with previous studies showing similar, unconscious “presentiment” effects in humans, suggests that comprehensive models seeking to explain placebo effects, and in general how expectation affects the mind and body, may require consideration of retrocausal influences.

To download this article for free, go here.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Intentional chocolate article published

Effects of Intentionally Enhanced Chocolate on Mood has been published in the Elsevier journal Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing, Volume 3, Issue 5, Pages 433-546 (September 2007).

The paper is coauthored with Gail Hayssen and James Walsh.

You can download the pdf for free by going to clicking on "current issue" or "past issues," depending on when you read this post. The issue to look for is September/October 2007.

I plan to continue a line of research focusing on the apparent intentional effects reported in that paper, across a wide variety of substances.