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Anomalous Cognition Technical Trials: Inspiration for the Target Entropy Concept

Edwin. C. May, Ph.D. and Nevin D. Lantz, Ph.D.
(Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, Volume 74.4, Number 901, pp. 225-243, 2010
)

ABSTRACT: Two anomalous cognition trials are presented in which the targets were high-technology directed energy systems. The protocols, fuzzy set analyses, and results are presented in the context of exploration and hypothesis formulation rather than hypothesis testing. The qualitative success of these trials, taken with similar successes throughout the years of the SRI International and Science Applications International Corporation, US Government-sponsored programs, inspired the design of the Shannon entropy experiments that were conducted in the Cognitive Sciences Laboratory in 1993 and beyond. Potential target confounds are also discussed in the context of these trials.

Anomalous Anticipatory Skin Conductance Response to Acoustic Stimuli: Experimental Results and Speculation Upon a Mechanism

Edwin. C. May, Ph.D., Tamás Paulinyi & Zoltán Vassy, M.Sc.
(Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, Volume 11, Number 4, pp. 695-702, 2005)

ABSTRACT: Objectives: The primary objective of this study was to conduct a replication, simplification, and extension of similar previous studies that claimed anomalous anticipatory skin conductance responses prior to various stimuli, and to provide sufficient protocol and analysis details in order to foster additional replications. A secondary objective was to provide a testable model in order to understand the observed results.

Design: We used standard skin conductance measures and techniques to search within 50 participants for responses prior to 1-second duration, 97 dB acoustic stimuli compared to prior to silent controls. We used an inter-stimulus interval randomly and uniformly distributed between 30 and 50 seconds.

Outcome measures: The dependent variable was the difference between proportions of 3.5 second prestimulus intervals prior to acoustic stimuli and prior to silent controls that contained a fully-formed, non-specific skin conductance response. The null hypothesis was that the proportion difference should be zero.

Results: We found a significant proportion difference of 0.032 (Z = 2.08, effect size = 0.077 ± 0.037, p(1t) = 0.019), which is a replication of earlier similar studies.

Conclusions: We examined and ruled out a number of potential artifacts that might have accounted for this finding. To understand these results, we demonstrated by Monte Carlo techniques that a possible explanation is that experimenters may have used their own intuition to initiate experiment runs to somehow sort otherwise random non-specific skin conductance responses into appropriate bins in order to mimic physiological responses. We found experimental evidence to support this idea as an operational mechanism. If this speculation is confirmed in prospective studies, then this intuition-based mimicking of effects may profoundly impact the interpretation of results from complementary and alternative medical studies that use statistical inference to assess outcomes.
(171 KB - PDF)

The Correlation of the Gradient of Shannon Entropy and
Anomalous Cognition: Toward an AC Sensory System

EDWIN C. MAY, S. JAMES, P. SPOTTISWOODE, AND LAURA V. FAITH
(Journal of Scientific Exploration, Volume 14, Number 1, pp. 53-72, 2000)

ABSTRACT: In this study, we hoped to replicate earlier findings that have
demonstrated strong evidence for anomalous cognition (AC), as well as a significant
correlation between the quality of the AC with the gradient of Shannon
entropy, but not with the entropy itself. We created a new target pool and
a more sensitive analytical system compared with those of earlier studies. We
then invited five experienced receivers (i.e., experiment participants) to contribute
15 trials each. In addition to the usual rank-order analysis, two other
methods were used to assess the quality of the AC. The first of these was a 0
to 7 rating scale that has been used in the earlier studies. The second, a figure
of merit, was based on a fuzzy-set encoding of the targets and responses. The
primary hypotheses were (a) that a significant correlation would be seen between
the figure of merit quality assessment and the gradient of Shannon entropy
for the associated target and (b) that the correlation using the rating assessment
would be consistent with earlier findings. A secondary hypothesis
was that the figure of merit quality would not correlate with the entropy of
the associated target. All hypotheses were confirmed. Our results are part of
the growing evidence that AC is mediated through a sensory channel.

(352 KB - PDF)

A Perceptual Channel for Information Transfer over Kilometer Distances: Historical Perspective and Recent Research

Harold E. Puthoff & Russell Targ
Stanford Research Institute, Menlo Park California, USA
(Proceedings of the IEEE. 64(3), 329-354)

For more than 100 years, scientists have attempted to determine the truth or falsity of claims for the existence of a perceptual channel whereby certain individuals are able to perceive and describe remote data not presented to any known sense. This paper presents an outline of the history of scientific inquiry into such so-called paranormal perception and surveys the current state of the art in parapsychological research in the United States and abroad. The nature of this perceptual channel is examined in a series of experiments carried out in the Electronics and Bioengineering Laboratory of Stanford Research Institute. The perceptual modality most extensively investigated is the ability of both experienced subjects and inexperienced volunteers to view, by innate mental processes, remote geographical or technical targets including buildings, roads. and laboratory apparatus. The accumulated data indicate that the phenomenon is not a sensitive function of distance, and Faraday cage shielding does not in any apparent way degrade the quality and accuracy of perception. On the basis of this research, some areas of physics are suggested from which a description or explanation of the phenomenon could be forthcoming.

(10.3 MB- PDF)

Testing Schrodinger's Paradox with A Michelson Interferometer

Evan Harris Walker
U.S. Army Ballistic Research Laboratory, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, USA

E.C. May, S.J.P. Spottiswoode and T. Piantanida
SRI International, Menlo Park, California, USA
(Physica B 151, 339-348, 1988)

The Schrodinger paradox points out that quantum mechanics predicts a linear superposition of states even for macroscopic objects prior to measurement. However, at the macroscopic level of ordinary objects it has not been possible to maintain the phase correlations needed to demonstrate or disprove the reality of such a superposition of states as opposed to the mixture of states. Without such a quantum "signature", this paradoxical prediction of quantum theory would seem to have no testable consequences. State vector collapse in that case becomes indistinguishable from a stochastic ensemble description.
The experiment described here provides a means for testing Schrodingers' paradox. A Michelson interferometer is used to test for the presence of state superposition of a pair of shutters that are placed along the two optical arms of the interferometer and driven by a beta decay source so that either the first shutter is open and the second closed or vice versa. The shutters take on the role of the cat in the Schrodinger paradox.

The experiment that we discuss here has been carried out at SRI International. Under the conditions of the experiment, the results remove the possibility of the existence of macroscopic superposition prior to observation.
(543 KB - PDF)

"Future Telling:" A Meta-Analysis of Forced-Choice Precognitions Experiments, 1935-1987

Charles Honorton & Diane C. Farrari
Psychophysical Research Laboratory
Plainsboro, NJ

We report a meta-analysis of forced-choice precognition experiments published in the English-language parapsychological literature between 1935 and 1987. These studies involve attempts by subjects to predict the identity of target stimuli selected randomly over intervals ranging from several hundred milliseconds to one year following the subjects' responses. We retrieved 309 studies reported by 62 investigators. Nearly two million individual trials were contributed by more than 50,000 subjects. Study outcomes are assessed by overall level of statistical significance and effect size. There is a small, but reliable overall effect (z = 11.41, P = 6.3 x 10[-25]). Thirty percent of the studies (by 40 investigators) are significant at the 5% significance level. Assessment of vulnerability to selective reporting
indicates that a ratio of 46 unreported studies averaging null results would be required for each reported study in order to reduce the overall result to nonsignificance. No systematic relationship was found between study outcomes and eight indices of research quality. Effect size has remained essentially constant over the survey period, whereas research quality has improved substantially. Four moderating variables appear to covary significantly with study outcome: Studies using subjects selected on the basis of prior testing performance show significantly larger effects than studies using unselected subjects. Subjects tested individually by an experimenter show significantly larger effects than those tested in groups. Studies in which subjects are given trial-by-trial or run-score feedback have significantly larger effects than those with delayed or no subject feedback. Studies with brief intervals between subjects' responses and target generation show significantly
stronger effects than studies involving longer intervals. The combined impact of these moderating variables appears to be very strong. Independently significant outcomes are observed in seven of the eight studies using selected subjects, who were tested individually and received trial-by-trial feedback.
(1,500 KB - PDF)

Overview of Current Parapsychology Research in the Former Soviet Union

Edwin C. May, Ph.D. and Larissa Vilenskaya
(Subtle Energies Volume 3, Number 3, pp. 45-67, 1992)

ABSTRACT: This paper provides an in-depth discussion of research of anomalous mental phenomena (AMP) in the former Soviet Union. The authors spent approximately two months in Russia during 1992 and 1993, interacting with researchers in Moscow and Novosibirsk. The authors primarily discuss experiments in anomalous perturbation (often referred to as psychokinesis?PK and bio? which have been the main focus of AMP research programs in the Soviet Union. In particular, the authors discuss the methodologies and results of experimental attempts by human operators to affect the following inanimate and animate target systems: (1) microcalorimeters, (2) electric noise generators, (3) cellular cultures, (4) plant seeds, (5) plant biopotentials, (6) frequency of impulses emitted by an electricity?generating fish, (7) eating behavior of mice, (8) person's reaction time, and (9) parameters of human EEG.
(883 KB - PDF)

Anomalous Mental Phenomena Research in Russia and the Former Soviet Union: A Follow Up

Larissa Vilenskaya & Edwin C. May, Ph.D.
(Subtle Energies Volume 4, Number 3, pp. 231-250, 1992)

ABSTRACT: We describe our further exploration into research of anomalous mental phenomena (AMP) in the Former Soviet Union (FSU). We visited numerous research centers in major cities of Russia and the Ukraine, met with leading researchers in the field, visited their laboratories, and participated in some experiments. In their research, our Russian colleagues emphasize studies of anomalous perturbation (AP), also termed psychokinesis (PK), and "distant mental effect" on biological systems (bio?AP or bio?PK). The experiments have been conducted in top academic and research institutions, including Moscow State University, St. Petersburg State University, and several research institutes of the Russian and Ukrainian Academies of Sciences. Although the quality of research varies considerably in different institutions, there are groups that have developed rigorous methodologies. We also consider the potential cultural impact on Russian AMP research. We conclude with a discussion of the causal model of AP studies vs. informational, perceptual model in relation to the Russian research.
(161 KB-PDF)

Advances in Remote-Viewing Analysis

Edwin C. May, Jessica M. Utts, Beverly S. Humphrey, Wanda L. W. Luke, Thane J. Frivold, and Virginia V. Trask
(Journal of Parapsychology, Vol. 54, September 1990, pp: 193-228)

ABSTRACT: Fuzzy set technology is applied to the ongoing research question of how to automate the analysis of remote-viewing data. Fuzzy sets were invented to describe, in a formal way, the subjectivity inherent in human reasoning. Applied to remote-viewing analysis, the technique involves a quantitative encoding of target and response material and provides a formal comparison. In this progress report, the accuracy of a response is defined as the percent of the intended target material that is described correctly. The reliability is defined as the percent of the response that was correct. The assessment of the remote-viewing quality is denned as the product of accuracy and reliability, called the figure of merit The procedure is applied to a test set of six remote-viewing trials. A comparison of the figures of merit with the subjective assessments of 37 independent analysts shows good agreement. The fuzzy set technology is also used to provide a quantitative definition of target orthogonality.
(1,902 KB - PDF)

Decision Augmentation Theory

Edwin C. May, Jessica M. Utts, and S. James P. Spottiswoode
(Journal of Parapsychology, Vol. 59, September 1995, pp: 195-220)

ABSTRACT: Decision augmentation theory (DAT) holds that humans integrate information obtained by anomalous cognition into the usual decision process. The result is that, to a statistical degree, such decisions are biased toward volitional outcomes. We introduce our model and show that the domain over which it is applicable is within a few standard deviations from chance. We contrast the theory's experimental consequences with those of models that treat anomalous effects as due to a force. We derive mathematical expressions for DAT and force-like models using two distributions, normal and binomial. DAT is testable both retrospectively and prospectively, and we provide statistical power curves to assist in the experimental design of such tests. We show that the experimental consequences of our theory are different from those of force-like models except for one special case.
(493 KB - PDF)

Applications of Decision Augmentation Theory

Edwin C. May, S. James P. Spottiswoode, Jessica M. Utts, and Christine L. James
(Journal of Parapsychology, Vol. 59, September 1995, pp: 221-250)

ABSTRACT: Decision augmentation theory (DAT) provides an informational mechanism for a class of anomalous mental phenomena that have hitherto been viewed as being caused by a force-like mechanism. Under specifiable conditions, DATs predictions for statistical anomalous perturbation databases are different from those of all force-like mechanisms. For large random number generator databases, DAT predicts a zero slope for a least squares fit to the (z^2 , n) scatter diagram, where n is the number of bits resulting from a single run and z is the resulting z score. We find a slope of (1.73 ± 3.19) X 10^-6 (t= 0.543, df= 126, p = .295) for the historical binary RNG database, which strongly suggests that some informational mechanism is responsible for the anomaly. In a two sequence length analysis of a limited set of RNG data from the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research laboratory, we find that a force-like explanation misses the observed data by 8.6 Sigma; however, the observed data are within 1.1 sigma of the DAT prediction. We also apply DAT to one pseudo-RNG study and find that its predicted slope is not significantly different from the expected value for an informational mechanism. We review and comment on six published articles that discussed DATs earlier formalism (i.e., intuitive data sorting). We found two studies that support a force-like mechanism. Our analysis of Brand's 1990 hemolysis study confirms his finding in favor of an influence model over a selection one (p = .023), and Braud and Schlitz (1989) demonstrated a force-like interaction in their remote staring experiment (p = .020). We provide six circumstantial arguments against an influence hypothesis. Our anomalous cognition research suggests that the quality of the data is proportional to the total change of Shannon entropy. We demonstrate that the change of Shannon entropy of a binary sequence from chance is independent of sequence length; thus, we suggest that a fundamental argument supports DAT over influence models. In our conclusion, we suggest that, except for one special case, the physical RNG database cannot be explained by any influence model, and that contradicting evidence from two experiments on biological systems should inspire more investigations in a way that would allow valid DAT analyses.
(1,747 KB - PDF)

ESP and the Brain: Current Status

Edwin C. May
(3rd Symposium: Behind and Beyond the Brain, 321-352)

ABSTRACT: Serious research into extrasensory perception (ESP) has been conducted since the 1930's, and a number of different protocols have been established to elicit the phenomenon. The large database to date has been analyzed by critics and statisticians alike, and the consensus is that the result meets generally accepted criteria for evidence of a statistically based, information transfer anomaly. We provide a brief overview of three of the most common procedures and their results as the basis for the justification to engage in a search for a central nervous system (CNS) correlate to ESP. Our search for a CNS response to an ESP stimulus began in 1973 when we found that alpha band (8 to 12 Hz) power changed significantly concomitant with a remote and isolated flashing-light (i.e., 16 Hz) stimulus. Even though there was statistically significant evidence of a change in alpha power, the single participant in the study "was unable to demonstrate cognitively in which epochs the remote light was flashing. In addition, there was considerable ambiguity as to the EEG lead and direction of the alpha power change for the observed significant effects. That is, significant increases or decreases of in-band alpha power were observed on different electrodes at different times. Thus we abandoned this line of investigation until 1986. At that time, we used magnetoencephalographic techniques to search for evoked-response-fields occurring concomitant with a remote flashing sinusoidal stimulus. Although the initial results were encouraging in that we apparently detected significant spontaneous primary alpha phase shifts, we were unable to replicate our findings. Continuing our search in 1994, we conducted an experiment to detect event-related desynchronizations (ERD's) resulting from an ESP stimulus. Three subjects contributed a total of 70 trials during which both ESP and EEG data were collected. The ESP data, which have been blind judged by an established rank-order method, yielded independently significant results for two of the three receivers, and the overall ESP result was significant at p=0.006 (ES = 0.303). Using a cross correlation technique, which was twice as sensitive as standard signal averaging, we did not observe any evidence for an ERD in response to an ESP stimulus. Our analysis technique was sensitive enough to detect a 20% decrease from prestimulus alpha power1. We will summarize our previous experiments and discuss a number of possible explanations for this result.
(3,307 KB - PDF)

Target and Sender Dependencies in Anomalous Cognition Experiments

Nevin D. Lantz, Wanda L. W. Luke, and Edwin C. May
(Journal of Parapsychology, Vol. 58, September 1994, pp: 286-302)

ABSTRACT: The ganzfeld experiments as summarized by Bem and Honorton (1994) suggest that using dynamic targets produces stronger results than using static ones. Bem and Honorton, however, only analyzed ganzfeld studies that included the use of a sender. Because a sender is not a necessary requirement hi forced-choice trials, we designed and carried out a study to see if a sender is required in nonganzfeld, free-response trials. In the first of two experiments, five experienced receivers participated hi 40 trials each, 10 in each condition of a 2x2 design to explore sender and target type. We observed significant effects for static targets (exact sum-of-rank probability of p < .0073, effect size = 0.248, n = 100), chance results for dynamic targets (p < .500, effect size = 0.000, n = 100), and no interaction effects between sender and target-type conditions. One receiver slightly favored the no-sender condition, F(l,36) = 4.43, p < .04, whereas another slightly favored static targets, F(l,36) = 5.47, p < .04. We speculate that these surprising results (i.e., favoring static over dynamic targets) arose, in part, because of the difference between a topically unbounded dynamic target pool and a topically restrictive static pool. In a second experiment, we redesigned the dynamic pool to match more closely the properties of the static pool. Four of the receivers from the first study participated in at least 20 trials each, 10 in each target-type condition. No senders were used throughout this experiment. We observed a significant increase in anomalous cognition for the new dynamic targets, £(143) = 3.06, p < 1.3x 10~ , and a significant increase hi anomalous cognition for the static targets, £(143) = 1.68, p<. 047. We conclude that a sender is not a necessary requirement for free-response anomalous cognition. A rank-order analysis showed no target-type dependencies in the second study. On the basis of an analysis by May, Spottiswoode, and James (1994b), we believe a fundamental argument suggests mat hi free-response anomalous cognition experiments, dynamic targets should be better than static ones.
(996 KB - PDF)

Managing the Target-Pool Bandwidth: Possible Noise Reduction for Anomalous Cognition Experiments

Edwin C. May, S. James P. Spottiswoode, and Christine L. James
(Journal of Parapsychology Vol. 58, pp. 303-313, 1994)

ABSTRACT: Lantz and colleagues recently reported in the first of two studies that experienced receivers from die Cognitive Sciences Laboratory produced significant evidence for anomalous cognition (AC) of static targets but showed little evidence for AC of dynamic targets. This result was surprising: It was directly opposite to the results that were derived from the 1994 Bem and Honorton ganzfeld database. In Lantz et al.'s experiment, the topics of the dynamic targets were virtually unlimited, whereas die topics for the static targets were constrained in content, size of cognitive elements, and range of affect In a second experiment, they redesigned the target pools to correct this imbalance and observed significant improvement of AC functioning. We incorporate these findings into a definition of target-pool bandwidth and propose that die proper selection of bandwidth will lead to a reduction of incorrect information in free-response AC.
(628 KB - PDF)

Shannon Entropy: A Possible Intrinsic Target Property

Edwin C. May, S. James P. Spottiswoode, and Christine L. James
(Journal of Parapsychology Vol. 58, pp. 384-401, 1994)

Abstract: We propose that the average total change of Shannon's entropy is a candidate for an intrinsic target properly. An intrinsic target property is one that is completely independent of psychological factors and can be associated solely with a physical property of the target. We analyzed the results of two lengthy experiments that were conducted from 1992 through 1993 and found a significant correlation (r5 = 0.337, df= 31, t= 1.99, p < 0.028) with an absolute measure of the quality of the anomalous cognition (AC). In addition, we found that the quality of the AC was significantly better for dynamic targets than for static targets (t = 1.71, df= 36, p < 0.048). The 1993 correlation with the change of entropy replicated a similar finding from our 1992 study. Using Monte Carlo techniques, we demonstrate that the observed correlations were not due to some unforeseen artifact with the entropy calculation, but perhaps the correlation can be accounted for because of the difference in some other measure between static and dynamic targets. The Monte Carlo results and the significant correlations with static targets in the 1992 study, however, suggest otherwise. We describe the methodology, the calculations, and correlations in detail and provide guidelines for those who may wish to conduct similar studies.
(1,147 KB - PDF)

Feedback Considerations in Anomalous Cognition Experiments

Edwin C. May, Nevin D. Lantz, and Tom Piantineda
(Journal of Parapsychology Vol. 60, pp. 211-226, 1996)

ABSTRACT: To determine from what time frame the data from anomalous cognition (AC) originate, we have examined the role of precognition and feedback on the quality of AC. In an otherwise standard AC protocol, we displayed feedback tachistoscopicauy to receivers. The cognitive awareness of the feedback experience was minimal, and 2 of the 8 intensities used for visual display of the feedback were below subliminal threshold. We hypothesized a number of possible relationships between feedback intensity and AC quality, including one based on precognition (i.e., the data originated from the future feedback). Four viewers contributed 40 trials each (5 at 8 different intensity bands). Using a sum-of-ranks statistic, 2 viewers produced independently significant evidence of remote viewing (i.e., the binomial probability of 2 hits in 4 trials with an event probability of .05 is .014). None of the data showed significant correlation of feedback intensity with AC quality. This result is discussed with regard to precognition in general and the troublesome unfalsifiability aspect of truly goal-oriented precognition.
(896 KB - PDF)

Skin Conductance Prestimulus Response: Analysis, Artifacts and a Pilot Study

S. James P. Spottiswoode and E. C. May
(Journal of Scientific Exploration, Vol. 17, No. 4, pp. 617-647, 2003)

ABSTRACT:Previous studies have suggested that the human autonomic nervous system responds to stimuli 2-3 seconds before presentation. In these studies randomly chosen photographs with high and low affectivity were presented to participants. Ensemble averaging of skin conductance in the prestimulus epochs showed a differential response between high and low affectivity photographs. In our protocol the problem of idiosyncratic responses to pictorial stimuli was avoided by using audio startle stimuli. Stimulus type was determined just before presentation by a true random generator. Participants heard 20 stimuli per session with a 50% chance of an audio startle as against a silent control. Our dependent variable was the proportions of 3-second epochs prior to audio and control stimuli in which a skin conductance response, that is a minimum in skin conductance followed by a maximum, occurred. We found a significant effect (N = 125, Z-score (Z) = 3.27, effect size (ES) = 0.0901 0.0275, p = 5.4 10-4). Explanations for this result as an artifact were examined and rejected. We show that a significant result from an average-based epoch analysis in this type of experiment is not a necessary requirement to demonstrate significant evidence for a prestimulus response.
(3,980 KB - PDF)

The American Institutes for Research Review of the Department of Defense's STARGAT Program: A Commentary

Edwin C. May
(Journal of Parapsychology Vol. 60, pp. 3-23, 1996)

ABSTRACT: As a result of a Congressionally Directed Activity, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) conducted an evaluation of a 24-year, government-sponsored program to investigate ESP and its potential use within die intelligence community. The American Institutes for Research (AIR) was contracted to conduct the review of both research and operations. Their September 29, 1995 final report was released to the public November 28, 1995. As a result of AIR's assessment, the CIA concluded that a statistically significant effect had been demonstrated in the laboratory but that there was no case in which ESP had provided data that had ever been used to guide intelligence operations. This paper is a critical review of AIR's methodology and conclusions. It will be shown that there is compelling evidence that the CIA set the outcome with regard to intelligence usage before the evaluation had begun. This was accomplished by limiting the research and operations data sets to exclude positive findings, by purposefully not interviewing historically significant participants, by ignoring previous extensive Department of Defense program reviews, and by using the questionable National Research Council's investigation of parapsychology as the starting point for their review. Although there may have been political and administrative justification for the CIA not to accept the government's in-house program for the operational use of anomalous cognition, these external considerations appeared to drive the outcome of the evaluation. As a result, they have come to the wrong conclusion with regard to the use of anomalous cognition in intelligence operations and have significantly underestimated the robustness of the basic phenomenon.
(1,387 KB - PDF)

Has Science Developed the Competence to Confront the Claims of the Paranormal?

Charles Honorton
(Research in Parapsychology Vol. 1975, pp. 199-223, 1976)

ABSTRACT: Chuck Honorton's Presidential Address to the Parapsychological Association convention in 1975. He addresses replication issues within psychology and parapsychology.
(766 KB - PDF)


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