Dialogue with Morning Speakers

Recent Advances in Parapsychological Research

In this presentation I will describe the PA as it operates in the 21st Century, focusing in particular on recent advances in parapsychological research as practised by PA members. This research has its historical origins in dream ESP and Ganzfeld studies, which I shall describe as a means to make unconscious material available to conscious awareness. But I will concentrate on more recent experimental designs that interrogate the suggestion that psi might operate at a more subtle, unconscious level that moderates decision making and behavioural responses without awareness. This will include recent high profile experiments by Daryl Bem and colleagues, and also a suite of experiments that I have conducted to look at the effects of reward/punishment upon performance at an implicit psi task.

The Extended Mind

Our minds seem to extend far beyond our brains. Many experiments have now shown that people can influence others at a distance just by looking at them, even when all normal sensory clues are eliminated. The sense of being stared at also occurs among non-human animals and may have evolved in the context of predator –prey relationships: if a prey animal knows when a hungry predator was watching it, it might have a better chance of escaping than if it didn’t know. Intentions can have effects at a distance, and can be detected telepathically, as shown in experiments with dogs that know when their owners are coming home, and in people’s ability to anticipate who is about to call on the telephone, or send them an email or a text message. Minds are also extended in time. Just as memories connect us with our pasts, precognitions and presentiments sometimes connect us with our futures.