Do People Have Psychic Abilities?
Open-Minded Free Thinking at its Finest
From a lecture in the "Understanding the Mysteries of Human Behavior" course by Professor Mark Leary: Do People Have Psychic Abilities? Venture into the field of parapsychology—the study of anomalous psychic experiences such as extrasensory perception. As Professor Leary reveals what decades of fascinating research (including special approaches such as the ganzfeld and presentiment studies) have uncovered about this phenomena, decide for yourself whether psychic abilities are myth or reality.
Professor Mark Leary is Garonzik Family Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at Duke University. He has received a Lifetime Career Award from the International Society for Self and Identity and is a fellow of the Association for Psychological Science, The American Psychological Association, and the Society for Personality and Social Psychology. The author of a dozen books on social motivation, emotion, and the ego, Professor Leary is among the world's top social and personality psychologists.
10-30-17 Chill factors: The everyday things that make us see ghosts
Seeing ghosts is all too human, but what spooks us and why are some more susceptible? Surveys of "haunted" sites and gameplay are unmasking clues. I’M WANDERING the corridors of a derelict hospital. The place was abandoned following the mysterious disappearances of a woman in a coma, then several other patients. Strange noises have been reported coming from inside. Nobody knows what’s going on. It’s pretty spooky in here – dimly lit, with peeling paint and rusty doors. I screw up the courage to open one of them and – BAM! – a bloodied zombie girl leaps out at me. My heart starts racing. That zombie gets everyone, says Connor Lloyd at Buckinghamshire New University, UK. He should know. He designed the game and has all his players wired up so he can monitor their heart rate, breathing and sweating to find out what scares players. “I’m interested in how games affect people’s minds,” he says. But when Ciarán O’Keeffe, head of psychology at the university, came across the game, he realised it could do much more. O’Keeffe is now adapting it to study ghosts. Rationalists may scoff, but it’s only human to feel haunted. Many more people believe in ghosts and claim to have encountered one than you might suppose (see “Anyone for ghosts?”). “I think it’s quite arrogant of us to ignore these experiences and to say they’re all deluded,” says O’Keeffe, who is one of only a handful of researchers studying ghost sightings and supposedly haunted locations. Of course, he doesn’t believe ghosts are real. What he wants to know is why we get spooked. Over the years, researchers have singled out various physical, psychological and environmental factors. But debate continues about which ones are actually involved, how they create ghostly experiences and why some of us are more affected than others. An immersive game could be the best way to find answers.
6-23-17 Amputees control avatar by imagining moving their missing limbs
Amputees control avatar by imagining moving their missing limbs
Even after losing a limb, brain activity associated with imagined movements can be read by an fMRI brain scanner and used to control a computer character. Neuron activity associated with imagined movements could be used to control prosthetics. People who have had amputations can control a virtual avatar using their imagination alone, thanks to a system that uses a brain scanner. Brain-computer interfaces, which translate neuron activity into computer signals, have been advancing rapidly, raising hopes that such technology can help people overcome disabilities such as paralysis or lost limbs. But it has been unclear how well this might work for people who have had limbs removed some time ago, as the brain areas that previously controlled these may become less active or repurposed for other uses over time. Ori Cohen at IDC Herzliya, in Israel, and colleagues have developed a system that uses an fMRI brain scanner to read the brain signals associated with imagining a movement. To see if it can work a while after someone has had a limb removed, they recruited three volunteers who had had an arm removed between 18 months and two years earlier, and four people who have not had an amputation. While lying in the fMRI scanner, the volunteers were shown an avatar on a screen with a path ahead of it, and instructed to move the avatar along this path by imagining moving their feet to move forward, or their hands to turn left or right. The people who had had arm amputations were able to do this just as well with their missing hand as they were with their intact hand. Their overall performance on the task was almost as good as of those people who had not had an amputation.
5-19-17 A classic quantum test could reveal the limits of the human mind
A classic quantum test could reveal the limits of the human mind
Using human consciousness as the trigger in a test of ‘spooky action at a distance’ could tell us whether mind is made of different stuff than matter. The boundary between mind and matter could be tested using a new twist on a well-known experiment in quantum physics. Over the past two decades, a type of experiment known as a Bell test has confirmed the weirdness of quantum mechanics – specifically the “spooky action at a distance” that so bothered Einstein. Now, a theorist proposes a Bell test experiment using something unprecedented: human consciousness. If such an experiment showed deviations from quantum mechanics, it could provide the first hints that our minds are potentially immaterial. Spooky action at a distance was Einstein’s phrase for a quantum effect called entanglement. If two particles are entangled, then measuring the state of one particle seems to instantly influence the state of the other, even if they are light years apart. But any signal passing between them would have to travel faster than the speed of light, breaking the cosmic speed limit. To Einstein, this implied that quantum theory was incomplete, and that there was a deeper theory that could explain the particles’ behaviour without resorting to weird instantaneous influence. Some physicists have been trying to find this deeper theory ever since.
3-6-17 Humans control robots with their minds by watching for mistakes
Humans control robots with their minds by watching for mistakes
An EEG-based system uses the brain signals generated when we spot an error to correct an industrial robot’s movements as it works. Try again robot, you’re doing it wrong. A brain-computer interface lets people correct robots’ mistakes using the power of their thoughts. The system uses electroencephalography (EEG) to measure a person’s brain signals as they watch a robot work. When it detects a signal suggesting the person has witnessed a mistake, it alters the robot’s course. The system could be used to let humans control industrial robots simply by observing them. “We’re taking baby steps towards having machines learn about us, and having them adjust to what we think,” says Daniela Rus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Rus and her team used an EEG headset to measure how the electrical signals in five volunteers’ brains responded as they watched a robot reach towards one of two LED lights. In each test, one LED was randomly selected as the “correct” one. If the volunteer saw that the robot was reaching for the wrong one, the headset detected this in their EEG readings and sent a signal to the robot, making it reach for the other. The robot used was Baxter, an industrial robot made by Rethink Robotics in Boston, Massachusetts. When we witness a mistake, we generate brain signals called “error potentials”, says Ricardo Chavarriaga at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne. Error potentials have a distinctive shape, which makes them a good choice for controlling a robot, he says. In 70 percent of cases where the volunteers noticed that the robot was making a mistake, the system correctly recognised an error potential and altered the robot’s actions. The result was similar on a task where volunteers watched Baxter sort reels of wire and paint bottles into different boxes.
3-2-17 Empathy device lets a friend’s brain signals move your hand
Empathy device lets a friend’s brain signals move your hand
One person’s brain activity triggers hand gestures in another person in a muscle stimulation system aimed at communicating mood and encouraging empathy. If you’re happy and you know it, clap someone else’s hands. A muscle stimulation system aims to evoke empathy by triggering involuntary hand gestures in one person in response to mood changes in another. “If you’re moving in the same way as another person you might understand that person better,” says Max Pfeiffer at the University of Hannover in Germany. Pfeiffer and his team wired up four people to an EEG machine that measured changes in the electrical activity in their brain as they watched film clips intended to provoke three emotional responses: amusement, anger and sadness. These people were the “emotion senders”. Each sender was paired with an “emotion recipient” who wore electrodes on their arms that stimulated their muscles and caused their arms and hands to move when the mood of their partner changed. The gestures they made were based on American Sign Language for amusement, anger and sadness. To express amusement, volunteers had their muscles stimulated to raise one arm, to express anger they raised an arm and made a claw gesture, and to express sadness they slowly slid an arm down their chest. These resemble natural movements associated with the feelings, so the team hypothesised that they would evoke the relevant emotion. Asked to rate how well the gestures corresponded to the emotions, the volunteers largely matched the gestures to the correct mood.
12-14-16 We will soon be able to read minds and share our thoughts
We will soon be able to read minds and share our thoughts
EEG caps that monitor brain activity are allowing us to send thoughts to each other directly – a technology that could help people who are paralysed regain movement. The first true brain-to-brain communication in people could start next year, thanks to huge recent advances. Early attempts won’t quite resemble telepathy as we often imagine it. Our brains work in unique ways, and the way each of us thinks about a concept is influenced by our experiences and memories. This results in different patterns of brain activity, but if neuroscientists can learn one individual’s patterns, they may be able to trigger certain thoughts in that person’s brain. In theory, they could then use someone else’s brain activity to trigger these thoughts. So far, researchers have managed to get two people, sitting in different rooms, to play a game of 20 questions on a computer. The participants transmitted “yes” or “no” answers, thanks to EEG caps that monitored brain activity, with a technique called transcranial magnetic stimulation triggering an electrical current in the other person’s brain. By pushing this further, it may be possible to detect certain thought processes, and use them to influence those of another person, including the decisions they make. Another approach is for the brain activity of several individuals to be brought together on a single electronic device. This has been done in animals already. Three monkeys with brain implants have learned to think together, cooperating to control and move a robotic arm.
11-12-16 ‘I’m more confident’: Paralysed woman’s life after brain implant
‘I’m more confident’: Paralysed woman’s life after brain implant
HB, who has ALS, is the first person to use a brain implant at home. Using electrodes placed under her skull, she is able to play games and communicate. HB, who is paralysed by amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), has become the first woman to use a brain implant at home and in her daily life. She told New Scientist about her experiences using an eye-tracking device that takes about a minute to spell a word.
11-12-16 First home brain implant lets ‘locked-in’ woman communicate
First home brain implant lets ‘locked-in’ woman communicate
After training on whack-a-mole and Pong, a woman paralysed by ALS has become the first person to use a brain implant at home, communicating by thought alone. A paralysed woman has learned to use a brain implant to communicate by thought alone. It is the first time a brain–computer interface has been used at home in a person’s day-to-day life, without the need for doctors and engineers to recalibrate the device. “It’s special to be the first,” says HB, who is 58 years old and wishes to remain anonymous. She was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) in 2008. The disease ravages nerve cells, leaving people unable to control their bodies. Within a couple of years of diagnosis, HB had lost the ability to breathe and required a ventilator. “She is almost completely locked in,” says Nick Ramsey at the Brain Center of University Medical Center Utrecht in the Netherlands. When Ramsey met her, the woman relied on an eye-tracking device to communicate. The device allows her to choose letters on a screen to spell out words, but may not work forever – one in three people with ALS lose the ability to move their eyes. However, teams around the world have been working to develop devices that are controlled directly by the brain to help people like HB.
10-26-16 Paralysed people inhabit distant robot bodies with thought alone
Paralysed people inhabit distant robot bodies with thought alone
Using a head-up display and a cap that reads brain activity, for the first time three people with spinal injury have controlled a robot and seen what it sees. IN THE 2009 Bruce Willis movie Surrogates, people live their lives by embodying themselves as robots. They meet people, go to work, even fall in love, all without leaving the comfort of their own home. Now, for the first time, three people with severe spinal injuries have taken the first steps towards that vision by controlling a robot thousands of kilometres away, using thought alone. The idea is that people with spinal injuries will be able to use robot bodies to interact with the world. It is part of the European Union-backed VERE project, which aims to dissolve the boundary between the human body and a surrogate, giving people the illusion that their surrogate is in fact their own body. In 2012, an international team went some way to achieving this by taking fMRI scans of the brains of volunteers while they thought about moving their hands or legs. The scanner measured changes in blood flow to the brain area responsible for such thoughts. An algorithm then passed these on as instructions to a robot. The volunteers could see what the robot was looking at via a head-mounted display. When they thought about moving their left or right hand, the robot moved 30 degrees to the left or right. Imagining moving their legs made the robot walk forward.
7-14-16 Who you gonna call? The real-life ghost hunters
Who you gonna call? The real-life ghost hunters
When staff at Italian restaurant Nido's were convinced they had a ghost running amok, they knew exactly who to call. They phoned a local, real-life team of ghost hunters. A few days later, a five-person crew from Dead of Night Paranormal Investigations arrived at the eatery in the US city of Frederick, Maryland, to investigate. After speaking to waiters and chefs, who said that an invisible presence would stomp up and down the stairs, the team set to work. ParanormalSocieties.com, which claims to be the world's largest directory of paranormal societies, shows that the US has more than 3,600 American groups listed. Meanwhile, the website lists 53 such organisations from Canada, and 57 from the UK. To become a paranormal investigator requires no formal qualifications. Nor are there any licensing requirements, and you don't even have to believe in ghosts. By not charging, investigation groups such as Dead of Night and East Coast Research say they can be as scrupulous and scientific as possible. Polls show that about a third of people in the US and the UK believe in ghosts. (Webmaster's comment: There are no Gods, Ghosts, Goblins, or Ghouls, but many humans do seem to want to believe in something from a non-existant supernatural world.)
6-1-16 Mind Melds And Brain Beams: The Dawn Of Brain-To-Brain Communication
Mind Melds And Brain Beams: The Dawn Of Brain-To-Brain Communication
Music students download the technique of their favorite pianist or singer directly into their brains. Medical students download the skills of a seasoned surgeon or diagnostician. And each one of us routinely uploads our thoughts and memories to the digital cloud. While these scenarios still lie in the future, rudimentary versions of the necessary brain-to-brain technology exist today. But the ability to directly influence another person’s brain raises serious questions about human rights and individual freedoms. This program will present the latest technology and explore how the ethical implications of enhanced thinking go to the heart of consciousness itself.
4-27-16 Map of the brain’s word filing system could help us read minds
Map of the brain’s word filing system could help us read minds
Brain scans show how words linked to specific concepts are stored in themed areas, giving us a way to peek at people's thoughts. Now Jack Gallant at the University of California, Berkeley, and his team have charted the “semantic system” of the human brain. The resulting map reveals that we organise words according to their deeper meaning, in subcategories based around numbers, places, and other common themes. Previous “mind-reading” studies have shown that certain parts of the brain respond to particular words. Gallant’s own lab had already found that the brain sorts visual information by meaningful categories like animals or buildings. In their latest experiment, the team wanted to see if they could build a more complete map of meaning across the cerebral cortex, the folded outer layer of grey matter.
4-15-16 We are zombies rewriting our mental history to feel in control
We are zombies rewriting our mental history to feel in control
Ever thought you have an uncanny knack of predicting events? It's probably down to shortcomings in the human brain. Bad news for believers in clairvoyance. Our brains appear to rewrite history so that the choices we make after an event seem to precede it. In other words, we add loops to our mental timeline that let us feel we can predict things that in reality have already happened. Adam Bear and Paul Bloom at Yale University conducted some simple tests on volunteers. In one experiment, subjects looked at white circles and silently guessed which one would turn red. Once one circle had changed colour, they reported whether or not they had predicted correctly. Over many trials, their reported accuracy was significantly better than the 20 per cent expected by chance, indicating that the volunteers either had psychic abilities or had unwittingly played a mental trick on themselves. (Webmaster's comment: Relying on verbal reports is not an objective measure. A bad test for anything, except maybe for how many unconsciously or deliberately are skewing results.)
4-13-16 Brain implant lets paralysed man move his hand with his thoughts
Brain implant lets paralysed man move his hand with his thoughts
Ian Burkhart is the first paralysed person to regain control of his own hand and fingers using a mind-reading device implanted in his brain. Ian Burkhart was 19 years old when he broke his neck diving into shallow water on holiday. Since then, he has been unable to move either of his legs, or his arms below the elbow (read Ian’s story here). Now, in a world first, he has regained control of one hand and his fingers using a mind-reading device. In the past few years, we have seen paralysed people walk again with the aid of exoskeletons, and by using recorded brain activity to trigger electric stimulations to the leg muscles. Others have trained paralysed people to control computer cursors and robotic limbs by thought alone. (Webmaster's comment: Mind-reading is here. Is it ESP or PSI? It's obviously close.)
3-2-16 I’m creating telepathy technology to get brains talking
I’m creating telepathy technology to get brains talking
Brain-to-brain communication is becoming a reality, says Andrea Stocco, who sees a future where minds meet to share ideas, or even to aid recovery from a stroke.
What have you achieved so far?
Most recently we have had two people in two different buildings play a version of 20 questions with each other using a brain-to-brain communication device. The volunteers did surprisingly well, guessing the right object 72 per cent of the time.
Some people have called this “mind-reading”. Would you agree with this description?
Not quite. In earlier work, my team developed a device that could tell when a person was thinking of moving their hand before they made any movement at all. This ability to detect an intention is more akin to mind-reading. But in our 20-questions set-up, we are only transmitting simple visual information.
(Webmaster's comment: Fascinating progress is being made, but you'll have to subscribe to the online version to read the article.)
2-9-16 Mind-reading tech helps beginners quickly learn to play Bach
Mind-reading tech helps beginners quickly learn to play Bach
A system involving brain sensors allowed a group of beginners to quickly learn to play a piano piece by Bach, and the tech could speed up other kinds of learning. Called BACh – for Brain Automated Chorales – the system helps beginners learn to play Bach chorales on piano by measuring how hard their brains are working. It only offers a new line of music to learn when the brain isn’t working too hard, avoiding information overload. Developed by Beste Yuksel and Robert Jacob of Tufts University in Massachusetts, BACh estimates the brain’s workload using functional Near-Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS), a technique that measures oxygen levels in the brain – in this case in the prefrontal cortex. A brain that’s working hard pulls in more oxygen. Sensors strapped to the player’s forehead talk to a computer, which delivers the new music. (Webmaster's comment: Our minds can be "read" by sensors. Why is some kind of "reading" of a human mind by another human mind so outlandish?)
12-11-15 The Mind Controlled UFO (Drone).
The Mind Controlled UFO (Drone).
This is the orb that uses your focused brain waves to remotely control its flight. An included headband and earlobe clip measures electrical activity produced by your brain (similar to EEG monitoring technology used by medical professionals). A downloaded app converts an iPhone or Android device into a remote control that pairs with the headband via Bluetooth. As you relax and concentrate, an included infrared transmitter connected to your smartphone’s audio port sends a wireless signal to the UFO. The app provides a control panel that allows you to adjust the throttle, yaw, and pitch thresholds of the UFO’s propellers, adjust the sensitivity of concentration, and filter background electromagnetic interference. The included USB cable charges both the infrared transmitter and the UFO from a computer connection. (Webmaster's comment: If we can send our thoughts through our skull to a headband and control a drone it is certainly conceivable that if two persons place their heads close together, that with practice, they could communicate simple images, thoughts and feelings. And that would be PSI or ESP wouldn't it? In fact isn't communicating thoughts to a headband to control a drone PSI?)
11-17-15 Frontal brain wrinkle linked to hallucinations
Frontal brain wrinkle linked to hallucinations
A study of 153 brain scans has linked a particular furrow, near the front of each hemisphere, to hallucinations in schizophrenia. This fold tends to be shorter in those patients who hallucinate, compared with those who do not. It is an area of the brain that appears to have a role in distinguishing real perceptions from imagined ones.
Let's get real. There is no supernatural anything. Nothing is outside of reality. There is no single God, and no Gods, no Ghosts, no Goblins and no Ghouls. They are all fabrications of the human mind in an effort to make sense of what we experience but don't understand. Our minds create an imagined reality or experience and we accept our imagining as something real. We seek a reason for existence and we just can't seem to accept that IT JUST IS.
Nonetheless there is strong evidence for anomalous psychic experiences such as extrasensory perception. That doesn't mean these experiences are outside of reality, that they are somehow supernatural. It just means we don't understand these experiences and cannot explain them YET. That's why we use science to study them. First to explicitly identify what it is that people are experiencing, and second to perform further experiments to understand how these experiences physically work.
Unfortunately many skeptical scientists see the study of extrasensory perception as a threat to science. They have already decided these experiences cannot be real. To protect science from the "charlatan" scientists performing these experiments they created a committee to set up rules and tests that the parapsychology research results must pass before they can be accepted as valid science. So the parapsychologists went back, designed tests that met the very strict rules required, and performed the tests again. Many of the tests still came out positive for extrasensory perception. OOPS.
So the skeptical scientists went back to the their drawing board and made the tests virtually impossible to pass for just about any research. One of the skeptical scientists actually quit the committee having realized this was not about making objective tests for parapsychology research to pass. It was about making tests that would not allow parapsychology research to pass PERIOD.
And that's where the parapsychology field stands to today. Parapsychology research is at a standstill for lack of funds and almost assured career destruction for anyone who dares study extrasensory perception. Science has lost a lot of creditability because of this issue. For this field of study science has not lived up to its own objectivity standards.
So look at the evidence presented here and as Professor Mark Leary says "decide for yourself whether psychic abilities are myth or reality." That'll have to do for now.
(Webmaster's comment: Ignorant anti-science twits have attacked me for even suggesting that some form of "extrasensory" perception is even possible. Nevermind that technology already "reads" minds to control physical devices such as wheel chairs, computers and toys. These devices work by reading electrometric brain waves that are transmitted through our skulls and outside of our heads. To say that it's impossible for some other human brain to detect these electrometric waves is pure ignorant non-sense. And if they can be detected then it may be possible to interpret them, and Voila, ESP. Of course it is not "extrasensory." It is sensory and in the real world. But the effect certainly could still be real. Time and science will tell. Read the last book on the list "Extra Sensory" and see if you can get a copy of Mark Leary's lecture below. He's way more intelligence than those ignorant fools who attack science because it does not agree with their limited understanding of science and what might be possible. Hint: many of them are Atheists. Their fear of anything that might be construed as "extrasensory" blinds them to studying reality.
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Do People Have Psychic Abilities?
Free Thinking at its Finest