Equipment Responding To Consciousness?
By Eldon Taylor
Most people report a relationship with some piece of equipment or machinery
during their lifetimes. Often the item of the most intense feeling is
one's automobile. For many, feelings ranging from contempt to passionate
attachment are familiar memories easily elicited with just a brief reflection
on their experience with a variety of equipment.
For myself, of course I experienced a teenage love for my automobile.
However, when I think of the thought interaction possibilities with a
mechanical device, it is my first IBM clone that comes to mind. My XTC
soon became to me, my Ecstacy. This wonderful device seemed to respond
to my desires and often gave others fits. Ah, you say, wishful thinking.
Perhaps, but consider this. Dean I. Radin of the University of
Edinburgh in Scotland investigated the effects of mental
intention on the output of random number generators. Using a
sophisticated neural network to search for "signature" patterns
of an individuals thoughts, Radin found the presence of "person-specific
His study confirmed the earlier findings of Berger, 1988; McConnell,
1989; and Nelson, Dunn & Jahn, 1986. Further, Radin offers some interesting
thoughts for the use of this discovery. In his conclusion, he suggests
that "an artificial neural network can learn to associate
machine-generated random data with individuals who somehow 'mentally impress'
patterns onto that data." He continues, "the present
study also found that properly configured artificial neural networks can
learn to associate data with specific mental intentions, demonstrating
the feasibility of developing a new form of novel human-machine interaction
The Radin study was published in the Journal of Scientific Exploration,
Volume 7: 4, 355-373.
Brain Scans Reveal Two Sided Memory Flow
Using Positron Emission Tomography (PET), researcher
Endel Tulving of the University of Toronto, has offered
the first data indicating that memory pathways turn left at the
front of the brain to store information and right to retrieve the information.
I found this study of particular interest since the my own Mirror
Imaging Paradigm (MIP) would predict
such a process. Perhaps a brief background and explanation of the MIP
is in order.
Left Hemisphsere: Happier or Emotionally Ignorant?
Increased brain activity in the right anterior region is indicative of
an emotionally troubled experience, argues researcher Richard
Davidson of the University of Wisconsin, according to a report
in the Brain/Mind Bulletin (February, 1994).
Davidson suggests that the right hemisphere mediates "withdrawal"
while the left is emotionally oriented toward approach. His suggestion
is principally based on observations of increase and decline in immune
responses for strongly right brained people, and pleasant or negative
responses to film clips of a pleasant or unpleasant nature. Davidson also
is aware of work conducted by researchers in Germany that reported "larger
event related potentials" in the right hemisphere as a result of
exposure to a nasty odor.
I don't believe that these observations necessarily commit one to Davidson's
logic. It is as reasonable to assume that the left hemisphere
is typically non-emotional. Emotion has long been believed
by many researchers to somehow "exist" predominantly in the
right hemisphere for the typical right handed model of hemispheric
laterality. The absence of an emotional response does not mean a happy
hemisphere. The Brain/Mind Bulletin reported a Body/Mind conference and
billed it: IS THE LEFT THE HAPPIER HEMISPHERE? My answer, no. Perhaps
it is the emotionally ignorant hemisphere, but to extend this to an emotional
term such as ignorant is rather far fetched---or is it? Is ignorance bliss?
What do you think?
Conscientious Children Live Longer Lives
A team of researchers led by Howard Friedman examined data derived from
1178 subjects originally recruited by Lewis Terman in the early 1920's.
They found that a conscientious personality predicted longevity.
Interestingly, they also found that the cheerful optimist lived shorter
lives. Friedman cautioned that the latter finding needs careful interpretation.
The study was published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology
Graduate Students Contribute to Mind-Body Connection
Many graduate students have assisted my research by conducting important
studies as part of their masters or doctoral programs. Indeed, the wealth
of pioneering work developed by graduate students is invaluable. Following
this tradition, Julie Anderson of the University of South Florida
conducted a pioneering study which evaluated the "Effect of a Repressive
Coping Style on the Immune System." A repressive style was
determined to adversely effect the immune system. For her research, Ms.
Anderson won the Psi Chi/APA Edwin B. Newman graduate Research Award.
Congratulations Ms. Anderson and thank you from all of us for contributing
to the mind-body connection.
Evidence for Spiritual Healing?
In an authoritative and comprehensive manner, Dr. David Aldridge,
associate professor of clinical research in the Faculty of Medicine at
the University of Witten Herdecke in Germany, offers evidence
that clearly shows spirituality to be "a viable idea even within
the modern medical practice and that it is definitely an issue worthy
Aldridge defines spirituality in the terms of psychiatrist J.
Hiatt, as "an activity of the spirit on the mind." He
further differentiates religion from spirituality in terms of transcendence.
Religion is seen as aiding individuals to maintain a belief system
where spirituality aims toward connecting the individual with a higher
authority in a direct personal relationship.
Aldridge asserts that most terminally ill patients shift toward
increased spiritual attention and cites the recent study of P.
Reed who concluded that an awareness of spirituality enhances the well
being of the terminally ill. Aldridge then turns to T. L. Saudia's work
which examined the value of prayer in both maintaining health
and as a direct coping strategy in patients about to undergo cardiac surgery.
Saudia employed the Multidimensional Health Locus of Control Scales and
a Helpfulness of Prayer Scale developed by himself. Saudia concluded that
prayer was both a helpful coping strategy and a direction coping mechanism.
Aldridge reminds the reader that prayer was demonstrated by Byrd
in 1988 to have very positive effects on coronary care patients;
reducing the need for diuretics, intubation/ventilation and antibiotics
as well as leading to an overall better outcome.
Where Aldridge's article is perhaps the most evocative is in the area
of health beliefs and social explanations. He asserts the need to incorporate
spiritual healing into traditional health care practices.
This is an excellent article well worth the time to read in its entirety.
The article was published by the Fetzer Institute in their Journal of
Mind-Body Health. (For more information write the Fetzer Institute, 9292
West KL Avenue, Kalamazoo, Mi. 49009).
News in Brief
EMF Modulates Melatonin: A variety of cancers have been
linked to electromagnetic fields (EMF) and now researchers believe they
have uncovered the mechanism. Harden M. McConnell of Stanford University
believes that EMF modulates the brain hormone--melatonin.
Feeling the Presence is in the Brain: According to
researchers Jacobo Grinberg-Zylberbaum, M. Delaflor, Sanchez Arellano,
M. Guevara and M. Perez, an evoked potential in the brain can be transferred
to another. Employing electrophysiological measures, the researchers discovered
"an interaction which occurs when subjects are able to feel each
other's presence without the use of sensory stimuli.
Their findings were published in Subtle Energies, Volume 3:3, 25-43.
Hypnosis Strengthens Immune Response: Researcher Patricia
Ruzyla-Smith of Washington State University studied the effect of hypnosis
on the immune system. Thirty-two volunteers were recruited for the study.
Blood cell analysis demonstrated two important responses for subjects
who underwent hypnosis. (Science News).
PSI Effects Demonstrated in Repeated Studies: Researchers
Charles Honorton and Daryl Bem combined the data from 11 studies conducted
by Honorton between 1983 and 1989 which avoided all of the typical methodological
problems most psi studies have been criticized over. Using a ganzfield
procedure, the researchers observed statistically convincing evidence
for telepathic communication between senders and receivers.
Even the devout skeptics are having difficulty dismissing the work of
Honorton and Bem. Robert Rosenthal of Harvard University
was quoted by Science News as saying, "Bem and Honorton's article
is very sophisticated statistically and you can't dismiss their findings."
A Loving Heart: According to an article in Brain/Mind
Bulletin, Rollin McCraty and Glen Rein have demonstrated connections
between heart patterns and positive emotional states. It would appear,
according to the researchers, that normally chaotic electrocardiogram
spectrum patterns become coherent during positive states. Maybe we should
all pay more attention to what our hearts tell us.