Tag Archives: Psi Phenomena

Belongingness, Transpersonal Psychology, and Transpersonal Experiences: Transcendence and Belongingness, Part 2

In yesterday’s post, we looked at the first section of this paper: Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs. In today’s post, we’ll look at the three sections that followed: belongingness, transpersonal psychology, and transpersonal experiences.

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Belongingness

According to Baumeister and Leary (1995), “A need to belong, that is, a need to form and maintain at least a minimum quantity of interpersonal relationships, is innately prepared (and hence nearly universal) among human beings” (p. 499). Meaning, humans have a desire to be in relationships with other humans similar to how we learned from Maslow. Baumeister and Leary (1995) separated belongingness into two features: interactions with people and a perception that the relationship will continue in the future. In the first feature, interactions with people, Baumeister and Leary (1995) specify that these interactions have a positive affect, but more importantly, the interactions need to be free of negative affect or conflict. Affect is in reference to the experience of the interaction. In the second feature, humans must have a perception that the relationship will continue in the future and that the relationship have affective concern and stability (Baumeister & Leary, 1995). It is very important there be a context by which the humans can have when interacting with others. This is important because a human’s interactions with a stranger are markedly different from the interaction with someone that they perceived to have a relationship with (Baumeister & Leary, 1995). According to Baumeister and Leary (1995), “To satisfy the need to belong, the person must believe that the other cares about his or her welfare and likes (or loves) him or her” (p. 500). Baumeister and Leary (1995) continued by saying that it would be ideal if this interaction would be reciprocating in that both parties care about one another. In sum, belongingness is a need that is classified by one’s need for social contact and intimate relationships (Baumeister & Leary, 1995). In this section, we have gained a greater understanding of belongingness. In the next section, we will explore transpersonal psychology.

Transpersonal Psychology

According to Hartelius, Caplan, and Rardin (2007), there are three main themes that make up a comprehensive definition of transpersonal psychology: “An approach to psychology that 1. studies phenomena beyond the ego as context for 2. an integrative/holistic psychology; this provides a framework for 3. understanding and cultivating human transformation” (p. 11). Beyond the ego refers to states where the person is experiencing from a state that is no longer absorbed in their ego. Meaning, the person is experiencing a state that is “outside of ‘ordinary’ state of mind” (Hartelius, Caplan, & Rardin, 2007, p. 9). Integrative/holistic psychology is a way of incorporating the whole person into psychology. Holistic psychology is made possible to be a specific field within psychology as standard psychology has focused mainly on the ego and its pathologies (Hartelius, Caplan, & Rardin, 2007). Human transformation is the process a human undergoes when it is changing, usually in a positive way. To define transpersonal psychology more succinctly, Hartelius, Caplan, & Rardin (2007) said “transpersonal psychology studies human transcendence, wholeness, and transformation” (p. 11). In this section, we have gained a greater understanding of transpersonal psychology. In the next section, we will look at transpersonal experiences and more specifically, transcendence.

Transpersonal Experiences

In the last section, we said that transpersonal psychology has three main themes: beyond-ego psychology, integrative/holistic psychology, and transformational psychology (Hartelius, Caplan, & Rardin, 2007). In this section, we will look at some of the experiences that go along with these themes. According to Hastings (1999), “Transpersonal psychologists have recognized that certain experiences of mystics, meditators, and religious devotees have transpersonal qualities – that is, they bring the self into a state that transcends individual ego boundaries” p. 198). In other words, one possible transpersonal experience could be transcendence. However, Hastings (1999) noted “There is no one typical experience, and there may be images, ESP, voices, forms, nonforms, visions, and physical effects as part of the encounter” (p. 198). While there are ranges of possibilities for transpersonal experiences, we are going to focus specifically on transcendence.

Maslow (1968) wrote of thirty-five varieties of transcendence. According to Maslow (1968), “transcendence refers to the very highest and most inclusive or holistic levels of human consciousness” (p. 66). It has been stated that transcendence is one of the elements of transpersonal psychology, so it is fair to say that transcendence is a transpersonal experience. As there are many varieties of transcendence, in the next section we will look at experiences of transcendence in the context of belongingness.

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Check back tomorrow for the last section of the paper: belongingness and transcendence, followed by the conclusion.

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Tying Up Loose Ends: Food for Thought and Brief Hiatus

Since moving to the new domain (www.JeremiahStanghini.com), this has been the longest time between posts. The last post I wrote was on April 5th. The hiatus from posting will continue for a little while after this post because I’m working on the last requirements for finishing my MBA. There are about 3 weeks left until the end of exam period, so I’ve got a few papers/presentations to finish and a lot of grading of papers/exams.

Whenever I open my computer I see the list of posts that I’ve been meaning to write. In an effort to “clear out some mental space,” I thought I’d do what I’ve done a couple of times in the past and flush out my list of posts to write. In this way, the list will be fresh for when I come back (save for the few cognitive biases that I still want to write about). So, without further adieu, here are some of the things that I had planned on expanding upon. I hope you enjoy!

Cars and Transportation — It’d be really cool if they could *feasibly* develop a car that could transform. A car that could be a single-passenger when commuting, but it could expand/transform into 2, 3, or 4 seats when it necessary.

Political Ideology — What if a given political ideology’s thoughts/plans don’t work unless they can be fully implemented? And because there’s a split in Parliament/Congress, it’s worse. But what if when either party had total control, it’d be worse than this middle-ground between the two ideas?

LeBron James vs. Michael Jordan — A few weeks before the conversation about LeBron vs. Jordan started, I’d had it on my to do list to write about it. I was a bit peeved when the conversation started (without me), but there were some interesting (and some not) things written about it. I think it’s extremely difficult to compare players across decades. It’s akin to comparing players across sports! I remember a few years ago when there was talk that Alex Rodriguez would be the greatest baseball player ever. I think it’s safe to say that conversation has died down a little.

Fear of Public Speaking — I was thinking back to one of the first times I had to stand up in front of a group of people and give a speech. I don’t even remember what I spoke about — but I do remember one of the speeches from my classmates who did quite well (it was about the NBA dunk contest). As I watch some folks present in front of rooms, I can empathize with their nervousness. Heck, even I still get a bit nervous sometimes. One thing I’ve learned — it’s really about repetition. The more times I’ve spoke in front of groups of people, the less nervous I get the next time I go up there. (On a slightly related note: I’d say another key factor in minimizing fear of public speaking is the extent to which you’re prepared to speak on the topic. Read: know your stuff!)

Focus on Labor — I’ve never been the CEO or a highly placed Vice President of a company, but from an outsider’s perspective, I always have a hard time understanding the lack of focus on the labor force. At times, it really looks like labor is the key to success. If the labor force is well taken care of, production and profits tend to do well. It reminds me of that post I did about sustainability and pitchers. The relation here is that when management takes care of the labor force, it is with an eye towards long-term sustainability.

Life, Liberty, and Property? — Why is property so valued? What about nomads or North Americans who show us that land isn’t to be owned? What about animals? They don’t seem to own land.

Star Trek: Inheritance — This is an episode from the final season of Star Trek: The Next Generation. The gist of is that Data has to decide whether or not he’s going to tell his mother that she is an android (when she believes she’s a human). In thinking about this episode, I wondered about the ethics of telling someone they aren’t who they think they are. What about an adopted child?

Social EntrepreneurshipGeorge Mason University‘s Center For Social Entrepreneurship has a massive open online course (MOOC) in social entrepreneurship. If you wanna learn about social entrepreneurship, this is a great place to start!

“I AM” — I saw the movie I AM quite some time ago and there were some cool things that stood out to me. I’ll be brief:

  • The HeartMath Institute — check them out! They’re doing some fascinating work.
  • Animals are more likely to cooperate than we may have first thought. There was a reference to a journal article about how a herd of deer decided to go in a given direction after hydrating at a water hole.
  • Rumi poetry is medicine for the soul.
  • I am continually amazed at the kinds of things that are correlated with Random Number Generators.
  • Did you know that the word “Love” appears 95 times in Darwin’s “The Descent of Man?”
  • A great quote that Desmond Tutu read: “God looked at me and said, all I have is you.”

And so that clears off most of my list. Look for a new post sometime in the next month, but probably not for the next 3 weeks. Happy end of April and early May!

What if Predicting the Future is a Skill?

In the shower this morning, I was thinking about some old research. Old since it’s almost 10 years old — so not “old,” per se. Anyway, I was thinking about those experiments where a person’s body knew before a startling picture was about to appear before them. In layman’s terms — predicting the future. Then I thought (because all great ideas start in the shower, right?) what if predicting the future is a skill… and we just have to develop it!

I’ve written before about the evidence for predicting the future (precognition) — there’s lots of evidence to support that this phenomenon exists. There’s also lots of research that talks about — at birth — we have the capacity to speak every language. I should say, we have the capacity to develop the ability to speak every language. It has to do with connectivity in our brain, phonemes, and the like. So, isn’t it possible that there are also neural pathways that could be developed to improve our ability to predict the future?

And if this were the case, isn’t it possible that we can also develop this skill later in life. There are infinite examples of people learning new languages after the so called “do or die” time when they’re babies, so isn’t it possible that people could then develop the ability to predict the future later in life, too?

I don’t have any definitive answers to the questions I’m asking, but it’s certainly a thought worth entertaining this Friday morning.

The Scientific Evidence for Distant Healing: Psi Phenomena, Part 5

: The Scientific Evidence for Telepathy
: The Scientific Evidence for Clairvoyance
: The Scientific Evidence for Precognition
: The Scientific Evidence for Psychokinesis

Finally, we’ve reached the last of the “.” Today’s post will be about the scientific evidence for distant healing. I struggled with what to title this post. Within the context of the “Big 5” as coined by , he refers to this psi phenomenon as “.” I think the word psychic can be a bit of a misnomer sometimes, confuse people, or even conjure up images of a psychic (who aren’t necessarily doing the healing at a distance [that is, “regular” people can do it, too]). I think this is a disservice to the phenomenon as there’s nothing “spooky” about it. Others refer to it as “.” While this is completely accurate (nonlocal meaning that the healing is taking place because of something that isn’t “present”), it could be considered too science-y and may not be as accessible as possible. This is why I’ve settled on distant healing.

The has a great . I like it so much that I’m going to use their explanation for :

Distant healing encompasses a broad range of healing practices, many of which are based in ancient spiritual traditions. Virtually all major religions, including Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism, endorse and encourage the use of distant healing among their adherents.

Two of the most common distant healing practices are offering prayers for those who are ill and using forms of meditation where the practitioner holds a compassionate intention to relieve the suffering of another. Some practices focus on curing a very specific disease state while others emphasize creating a compassionate environment that can have a healing effect. Virtually all distant healing practices are concerned with alleviating the suffering and increasing the well being of others.

As part of my master’s program, I read many of the studies (on healing prayer) that this quotation is referring to. In preparing to write this post, I was initially going to cite a number of them individually, until I found an , that reviews all of the studies that I had known about (and then some). It isn’t a meta-analysis per se, like I had been able to find for some of the other posts in this , but it’s the next best thing (an aggregation).

The first two studies that Benor addresses are what he calls the ‘two best studies’ that address distant healing for human physical problems. The first is a study that was conducted to .The concluding sentence of the abstract: “These data suggest that intercessory prayer to the Judeo-Christian God has a beneficial therapeutic effect in patients admitted to a CCU [coronary care unit].” The second study that Benor addresses is a follow-up the first study called: “.” The concluding sentence from that summary: “Remote, intercessory prayer was associated with lower CCU course scores. This result suggests that prayer may be an effective adjunct to standard medical care.”

Both of these studies are more than 10 years old, but one of my favorites on this subject that is just as old comes from the of famous scientist . Elisabeth did a study in conjunction with 3 others to tests the . The conclusion: “These data support the possibility of a DH [distant healing] effect in AIDS and suggest the value of further research.”

There’s no doubt that the sheer volume of studies that have been conducted on this topic should be enough to warrant more and more research. Even the studies that demonstrate the power of our words (on or on ) could be seen as support for distant healing. , along with [two of the more prominent names in the public dissemination of information on this topic], have curated a nearly 20 pages long! (It’s nearly 30 pages, if you include their introduction and answers to some questions about the research. IONS has also compiled a that’s over 10 pages. Daniel Benor has also published a that have compiled a number of resources on this topic.

One more quote I want to share from the Benor article I mentioned earlier in this post. I think it’s a very important point and I will expand upon this when I address healthcare in my . I really implore you to take some time to ponder the implications of this quote:

One would hope that the benefits of such an inexpensive intervention would appeal to those who are concerned over the high costs of medical care.

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If you liked this paper/series, you might want to check out some of the other papers/series I’ve posted.

The Scientific Evidence for Psychokinesis: Psi Phenomena, Part 4

Psychokinesis, telekinesis, move things with your mind, mind over matter, Part 1: The Scientific Evidence for Telepathy
Part 2: The Scientific Evidence for Clairvoyance
Part 3: The Scientific Evidence for Precognition

In today’s post, Part 4 of the series, I will recount the scientific evidence for psychokinesis, which is also referred to as telekinesis. These terms refer to one being able to move a physical object with one’s mind. In short, this particular term accounts for the “mind over matter” that people often refer to.

Much of the early research on psychokinesis involved one’s ability to influence the roll of a die. In these studies, a die face is chosen in advance, then the participant wishes for that face to land up. It’s probably one of the simpler studies one can conduct with regard to parapsychological research. Dean Radin and Diane Ferrari conducted a meta-analysis of all the experiments that had been done on die research from 1935 to 1987 and came to this conclusion:

The estimated effect  size for the full database lies more than 19 standard deviations from chance while the effect size for the subset of balanced, homogeneous studies lies 2.6 standard deviations from chance. We conclude that this database provides weak cumulative evidence for a genuine relationship between mental intention and the fall of dice.

Psychokinesis, telekinesis, move things with your mind, mind over matter, While the evidence from these earlier studies are not overwhelming, they at least lean towards support for the evidence and possibility of psychokinesis. Nowadays, the majority of research in this area is done with random-number generators (RNGs). These RNGs do exactly what it sounds like they do – generate a sequence of random numbers. In these RNG experiments, participants are usually asked to attempt to influence the outcome of the RNG to be higher than expected or lower than expected. With a random set of numbers, you can accurately predict what the dataset should look like, if there were no influences on it. The participants try to alter this by intending that the numbers are higher or intending that the numbers are lower. If you’ve read most of my posts in this series, then you know I have an affinity for meta-analyses.

In a meta-analysis conducted by Dean Radin and Roger Nelson of all of the RNG experiments conducted between 1959 (the first RNG experiment) and the mid-2000s:

Meta-analysis of 515 RNG experiments conducted by 91 researchers over a span of 41 years indicates the presence of a small magnitude, but statistically highly significant and repeatable mind-matter interaction effect.  The overall results cannot be attributed to chance, or selective reporting problems, or variations in design quality.  These studies indicate that there are ways in which mind and matter interact that support the plausibility of distant intentional healing.  Because modern RNG experiments can be conducted under tightly controlled laboratory conditions at relatively low cost, they may serve as a convenient model to help us better understand the relevant conditions and mechanisms of distant healing. [emphasis added]

Most research studies I’ve read about psychokinesis come to the same conclusion – it’s possible and it happens. While you won’t often see many accounts like this one, it seems that psychokinesis is a very real and present phenomenon. As I wrote in other The Intention Experiment: Using Your Thoughts to Change Your Life and the Worldposts about the power of words (Your words and thoughts have powerWords are more important than you may have thought; With love and gratitude), it seems that intention really has an effect on our reality. Since the body is made up of “physical” things, we could say that the evidence for the power of words could be used to support the evidence of psychokinesis. I understand that the studies I cited in those posts weren’t directly measure psychokinesis, but in a way, I think they were. More than that, there’s the work of Lynne McTaggart and her accompanying book The Intention Experiment.

The Scientific Evidence for Precognition: Psi Phenomena, Part 3

In the of this series of posts on the scientific evidence for psi phenomena, I discussed the myriad proof for telepathy. In , I talked about the evidence of clairvoyance (and remote viewing) and also mentioned that there are probably still lots of studies that were done by the government that have yet to see the light of day (and may never see the light of day). In this, part 3 of the series, I will talk about the evidence for .

Precognition is knowledge of an event that has yet to occur that can’t be deduced from ‘normally known data’ to be present. In short, precognition is an ability to know the future. Writing, in short-hand, about the scientific evidence of psi phenomena has become easier because in the last 20-30 years, there have been researchers who have done a lot of hard work. More accurately, they’ve summarized much of the data up to the point of their study and some have even written brilliant meta-analyses either critiquing or in support of the data. For precognition, there was a meta-analysis published in 1989 in the Journal of Parapsychology called: “‘.”

A forced-choice precognition experiment is where the experimenter gives the participant a number of options (for a future event) where the participant has to select from those options. This can be contrasted with those studies that were done called free-response studies. A free-response study is one in which the range of options/targets for the participant are seemingly unlimited. A good meta-analysis of free-response studies (). There is one other kind of methodology that is used in testing for precognition: unconscious perception. In this method, the participant’s precognitive ability is being tested, in a sense, without their knowledge. The precognitive abilities are tested through skin conductance and EEG activity. I’ll talk about that a little later on in the post. Let’s talk about the results from the forced-choice experiments.

In the forced-choice meta-analysis, Honorton and Ferrari were able to gather 2,000,000 individual trials by more than 50,000 participants. Most of these studies involved participants guessing Zener cards after the deck was thoroughly shuffled (and some obscure randomized factor done through computers or by cutting the deck to the temperature of a distant city). . Yes, a septillion. That’s 10 with 24 zeros after it. To purport that the results do not support the evidence for precognition would be preposterous.

One of the critiques of precognition studies (and parapsychology in general) is that the . However, in the study I was just referencing, the one about forced-choice, the researchers took a closer look at the methodologies used by the studies they reviewed. Stunningly, what they found, when the quality of the methodology improved, so too, did the precognition results. Meaning, as the methodology got better, so did the results for precognition.

Earlier, I mentioned that I was going to talk about skin conductance and EEG tests of precognition. Some of the research that is coming out of tests of these nature can be simply — mind-boggling. Rollin McCraty and researchers at the Institute of HeartMath were attempting to find evidence for intuition through electrophysiological means. Meaning, they wanted to see if the body had foreknowledge of an event before the mind did. To do this, they used skin conductance, EEG, and ECG, to measure the response in various areas of the body before an image was shown to the participant. These images would either be emotionally arousing or not. The participant had no conscious foreknowledge of what image was to be shown to them.

The researchers found that participants’ body knew when the participant was to see an image that was emotionally arousing. The reactions of the participants’ body prior to seeing an emotionally arousing image versus the reactions prior to seeing a calm image were significantly different. In fact, they found that this information was received by the heart before it was received by the brain. You can read the papers written by the researchers:


As was stated in the conclusions of these articles: “Overall, we have independently replicated and extended previous research documenting prestimulus responses.” Meaning, these studies are not the only studies of its kind — offering evidence for precognition. There are other studies () that claim the same.

I have a hard time differentiating my favorite from my non-favorites with regard to psi phenomena and the Big 5, but there’s a special place in my heart for precognition. Particularly because of what it means for us as humans and our interpretation of time. There’s a fantastic two-part episode of Star Trek called that does a wonderful job of depicting a possibility when it comes to the directionality of time.

Of course, we think that time moves from the past to the present to the future — but what if this were not true? Albert Einstein is , “. . . for us physicist believe the separation between past, present, and future is only an illusion, although a convincing one.” Another good on this matter: “Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.” And one more from : “The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once.” Whether or not you believe in the possibility of or the inherent direction of the , it is clear that from our (movies and books), there is some part of humanity that is fascinated by the idea.

The Scientific Evidence for Clairvoyance: Psi Phenomena, Part 2

In , I talked about the scientific evidence for telepathy. From my perspective, there is so much evidence for the presence of such a phenomena that those who deny its existence are doing so for reasons outside of science. In this post, I will discuss the scientific evidence for clairvoyance, which is often closely associated with remote viewing. Let’s start off with some definitions.

Clairvoyance is often confused with other parapsychological terms, sometimes telepathy and other times precognition. We learned in Part 1 that telepathy is akin to reading someone’s mind. Loosely, precognition is being able to predict the future. An aspect of clairvoyance known as remote viewing, is when someone is able to perceive a distant geographical location. , however, is when a person is able to acquire information about an object (person or place included) or event that cannot be perceived by other means (5 senses). One could see how this might be confused with telepathy as telepathy is a means of acquiring information from someone’s mind (which could, theoretically, contain information about an event or object). As well, remote viewing is like a specific kind of clairvoyance. Some mistake clairvoyance for being able to see the future, but this is really precognition, not to be confused with retrocognition, which is being able to see acquire information about the past through means other than “normal.” Is your head spinning from parapsychological terms, yet? All you need to know is that we’re talking about clairvoyance today and clairvoyance is being able to acquire information about something without the five senses.

Some of the earliest tests for clairvoyance were in . One person draws an image and then a distant partner is supposed to draw the same image. These sorts of tests wouldn’t pass for science with today’s standards as the images selected by the participants weren’t “random” and the inherent shared biases between people in these experiments allowed for a certain sense of similarity to their image selection. Meaning, if two people had just been to the beach, there would obviously be a higher probability of a selection of water in the image drawn. Keeping this in mind, there were still some rather amazing studies written about by . The book’s preface was written by Albert Einstein who wrote: “I have read the book of Upton Sinclair. . . and am convinced that the same deserves the most earnest consideration, not only of the laity [public], but also of the psychologists by profession.” Another book on the picture-drawing experiments to check is by .

In 2003, researchers and published an article in the that summarized 25 years of research on remote viewing at the called: “.” The article had four purposes:

1) to present for the first time in archival form all results of some 25 years of remote perception research at this laboratory; 2) to describe all of the analytical scoring methods developed over the course of this program to quantify the amount of anomalous information acquired in the experiments; 3) to display a remarkable anti-correlation between the objective specificity of those methods and the anomalous yield of the experiments; and 4) to discuss the phenomenological and pragmatic implications of this complementarity.

The meta-analysis of the article concluded that (from page 219):

The overall results of these analyses leave little doubt, by any criterion, that the PRP perceptions [remote viewing data] contain considerably more information about the designated targets than can be attributed to chance guessing.

As Radin quotes in , the results of these studies are at odds against chance of 33 million to 1. The meta-analysis by Dunne and Jahn is more than enough evidence that clairvoyance/remote viewing exists. When people unfamiliar with the terms in this area talk about ESP, they are often referring to remote viewing.

Remote viewing is probably one of the more popular of and I would bet that this is attributable to the US government getting involved in this research. From the ‘s website:

In the 1970s and 1980s SRI was contracted by a U.S. government agency to research some aspects of remote viewing. As this work was performed for clients, SRI no longer has the records relating to the research. All such records were returned to the clients.

Some of the research has been published, but interestingly, as said by :

Some of the results from RV [remote viewing] are not yet publicly accessible.

There has been a lot written about remote viewing and clairvoyance both in the scientific community and for the public. One of the more interesting depictions of this research was in a recent film called: . The film had some heavy hitters (in terms of actors): George Clooney, Kevin Spacey, Jeff Bridges, and Ewan McGregor. The movie was adapted from a by the same name.