Select Your Intention

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About The Experiment

Brief Background

The data produced by the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research (PEAR) lab from 1979 to 2007 demonstrates that by consciously intending to achieve a particular outcome, operators can influence the statistical distribution of random systems. Further, the PEAR data shows that this effect is independent of both distance and time.

To be clear: there is a measurable physical difference created by a human operator changing their mental state. Human consciousness influences physical reality. The size of this effect does not change if the person attempting to influence the device is sitting next to the device, in the next room, across town, or around the world. Neither does it seem to matter if the person is trying to influence the device at the same time that the trial is run; an intention stated today can influence data generated an hour ago, yesterday, or tomorrow.

Select Your Intention Overview

The design of the Select Your Intention experiment was developed as a video adaptation of PEAR's retrocausal experiments so that the single operator of the PEAR protocols is replaced by the video audience.

Through instructional menus and short videos which introduce the operators to the experimental protocols, the video audience is introduced to the experiment and instructed to direct their intention to influence the outcome of prerecorded data. Following the PEAR research, it is thought that this data will show statistical biases correlated with the intentions of the viewing audience. These operators, the video watchers, will - at the moment of observation - alter the statistical output and create the content which they are viewing.

The Select Your Intention experiment is designed to explore the characteristics of multi-operator intention-related effects, in particular, to acquire data on the influence of large numbers of operators acting asynchronously. The outcome of this experiment will inform future investigations of directed-intention REG effects, retrocausal effects, and multiple-operator experimentation.

Operator Experience

The experimental DVD discs for Select Your Intention were produced with the following operator experience in mind.

1. The operators first view an introductory video which relates a brief history of the PEAR lab and introduces some concepts relevant to the experiment.

2. A second short video introduces the experimental task, and demonstrates what navigation options are available on the experimental menu, and what it means to attempt to influence the outcome of the random walk.

3. After the orientation, the operators come to a DVD menu where they are given the option to do a high, low, or baseline run. here, the operator selects the run they would like to do this time through.

4. There are 65 runs of each intention (high, low, or baseline) written to the DVD, and the particular run that the operator sees at this point is pulled randomly from the subset they selected. The display is based on the original PEAR data display with a cumulative deviation ("random walk") and a 95% probability envelope. The operator attempts to influence the data output as it is displayed on screen.

5. At the completion of the run, the final graph holds on the screen and the operator is presented with statistical data relating to the run, and the instruction to write down the data in order to participate in the online portion of the experiment.

6. After the run, the operator/viewer is given the option of returning to do further runs at from the experimental menu, or returning to the main menu to review other supplemental video materials, such as the researcher discussion.

7. Online, operators will be able to get individual interpretation of their own individual results after reporting their data through a web form. In this way, the operators get to see cumulative experiment data, as well as their own results. This is also an opportunity for us to get feedback from the operators about subjective factors in their experience of Select Your Intention.

Video Recording and Editing Protocol

Because many theoretical models for how this effect manifests suggest that the critical point for influencing the data happens at the point of observation, the Select Your Intention experimental protocols departed from the PEAR retrocausal protocols primarily to ensure that the experimental data reached the video audience, the operators, without being seen prior to distribution. This entailed developing methods for recording the data as video, and ensuring that that video could be edited, and written to disc while never being observed. This section explains this process.

The data was generated by an REG-1 made by Psyleron, and displayed on screen by custom software written by Psyleron for the purposes of the Select Your Intention experiment. This software was tailored to be legible on NTSC televisions and to facilitate blind video editing and DVD authoring. As the software was adapted from existing display software, the data was not written directly to a video file, but captured from its screen display using a commercial video screen-capture tool to record the data. During data output and video capture, the display was shielded from view so that the experimenters and video editors could could not observe the output. A timer was set to inform the experimenter when the output display was complete, so that he could end the screen capture, save the video file, and start the next data-output and screen capture. The data was thus captured as a video file for distribution on the DVDs and as a data file for later analysis.

For each screen-capture, the video file was longer than one hour, consisting of 120 distinct experimental runs displayed one after another. Each individual run consisted of:

1. 3-second countdown, including the information: timestamp, intention, run number, balanced run count.
2. 1-second black
3. 3-second screen showing run intention and parabolic envelope. (in the video processing, the editor will set the "in" point halfway through this three second screen.)
4. The experimental run ~20 seconds. 100 trials per run, at 5 trials per second.
5. 3-second screen that says "please record the data below and participate in the online experiment": with run number, intention, mean, and standard deviation. (in the video processing, the editor will set the "out" point halfway through this three second screen.)
6. 1-second black.

Each individual run was assigned one of four categories at the time it was generated, high, low, baseline, or calibration. The first three categories would be written to DVDs, the calibration data was available for post-experiment inspection. During the generation of the data, these categories were interspersed randomly, but with a balanced distribution in each category (ie, 30 runs each).

The data generated was intentionally in excess of the amount needed for the DVD distribution. This was done to provide the video editors with the ability to spot-check the screen captures for errors or misalignment, and to aid in the queuing process.

The queuing process involves the editors looking only at:
1. a couple of runs at the beginning, end, and middle of each video file (to check for errors in the output/screen-capture process),
2. the interstitial countdown material, and
3. queuing material immediately on either side of countdown material.

All runs viewed by editors were removed from the collection of data that went onto the DVDs, and placed in a separate pool of data, the "editor viewed data" pool in order to isolate it from the experimental data which would be written to the DVDs.

Since each run had approximately the same number of frames (the data output and screen capture programs were not frame-accurate), avoiding looking at the data was not difficult. Non-linear editors make repetitive blind-editing easy, with various means for obscuring content.

The method used involved creating a black slug of the average run length (0:30;05) with markers which matched cut points for a single run (0:21;28). The slug was placed on a parallel track and queued to match the countdown on the long video file. It was then copied and pasted for the entire length of the long video file, with the editor checking that the slug matched the run countdown in the interstitial material for each run. At this point, video rendering was turned off to eliminate inadvertent data exposure, and the editor was able to make all of the necessary cuts on the long video file referencing the markers present on the black slugs. After deleting the slugs and the interstitial material, the editor then turned rendering back on, and checked the first frame of each run. This frame showed no data output, but only the probability envelope and the intentional category. The editor then sorted the runs by intentional category and exported the high, baseline, and low categories for DVD encoding.

Intentional Categories and the DVD Authoring Protocol

The pre-assignment of intentional categories to each run was a second adjustment of PEAR retrocausal protocols. In PEAR protocols, operators performing off-time experiments would record their own sequence of intentional category selection, which they would then report to the lab. For example, after an operator had completed generating their intentions for a series of runs, they would call the lab and report: Run 1 was Low, Run 2 was also Low, run 3 was High, run 4 was Baseline, etc. The intentions would be associated with the pre-recorded data after the intention was stated.

In the case of Select Your Intention, because the multiple operators interacting with each run need to have congruent intentions, the intentional categories need to be associated with each run prior to distribution. At the Select Your Intention experimental menu, when an operator selects the option to have a high intention, a script will display a run from the subset of runs related to the "High" intentional category, rather than either of the other categories.

To ensure that all of the data would be observed by the viewing audience operators, it was also necessary that that the display of the runs was non-sequential. The built-in DVD randomization specification, the "rnd" script, was employed to randomize within each intentional category at the button press from the experimental menu.

The decision to place 65 runs per intentional category on the DVDs, rather than another number, was dictated by the DVD authoring process. The maximum lines allowed in DVD scripting specifications limited the number of runs per intentional category. With 65 each of high, baseline, and low runs, a total of 195 distinct runs were written onto the DVDs.

The Online Interface

It would certainly be interesting to see if the effect of intention appears not in the total cumulative deviation of the experimental data as a whole, but rather in the particular subsets of runs that individual operators see. If we could ensure unbiased user reporting, this would be very interesting data to collect. However, the nature of the distributive operator protocol of the DVD experiment makes it impossible to remove that reporting bias. User survey data is geared to understand the characteristics of who the web users are, and to collect information on subjective parameters that may inform future experimentation, but this data cannot be used to infer how user intention may have influenced the random process of run selection.

Thus, the primary goal of the web interface is to show users what their individual results are, offer an individual layer of interpretation, and provide a way for users to interact with the experimenters to ask questions and understand the experimental protocols more fully. For the users to get individual interpretation, we must ask them to input their data. We will also collect this data to get additional information on user experience, but this user reporting will be viewed as anecdotal information.

Experimental Origins

The Select Your Intention video experiment was conceptualized by Aaron Michels as he was working on an archival/educational video release for the PEAR laboratory. Shooting video footage of laboratory tests, he wondered about the retrocausal and distance separated experimental results, and weather those results suggested that the video-watching audience in the future could be having an influence on the random processes he was recording. After many discussions about this possibility with current researchers he developed the Select Your Intention experiment for Wholphin.

Some Suggestions for Interacting with the DVD:
Adam Curry of Psyleron shares some of his experiences achieving results with the REG:

Featured in the Select Your Intention Video

Robert Jahn
Robert G. Jahn is Chairman of the Board of ICRL, and was director of the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research (PEAR) laboratory from its establishment in 1979 until its close in 2007. An applied physicist and aerospace engineer, for 15 years he was Dean of the Princeton University School of Engineering and Applied Science. He has presided over major research programs in advanced aerospace propulsion systems in cooperation with NASA and the U.S. Air Force, for which he was awarded a Medal for Outstanding Achievement in Electric Propulsion. Author of two major textbooks and several hundred publications in various technical fields, he is a recipient of the Curtis W. McGraw Research Award of the American Association of Engineering Education, a Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, a Fellow of the American Physical Society, Vice President of the Society for Scientific Exploration, and for sixteen years was a Director of the Hercules Corporation.

Brenda Dunne
Brenda J. Dunne is President and Treasurer of ICRL, and was Laboratory Manager of the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research (PEAR) laboratory from 1979 to 2007. She holds a Masters degree in developmental psychology from the University of Chicago, but her deeper interests are in the humanities, the history and philosophy of religion, and cross-disciplinary approaches to the study of consciousness that incorporate metaphysical as well as scientific traditions. She also serves as Education Officer of the Society for Scientific Exploration.

Roger Nelson
Roger D. Nelson, Ph.D., is the director of the Global Consciousness Project (GCP), an international, multi-laboratory collaboration founded in 1997 to study collective consciousness. From 1980 to 2002, he was Coordinator of Research at the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research (PEAR) laboratory. His professional focus is the study of consciousness and intention and the role of mind in the physical world. His work integrates science and spirituality, including research that is directly focused on numinous communal experiences.

Boris Fain
Boris Fain got his PhD in Physics at UCLA and was a Sloan Fellow at Stanford University. His research focuses on cancer diagnostics and protein folding. He is currently VP of research at Bright Minds Institute and Lucid Systems.

Aaron Michels
Aaron Michels is an artist and documentary film-maker who was commissioned to make an educational video on the work of the PEAR lab in 2005. The concept for the Select Your Intention DVD experiment came out of this video work.

York Dobyns
York Dobyns received his Ph.D in theoretical physics from Princeton University. He spent 19 years studying human-machine interaction and remote perception as part of the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research laboratory. He serves on the Council of the Society for Scientific Exploration and remains active in research on consciousness-related phenomena. He has also published papers on cosmology and on the relation between zero-point energy and the origin of inertia.

John C. Valentino
John Valentino became a researcher at the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research (PEAR) laboratory in 2002, a year before enrolling in the Integrated Business and Engineering program at Lehigh University. He founded Psyleron in 2005, and currently serves as Chief Executive Officer.

Adam Michael Curry
Adam Curry is an inventor from Colorado, who's been involved with the PEAR laboratory since 2002. He graduated from the University of Colorado in 2008, and currently works at Psyleron. His special interests are the implications of mind-matter interaction to science and art.

A Special Thanks

Select Your Intention also received inspiration and consulting from International Consciousness Research Laboratories (ICRL). ICRL is a coordinating body in the interdisciplinary field of consciousness research.