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  #1    
Old November 12th, 2012, 10:37 AM
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Thought this was pretty cool!


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People's bodies know a big event is coming just before it happens, at least according to a new study.

If true, the research, published Oct. 17 in the journal Frontiers of Perception, suggests something fundamental about the laws of nature has yet to be discovered.

"The claim is that events can be predicted without any cues," said Julia Mossbridge, a Northwestern University neuroscientist who co-authored the study. "This evidence suggests the effect is real but small. So the question is: How does it work?"

Other scientists are skeptical of this interpretation, however. They suggest some bias in which studies get published could play a role in seeing an effect where there is none.

Real effect?

Many studies have shown that physical responses including heart rate, pupil dilation and brain activity change between one and 10 seconds before people see a scary image (like a slithering snake). In most of these experiments, frightening pictures were randomly interspersed with more-neutral ones, so that in theory participants didn't have any clues about which photo would pop up next. But because the finding seemed so unnatural, those studies were understandably met with skepticism.

To see whether the effect was real, Mossbridge and her team analyzed over two dozen of these studies. As part of the analysis, they threw out any experiments in which they saw bias or flaws.

They still found a "presentiment" effect, in which measures of physiological excitement changed seconds before an event. The finding suggests that people's bodies subconsciously sense the future when something important is about to happen, even if the people don't know it.

For instance, if you were a day-trader betting lots of money on one stock, "10 seconds beforehand you might predict your stock tanking," Mossbridge told LiveScience.

The paper doesn't claim that people are psychic or have supernatural or paranormal powers. Instead, the authors believe presentiment is a real, physical effect that obeys natural laws — just ones that nobody understands, Mossbridge said.


Researchers skeptical

But others doubt presentiment exists at all.

While the statistical methods used in the study are sound, that doesn't mean presentiment is real, said Rufin VanRullen, a cognitive scientist at the Center for Research on the Brain and Cognition, in an email.

"All it means is that there is a statistical trend for scientists who search for these so-called presentiment effects to actually find them," wrote VanRullen, who was not involved in the study.

Instead, it's more likely that the experiments are biased, perhaps unintentionally, in a way the study authors missed, Kyle Elliott Mathewson, a researcher at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, said via email.

It's also possible that scores of researchers looked for this result, failed to find it and forgot all about it, added Mathewson, who like VanRullen wasn't involved in the study. Those studies would never be published, he said, so the overall effect in the published studies would be biased.

According to the researchers, in order for such bias to explain their results, at least 87 other unpublished studies would need to show no effect.

"Between psychology labs and parapsychology investigations, I can imagine this many failed experiments that go unreported easily," Mathewson wrote.
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Old November 13th, 2012, 12:01 PM
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So many things missing from this. They analyzed a bunch of suspect studies to try to come up with something not suspect by throwing out "bias" and "flaws." Such as? Plus, what counts as an "event?"

This sounds to me like cherry picking results. I have feelings that something bad is going to happen right before something does. I have these same feelings right before nothing bad happens. They're just feelings you have because of stress or anxiety or whatever. If I were in a situation where I was shown a bunch of photos I'd eventually realize that some of them were going to be scary after one or two and I'd be anxious about the whole process. That right there doesn't sound like a very good way of controlling the variables in a study.
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Old November 14th, 2012, 11:36 AM
von Weltschmerz
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I can't agree with the results of such pitifully constructed research... BUT I wouldn't deny what it is trying to corroborate. Dogs and the like can sense disasters before they happen... why not humans? :s This is due to vibrations and electromagnetic fields and the like... but I wouldn't doubt such a method to be utilized by humans in the future. As our thoughts and impulses pertain to certain frequencies... finding a way to tap into such frequencies might give us such desired results. That... or I'm just pulling a bunch of **** out of my ass... Dx
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Old November 14th, 2012, 01:35 PM
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Like what Weltschmerz said, it's not totally unbelievable for such things to be possible. Maybe it's not going to be proven from this research, but people always say that we just lost our abilities to be more in touch with nature and our senses. It's like how if we unfortunately lose one of the senses, our other senses are heightened. So perhaps there are ways to regain our natural abilities to sense things like natural disasters or whatever natural phenomenon that other animals can sense before it really happens.
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Old December 11th, 2012, 12:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by von Weltschmerz View Post
I can't agree with the results of such pitifully constructed research... BUT I wouldn't deny what it is trying to corroborate. Dogs and the like can sense disasters before they happen... why not humans? :s This is due to vibrations and electromagnetic fields and the like... but I wouldn't doubt such a method to be utilized by humans in the future. As our thoughts and impulses pertain to certain frequencies... finding a way to tap into such frequencies might give us such desired results. That... or I'm just pulling a bunch of **** out of my ass... Dx
More or less I think the same thing. Many animals, dogs, cats, cattle especially, can 'sense' things before they happen. It's not precognition per say, they just have sensing abilities that are many, many times greater than our own.
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Old December 11th, 2012, 05:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Livewire View Post
More or less I think the same thing. Many animals, dogs, cats, cattle especially, can 'sense' things before they happen. It's not precognition per say, they just have sensing abilities that are many, many times greater than our own.
I'd have to agree with you there. Humans share a large number of biological and instinctive similarities with mammals (because we are of the mammal classification), so it wouldn't surprise me if we had/have some sort of primal facet that allows us to be more... "in-tune", with our surroundings?

Nonetheless, this article has attracted my attention.
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