Academic journal article The Journal of Parapsychology

Human Electrodermal Response to Remote Human Monitoring: Classification and Analysis of Response Characteristics

Academic journal article The Journal of Parapsychology

Human Electrodermal Response to Remote Human Monitoring: Classification and Analysis of Response Characteristics

Article excerpt

PAUL STEVENS [1]

Abstract: This study reanalyzed datasets from 2 past studies and attempted to identify some characteristics of human electrodermal reactions to remote monitoring by another human, an aspect of direct mental interaction with living systems (DMILS) research. The objectives were (a) to see if an electrodermal DMILS response was similar to a sensory response and, if not, to see if there were any useful characteristics that could be used to identify the former and (b) to compare the electrodermal response seen in DMILS with that seen in reaction to a weak magnetic field, allowing exploration of potential mechanisms or physiological response systems that might produce the observed DMILS effects. No electrodermal activity (EDA) was observed that was obviously comparable to a sensory response, and there was no evidence of a consistent difference between activate and calm periods. Consistent between-participant differences were noted when comparing DMILS responsiveness to resting EDA. A consistent scale-invariant patt ern was found based on the variance of EDA, showing significant differences between any type of influence attempt and rest periods (p[less than]0.01 and p[less than]0.0002, 2-tailed). This pattern was also seen in the magnetic field exposure data, possibly indicating similarities between DMILS and magnetic response mechanisms.

Recent years have seen an increase in the use of physiological, as opposed to conscious, responses to ostensibly psi-mediated stimuli. Such research, often used in studies of direct mental interaction with living systems (DMILS), indicate that an individual's conscious response may not be a good measure of psi. Instead, a physiological reaction (often a measure of electrodermal activity; EDA) related to the stimuli is a more reliable indicator (e.g., Sah & Delanoy, 1994; Stevens, 1998). However, the DMILS research concentrating on physiological responses has tended to show an emphasis on using the responses purely as relative measures: The levels of physiological arousal in different conditions are compared with the mental intention (stare vs. not stare, or calm vs. arouse) of a remote person. There has been less research into the characteristics of response that is found -- information that could offer insights into possible mechanisms or artifacts. There are also many articles on the subject that contain t he implicit assumption that the electrodermal DMILS (EDA-DMILS) response might be akin to a sensory response -- for example, Braud, Shafer, and Andrews (1993) used psychological profiles for physiological responses to sensory stimulus to explain EDA-DMILS responses -- but there appears to be little work looking for those characteristics in the electrodermal data.

In the bioelectromagnetics field, it is noted (Bell, Marino, & Chesson, 1992; Conner & Lovely, 1988) that many organisms have a high sensitivity to certain electromagnetic field characteristics, usually in the low-frequency ranges that overlap biological activity (e.g., 0.5-30 Hz for global brain activity, 40 Hz thalamic-cortical loop, 100 Hz muscle activity). This has led some researchers (e.g., Popp, Chang, Gu, & Ho, 1994 [biophoton emission by organisms]; Ho, Ross, & Bolton, 1992 [electromagnetic synchronization between organisms]) to suggest that there may be an electromagnetic component to intercellular communication. If such communication does exist, then one might also expect a global response (based on the combined cellular response) in the human body in the presence of a suitable electromagnetic stimulus. Such a response would show up as a perturbation of physiological activity, and thus maybe also a behavioral change. An interesting question is therefore whether a DMILS response might be related to some form of interorganism electromagnetic communication.

Previous studies by Stevens (in press) showed a global response to an applied, weak magnetic field (MF). …

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