Frequent Questions About IONS Research


Frequent Questions About IONS Research

Where Can I Find Information on the Institute's Research Programs?

An overview of the focus and program areas of IONS' research is available at, which includes the Spontaneous Remission Bibliography, available in its entirety online, as well as The Physical and Psychological Effects of Meditation, updated in 2009. You can also visit for more information on our studies on transformations in consciousness.

Research at IONS has resulted in or contributed to the publication of numerous books, including:

More on our scientific research can be found at:

For electronic access to articles about some of our research projects in peer-reviewed journals, go to

To search our magazine archives, go to


Where Can I Locate More Information/Scientific Articles on Subjects Studied by IONS As Well As Other Related Topics?

Google Scholar is an excellent, user-friendly search engine/database that lists articles from peer-reviewed journals and academic books. Another helpful source that contains a comprehensive database of medical research is PubMed.

This online store is an excellent resource for both trade and academic books across a wide variety of noetic topics:


How Does IONS Define "Consciousness"?

In our work, personal consciousness is awareness—how an individual perceives and interprets his or her environment. Collective consciousness is how a group (an institution, a society, a species) perceives and translates the world around them. In its largest sense, consciousness has been referred to as a "milieu of potential," the shared ground of being from which all experiences and phenomena arise and eventually return.


How Does IONS Define "Consciousness Transformation"?

We define it as a fundamental shift in perspective or worldview that results in an expanded understanding of self and the nature of reality. Such transformations usually lead the person to a greater sense of meaning and purpose and a reorientation of priorities toward the health and wholeness of both self and the larger community.


Does IONS conduct research into meditation programs?

IONS Executive Director of Research, Cassandra Vieten, PhD, is an experienced meditation researcher. See the IONS research projects related to meditation by clicking on these links:


Where Can I Find More Information About the History and Nature of Psychic Phenomena?

There are several good books, including IONS Senior Scientist Dean Radin's Entangled Minds: Extrasensory Experiences in a Quantum Reality (2006), which is endorsed by physics Nobel Laureate Brian Josephson and physicians Larry Dossey and Deepak Chopra, and The Conscious Universe (first published in 1997 and recently made available in paperback). Excerpts from both are posted at his website. Another good source is The End of Materialism: How Evidence of the Paranormal is Bringing Science and Spirit Together by pioneering psychologist-researcher Charles Tart, published under our Noetic Books imprint.

Other sources of information on psychic phenomena, including telepathy and precognition, include:

  • The Parapsychology Foundation, which provides links to organizations and individuals who are doing research of this kind.
  • The writings of biologist-theorist Rupert Sheldrake.
  • The book The Power of Premonitions by Dr. Larry Dossey
  • Some of the works by C.G. Jung (e.g., Man and His Symbols) and Joseph Campbell (e.g., The Power of Myth) on mythic imagery and symbolism.


What Institutions Have Done Research on Psi Phenomena?

Institutions (in addition to IONS) that have done active research on psi phenomena include the following:


Are There Sources of Information to Help Me Explain My Psychic Experiences to Skeptical Friends and Loved Ones?

An important issue for people with psychic abilities is getting support and confirmation so that you can connect with and relate to others rather than experience alienation, fear, or isolation. The goal is to use your gifts productively and to avoid feeling overwhelmed. Again, Dean Radin's books, The Conscious Universe and Entangled Minds, are helpful in providing scientific information about psychic phenomena while presenting and discussing the opinions of eminent scientists throughout history who have been interested in them. While open-minded skepticism about these phenomena is perfectly reasonable for people who are curious or haven't experienced them, trying to convince those who are closed-minded or frightened of such phenomena will always be difficult.


What Can I Do to Protect Myself from Unwanted Psychic Experiences or Intrusive Thoughts?

Many people report experiences of distressing thoughts and influences. When this happens, direct your thoughts to pleasant images. Practice thought-stopping to the extent that you are able. It is also a good practice to engage in activities that ground you in the material world, such as focusing on your breath or physical sensations. Pet a friendly animal. Take a walk. See a comedy at the cinema. Spend time talking with others. Make sure that you are eating and sleeping well. Exercise, garden, or otherwise keep your attention on activities that help you feel safe or feel good. Take baby steps; over time they will add up.

In general, the less attention you pay to these phenomena and the more you pay to the physical world, the better you will feel. The illusion they create is that they are impossible to escape; it isn't true. The intensity of such intrusive thoughts will diminish as you turn away from them; as you do, you will actually begin to create new neural connections in your brain.

If you find that you are frightened, depressed, or otherwise negatively affected by these experiences for more than a few days, we encourage you to seek the help of a mental health professional or trusted friend. Getting someone to accompany you through dark times is important.

The following organizations may also be helpful:

Spiritual Emergence Network
(415) 453-1106

Spiritual Emergency Resource Center at California Institute of Integral Studies (SEN@CIIS)
The SEN@CIIS Information and Referral Service offers support and resources for individuals having difficult spiritual or psychic experiences. These can include:

  • Loss or change of faith
  • Existential and/or spiritual crisis
  • Experience of unitive consciousness or altered states
  • Psychic Openings
  • Possession
  • Near-Death Experience
  • Kundalini
  • Shamanic journey
  • Difficulties with a meditation practice

Trained graduate students in the School of Professional Psychology respond to each caller, providing assistance and educational information regarding spiritual emergence. The staff can also make referrals to licensed mental health professionals in the caller's area. SEN@CIIS mental health professionals are respectful of the diversity of spiritual experiences and are familiar with a number of spiritual traditions.

Drawing on transpersonal psychology and the knowledge from the spiritual traditions which have investigated the stages and characteristics of spiritual growth, the mental health profession in the United States is beginning to understand that some characteristics of spiritual development can be confused with symptoms of mental illness. When accurately understood, these characteristics are often recognized as evidence of the normal, potentially life-enhancing aspect of natural human development.


Does IONS Recommend Psychics, Intuitives, and Remote Viewers for Personal Readings, Locating Missing Persons, or Missing Objects?

No, IONS does not make any recommendations for these services.


Can I Volunteer As a Research Participant in Programs That Will Study and Validate My Psychic Gifts?

Our Research Associates at the Institute of Noetic Sciences are not available to study individuals who claim psychic abilities or to provide scientific validation or corroboration for their work, nor do we have plans for such studies in the near future. Most of our research projects and analyses are based on the responses of many subjects because we are interested in reaching conclusions about what is true, in general, for the population at large, rather than for just a few unusual or exceptional people.

To be a research volunteer in one of our studies, check our website for requests or email Leena Michel to add your name to a list of potential future volunteer research subjects.

If you have an active dream life, you can post your dreams at the Gaia's Dreams website, a project being carried out by Dr. Radin. As he explains it, "Gaia's Dreams is an experiment based on Carl Jung's concept of the collective unconscious. It is designed to gather and analyze collective dream quality and content, and to provide reports on emerging trends based on aspects of those dreams. This site will eventually perform daily automated cross-dream linguistic and quality analyses. Ultimately the goal is to correlate collective dreams with world events, including natural and unnatural disasters, to see if collective dreams are predictive. This experiment was partially motivated by reports of unusual dreams prior to 9/11 and the tsunami of December 2005, and by hundreds of historical cases of precognitive dreams. Data collected on this site will help us discern whether such dreams are truly precognitive."


Does IONS Provide Grants to Support Outside Research?

We rarely fund extramural research (research that is done outside of our organization), although we sometimes provide small seed grants to researchers and have served as fiscal sponsors for projects closely aligned with our mission and research interests.

Check online for The Foundation Directory or ask the reference librarian at your local library if they have a copy. There are hundreds of grant-making foundations providing billions of dollars every year to charities and nonprofits—including many that specialize in research. Matching your interests with the right foundation is an art and a science, but with effort it can be accomplished.


Does IONS Study Alternative Healing Techniques Developed by Others?

This is not something we do. Funding clinical studies is an expensive and time-consuming undertaking involving the creation of rigorous, often double-blind protocols and meeting Institutional Review Board Standards for human research subjects.


Can You Recommend an Alternative Practitioner for a Serious Illness?

We do not provide specific medical referrals or recommend specific treatment options. If you are interested in pursuing alternative medical treatments, visit the National Council of Complementary and Alternative Medicine's website at for guidelines on choosing a practitioner.


Is There a Source of Information for People With Chronic Illness?

The Continuum Center for Health and Healing at Beth Israel Medical Center has launched New Approaches to Chronic Disease, an NIH-funded multimedia consumer education website that provides in-depth, evidence-based information, research summaries, extensive resources, and unique online exercises that offer patients a multidisciplinary integrative approach to managing heart disease, diabetes, and chronic pain. The site is bi-lingual (English and Spanish).


Can You Recommend Programs That Include Emotional Support for Patients and Families With Cancer?

Each person has unique needs in this challenging situation, and no single program or offering works for everyone. Nevertheless, possible sources of help might be found through the Institute for Health and Healing at California Pacific Medical Center or the Commonweal Cancer Help Program. Honor your own knowing, trusted medical professionals, and feedback from loved ones when deciding whether a specific program may be helpful for you.


Can Thoughts Heal Me?

While it is now generally agreed that the mind can heal the body (to a degree, and for some illnesses), this doesn't mean we should dismiss the miracles of modern medicine. After all, the same minds that mysteriously know how to heal the body (or reduce pain) were also smart enough to figure out how to perform incredible surgeries and create amazing medicines. We recommend using all available resources to treat a health problem.


How Can I Network With Other Like-Minded Professionals Who Want to Advance the Field of Noetic Science and Contribute to Positive Shifts in Consciousness?

There is a large pool of well-educated people who have important information and wisdom to contribute to the process of understanding the nature of consciousness and how this can help us navigate the challenging times in which we find ourselves. Many of these people are members of IONS and/or colleagues through our research and workshops. In addition to attending specific events, you can join our monthly membership program that includes teleseminars in which members listen to trailblazers in diverse fields discuss noetic subjects, followed by Q&A and community discussion. Our new website, launching in Spring 2010, will include various discussion groups, the ability to post and scan events from anywhere in the world, and a directory of key researchers in the field.


What Educational Path Should I Pursue in Order to Become Qualified to Conduct the Kind of Research That IONS Carries Out?

At present there are no accredited courses of study or degrees that one can earn in the noetic sciences. There are some schools that offer advanced degrees in parapsychology, metaphysics, and so on, but none of them are accredited by the main academic boards, which means those degrees have little or no value when applying for jobs. Other schools, like Saybrook Institute or the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, do offer accredited degrees in associated areas, but the vast majority of people who earn such degrees do not end up earning a living in the noetic sciences.

We recommend that you earn an advanced degree in a traditional area that interests you, such as psychology or physics, and build a career there. Do exceptional work, and as you gain credibility you can begin to study or conduct noetic research on the side. To become a viable candidate when one of the rare job opportunities in noetic research arise, attend appropriate conventions, meet leaders in the field, publish papers, and become known to decision-makers at the few institutes around the world that conduct research in these areas. This is how virtually all of the people working in the field today have obtained their positions, and this reality is not likely to change any time soon.


Does IONS Offer Academic Programs in the Field of Noetic Science?

IONS is not a degree-granting institution, although we may eventually offer professional certification programs in certain specialized fields.

Graduate studies consistent with the field of noetic science are offered by the following schools:


How Can I Join the IONS' Extended Faculty?

Our extended faculty members are generally chosen from scientists, researchers, and educators who have donated their time and expertise to our research and educational programs. Colleagues contribute in various ways, including donating time to speak at our lectures and conferences. There is no formal nomination process at the present time, and we are not actively seeking extended faculty members, but if you have specific ideas about how you'd like to be involved, please email Due to the high volume of correspondence we receive, we will only get back with you if we currently have a forum or other means in which we are able to collaborate.


Are There Opportunities to Teach at IONS?

We don't have conventional "teaching positions" at IONS. However, we offer our own Conscious Living Workshops. We handle the registration and share more of the marketing outreach on these types of workshops than on events held by outside groups on our campus. Since they have our support and our name on them, we do require a high level of credentials, experience, and name recognition. Factors we consider in choosing presenters include affiliation with academic institutions, recognized frontier or cutting-edge thought, and the ability to provide active marketing and likely participants.

IONS EarthRise is also available for rent by workshops led by like-minded individuals and groups. For more information on booking your group or renting workshop space, please visit the EarthRise website »


Do You Read and Comment on Research Manuscripts?

We only have three Research Associates and they all have very busy schedules conducting research, writing, and speaking. They generally do not have time available to comment on or confirm individual theories or to support the many worthy research efforts that come to their attention. This reflects not a lack of interest but limits in personnel, time, and finances.


Can I Volunteer or Intern in the IONS Research Department?

We often work with interns and volunteers at in the IONS Research Department. Interns are either currently enrolled in or recently graduated from school and interested in pursuing research projects related to their education. If you are interested in a research internship, go here for more information and an online application. In most cases, internships work best for people who can come to the IONS campus on a regular basis. Virtually all internships are unpaid. If you are interested in volunteering (e.g., we often need people to transcribe or index audio or visual media), email


How Do I Find out About Employment Opportunities in the IONS' Research Department?

We do not currently have paid positions in the Research Department. New employment opportunities will be listed on the IONS website at and/or on Craig's List.


Where Can I Learn About Edgar Mitchell's Work on Quantum Holography?

You can begin by reading the chapter, "Quantum Holography: A Basis for the Interface between Mind and Matter," in Bioelectromagnetic Medicine (2004) by Paul J. Rosch, Marko S. Markov. Informa Health Care. p. 153-158. It is available here.


Where Can I Find Dean Radin's Blog on Dr. Emoto's Work With Water Crystals?

Go to


What Is The Worldview Literacy Project and How Can I Learn More About Getting Involved?

Centuries ago, a scholar wrote: "We do not see the world as it is, we see the world as we are." Participants in the Worldview Literacy Project engage in an exploration of how individual and cultural factors shape and condition the way we see ourselves, each other and the world around us. Blending together the fruits of nearly 40 years of IONS research with emerging education modalities, the course aims to build the capacity and the competence of participants by equipping them with the skills and tools needed to navigate the complexities of life and become global citizens.

Click here to learn more about the Worldview Literacy Project on our website. Go here to contact the Worldview Literacy Project..


How can I share my experiences, ideas, or work?

There are many individuals engaged in very interesting work, and we are excited about facilitating networking and the spread of this important information. IONS Community Groups are a great way to connect with like-minded people.  If you have a personal story of transformation, you can share your experience by taking our online Transformational Survey.