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Double-slit Experiment Published in Physics Essays

by Dean Radin

For the last few years we have been exploring the possible role of consciousness in the physical world through an effect known as the quantum measurement problem (QMP). This refers to a curious phenomenon whereby quantum objects behave differently when they are observed than when they are not observed. It's as though the microscopic world has a "sense of being stared at," reminiscent of the prickly feeling that some people feel when someone is staring at them a little too intensely.

The QMP is a problem because it violates the common-sense doctrine of realism, which assumes that the world at large is independent of observation. If that doctrine turns out to be even slightly wrong, then some aspect of consciousness may play a key role in the manifestation of the physical world, as some of the world's esoteric and mystical traditions, and a good portion of Eastern philosophy, have long maintained.

You can read more about this experiment, and participate in an online version of it, at this site. You can also download an article describing these experiments, just published in the journal Physics Essays.

This is the article's abstract:

Consciousness and the double-slit interference pattern: Six experiments

Dean Radin, Leena Michel, Karla Galdamez, Paul Wendland, Robert Rickenbach, and Arnaud Delorme

Abstract: A double-slit optical system was used to test the possible role of consciousness in the collapse of the quantum wavefunction. The ratio of the interference pattern's double-slit spectral power to its single-slit spectral power was predicted to decrease when attention was focused toward the double slit as compared to away from it. Each test session consisted of 40 counterbalanced attention-toward and attention-away epochs, where each epoch lasted between 15 and 30 s. Data contributed by 137 people in six experiments, involving a total of 250 test sessions, indicate that on average the spectral ratio decreased as predicted (z=–4:36, p=6x10–6). Another 250 control sessions conducted without observers present tested hardware, software, and analytical procedures for potential artifacts; none were identified (z=0:43, p=0:67). Variables including temperature, vibration, and signal drift were also tested, and no spurious influences were identified. By contrast, factors associated with consciousness, such as meditation experience, electrocortical markers of focused attention, and psychological factors including openness and absorption, significantly correlated in predicted ways with perturbations in the double-slit interference pattern. The results appear to be consistent with a consciousness-related interpretation of the quantum measurement problem.

Copyright 2012 Physics Essays Publication. [DOI: 10.4006/0836-1398-25.2.157]

Comments? Post them here on this Breaking News Blog.

  • Anonymous Icon

    mdturner May 29, 2012

    Congratulations, Dean. It is great that this work is being published in a mainstream physics journal, and it is a tribute to your rigorous methodology to have it accepted. I hope this helps to open the door to a more open hearing with a wider audience. Certainly this particular experiment falls right in the lap of the mainstream with a psi variation on an experiment they all know very well. Terrific!

  • Anonymous Icon

    sfjennings May 29, 2012

    This is why I support IONS.

  • Anonymous Icon

    wallyjasper May 31, 2012

    This is very exciting, Dean. I am wondering if this experiment is actually demonstrating precisely how consciousness affects physical reality: in addition to responding simply to the act of being observed, physical phenomena respond specifically to what the witnessing observer imagines (this is implicitly acknowledged in the double blind function of scientific experiments). An observer operating out of the predominant dualistic view, as most scientists are, will observe how particles are expected to behave in that paradigm. Your line of research could very well verify what mystics have understood: the physical world comes into being and is shaped by the particular orientation of the witnessing consciousness.

  • Dean Radin, PhD May 31, 2012

    This experiment is most relevant to understanding the role of consciousness in the quantum measurement problem, but it does speak to what mystics have been telling us throughout history. I think it's unlikely that human consciousness literally shapes the world that we see, but we may influence it in subtle ways.

    As with the strange property of quantum entanglement, the important thing at the beginning of a research program that is exploring strange effects is simply to confirm if there's a there there. If it turns out that there is something, then after it is better understood what was once thought to be a very fragile effect that takes enormous effort to detect is eventually observed to be robust and everywhere. I suspect something like that may also happen with studies of mind-matter interaction. But we're still at the earliest baby steps.

  • Anonymous Icon

    KayKay Jun 02, 2012

    I've been doing the online experiment, and have had a couple of scores of around 160-170. I thought my scores might improve if I did the test whilst using my Mindspa Meditation Machine. I was very surprised that my score plummeted to Minus 200. What would be the reason for that? Would you have expected that ?

  • Anonymous Icon

    KayKay Jun 04, 2012

    Anyone else starting to see a pattern for their scores? The more focussed I am, the lower my score (down to minus 200 with the meditation machine). When I'm watching the tv between 30 second sessions I get my highest scores (up to 384 whilst watching Time Team!)

  • Anonymous Icon

    iamonesoru Jun 11, 2012

    Dearest Professor Radin:
    I would like to ask you a few questions. I understand how important your time is, and I wouldn't want to infringe on that, however I think the answers to these questions, or at least the contemplation of them, might afford some clarity or insight into the quantum measurement problem.

    We are just beginning our struggle to understand the concept of quantum non-locality, and most, if not all of our understanding is based on unproven theories or models created by those who came before us. No matter how brilliant the scientists of the past have been, none of them were infallible.

    Why have scientists looked through electron microscopes and chosen to attempt to define or identify all of creation as the point one percent energy we call "matter"?

    If we can't truly define what that energy is, and we can't truly define what the other 99.9% "empty space" is, then doesn't that mean we cannot truly define 100% of that which we are or appear to be?

    Does this mean that we are just pretenders pretending to be something that we are not, since we have no idea what we truly are?

    Why does science teach us to misunderstand what they call the first three dimensions as basically height, width, and depth, which are really nothing more than potential measurements in three spatial directions?

    How can this mistaken definition of dimensions ever possibly lead us to a Unified Field Theory?

    Why do we believe that either creation or evolution must be true? Why can't both be true? If we look at life as a process that includes both creation and evolution, then we may see that this process is not the creation and evolution of life itself, but the creation and evolution of different and unique lifeforms.

    What if the physical human brain exists in a state we call relativity, and the human mind exists in a meta-physical state we misunderstand as quantum non-locality?

    Is it possible that we might integrate the information coming out of the fields of neuroscience with the information coming out of the fields of quantum mechanics and learn to think in a new way that might lead us to the ability to use the 90 to 95% of the brains power we aren't using?

    I respectfully thank you for your time and consideration.

  • Anonymous Icon

    merianda Feb 05, 2013

    I have the following point of view on the experiment:
    If human beings are able to influence matter in scuttle ways, then can primates even influence it in the same way and if they can then this quantum interaction can be a universal phenomenon.
    Then reality is just like a television Chanel.

  • Anonymous Icon

    neil2366 Aug 16, 2013

    The EPR or double slit light experiment anomaly is explained in this way..

    Space is not empty.

    Hence if that experiment is conducted in a medium like water (example) ,

    any act of measurent inside water will send a pressure wave towards event being measured.

    Therefore the measurement result will be alterred by that pressure wave. Unless the act of measurement is FASTER than that pressure wave the result will not be correct. With light it cannot be faster so the result proved to be anomaly in the EPR experiment of two slit . The pressure acts like a rigid rod and so simultaneous. SPACE IS NOT it? explore

  • Anonymous Icon

    gilgamesh23 Feb 17, 2015

    My understanding of the measurement problem & the skeptics who like to say it is the measuring device that collapses the wave function... according toThomas Cambell (in my big toe) he says they were doing the test back in the magnetic tape days,
    When somebody had the bright idea to remove the tape, so the device was still doing what it does to measure the particles - the tape heads were oscillating - just no tape inserted to record the which path information and even with the device throwing photons or whatever it does to measure which path
    As long as that information is unknowable we get a interferrence patern
    When we know which path, you get the two slits!

    So regardless of how the slits are checked, it is consciousness and nothing else that collapses the wavefunction.

  • Androgeny Apr 03, 2015

    Dr. Radin said: "I think it's unlikely that human consciousness literally shapes the world that we see, but we may influence it in subtle ways." My thoughts on this. If we step back from a homeocentric view of the universe the question might be answered differently. Before Copernicus, scientists thought the universe revolves around the Earth. Still today, scientists think the universe revolves around only the human consciousness.

    Alfred North Whitehead seems to suggest there is no cold dead matter, and everything in creation has some say so at some level. If this is correct, then the universe is likely a consensus reality, with no single entity, or species having domination or the ability to "shape the world." At most, a single species would be able to make changes in "subtle ways." If we were then to assume that humans are not alone as evolved creatures, and further assume that somewhere in the cosmos are far more evolved beings than humans, then perhaps the effect of consciousness for them would be less subtle but still not dominating over the consensus reality of all the rest of creation. In other words it would not work very well if one single human, or small group of humans could exercise great control over the consensus physics of all of creation in the universe or perhaps multiverse.

    The outcome of this experiment is what one might expect in a slowly evolving universe where all of creation is involved in producing a consensus reality.

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