Consciousness Research Lab


Consciousness Research Lab


Photo © 2009 Susan Lambert, All rights reserved.

The IONS laboratory is one of a few in the world devoted to studying the relationship between consciousness and the physical world. The lab houses a broad array of instrumentation, ranging from psychophysiological monitors of autonomic and central nervous system activity (e.g., electrocardiogram, heart rate, skin conductance, electrogastrogram, respiration, blood flow, 32 channel EEG), to physical detectors of mind-matter interaction (e.g., random event generators, optical interferometers, magnetometers, speed of light measurements). A fully networked infrastructure allows high speed within-lab and Internet access, and a solid steel, double-walled, electromagnetically shielded room provides ample space for studies requiring energetic or sensory isolation.

IONS’ laboratory is used for many projects, for example the exploration of nonlocal interactions among two or more participants. These interactions are often accompanied by subtle changes in states of consciousness, which can be inferred by measuring fluctuations in participants’ physiology. Measuring changes in brainwaves, heart rate, and skin conductance provides a model to study distant healing in the laboratory. The “senders” and the “receivers” in these experiments are isolated from one another. One experimental variation tests “the feeling of being stared at” by displaying the video image of a receiver to a distant sender at randomly selected times. After 30 minutes of the sender either gazing at the receiver, or paying attention to something else, at randomly counterbalanced times under double-blind conditions, the experimenter examines the receiver’s recorded physiology to see if the sender’s attention affected the receiver’s nervous system.