Early Findings on Interconnectedness from the IONS Discovery Lab

January 16, 2020
Steven Swanson, Science Team

The IONS Discovery Lab, or IDL for short, is one of the core ongoing research programs at the Institute of Noetic Sciences, an emblematic collaboration between the research team and our EarthRise Retreat Center. One of the primary objectives of IDL is to evaluate the effects of various transformative practices taking place at EarthRise and around the world. For nearly two years now, a total of over 1,400 surveys have been taken by individuals participating in approximately 50 different events, workshops, or studies. While this study is ongoing and participation is still growing, we have some sample results to share with you about the questions IDL is aiming to answer.

For those who aren’t yet familiar with it, IDL is a survey and a series of tasks that are administered to participants before and after a workshop or event. Three main factors are measured:

  1. A person’s subjective experience of interconnectedness
  2. Their psi ability
  3. Their levels of innovation, well being, and attitudes toward and experience of transformation

And there are three research questions being asked regarding these three factors. The first is looking at the relationship, if any, between these three factors in an individual. The second is looking at whether or not each factor is affected by different interventions, by comparing them before and after the workshop/event/study in question. And the third is looking at whether or not certain participant characteristics influence the factors individually or the relationship between those factors.

The second research question, looking at the way different transformative practices affect the measured factors, is the most complex, as it requires categorizing each practice in order to accurately interpret the results. And while that is a major goal of IDL, especially as it relates to transformative practices taking place at our EarthRise Retreat Center, it will also require the most in-depth and nuanced analysis, not to mention an extremely robust data set. As such, there are no preliminary results available for this research question.

But for the other two research questions, we can give you a sample of the type of information we receive from our analysis. When we look at the relationship of the three factors with the data we have today, we see that a person’s subjective experience of interconnectedness has a strong positive relationship with multiple factors, increasing with:

  1. More years of education
  2. Personality trait of “agreeableness”
  3. Sense of openness
  4. Belief in and experience with the paranormal

In addition, a person’s increased sense of their own compassion is positively related to agreeableness, openness, belief in the paranormal, and being female. It is also negatively related to age (meaning the lower a person’s age, the more likely they are to score high in compassion).

For the remote viewing task, which measures the mental faculty that allows a perceiver to describe or give details about a target that is inaccessible to normal senses due to distance, time, or shielding, we also see that higher scores are related to the trait of “positive affect,” or a person’s propensity to experience positive emotions and interact with others and with life’s challenges in a positive way.

We are currently in the process of translating the survey into other languages, starting with Spanish and Chinese, in order to further broaden the scope of this study. It’s an exciting time for the IONS Discovery Lab, and we hope that those of you who haven’t yet participated will have the opportunity to do so in the future, whether as part of a workshop, a scientific study, or even a personal retreat at EarthRise. All of us on the IONS science team are very excited to be nearing the end of the pilot phase of IDL where we will do the final analysis of the data collected. We will then start the formal study of the IONS Discovery Lab based on what we learned in the pilot phase, refining our measures and methods. The formal study will be pre-registered and have the specific analyses we will do pre-defined.

We would like to express deep gratitude towards those who have already taken part in the study, from individual participants to group leaders, as it’s your willingness to take part in this voyage of discovery that has made this all possible. If you are a workshop leader you can find more information about the IONS Discovery Lab here, and on that page you will also find a form that workshop leaders who are interested in taking part in IDL can complete.

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