Exploring the fascinating landscape of psi phenomena, like telepathy and mind-matter interactions, can contribute to a better understanding of the nature of reality.
Recently, five experiments examined this topic more deeply, four conducted in the laboratory and one online. The experiments investigated if the two strangest aspects of quantum mechanics are similar, or perhaps even the same, as properties that make psi phenomena seem weird. These two properties are nonlocality, as demonstrated most clearly with the phenomenon of quantum entanglement, and effects of the observer on physical systems.
Quantum entanglement suggests that distant parts of a quantum system are “connected” to each other instantaneously, that is, not bound by the speed of light.
This connection is impossible according to classical physics, yet it has been observed as a fact and acknowledged as a primary feature of quantum mechanics.
Erwin Schrödinger, one of the founders of quantum theory, called quantum entanglement the characteristic trait of quantum mechanics, the one that enforces its departure from classical lines of thought.
…meets psi states
The primary question explored by these new experiments was whether the mind could influence quantum entanglement. In other words, could the mind directly influence a non-local property of the physical world from a distance? Or to put it another way, while most experiments investigating mind-matter interactions have studied if the mind could influence a local physical target (like the fall of dice, a random number generator, water structure, etc.), this study investigated if the mind could influence non-local matter.
What did they find out?
Three of the experiments were conducted at IONS, one was run by the Institut Métapsychique International (IMI) in France, and one was accessible online. They all used a desktop optical system that generated about 1,000 entangled photons per second.
Participants in the study were invited to mentally affect the entanglement strength. They were alternately told to focus their attention toward the photons, and then to withdraw their attention. If the mind could indeed affect the photons, the entanglement strength results would differ between the two attentional conditions.
The results for the IONS studies showed an overall probability of p < 0.0002 for the increase in entanglement strength, suggesting that the change observed in entanglement was almost certainly not a chance outcome. The study conducted in France was not statistically significant.
Quantum encryption is a bulletproof technology… or is it?
The idea that the power of the mind can affect photons has relevance beyond mere academic interest.
Quantum cryptography is considered an unhackable technology. But if the results of these experiments can be repeated, it would suggest that technologies based on quantum effects, including quantum computation, encryption, key distribution, and teleportation, aren’t bulletproof after all. In fact, it may be possible to affect them via focused attention or intention.
Where to go from here
To our knowledge, this is the first series of experiments exploring the topic of mind-matter interaction involving non-local mind (intentional effects at a distance) and non-local matter (entangled photons). The results suggest many possible follow-up experiments to further explore these interactions. The results may lay the foundation for a better understanding of the similarities and differences between quantum mechanics and psi.