IONS Guiding Hypothesis

Training the lens of science on the seemingly ineffable.

Our Guiding Hypothesis

Everything is interconnected. By embodying an awareness of this interconnection, we can tap into information and energy not limited by space and time, and profoundly amplify transformation, innovation, and well-being.

We have been testing this hypothesis through various experiments and peer-reviewed papers since our founding in 1973. We were pioneers of mindfulness research in the 1980s, and continue to expand the field on the scientific understanding of integrative and complementary health and wellness practices.

What we have learned over time is that science can reveal a deeper understanding of our seemingly coincidental, subjective experiences. Through iterative research that builds on past findings, we are able to illuminate the mechanisms of what is essentially ineffable, in a way that can make these experiences of awe, creativity, intuition, healing, and more regularly accessible and applicable. Today, our research explores the boundaries of our current knowledge through two cornerstone programs: the IONS Discovery Lab and IONSx.

Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood.Marie Curie, first woman to win a Nobel Prize (physics)

IONS Science Position Statement

Our working hypothesis is that consciousness (awareness) is fundamental. From this perspective, consciousness is regarded as the most basic component of reality, more basic than physical concepts like matter, energy, space, and time. We investigate this hypothesis to better understand noetic experiences, like intuitive, psychic, and mystical states.


The IONS Discovery Lab is creating what will become the world’s largest dataset ever on the effects of transformative practices. Like the Framingham Heart Study which revealed the intricacies of heart disease, or the Human Genome Project, which taught us the fundamental building blocks of our DNA, this research project seeks to unlock a deeper sense of what it means to be human and how we can integrate our interconnection to make the world a better place.

Through the IONS Discovery Lab we will deepen our understanding of how transformative experiences and practices — from leadership development to yoga and meditation to distant healing practices and more — have the capacity to influence one’s sense of interconnectedness, to expand our human capacities, to lead to more compassion and innovation, and ultimately to infuse these skills in personal and professional settings.

Through the largest study of its kind, we hope to answer two questions:

  1. What is the relationship between interconnection, extended human capacities, and creating a better world?
  2. Which transformative practices most positively influence this relationship?

Learn About IONS Discovery Lab

I believe in intuitions and inspirations… I sometimes feel that I am right, I do not know that I am.Albert Einstein


Our “moonshot” — a multidisciplinary effort to reliably and robustly demonstrate the mind’s influence on a physical system. The first several decades of our research led the way in innovating research protocols to establish small but highly statistically significant ways that attention and intention appear to impact physical systems, even at a distance. Now, we are investigating potential mechanisms by which that can happen, and under what conditions we can boost those effects, with the eventual goal of using the power of our consciousness to improve health and healing, technology, businesses, and our everyday lives.

After decades of research, we know that our consciousness matters. What we think, believe, intend and pay attention to makes a difference, in our own bodies, in our relationships to others and our environment, and increasing evidence suggests, directly in the physical world. Like electricity once was, we think human awareness could be an invisible but powerful untapped resource for shaping our lives, and our collective future. This premise challenges science to improve its methods, champion academic freedom, and move beyond a purely reductionist, materialist stance.

Learn About IONSx

Explore Our Experiments

Discover the broad scope of our current research and delve into the ways we’re working to understand the fullness of our human capacities.

Read Our Peer-Reviewed Published Papers

Go deep with how we are advancing the field and furthering the scientific discussion.

Explore Our Hypothesis for Yourself

At IONS, we learn both through scientific experimentation and personal exploration. Our own programs, backed by scientific data, are designed to support you as you explore your own sense of interconnectedness, you extend your human capacities, and you amplify for yourself transformation, innovation, and well-being.

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