|Abstract/Results: ||INTRODUCTION: |
This study builds upon two existing lines of work, both showing considerable promise, that have used electrophysiological techniques to detect covertly-occurring responses of human subjects to emotionally relevant but physically remote (in space or time) stimuli. The first and older body of work (remote stimulation) has looked at autonomic (ANS) and central nervous system (CNS) responses that follow contrasting emotive stimuli presented in a spatially remote location (e.g., Dean and Nash, 1967). The second and more recent group of studies (presentiment) has examined differential CNS and ANS changes occurring in anticipation of contrasting emotive stimuli that will be chosen and presented in the immediate future at the percipient‘s own location (e.g., Radin, 2006). The task will include presentiment and remote stimulation trials intermixed; one run of 80 trials with a remote agent and one run of 80 trials without an agent. Target selection and display location are determined by a pseudo-random algorithm (Mersenne Twister) reinitialized for each trial. Physiological measures will include simultaneous 128 channel EEG, EOG, skin conductance, IR plethysmography, respiration and skin temperature measures. This project seeks to: 1. Investigate presentiment and remote-stimulation effects produced in the same subjects by the same stimuli and in the same experimental session. 2. Characterize ANS and CNS responses to these stimuli in unprecedented physiological detail. 3. Investigate the possible contribution of emotionally linked agents to production or modulation of response to remote stimulation Specific hypotheses for this project are: 1.There will be differential ANS and CNS responses to calm vs. emotional stimuli during a brief period prior to direct stimulus presentation (presentiment effects). 2. There will be differential ANS and CNS responses to calm vs. emotional stimuli during a brief period prior to their presentation in a secure remote location (remote presentiment effects). 3. There will be differential ANS and CNS responses to calm vs. emotional stimuli displayed in a secure remote location (remote-stimulation effects).
Subjects/Pairs of participants will consist of related or emotionally bonded individuals (siblings: monozygotic twins if available, parent/child pairs, spousal/dating pairs). Screening: Exclusion criteria include current psychiatric/neurologic diagnoses and/or medication/recreational substances that cross the blood-brain barrier. Additional screening will include vision acuity (double Snellen chart), handedness (Edinburgh Handedness Inventory), relationship closeness (Inclusion of Other in the Self (IOS) Scale, Perception of Connectedness Spectrum (created by us), the Relationship Closeness Inventory (RCI), and history of anomalous experiences (Unusual Experiences Inventory). Task: Stimuli will consist of IAPS (International Affective Picture System) photographs. We will employ a pool of 80 photographs selected as follows: half of the presented photographs (40) will be from those rated high in arousal but contrasted in emotional valence with some positive (erotic, 20 photos in total) and the remainder negative (violent, 20 photos in total) in emotional valence; the other half (40) will be rated low in arousal and neutral in emotional valence (calm). Next, both participants will be shown the EEG booth and the upstairs agent room. In both of these locations, a sample display will be shown. However, participants will be told that there will be three types of trials: (1) images appearing directly to the percipient, (2) images appearing in the agent room and (3) images appearing in neither locale. This will ensure that the percipient will not know, when the image does not appear to her/him directly, that it is being displayed remotely. Session Structure: 2 Runs, 80 trials each, one run with agent and one without (randomly chosen so experimenters at remote EEG booth do not know). Target selection and display location are determined by a pseudo-random algorithm (Mersenne Twister) reinitialized for each trial.
These will include simultaneous 128 channel EEG, EOG, skin conductance, IR plethysmography, respiration and skin temperature measures. As the main premise is to measure unconscious measures, the amount of devices used should be a barrier in eliciting such responses. Furthermore, the time allotment for the experimental phase is less than one hour. Thus, that should not be a burden to subjects either.
(1) Presentiment: average EEG epochs for each session, across trials within experimental groups- e.g. percipient-displayed trials with calm vs. positive and negative emotional valence stimuli to look for presentiment effects (refer to Radin, 2006). (2) Calculate the mean channel-by-channel amplitude within the appropriate pre-stimulus time-window. E.g., for EEG, presentiment response (Radin, 2006), we‘ll use the last second before the stimulus. (3) For remote stimulation, we will first examine the post-stimulus EEG averages for direct stimulus presentations to assess systematic differences in response based on stimulus types. These will provide hypotheses as to the form of differential responses to remote stimuli. We expect the relevant component(s) to appear at latencies of 300ms or more. (4) We will then extract measures of post-stimulus EEG response to the remote stimuli. In addition to any component(s) identified in step (3) [measured preferably in terms of area vs. peak height for statistical reasons], these will include mean/RMS amplitudes. We may also use ICA and/or PCA to identify response components in EEG signals. (5) Parallel steps will be taken to extract measures from the available autonomic channels- for example, skin conductance and numbers of responses, heart rate and peripheral blood volume changes, and so on. (6) Once we have all the needed measures for all participants, we can do the targeted group-level statistics using t-tests and ANOVAs for one-way analyses (e.g. calm vs. emotional or calm vs. positive vs. negative emotional valence for presentiment responses). We will also conduct more complicated/detailed univariate analyses- e.g. two-way ANOVA of response to remote stimulation with vs. without an agent. Finally, we will conduct multivariate analyses, e.g. using all of the autonomic measures of presentiment response as criteria in MANOVAs of calm vs. positive vs. negative stimuli, calm vs. arousing stimuli, etc. These are standard parametric statistical tests, but their validity can be checked (at least in the simple cases) by computationally intensive randomization/permutation tests, available in Systat and EEGLAB, which circumvent all distributional assumptions. (7) We also expect to be able to do within-subject analyses using whatever measures can be extracted on a trial-by-trial basis. This will include most or all autonomic measures (whichever prove useful) and possibly some sort of composite EEG measures capable of exploiting the across-channel redundancy of EEG responses. For all of these analyses, familywise error correction for multiple comparisons, i.e., Bonferroni and FDR (False-discovery rate), will be used.
|Modestino, E., Kelly, E., Dunseath, W., Lenz, J., Applin, F., & Knee, A. (2011). Research brief: Anomalous physiological responses to local and remote emotive stimulation. In M. Kittenis (Ed.), Abstracts of presented papers: The Parapsychological Association 54th Annual Convention (pp. 44-45). Curitiba, Brazil: Parapsychological Association.|