December 25, 2006 at 3:25 pm #19992
is exertion of influence upon other being regardless of same person’s feelings, emotions, ideas or intention.
Behavioral psychological theories consider human as black box, stating that because internal is subjective (i.e. not measurable by machine), all such notions are to be exluded from psychology, and only external behavior is to be included. This seems like great denial of psychology itself (what study of psyche if psyche itself is excluded from study) and a sign of stupidity. Yet such notions are not true and are revealed as gullibility, as they were after psyche, just the intent was somewhat after ‘collective’ workings.
Some background on two researches of beheviorism (see the oddities of their interest) shows their keen interest in psyche, despite behevioral definition of psychology:
(Distant Mental Influence, p. 110, 111)
¨ interactions and conventional physical energies. Such questions are typically asked within the domain known as parapsychology or psychical research, which deals with processes such as telepathy and clairvoyance. What is not appreciated, however, is that these very questions were actively researched by some of the founders and leading investigators of the disciplines that we flow recognize as psychophysiology and conditioning and learning discipline that contributed importantly to the development of biofeedback and self.. regulation research. Ill mention some relevant projects that were undertaken in the early l900s in the Soviet Union by researchers who were exploring the newly discovered conditional reflexes.
Ivan Pavlov himself addressed some of these issues. Pavlov, to whom we are all indebted for his brilliant work in classical conditioning, was intensely interested in the various phenomena of hypnosis and in the unusual physiological and psychological functions manifested in psychiatric patients. In one of his lectures in physiology, after describing the extremely fine differentiations among conditional stimuli that dogs are able to make, he continued: In us, in human beings, our higher conscious activity runs counter to these lower abilities to differentiate and hence hinders fine differentiation. That this is so is demonstrated by the fact that, in some instances, when mans normal conscious activity is altered, his ability to differentiate is sharpened. During special states of so-called clairvoyance, the differentiating ability in man reaches infinite sharpness (Pavlov, 1952, p. 520).
Vladimir Bekhterev, who made important contributions in what we now call instrumental conditioning, was much more actively involved with these issues. In addition to his better known work in reflexology, Bekhterev himself conducted laboratory investigations of telepathic influence in dogs and in remote hypnotic influence of humans (see Gregory, 1976). Within his Institute for Brain Research at the University of Leningrad, he established, in 1922, a Commission for the Study of Mental Suggestion. The Commission consisted of psychologists, medical hypnotists, physiologists, physicists, and a philosopher. Its charge was to investigate spontaneous cases of psychic phenomena, psychophysiological effects of magnetic fields in hypnotized subjects, and distant mental suggestion of hypnotized subjects.
Much of the distant mental suggestion work was carried out by a young physiologist, Leonid Vasiliev. The research was conducted within a physiological framework and was guided by the electromagnetic hypothesis of telepathy developed by the German neurologist/psychiatrist Hans Berger and the Italian neurologist F. Cazzamalli (Gregory, 1976). It was, indeed, Bergers own motivation to measure this posited electromagnetic carrier of telepathy that guided the investigations that led eventually to his development of the electroencephalograph and to his recording of the first human EEG tracings in 1924 (see Brazier, 1961; Roll, 1960). In this enterprise, Vasiliev was joined by other prominent Russian psychophysiologists, notably K. I. Platonov and Bekhterevs collaborator, A. G. Ivanov-Smolensky (who performed early, important work in developing objective methods for tie study of verbal or semantic conditioning and transfer or, in Pavlovian terniinclogy, the study of second signalling system conditioning). Vasilievs work was conducted from 1921 until 1938, discontinued from 1939 until 1960, then re-established and continued until his death in 1966. Vasiliev5 major work, Experiments in Mental Suggestion, was first published in Russian in 1962; an English translation, authorized anti revised by Vasiliev, appeared in 1963 and was re-issued in 1976 under the tide Experiments in Distant Influence. In this highly recommended monograph, Vasiliev details the methods that he and his co-workers used to study disunt influence (mental suggestion) in selected subjects. In a series of careful experiments Vasilievs team was able to induce motor acts, visual images and sensations, sleeping and awakening, and physiological reactions (breathing changes, changes in electrodermal activity) in persons stationed at remote locations and shielded from all conventional interactions. The methodology of these experiments included: (a) the use of selected, highly hypnotizable subjects, (b) ebjective recording (by means of kymographs), (c) mechanical randomizers, (d) statistical analyses of results, (e) sensory isolation, (f) electromagnetic shielding, and (g) variation of the distance between the influencer and the influencee (distances from 20 meters to 1,700 kilometers were used). The general findings were: (a) the demonstration of positive results, (b) the finding that the effects survived iron-, lead-, and Faraday-chamber screening, and (c) the identification of important psychological factors that could impede or facilitate the effects.
During this same time frame, similar investigations were being carried out in other countries. There were French experiments on inducing hypnosis at a distance (by Joire, Gibert, Janet, and Richer), Dutch experiments on the remote influence of motor acts (by Brugmans at Groningen), hypnotic experiments on community of sensation (in which a sensory experience of the hypnotist appeared to be experienced by the hypnotizedsubjecr), and international studies of telepathy and clairvoyance (see Vasiliev, 1976, for a discussion of some of these studies).
Ever since I read Vasilievs (1963) monograph, I have been intrigued by his experiments and curious about whether it would be possible to replicate them. I was particularly interested in his experiments of remote niental influence of physiological activity Through the interest and support of the Mind Science Foundation, my coworkers and I have indeed been able to replicate some of Vasilievs work, and it is these experiments that I shall now summarize for you. Although we have studied remote influence effects upon several behavioral and physiological response systems (see Braud, Schlitz, and Schmidt, 1989), I shall restrict my comments to a series of experiments on remote mental influence of phasic electrodermal activity. We have completed fifteen experiments using the same general experimental design and methodology Since my purpose today…¨December 26, 2006 at 12:10 am #19993
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