Ten Blogs by Dr. Michael A. Persinger

Blogs by Dr. Michael A. Persinger.

The God Helmet’s Weak Fields are Sufficient to Influence Brain Activity.

We do not allow suggestion or Suggestibility to Influence our Lab Results.

Our results can’t be attributed to suggestion.

God Helmet (and many other of our) results have been replicated.

God Helmet Experiments use Blind Protocols and Placebo Controls.

Replications of our work on Geomagnetism and Paranormal Phenomena.

The Tectonic Strain Theory and French’s “Haunted Room” Experiment.

Richard Dawkins – Alcohol and the God Helmet don’t mix.

My theories are not based on religiousness in epileptics.

Religious belief is not an epileptic phenomenon.

Shortlink to this page:

http://wp.me/p2FgAb-bo

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We Do Not Allow Suggestion or Suggestibility to Influence our Lab Results. – A Blog by Dr. M.A. Persinger

We take every measure to ensure that our subjects are not exposed to suggestions.
We take every measure to ensure that our subjects are not exposed to suggestions.

Our laboratory results are not due to suggestion or suggestibility – A blog by Dr. Michael A. Persinger.

We apply several procedures to guarantee that our subjects are not exposed to suggestions, have no expectations, so that our results are not influenced by subject suggestibility.

These procedures and analytical methods rule out suggestion as an explanation for the effects we have observed in our experiments.

Question: How do you ensure that subjects are not inadvertently given suggestions as to the purpose of your experiments and how do you respond to the claim that your results are due to suggestibility?

Human beings are remarkably sensitive to subtle cues in their environment. For example, specific areas of the human brain respond to alterations in structures of sentences while a person is reading even though the person is not “aware” of the change in sentence structure (Bern, 1997).

Thirty years ago when we were interested in the “subjective narrative” of people sitting in the dark in a quiet chamber we found that the music, e.g., a Gregorian chant or the bars from the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind, compared to sitting in silence, affected the content of the “spontaneous” themes.  Sitting in silent darkness without previously hearing any music generated more “death” images, the pre-darkness listening to Gregorian chants was associated with more religious images and the movie score was associated with space themes.  We could influence what the subjects thought about by “priming” them with music with clear connotations.

Context is also important (Persinger, 1989; 1992). In one of our placebo-controlled experiments, we applied our magnetic signals, and immediately afterwards, the subjects listened to an ambiguous narrative (story) about a young boy who had night time anomalous experiences (“The Billy Story”) .  These were epileptic in origin, although this was never stated.  After the story and the stimulation was complete, we asked to subjects to listen to a brief story about either alien abduction or early sexual abuse.  The story was provided without any explanation.  The subjects were then asked to interpret the story about the boy’s night time experiences both immediately and a few days after.  We found that the subjects who heard the story about early sexual abuse interpreted the “Billy” story as one of sexual abuse, and the subjects who heard the story about alien abductions interpreted it as being about an interaction with aliens.   (Dittburner and Persinger, 1993; O’Gorman and Persinger, 1998). In this way, we verified how easily pseudomemories or false memories can be produced (Persinger, 1992; Healey and Persinger, 2001).

My critics who attribute God Helmet experiences to suggestibility have never directly tested this hypothesis. We have tested this potential confounding effect by psychometric inferences which are highly correlated with hypnotizability, such as the Wilson-Barber Imaginings Scale. We also have several experiments where we measured hypnotizibility directly with the Spiegel and Spiegel scale where the experimenter interacts with the subject directly (Ross and Persinger, 1987). The latter was administered after the exit questionnaire containing 20 questions about their experiences.

Interestingly, the last item in this questionnaire asks if the red light changed intensity even though for most studies there was no red light. Suggestible or highly hypnotizable individuals frequently respond “yes” to this item. However, even when the many suggestibility measures were taken into account during the statistical analyses, the sensed presence reports still occurred primarily when the “God Experience” protocol was used.

Dr. Linda St-Pierre and I explained this in our 2006 paper in the International Journal of Neuroscience, but online skeptics seem not to have read it.   Finally I reiterate that the volunteers do not know if they will receive a magnetic field or which field it might be and they are always told they are participating in a relaxation study.

We use questionnaires with our student subjects.  The questionnaires are applied at least six weeks before these students participate, and these are only some of the questionnaires they students fill out as they study psychological data gathering.  This gives them first hand experience with methods of gathering psychological data.  They have no idea that the questions have anything to do with the experiment.  The data are gathered under “blind” conditions.

We do not decorate our lab with any spiritual or religious imagery, and the researchers don’t discuss the specifics of the experiment with subjects until after all data have been gathered.

One experiment made it clear that our effects were not coming from suggestion.  After experimenting for several years with a burst-firing pattern, and seeing repeated results telling us that it generated higher pleasantness ratings when applied over the left hemisphere (see example; Persinger & Healey, 2002), we began to investigate another signal, derived from hippocampal tissues during long-term potentiation.  In that case, and a few since, we have seen that this signal is more pleasant over the right hemisphere (Persinger, et al., 1994).  If our effects were due to suggestion, these results should have been the same in all cases, but they weren’t.

I hope this blog clarifies that we are aware of experimental factors that allow suggestions and suggestibility to confound experimental results, and that we take all necessary steps to prevent their occurrence.

Dr. Michael A. Persinger
Full Professor
Behavioural Neuroscience, Biomolecular Sciences and Human Studies
Departments of Psychology and Biology
Laurentian University,
Sudbury, Ontario, Canada P3E 2C6
Email: mpersinger@laurentian.ca and drpersinger@neurocog.ca
NOTE: This blog is hosted by a colleague.

 


 

REFERENCES:

Berns, Gregory S., Jonathan D. Cohen, and Mark A. Mintun. “Brain regions responsive to novelty in the absence of awareness.” Science 276.5316 (1997): 1272-1275.

Dittburner, T.-L. and Persinger, M. A. (1993). Intensity of amnesia during hypnosis is positively correlated with estimated prevalence of sexual abuse and alien abductions: implications for false memory syndrome. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 77, 895-898.

Healey, F. and Persinger, M. A. (2001). Experimental production of illusory (false) memories in reconstructions of narratives: effect size and potential mediation by right hemispheric stimulation from complex, weak magnetic fields. International Journal of Neuroscience, 106, 195-207.

O’Gorman, K. A. and Persinger, M. A. (1998). Hypnotic Induction profiles, contextual innuendo and delayed intrusion errors for a narrative: searching for mediating variables. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 87, 587-593.

Persinger, M. A. (1989). Geophysical variables and behavior: LV. Predicting the details of visitor experiences and the personality of experients. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 68, 55-65.

Persinger, M. A. (1992). Neuropsychological profiles of adults who report “suddenly remembering” of early childhood memories: implications for claims of sexual abuse and alien visitations/abduction experiences. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 75, 259-266.

Persinger, M. A. (1996). Subjective pseudocyesis in normal woman who exhibit enhanced imaginings and elevated indicators of electrical lability within the temporal lobes: implications for the “Missing Embryo Syndrome”. Social Behavior and Personality, 24, 101-112.

Ross, J. and Persinger, M. A. (1987). Positive correlations between temporal lobe signs and hypnosis induction profiles: a replication. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 64, 828-830.

St-Pierre, L. S. and Persinger, M. A. (2006). Experimental facilitation of the sensed presence is predicted by specific patterns of applied magnetic fields not suggestibility: re-analysis of 19 experiments. International Journal of Neuroscience, 116, 1-8.

Spiegel, H. and Spiegel, D. (1978). Trance and treatment: clinical uses of hypnosis. New York: Basic Books.

Persinger, Michael A., and Faye Healey. “Experimental facilitation of the sensed presence: Possible intercalation between the hemispheres induced by complex magnetic fields.” The Journal of nervous and mental disease 190.8 (2002): 533-541.

Persinger, Michael A., Pauline M. Richards, and Stanley A. Koren. “Differential ratings of pleasantness following right and left hemispheric application of low energy magnetic fields that stimulate long-term potentiation.” International journal of neuroscience 79.3-4 (1994): 191-197.

Our results can’t be attributed to suggestion. – A blog By Dr. Michael Persinger

Shiva_God_Helmet

The results of our experiments cannot be attributed to experimenter suggestion or subject suggestibility. – A Blog by Dr. Michael Persinger.

Question: What results have you had that cannot be explained by suggestion?

Answer: We have seen many effects that cannot be explained by suggestion or suggestibility.  These have been done with people, rats, worms and living cells maintained (cultured) in petri dishes.

One very clear illustration is seen in our study that found that our magnetic field stimulation actually enhanced hypnotizability (Tiller, 1994) with a pulsed field, which we replicated two years later (Healey, 1996) with a burst-firing pattern.    We took measures of the suggestibility of each subject using an established instrument for its measurement as part of these experiments (Spiegel, 1978).  Altering suggestibility through suggestion is a highly improbable scenario, so the results of these studies ruled it out as an explanation for our magnetic stimulation effects in humans approximately twenty years ago.

For many of our experiments that created the sensed presence, we measured suggestibility directly using a well-established protocol (Spiegel, 1978).  We found that analyzing the data for the person’s hypnotizability score did not reduce the intensity of the sensed presence produced by the specific magnetic field pattern. The key paper was called “Experimental facilitation of the sensed presence is predicted by specific patterns of applied magnetic fields not by suggestibility: re-analysis of 19 experiments”. It was published in the International Journal of Neuroscience (St-Pierre, LS, 2006).

We have observed clinical effects that cannot be explained by suggestion. For example, Baker-Price (1996) found differential changes in the EEG patterns of patients who had sustained head injuries, depending upon the specific neural location where the field was applied.  The experiment also found a significant improvement of depression and a reduction of phobias.  We replicated this experiment in 2003 (Baker-Price, 2003), with very similar results and follow-up six weeks after the experiment was completed.  Tsang et al (2009) showed clearly with relatively crude psychometric measurements that infer emotional profiles that different patterned fields produced different mood states. Attributing these results to patient suggestibility leads inevitably to the conclusion that  depression can be treated through suggestion, a conclusion unsupported by any evidence nor predicted by any hypotheses.

We have also shown clear changes in delta and theta power over the temporal lobes during magnetic field stimulation (and more accurate brain wave measures, such as QEEG),  (Corradini et al  2013), using a completely separate method for producing the signals.  Eliciting the same effects with both different hardware and software also allows confirmation that our results that cannot be attributed to hardware artifacts.

However, the most powerful demonstration that the electromagnetic effects are not due to suggestion is the effect upon cells. We have found in controlled studies that the same pattern using in our sensed presence experiments slows the rate of a variety of different types of cancer cells in cultures (Hu, et al., 2010, Bruckner, 2015). These fields inhibited only cancer cell growth but did not retard the growth of normal cells.  We have found this same field that produced the sensed presence works by very specific channels within membranes that allow calcium to enter the cell (Buckner et al, 2015). The timing of the point durations that compose the specific field pattern must be precise or there is no effect.

Our studies using lab rats cannot be attributed to suggestion as rats cannot be said to be “suggestible”.

Nevertheless, we carry out blind analysis of rat brain sections in our rat studies, in which the investigator does not know which brain regions may have been affected by a procedure or the magnitude of the differences predicted between the rat brains exposed to the magnetic fields and those which were not (Fournier, 2012). In rat studies investigating differences in rat behavior following stimulation with magnetic signals, the experimenter observing their behavior is kept blind to the experimental condition (Whissell, 2007, McKay, 2004, Bureau, 1994, Babik, 1992).  Our examination of microscope slides from rat subjects and controls is also done under blind conditions (Cook, 1999). We have also carried out similar procedures with worms (planarium – Dugesia sp.) (Mulligan, 2012).

The false impression that our effects come from suggestibility of our experimental participants originates from  a paper published by Granqvist et al..  That publication reported an incorrectly configured experiment in which our neural stimulation signals were run at too high a velocity (their computer wasn’t calibrated to the software) and for too short a time (only ten minutes instead of the twenty we normally use as the minimum stimulation).   There were other issues, but these were the most significant.  Granqvist et al explained the difference between our results and theirs by the speculation that our results were due to suggestibility in our subjects. Note that Granqvist et al did not actually measure their subject’s suggestibility.   Their explanation is entirely speculative and ultimately incorrect.

I hope this blog will clarify that we are fully aware of the need to prevent experimenter suggestions and that our results are not due to to suggestibility in our subjects.

Dr. Michael A. Persinger
Full Professor
Behavioural Neuroscience, Biomolecular Sciences and Human Studies
Departments of Psychology and Biology
Laurentian University,
Sudbury, Ontario, Canada P3E 2C6
Email: mpersinger@laurentian.ca and drpersinger@neurocog.ca
NOTE: This blog is hosted by a colleague.

 


REFERENCES

Tiller, S. G., and Michael A. Persinger. “Enhanced hypnotizability by cerebrally applied magnetic fields depends upon the order of hemispheric presentation: An anistropic effect.” International journal of neuroscience 79.3-4 (1994): 157-163.

Healey, Faye, Michael A. Persinger, and S. A. Koren. “Enhanced hypnotic suggestibility following application of burst-firing magnetic fields over the right temporoparietal lobes: A replication.” International journal of neuroscience 87.3-4 (1996): 201-207.

Spiegel, H. & Spiegel, D. (1978) Trance and treatment. Basic Books: N.Y.

Pierre, LS St, and M. A. Persinger. “Experimental facilitation of the sensed presence is predicted by the specific patterns of the applied magnetic fields, not by suggestibility: re-analyses of 19 experiments.” International Journal of Neuroscience 116.19 (2006): 1079-1096.

Baker-Price, L. A., and Michael A. Persinger. “Weak, but complex pulsed magnetic fields may reduce depression following traumatic brain injury.”  Perceptual and motor skills 83.2 (1996): 491-498.

Baker-Price, Laura, and Michael A. Persinger. “Intermittent burst-firing weak (1 microTesla) magnetic fields reduce psychometric depression in patients who sustained closed head injuries: A replication and electroencephalographic validation.” Perceptual and motor skills 96.3 (2003): 965-974.

Tsang, Eric W., Stanley A. Koren, and Michael A. Persinger. “Specific patterns of weak (1 microTesla) transcerebral complex magnetic fields differentially affect depression, fatigue, and confusion in normal volunteers.” Electromagnetic biology and medicine 28.4 (2009): 365-373.

Corradini, Paula L.; Mark W. G. Collins; Dr. Michael A. Persinger  “Facilitation of Declarative Memory and Congruent Brain States by Applications of Weak, Patterned Magnetic Fields: The Future of Memory Access?”  International Journal of Humanities and Social Science Vol. 4, No. 13; November 2014

Hu, Jing H., et al. “Growth of injected melanoma cells is suppressed by whole body exposure to specific spatial-temporal configurations of weak intensity magnetic fields.” International journal of radiation biology 86.2 (2010): 79-88.

Buckner CA, Buckner AL, Koren SA, Persinger MA, Lafrenie RM (2015) Inhibition of Cancer Cell Growth by Exposure to a Specific Time-Varying Electromagnetic Field Involves T-Type Calcium Channels. PLoS ONE 10(4): e0124136. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0124136

Whissell, P.D. , Persinger, M.A.; “Developmental effects of perinatal exposure to extremely weak 7 Hz magnetic fields and nitric oxide modulation in the Wistar albino rat ” International Journal of Developmental Neuroscience 25 (2007) 433–439

McKay, B. E., and M. A. Persinger. “Normal spatial and contextual learning for ketamine-treated rats in the pilocarpine epilepsy model.” Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior 78.1 (2004): 111-119.

Bureau, Y. R. J., O. Peredery, and M. A. Persinger. “Concordance of quantitative damage within the diencephalon and telencephalon following systemic pilocarpine (380 mg/kg) or lithium (3 mEq/kg)/pilocarpine (30 mg/kg) induced seizures.” Brain Research 648.2 (1994): 265-269.

Missaghi, Babik, Pauline M. Richards, and Michael A. Persinger. “Severity of experimental allergic encephalomyelitis in rats depends upon the temporal contiguity between limbic seizures and inoculation.” Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior 43.4 (1992): 1081-1086.

Cook, Lisa L., and M. A. Persinger. “Infiltration of lymphocytes in the limbic brain following stimulation of subclinical cellular immunity and low dosages of lithium and a cholinergic agent.” Toxicology letters 109.1 (1999): 77-85.

Mulligan, Bryce P. , Noa Gang, Glenn H. Parker, Michael A. Persinger  “Magnetic Field Intensity/Melatonin-Molarity Interactions: Experimental Support with Planarian (Dugesia sp.) Activity for a Resonance-Like Process” Open Journal of Biophysics, 2012, 2, 137-143

God Helmet Experiments use Blind Protocols and Placebo Controls – A Blog By Dr. M.A. Persinger

God_helmetOur God Helmet experiments employ double-blind conditions and placebo protocols – a Blog by Dr. Michael A. Persinger.

Our Critics are mistaken when they claim we do not use proper controls.  We are committed to the scientific method, especially in laboratory experiments, including subject blindness, experimenter blindness, control groups, and blindness by those who analyse our data.

Question:  What are your standard double-blind and placebo controlled protocols?

Answer: Expectancy and confirmation bias are always important variables when human beings are measuring or being measured. Most of our major experiments over the last three decades with the sensed presence were double blind.  For a placebo, we use a “sham” or absent magnetic field, which we create by disconnecting the solenoids (magnetic coils) from the signal source.  We also exploit all ways and means for ensuring that our subjects are not given any suggestions as to the purpose of the experiment.

Subject Expectations

The subjects volunteered for a relaxation study and were told (via the consent form) they might be exposed to a weak magnetic field. Four to six weeks prior to their participation, the subjects had completed intake questionnaires.  Some critics have mistakenly said that our questionnaires (which asked about some spiritual and otherworldly experiences and beliefs) were administered immediately before the experimental sessions, and that this introduced inadvertent suggestions. In fact, our standard procedure is to separate the questionnaires from the sessions by an average of a month.  They are eventually invited to participate in a “Relaxation Experiment”, so they are unaware that the questionnaires given previously have any relation to the experiment.  The subjects are kept in the experimentally blind condition.  They are not influenced by expectations when coming into our lab.  The lab itself looks like a busy workplace, and is not decorated with religious or spiritual images.

Blind Protocols

The experimenter, usually an undergraduate or graduate student, who runs the experiment is not aware of the true hypothesis or mechanism.

One summary of our work with the sensed presence is our publication, “The sensed presence within experimental settings: implications for the male and female concept of self” The Journal of Psychology, 2003, 137, 5-16. link

Here is a very brief summary of that experiment, with its 50 male and 50 female subjects.

In this study, we used a signal derived from burst-firing in the amygdala, applying it over the temporal lobes via a set of four solenoids over each temporal lobe.  We rotated the signal by turning them on and off in sequence.  All of this was built into the hardware (The God Helmet) or coded into the software that drives it, written by Stanley Koren.  We applied the signal for 10 minutes, gave it a 5 minute break, and applied it for another 10 minutes.  This was done to avoid habituation.

We observed double-blind conditions (access the research report):

“All participants were tested by experimenters who were not familiar with the purpose of the experiment.”

“The participants were told that the experiment was concerned with relaxation.”

Note that in some experiments, subjects were told that the experiment concerned memory.  The relaxation and memory suggestions kept the subject in an experimentally blind condition.

The experimenter ran different patterns of magnetic fields created by Professor Stan Koren and me.  Once the results were collected they were analyzed routinely by SPSS  (statistical analysis) software.

Women reported more frequent experiences of a sensed presence than men did , and men were more likely than women to consider these experiences as “intrusions” from extrapersonal or ego-alien sources. Both effects were predicted by one of our hypotheses (vectoral hemisphericity) and the known neurologically-based cognitive differences between right-handed men and right-handed women.

The point here is that we do in fact use double-blind conditions, and claims to the contrary are simply not true.  Other examples, referenced here, include Richards (1992) Persinger (1994), Healey (1996), Persinger (1999), Persinger, (2002) Booth (2005), Tiller (2002), Corradini, (2014).  I have emphasized this in my response to Pehr Granqvist (who made critical technical errors with our equipment, and alleged that our results were due to improper blinding and subject suggestibility), as follows:

“In all of our major studies, involving more than 400 subjects, during the last 20 years the subjects were not aware of their experimental conditions and experimenters were not familiar with the hypotheses being tested or both were not aware of the experimental condition. Subjects had volunteered for “memory” or “relaxation” studies and were randomly or serially allocated to conditions. The “sensed presence” issue was never discussed. The person generating the hypothesis never had direct contact with the subjects.” (Persinger, 2005)

Regrettably, online critics often fail to include this critical reply to Dr. Granqvist.

Let me underscore that we have applied double-blind protocols in our “sensed presence” studies, (to make the differences in stimulation explicit) by quoting another of our papers:

“Under double blind conditions, the subjects who were exposed to the burst-firing pattern presented over both hemispheres or the right hemisphere reported more sensed presences than those exposed to the sham-field [control] or to left hemispheric presentations. Subjects in the latter condition reported fewer sensed presences than the sham-field controls. (Booth, 2005 B)”

Here, stimulation of the right hemisphere is compared to both stimulation of the left, and to controls.  This method allows greater certainty for our results.

Moreover, we often employ “blind” analysis of EEG and QEEG data, in which the person carrying out the analysis does not know what hypothesis the data is intended to study (Makarec, 1990).

In our rat studies, we also carry out blind analysis of rat brain sections, in which the investigator does not know which brain regions may have been affected by a procedure, or the magnitude of the differences predicted between the rat brains used in the study and those which were not (Fournier, 2012). In rat studies investigating differences in rat behavior following stimulation with magnetic signals, the experimenter observing their behavior is kept blind to the experimental condition (Whissell, 2007, McKay, 2004, Bureau, 1994, Babik, 1992).  Our examination of microscope slides from rat subjects and controls is also done under blind conditions (Cook, 1999). We have also carried out similar procedures with worm (planarium – Dugesia sp.) studies (Mulligan, 2012).

” …a total of 10 undergraduate students participated in measuring the worms’ activity; the students were unaware of the experimental conditions, that is, the study was completely “blind”.”

When we analyze the congruence between intuitively-derived narratives from individuals with exceptional cognitive skills and actual information, we use groups of student “raters” who compare the two data sets, and rate the degree of congruence.  All raters are “blind” in that they don’t know anything about the circumstances under which the narratives were derived, or the overall purpose of the experiment (Hunter, 2010).  We also employed the same technique to assess the accuracy of remote viewing by the artist Ingo Swann using graphic images he sketched during remote viewing sessions, augmented by our “Octopus” apparatus (Persinger, 2002, B).  In a related case history, we attempted to interpolate a specific image from a collection of art prints into the dreams of another.  The “agent”, who repeatedly viewed a randomly-chosen (based on dice throws) art image, was the only one who knew which image was being used.

“The interviews were conducted double blind; neither the percipient nor the experimenters knew the identity of the target or the pool of art prints from which the target had been randomly selected.”

The results demonstrated that greater accuracy was associated with lower geomagnetic activity.

Placebo Controlled, Double-Blind Studies.

Our placebo controls are created by using inert electromagnets (solenoids).  These are not attached to the signal source.  The experimental procedures are identical in all other respects.  We also use our sham fields in studies in conjunction with double-blind conditions.  Here are a few examples:

  • Corradini’s (2014) study facilitating declarative memory
  • Fournier’s (2012) experiment with prenatal rat hippocampus stimulation
  • Mulligan’s (2012) study with planaria.
  • Whissell’s (2007) experiment on the interactions of nitric oxide and seven hertz magnetic fields.
  • Booth’s (2005) sensed presence study.
  • My own study on increased alpha activity from the left hemisphere with stimulation with our burst-firing pattern (Persinger, 1999).
  • My study on enhanced hypnotic suggestibility (Persinger, 1996).
  • A study that assessed the pleasantness of a long-term potentiation signal (Persinger, 1994).
  • A study of coherent responses to Reiki between practitioners and clients (Ventura, 2014)
  • An experiment with altered state experiences with circumcerebral magnetic stimulation (Collins, 2013)
  • Lowering depression and increasing alpha activity in the frontal lobe. (Corradini, 2013)

Sham fields are also used in our studies with cell cultures (Murugan, 2014 A), water Ph (Murigan, 2014 B), Obesity in rats (St-Pierre, 2014), Suppression of Cancer cells, (Karbowski, 2012), energy storage in water (Gang, 2012), planeria studies (Gang, 2011)  and scores of other studies that didn’t use human subjects.

The issue of double blind and placebo control is less important with our modern technology because of the availability of normative (“averages”) for different states, including placebo response states.  Comparing the results of our EEG studies to standard normative EEG states allows us to make inferences that would have required baseline (control) readings just a few years ago (Congedo, 2010).

During the last 5 years, quantitative electroencephalographic measurements by computer and the algorithms to compute distributions of power within the volume of the brain for different frequency bands have become available, and these have revealed that different patterns of fields, delivered to different sides of the brain, produce specific patterns regardless if the person knows if a field is presented or not (Saroka, 2013). Placebo effects produce very specific patterns that are not the same as those associated with either the field presentation or the field plus sensed presence effect.

In spite of claims to the contrary, we do use placebo controls and blind experimental conditions.  Our emphasis has been on quantifiable data, replication, and blind conditions, wherever possible and appropriate.  We remain committed to the scientific method.

I hope this blog will clarify our use of blind conditions, placebo controls and suggestion in our laboratory.

Dr. Michael A. Persinger
Full Professor
Behavioural Neuroscience, Biomolecular Sciences and Human Studies
Departments of Psychology and Biology
Laurentian University,
Sudbury, Ontario, Canada P3E 2C6
Email: mpersinger@laurentian.ca and drpersinger@neurocog.ca
NOTE: This blog is hosted by a colleague.


P.M. Richards, S.A. Koren, M.A. Persinger, Experimental stimulation by burst-firing weak magnetic fields over the right temporal lobe may facilitate apprehension in women, Perceptual and Motor Skills 75 (1992) 667–670.

Persinger MA, Richards PM, Koren SA.  “Differential ratings of pleasantness following right and left hemispheric application of low energy magnetic fields that stimulate long-term potentiation.”  International Journal of Neuroscience. 1994 Dec;79(3-4):191-7.

Healey F, Persinger MA, Koren SA.  “Enhanced hypnotic suggestibility following application of burst-firing magnetic fields over the right temporoparietal lobes: a replication.”  International Journal of Neuroscience.  1996 Nov;87(3-4):201-7.

Krippner, Stanley, and Persinger, Michael. “Evidence for enhanced congruence between dreams and distant target material during periods of decreased geomagnetic activity.” Journal of Scientific Exploration 10.4 (1996): 487-493.

Persinger, M. A. “Increased emergence of alpha activity over the left but not the right temporal lobe within a dark acoustic chamber: differential response of the left but not the right hemisphere to transcerebral magnetic fields.” International Journal of Psychophysiology 34.2 (1999): 163-169.

M.A. Persinger, F. Healey, Experimental facilitation of the sensed presence: possible intercalation between the hemispheres induced by complex magnetic fields, Journal of . Nervous and Mental Disorders. 190 (2002) 533–541.

Booth, J. N., S. A. Koren, and M. A. Persinger. “Increased feelings of the sensed presence and increased geomagnetic activity at the time of the experience during exposures to transcerebral weak complex magnetic fields.”International Journal of Neuroscience 115.7 (2005 A): 1053-1079.

Tiller, S.G; Persinger, M.A. , Geophysical variables and behavior: XCVII. Increased proportions of left-sided sense of presence induced experimentally by right hemispheric application of specific (frequency-modulated) complex magnetic fields, Perceptual and Motor Skills 94 (2002) 26–28.

Persinger, Michael A., Letter to the Editor “A response to Granqvist et al. “Sensed presence and mystical experiences are predicted by suggestibility, not by the application of transcranial weak magnetic fields” Neuroscience Letters 380 (2005) 346–347

Makarec, Katherine,; Persinger, Michael A. “Electroencephalographic Validation of a Temporal Lobe Signs Inventory in a Normal Population”, Journal of Research in Personality, 24, 323-337 (1990)

Corradini, Paula L. Collins, Mark W. G.  Persinger Dr. Michael A.  “Facilitation of Declarative Memory and Congruent Brain States by Applications of Weak, Patterned Magnetic Fields: The Future of Memory Access?”  International Journal of Humanities and Social Science Vol. 4, No. 13; November 2014, 30

Neil M. Fournier, Quoc Hao Mach, Paul D. Whissell, Michael A. Persinger “Neurodevelopmental anomalies of the hippocampus in rats exposed to weak intensity complex magnetic fields throughout gestation” International Journal of Developmental Neuroscience 30 (2012) 427–433

Whissell, P.D. , Persinger, M.A.; “Developmental effects of perinatal exposure to extremely weak 7 Hz magnetic fields and nitric oxide modulation in the Wistar albino rat ” International Journal of Developmental Neuroscience 25 (2007) 433–439

McKay, B. E., and M. A. Persinger. “Normal spatial and contextual learning for ketamine-treated rats in the pilocarpine epilepsy model.” Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior 78.1 (2004): 111-119.

Bureau, Y. R. J., O. Peredery, and M. A. Persinger. “Concordance of quantitative damage within the diencephalon and telencephalon following systemic pilocarpine (380 mg/kg) or lithium (3 mEq/kg)/pilocarpine (30 mg/kg) induced seizures.” Brain Research 648.2 (1994): 265-269.

Missaghi, Babik, Pauline M. Richards, and Michael A. Persinger. “Severity of experimental allergic encephalomyelitis in rats depends upon the temporal contiguity between limbic seizures and inoculation.” Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior 43.4 (1992): 1081-1086.

Cook, Lisa L., and M. A. Persinger. “Infiltration of lymphocytes in the limbic brain following stimulation of subclinical cellular immunity and low dosages of lithium and a cholinergic agent.” Toxicology letters 109.1 (1999): 77-85.

Mulligan, Bryce P. , Noa Gang, Glenn H. Parker, Michael A. Persinger  “Magnetic Field Intensity/Melatonin-Molarity Interactions: Experimental Support with Planarian (Dugesia sp.) Activity for a Resonance-Like Process” Open Journal of Biophysics, 2012, 2, 137-143

Hunter, M.D., Mulligan, B.P., Dotta, B. T., Saroka, K. S., Lavallee, C. F., Koren, S. A., & Persinger, M. A., “Cerebral Dynamics and Discrete Energy Changes in the Personal Physical Environment During Intuitive-Like States and Perceptions” Journal of Consciousness Exploration & Research December 2010, Vol. 1, Issue 9, pp. 1179-1197

Persinger MA, Roll WG, Tiller SG, Koren SA, Cook CM.  “Remote viewing with the artist Ingo Swann: neuropsychological profile, electroencephalographic correlates, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and possible mechanisms.”  Perceptual and Motor Skills.  2002(B) Jun;94(3 Pt 1):927-49.

Murugan, Nirosha J., Lukasz M. Karbowski, and Michael A. Persinger. “Weak burst-firing magnetic fields that produce analgesia equivalent to morphine do not initiate activation of proliferation pathways in human breast cells in culture.” (2014).

Murugan, N. J., L. M. Karbowski, and M. A. Persinger. “Serial pH Increments (~ 20 to 40 Milliseconds) in Water during Exposures to Weak, Physiologically Patterned Magnetic Fields: Implications for Consciousness.” Water 6 (2014): 45-60.

St-Pierre, Linda S., and Michael A. Persinger. “Progressive Obesity in Female Rats from Synergistic Interactions between Drugs and Whole Body Application of Weak, Physiologically Patterned Magnetic Fields.” Journal of Behavioral and Brain Science 2014

Ventura, Anabela C., Kevin S. Saroka, and Michael A. Persinger. “Non-Locality changes in intercerebral theta band coherence between practitioners and subjects during distant Reiki procedures.” Journal of Nonlocality 3.1 (2014).

Collins, Mark W. G. Persinger, Michael A.  “Changing Velocity Circumcerebral Magnetic Fields Produce Altered State Experiences and Lowered Delta-Theta Power over the Temporal Lobes”  Frontiers in Psychological and Behavioral Science Apr. 2013, Vol. 2 Iss. 2, PP. 26-29

Corradini, Paula L., and Michael A. Persinger. “Brief Cerebral Applications of Weak, Physiologically-patterned Magnetic Fields Decrease Psychometric Depression and Increase Frontal Beta Activity in Normal Subjects.” Journal of Neurology & Neurophysiology (2013).

Karbowski, Lukasz M., et al. “Digitized quantitative electroencephalographic patterns applied as magnetic fields inhibit melanoma cell proliferation in culture.” Neuroscience letters 523.2 (2012): 131-134.

Gang, N., L. S. St-Pierre, and M. A. Persinger. “Water dynamics following treatment by one hour 0.16 Tesla static magnetic fields depend on exposure volume.” Water 3 (2012): 122-131.

Gang, Noa, and Michael A. Persinger. “Planarian activity differences when maintained in water pre-treated with magnetic fields: a nonlinear effect.”Electromagnetic biology and medicine 30.4 (2011): 198-204.

Congedo, Marco, et al. “Group independent component analysis of resting state EEG in large normative samples.” International Journal of Psychophysiology78.2 (2010): 89-99.

Saroka, Kevin & Persinger MA, “Potential production of Hughlings Jackson’s “parasitic consciousness” by physiologically patterned weak transcerebral magnetic fields: QEEG and source localization” Epilepsy and Behavior, 2013, 28, 395-407