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A quick heads-up on a new experiment performed by parapsychology researcher Dr Dean Radin (with others) which could provoke debate with its publication in Physics Essays: “Consciousness and the double-slit interference pattern“. Basically, the results may just put the consciousness aspect back into the quantum world. Here’s the abstract (full PDF downloadable at the link above):

A double-slit optical system was used to test the possible role of consciousness in the collapse of the quantum wavefunction. The ratio of the interference pattern’s double-slit spectral power to its single-slit spectral power was predicted to decrease when attention was focused toward the double slit as compared to away from it. Each test session consisted of 40 counterbalanced attention-toward and attention-away epochs, where each epoch lasted between 15 and 30 s. Data contributed by 137 people in six experiments, involving a total of 250 test sessions, indicate that on average the spectral ratio decreased as predicted (z=-4:36, p=6·10-6). Another 250 control sessions conducted without observers present tested hardware, software, and analytical procedures for potential artifacts; none were identified (z=0:43, p=0:67). Variables including temperature, vibration, and signal drift were also tested, and no spurious influences were identified. By contrast, factors associated with consciousness, such as meditation experience, electrocortical markers of focused attention, and psychological factors including openness and absorption, significantly correlated in predicted ways with perturbations in the double-slit interference pattern. The results appear to be consistent with a consciousness-related interpretation of the quantum measurement problem.

Dean also notes in his blog posting that his team has also “completed data collection for two replications of the experiments reported in this publication. Both were statistically significant and in the predicted direction.”

Hope to cover this in a bit more detail to this in an upcoming post once I have the time to dig into it properly.