Feeling the future: A meta-analysis of 90 experiments on the anomalous anticipation of random future events

Daryl Bem, Patrizio Tressoldi, Thomas Rabeyron, Michael Duggan
  • F1000Research, October 2015, F1000Research
  • DOI: 10.12688/f1000research.7177.1

What is it about?

This is a quantitative summary of all experiements aimed at investigating if it is possible to anticipate behaviorally what will happen in the next future even when these events are random and hence theoretically unpredictable, for example a pleasant or a scary image.

Why is it important?

Precognition is one of several phenomena in which individuals appear to have access to “nonlocal” information, that is, to information that would not normally be available to them through any currently known physical or biological process. These phenomena, collectively referred to as psi, include telepathy, access to another person’s thoughts without the mediation of any known channel of sensory communication; clairvoyance, the apparent perception of objects or events that do not provide a stimulus to the known senses; and precognition, the anticipation of future events that could not otherwise be anticipated through any known inferential process. In 2011, the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology published a report of nine experiments by Cornell Professor Daryl Bem purporting to demonstrate that an individual’s cognitive and emotional responses can be influenced by randomly selected stimulus events that do not occur until after his or her responses have already been made, a generalized form of the phenomenon traditionally denoted by the term precognition. Each of the experiments modified a well-established psychological phenomenon by reversing the usual time-sequence of stimulus-response events so that an individual’s responses were obtained before the putatively causal stimulus events had occurred. The hypothesis in each case was that the time-reversed or precognitive version of the experiment would produce the same result as the standard non-time-reversed experiment. The experiments received widespread media attention, underlining the importance of having independent investigators attempt to replicate Bem's results. The article cited here is a meta-analytic analysis of those replication attempts


Dr Patrizio E Tressoldi (Author)
Università di Padova

An interpretation of these results adopting a quantum cognitive approach is presented in Walach, H, Tressoldi, P. & Pederzoli, L. (2016). Mental, behavioural and physiological nonlocal correlations within the Generalized Quantum Theory framework. Axiomathes: doi10.1007/s10516-016-9290-6

The following have contributed to this page: Dr Patrizio E Tressoldi and Daryl J. Bem