Intuition: The Sixth Sense?

Mama_Kitty

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#1
'Mindsight' could explain sixth sense

http://www.newscientist.com/news/news.jsp?id=ns99994638

'Mindsight' could explain sixth sense


19:00 04 February 04

Exclusive from New Scientist Print Edition. Subscribe and get 4 free issues.

Some people may be aware that a scene they are looking at has changed without being able to identify what that change is. This could be a newly discovered mode of conscious visual perception, according to the psychologist who discovered it. He has dubbed the phenomenon "mindsight".

Ronald Rensink, based at the University of British Columbia in Canada, showed 40 people a series of photographic images flickering on a computer screen. Each image was shown for around a quarter of a second and followed by a brief blank grey screen. Sometimes the image would remain the same throughout the trial; in other trials, after a time the initial image would be alternated with a subtly different one.

In trials where the researchers manipulated the image, around a third of the people tested reported feeling that the image had changed before they could identify what the change was. In control trials, the same people were confident that no change had occurred. The response to a change in image and control trials was reliably different.

Our visual system can produce a strong gut feeling that something has changed, Rensink says, even if we cannot visualise that change in our minds and cannot say what was altered or where the alteration occurred.

"I think this effect explains a lot of the belief in a sixth sense." He has no idea what physical processes generate mindsight, but says it may be possible to confirm it exists using brain scanners.


Attentional mechanism


Mindsight is not simply a precursor to normal visual perception, he argues, because there seems to be no correlation between how long it takes someone to feel the change, and the time taken to identify what it is. The two sometimes happened almost simultaneously, while at other times the subjects did not report seeing any difference until seconds after they were aware of it.

Vision researcher Dan Simons of the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign says Rensink's finding "suggests the existence of an interesting and previously unknown attentional mechanism".

He cautions that people can sometimes believe they have perceived something when they clearly have not, pointing out that Rensink's volunteers sometimes reported seeing a change in the image when in fact it remained consistent. But he says Rensink's study is an important first step in distinguishing accurate sensing from believing.

Rensink acknowledges that not everyone seems to sense something, and that the experimental setting might encourage people to simply guess. But he also thinks that people who do not experience mindsight may be screening out what appear to be gut feelings in favour of what appears to be more rational information, while those who do are happy to trust their instincts.

Mindsight may also be at work when someone goes into a room and senses something is different but cannot put their finger on what. "It could well be an alerting system," he says. There is no reason the effect shouldn't operate with other senses too, he says. Knowing someone is behind you may be the auditory equivalent.

Journal reference: Psychological Science (vol 15, p 27)


Helen Phillips
 
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#2
Mindsight could explain ESP

http://www.newscientist.com/news/news.jsp?id=ns99994638

'Mindsight' could explain sixth sense
_19:00_04_February_04
_
Exclusive from New Scientist Print Edition. Subscribe and get 4 free issues.
_
Some people may be aware that a scene they are looking at has changed without being able to identify what that change is. This could be a newly discovered mode of conscious visual perception, according to the psychologist who discovered it. He has dubbed the phenomenon "mindsight".

Ronald Rensink, based at the University of British Columbia in Canada, showed 40 people a series of photographic images flickering on a computer screen. Each image was shown for around a quarter of a second and followed by a brief blank grey screen. Sometimes the image would remain the same throughout the trial; in other trials, after a time the initial image would be alternated with a subtly different one.

In trials where the researchers manipulated the image, around a third of the people tested reported feeling that the image had changed before they could identify what the change was. In control trials, the same people were confident that no change had occurred. The response to a change in image and control trials was reliably different.

Our visual system can produce a strong gut feeling that something has changed, Rensink says, even if we cannot visualise that change in our minds and cannot say what was altered or where the alteration occurred.

"I think this effect explains a lot of the belief in a sixth sense." He has no idea what physical processes generate mindsight, but says it may be possible to confirm it exists using brain scanners.


Attentional mechanism

Mindsight is not simply a precursor to normal visual perception, he argues, because there seems to be no correlation between how long it takes someone to feel the change, and the time taken to identify what it is. The two sometimes happened almost simultaneously, while at other times the subjects did not report seeing any difference until seconds after they were aware of it.

Vision researcher Dan Simons of the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign says Rensink's finding "suggests the existence of an interesting and previously unknown attentional mechanism".
 

KeyserXSoze

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#3
The Science of Intuition

http://theage.com.au/articles/2004/06/06/1086460171428.html?oneclick=true
The power of intuition is used to sell everything from shavers to pop songs. Now this mysterious quality has attracted Melbourne engineers in a world-first project. Denise Cullen reports.

Ten years ago, an experienced bridge designer was called in after disturbing fractures caused by excessive vibrations were detected in a new structure in Denmark.

An urgent solution was needed, but the designer decided not to use mathematics to analyse the problem. Instead, he stood among the spars and cables of the bridge, took hold of them, and with intense concentration felt the violent shuddering pass from them into his body.

"This 'laying on of hands' approach was much more than a vibrational data-gathering exercise," says John Weir, a lecturer in engineering design at the University of Melbourne.

"It was more like communing with the bridge, and connecting with myriad experiences of vibration phenomena to get to the heart of this particular problem."

The importance of this elusive "sixth sense" when it comes to grasping design problems behind the introduction of a world-first program aimed at developing intuition skills in undergraduate mechanical engineering students. It's being run collaboratively through Melbourne and Monash universities.

"Conventional engineering programs only educate half the engineer — the left hemispheric part associated with technical knowledge and mathematical skill," explains Bruce Field, associate professor of mechanical engineering at Monash University.

"Graduates are usually shocked when they start working and find that only a small percentage of 'real world' decisions are based on the kinds of calculations they spent so much time on at school."

In a work environment that's far more complex than any textbook, intuitive ability is one thing that distinguishes the experienced practitioner from the novice.

"Intuition, or the ability to reach a correct solution without formal analysis, is an extremely useful skill for engineers," says Field.

Every time I've doubted my gut feeling - the 'unscientific' feeling - I've regretted it.
JANICE LANGAN-FOX, associate professor of psychology"It hasn't received much attention from researchers or educators, but intuition is something that develops with experience — what we're trying to do is accelerate that process."

But with funding pressures, occupational health and safety concerns, and a consequent decline in laboratory work and site visits, how do you give students that crucial hands-on practice?

The solution is unique, locally developed software programs. "We've developed interactive computer simulations of some simple engineering components — things like beams, columns, shafts and vessels — and encouraged (students) to play with them like electronic modelling clay," explains Weir.

Students control all the design variables for these realistic simulated components. "They interact with the components repeatedly and explore their responses, such as the relationships between shape, strength and cost, in ways that would be too expensive or too dangerous or even illegal in real life.

"In this way we hope to foster a more intuitive approach to designing beams that won't break in bending, columns that won't buckle in compression, shafts that won't shear off in torsion (twisting), vessels that won't burst under pressure, and connectors that won't fail in fatigue."

Early indications suggest students are gaining the desired insights and intuition. "But it's a long road," says Weir.

While most people won't be designing suspension bridges or skyscrapers, we've probably all had intuitive experiences — like the mother who senses that her child is desperately ill despite medical advice to the contrary, or the traveller who abruptly cancels his plans just in time to avoid jetting into a war zone.

However, we're apt to dismiss our insights because the inexplicable nature of "intuition" has long left it languishing on the lunatic fringe.

Yet there is nothing magical about intuition, says Janice Langan-Fox, associate professor of psychology at the University of Melbourne.

"Anything seems magical if we don't know how it happens (or) where the knowledge came from," she explains. "There appears to be no 'rational' process for the sort of knowledge we suddenly have as a consequence of intuition."

Although past experience and "implicit" knowledge feed into the process, Langan-Fox believes there is more to it than that, and "as scientists, we have yet to discover what that 'more' is".

According to Gary Klein, author of Intuition at Work, the elusive quality is more a "natural outgrowth of experience and preparation" than a "psychic ability that can guide us".

In other words, it's knowing something without knowing how we know. "People sometimes have hunches that seem to come from nowhere, but this is because we haven't become aware of the associations and connections that lead to these hunches," Klein writes.

"I have interviewed several decision-makers from military and firefighting backgrounds who believed they had extrasensory perception — ESP — (and) they recalled concrete incidents that seemed to justify these beliefs.

"(But) interviews with these individuals to find out what they were noticing and thinking while they were in the process of making their decisions (revealed) they had picked up signs of trouble, without even realising it, by noticing subtle clues."

Beyond its application in a range of other fields, including business, education, medicine and law, intuitive abilities can help on a personal level, says Patricia Shaw, who teaches a course on developing intuition, through the University of Queensland's continuing education program.

"It's easy to get locked into a 'left brain' way of life if you're not listening to your intuition," Shaw explains. "You just keep going and going and that can result in ill health, a loss of energy, feeling dull, having no spark and being stuck in a rut — you get into survival mode and eventually something will snap."

But can your intuition ever lead you in the wrong direction? By definition, no, unless you're tuning into another "frequency", like fear, prejudice or wishful thinking, the experts say.

"My interest in researching this area was prompted by my own experiences," says Langan- Fox. "And I've found that every time I've doubted my gut feeling — the 'unscientific' feeling — I've regretted it."
 
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To save the mods some stress I thought I'd ressurect this thread and possibly later add a poll.

I'm wondering, who on this board uses or relies on thier intuition on a regular or semi-regular basis? Do you use it on the job, in your social life, with your family relationships? Can your intuition be relied on?

I was curious because I asked the emergency room doctor if my symptoms were the thing that lead him to accurately diagnose my condition, and he said "yes. Well, that and intuition."

I thought a lot about this. Later I realised that I also use my intuition, mostly in dealing with my daughter. Other moms or dads on the board know what I mean, I'm sure....those times when the little ones are being too quiet. They're not asleep, they're up to something. And you know it, somehow.

One of the posts above mentioned a bridge engineer using this sort of though/feel process. (I dislike that "mindsight" label, btw but I'll use it if other posters prefer it.) I rarely use intuition at work, but it's fascinating to me that some people do, quite sucessfully.

So. Do Forteans use or experience the use of intuition more than others? Or are we too skeptical?
 

Min Bannister

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#6
I do all the time. I have very strong feelings about stuff and I'm nearly always right. In fact, I was wrong about something recently (or rather someONE) and it gave me such a shock! I don't see why anyone should be sceptical about it. There could easily be a rational explanation for it, like learning from experience and being able to pick up on subtle clues.
 
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Thanks, Min, but can you give some specifics? Nothing embarassing, of course, but some incident when your intuition was spot on?
 

Min Bannister

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Well, one of the ones that really sticks out was from when I was about 12 or 13. I'd always loved horses and had managed to buy little horsey things, a couple of grooming brushes and a mane comb I think. One day I looked across at these treasures and KNEW that one day I was going to have a horse. Fairly soon after that, after permission from our parents, a friend and I bought a pony.

It doesn't sound very impressive when I write it down but there wasn't like deciding to buy a horse and then buying one. I just knew I'd have one, without considering buying it. If you know what I mean.

Another more recent one was my rowing crew. When we started training last autumn, it was all very uncertain about who would do what and go where etc. And people were saying "Oh it might all go wrong" etc etc. But I had SUCH a good feeling about it. Even after all the disasters that we've had, I still knew we could do it. and I still knew it would be that event (there were loads of possibilties) I damn near lost my faith last friday, but if you've seen the unwhinge thread, it turns out I was right all along.:D
 
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Min Bannister said:
Well, one of the ones that really sticks out was from when I was about 12 or 13. I'd always loved horses and had managed to buy little horsey things, a couple of grooming brushes and a mane comb I think. One day I looked across at these treasures and KNEW that one day I was going to have a horse. Fairly soon after that, after permission from our parents, a friend and I bought a pony.

It doesn't sound very impressive when I write it down but there wasn't like deciding to buy a horse and then buying one. I just knew I'd have one, without considering buying it. If you know what I mean.

Another more recent one was my rowing crew. When we started training last autumn, it was all very uncertain about who would do what and go where etc. And people were saying "Oh it might all go wrong" etc etc. But I had SUCH a good feeling about it. Even after all the disasters that we've had, I still knew we could do it. and I still knew it would be that event (there were loads of possibilties) I damn near lost my faith last friday, but if you've seen the unwhinge thread, it turns out I was right all along.:D
That's the sort of thing I mean. Sounds like you trust your intuition too, which is impressive. I suspect some people second guess it, to their benefit or loss.

I think maybe a poll could winkle out more stats on the sort of thing I'm looking for.
 

PeniG

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#10
It seems to me that intuition isn't spooky at all - just a word for letting your backbrain do its job. Most of what we do all the time doesn't involve conscious decision-making - walking, for instance. Creativity and personal interactions are no spookier.

Personally I know a lot more people who trust their intuition when they should use analytical thought than I know the reverse; but the consequences of using either one at the wrong time can be equally dire.
 

Leaferne

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I was thinking about this earlier today...there's a book by Gavin de Becker called The Gift of Fear in which he discusses how to reduce your risk of being a crime victim. Essentially, the thesis of the book is: Trust your gut instincts. If a situation feels wrong, do your damnedest to get out of it even at the risk of committing a social faux pas. I believe that what he says, essentially, is that your brain notices a lot more than you are consciously aware of, and the "gut feeling" you have is your brain working with all the information behind the scenes, so to speak, and giving you the proper response, even though social conditioning or other factors may try to override it.

One of the examples he gives: a strange man asks a woman to help him carry some parcels, and she goes along with it to be polite and not cause a scene, even though she's uncomfortable. She can't put her finger on what's wrong, because the fellow seems personable enough, but some instinct is telling her "Grown men don't ask women for physical help, he's talking too much, he's leading me further away from the street where there are people" and so on.

Another, perhaps simpler example: one of my bf's oldest friends coming over with his new gf; I had never met either of them before, but disliked the gf intensely within minutes of meeting her even though she was perfectly friendly and behaved fine throughout the evening. When I voiced my thoughts to someone else later (not the bf) I was scolded for being a cow and not giving her a chance. Later (long story which doesn't belong here) it turned out that my initial impression of her character was dead accurate.

I don't know if this thread is meant to focus more on precognitive types of intuition, but I think other forms, such as so-called "emotional intelligence", warrant some discussion. Some people can walk into a room and immediately "get" the emotional tenor of the situation: whether there's tension, if the people really want the newcomer to stay or go, etc., whereas others are like the bf's son (as described in the whinge thread) who blunder in regardless of what's going on and seem perfectly oblivious to the situation. I think there's more at work in such situations than simple sensitivity; perhaps it's the ability to read body language, tone of voice, and other subtle cues. What say you all? :)
 

Min Bannister

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#12
That is probably true. Have you seen this thread? The poster says intuition can be taught. She could be right.

http://www.forteantimes.com/forum/showthread.php?s=&threadid=16528

I've thought of another one. Two women close to me have just had babies fairly recently. When they were pregnant, I knew what sex their babies were going to be, even though they didn't. A bit later, I met another woman I knew was pregnant, I tried to make myself guess what sex the baby was and I got it wrong.
 

Mighty_Emperor

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#13
Is There a Sixth Sense?

By: Dean Radin, Colleen Rae, Ray Hyman

Summary: Deals with the role of the sixth sense in the occurrence of intuition hunches. How the intuition occurs; Information on psi in psychology; Significance of studying intuitive hunches. INSET: Where's the Science in Psi?


Ever have a hunch, an instinct or an intuition? Research psychologist Dean Radin, Ph.D., claims that hunches might actually Foretell the Future. The University of Oregon's Ray Hyman, Ph.D., however, isn't so sure.

Alex, a university colleague, was cleaning his double-action, six-shot revolver in preparation for a bunting trip later in the month. In this pistol, when the trigger is pulled the hammer is cocked, the cylinder revolves, and the hammer falls on the next chamber, all in one smooth motion. For safety's sake, Alex normally kept five bullets in the revolver, with the hammer resting on the sixth, empty chamber.

Before cleaning the gun, he later told me, he removed the five bullets and set them aside. When finished cleaning, he began to put the bullets back in the cylinder. When he arrived at the fifth and final bullet, he suddenly got a distinct sense of dread. It had something to do with that bullet.

Alex was bothered about the odd feeling because nothing like it had ever happened to him before. He decided to trust his gut, so he put the bullet aside and positioned the pistol's hammer as usual over the sixth chamber. The chamber next to it, which normally held the fifth bullet, was now also empty.

Two weeks later, Alex was at a hunting lodge with his fiancee and her parents. That evening, unexpectedly, a violent argument broke out between the parents. Alex tried to calm them down, but the father, in an insane rage, grabbed Alex's gun, which had been in a drawer, and pointed it at his wife.

Alex tried to intervene by jumping between the gun and the woman, but he was too late--the trigger was already being pulled. For a horrifying split second, Alex know that he was about to get shot at point-blank range. But instead of a sudden, gruesome death, the pistol went "click." The cylinder had revolved to an empty chamber--the very chamber that would have contained the fifth bullet if Alex had not set it aside two weeks earlier.

Had Alex actually predicted the future, or was this just an extraordinary coincidence? There are. several possible explanations for why such "intuitive hunches" sometimes play out. One is that on a subconscious level, we are always thinking and coming to conclusions, but that these register only as hunches to our conscious mind. Another is that we pick up telling cues from body language, subliminal sounds or peripheral vision without being consciously aware of doing so. A third is that for each amazing coincidence we remember, we forget all the times we had a hunch and it didn't pan out. A fourth possibility is that we modify our memories for our own convenience, creating a connection where it may not have existed. And so on. These sorts of prosaic explanations probably account for many intuitive hunches. But they don't explain them all.

As in the case of Alex's intuition, a series of carefully documented case studies raises the possibility that some intuitions are due to a genuine sixth sense. But to confirm that those stories are what they appear to be, we must turn to controlled laboratory tests.

In a pilot study and in three follow-up experiments, I have observed that many people respond unconsciously to something bad--even before it happens. Take the prototypical case of a well-known editor of a popular magazine. When she asks the question, "Is there a sixth sense?" I don't answer directly. I ask if she'd like to participate in an experiment that uses pictures randomly selected by computer, and she agrees.

I have her sit before a blank computer screen. All I've told her is that she's about to see a series of digitized photographs. Some will be calm, like a placid lake, and others will be emotional, like a big spider. On two fingers of her left hand, I attach electrodes that measure tiny changes in her skin resistance. On a third finger I place an electrode that monitors blood flow. I explain that all she has to do is press the button on the mouse when she's ready to begin, and then look at the pictures.

I leave the room, she relaxes, and then she presses the button. For five seconds, the screen remains blank, and then the computer randomly selects one picture out of a large pool of photos--some calming and some provocative. The picture is displayed for three seconds, and then the screen goes blank for eight seconds. Finally, a message appears announcing that she can start the next trial whenever she's ready.

She repeats this sequence 40 times. At the end of the experiment, I analyze the data recorded by the electrodes and prepare two summary graphs. Each graph shows average changes in her skin resistance and blood flow before, during and after she saw either calm or emotional pictures. What she immediately notices is that after she viewed the emotional pictures, both her skin resistance and fingertip blood flow dramatically changed. And after she viewed calm pictures, her physiology hardly changed at all.

"So I responded emotionally when I saw something emotional, and I remained calm when I saw something calm," she says. "How does that demonstrate a sixth sense?"

I direct her attention to the segment of the graph showing her responses before the computer selected the pictures. "This bump shows that your body responded to emotional pictures before the computer selected them. And this flat line," I say, pointing to the other line, "shows that your body did not respond before calm pictures were shown. You see? Your body was responding to your future emotion before the computer randomly selected an emotional or calm picture."

As this sinks in, I add, "We can now demonstrate in the laboratory what at some level we've known all along: Many people literally get a gut feeling before something bad happens. Our viscera warn us of danger even if our conscious mind doesn't always get the message."

Our editor's body showed signs of what I call presentiment, an unconscious form of "psi" perception. Psi is a neutral term for psychic experiences, and though it sounds like fodder for an episode of the "X-Files," scientists around the world have studied the subject in the laboratory for over a century. The scientific evidence is now stronger than ever for commonly reported experiences such as telepathy (mind-to-mind communication), clairvoyance (information received from a distant place) and precognition (information received from a distant time). Studies suggest that we have ways of gaining information that bypass the ordinary senses. The sixth sense and similar terms, like second sight and extrasensory perception (ESP), refer to perceptual experiences that transcend the usual boundaries of space and time.

In trying to take these findings further, I realized that we have to dig deeper than what's detectable at the conscious level. While ESP and psi generally refer to conscious psychic experiences, I've always thought that asking people to consciously report subtle psi impressions was a shot in the dark. What would happen if we by-passed the psychological defense mechanisms that filter our perceptions and censor our conscious awareness? Would we find psi experiences that people weren't aware of?

A handful of colleagues have paved the way for this type of investigation. In the mid-1960s, psychologist Charles Tart, Ph.D., of the University of California at Davis, measured skin conductance, blood volume, heart rate, and verbal reports between two people; called a sender-receiver pair. He, as the sender, received random electrical shocks to see if remote receivers could detect those events. Tart found that while they weren't consciously aware of anything out of the ordinary, the distant receivers' physiology registered significant reactions to the shocks he experienced.

In other, independent experiments, engineer Douglas Dean at the Newark College of Engineering; psychologist Jean Barry; Ph.D., in France; and psychologist Erlendur Haraldsson, Ph.D., at the University of Utrecht, all observed, significant changes in receivers' finger blood volume when a sender, located thousands of miles away, directed emotional thoughts toward them. The journal Science also published a study by two physiologists who reported finding significant correlations in brain waves between isolated identical twins. These sorts of studies came to be known as Distant Mental Intention on Living Systems (DMILS).

The idea for studying intuitive hunches came to me in 1993, while I was a research fellow in the psychology department at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. I was investigating the "feeling of being stared at." In the laboratory, I separated two people, placing them in rooms that were 100 feet away from each another. Then I monitored person #1's electrodermal activity while person #2 stared at person #1 over a one-way closed-circuit video system. Although the stared-at person could have no conscious idea when the "starer" was doing the looking, since the two were in different rooms and the staring occurred at random times, I did observe small changes in the skin resistance of the person being stared at over closed-circuit television.

In thinking about this result, I realized that (for relativistic reasons) this sort of "nonlocal" connection across space implied a complementary connection across time. If we were seeing a genuine space-separated effect between people, then the same thing ought to work as a time-separated effect within one person. I called this proposed effect "presentiment" because the term suggests a response to a future emotional event.

I soon discovered that even the staunchest skeptics, those ready to swear on a stack of scientific journals that psi was impossible, were somewhat less critical of intuitive hunches. That's because most people have had at least one.

I myself hardly believed the results of the studies I conducted on the magazine editor and others. But I couldn't find any mistakes in the study design or analysis of the results. Some months later, Dick Bierman, Ph.D., a professor at the University of Amsterdam, learned of my studies and couldn't believe them either. So he repeated the experiment in his lab and found the same results. Since then, two students of psychologist Robert Morris, Ph.D., at the University of Edinburgh, have also repeated the study, and again found similar results. More replication attempts are now under way in several other laboratories.

Do our experiments prove without question that the sixth sense exists? Not yet. What we have are three independent labs reporting similar effects based on data from more than 200 participants. The proof of the pudding will rest upon many more labs getting the same results. Still, our studies, combined with the outcomes of many other types of tests by dozens of investigators on precognition and other classes of psi phenomena, have caused even highly skeptical scientists to ponder what was previously unthinkable--the possibility of a genuine sixth sense.

In 1995, for example, no less an arch-skeptic than the late astronomer Carl Sagan rendered his lifelong opinion that all psi effects were impossible. But in one of his last books, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark, he wrote, "At the time of writing there are three claims in the ESP field which, in my opinion, deserve serious study: (1) that by thought alone humans can (barely) affect random number generators in computers; (2) that people under mild sensory deprivation can receive thoughts or images "projected" at them; and (3) that young children sometimes report the details of a previous life, which upon checking mm out to be accurate and which they could not have known about in any other way than reincarnation."

If scientists eventually agree that a sixth sense exists, how might this change society? On one hand, it may change nothing; we may learn that genuine psi abilities are rare and only weakly predictive, and thus inconsequential for most practical purposes.

On the other hand, it's possible that the study of the sixth sense will revolutionize our understanding of causality and have radically new applications. For example, in the January issue of Alternative Therapies, psychologist William Braud, Ph.D., professor and research director at the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology and co-director of the Institute's William James Center for Consciousness Studies, discusses the concept of "retroactive intentional influence" as applied to healing. He poses the idea that in cases where serious illnesses disappear virtually overnight, perhaps a healer went back in time to jumpstart the healing process.

Braud is well aware of the mind-bending nature of this hypothesis, but it is not purely fantastical. In his article, he reviews several hundred experiments examining a wide range of retrocausal phenomena, from mental influence of random numbers generated by electronic circuits, to guessing picture targets selected in the furore, to studies examining the "feeling of being stared at," to presentiment experiments. He concludes that this sizable but not well-known body of carefully controlled research indicates that some form of retroactive intentional influence is indeed possible, and may have important consequences for healing.

A less radical application might be for early warning systems. Imagine that on a future aircraft all the members of the flight crew are connected to an onboard computer system. The system is designed to continuously monitor heart rate, electrical activity in the skin, and blood flow. Before the crew comes aboard, each person is calibrated to see how he or she responds before, during and after different kinds of emotional and calm events. Each person's idiosyncratic responses are used to create a person-unique emotional "response template," which is fed into the computer.

While the plane is in the air, the computer monitors each crew member's body to assess their emotional level. If the computer detects that all crew members are about to have an emotional response (and the aircraft is otherwise operating normally), then the computer could alert the pilot. Sometimes even a few seconds of advance warning in an aircraft can save the lives of everyone on board.

Very likely, some intuitive hunches do indicate the presence of a sixth sense. But for whom? Probably everyone, to a degree. But just as some people have poor vision, it is also quite likely that some people are effectively "psi-blind." I suspect that in the furore, with a little assistance from specialized technologies, the same way a hearing aid can improve poor hearing, it may become possible to boost our weak sixth sense.

-------------
READ MORE ABOUT IT

The Conscious Universe: The Scientific Truth Of Psychic Phenomena, Dean Radin, Ph.D. (HarperEdge, 1997).

Parapsychology: The Controversial Science, Richard S. Broughton (Ballantine, 1992).

Where's the Science in Psi?

Dean Radin asks, "Do our experiments prove without question that the sixth sense exists?" He then answers, "Not yet," correctly recognizing that we need further successful experiments, by independent investigators, to prove that such a sixth sense is real.

But even that's not so simple. The independent investigators must do more than duplicate Radin's findings. They must do so using different apparatus, measurements and randomizing procedures than he did to avoid replicating any errors he may have made inadvertently, otherwise they're just perpetuating faulty findings.

I can already spot some potential errors in his methods. For example, Radin's claim that people in his presentiment experiments unconsciously anticipated emotional pictures--based on his observation of changes in their skin resistance--violates some basic principles of cause and effect in science. That's because the case for presentiment rests on comparing changes in physiological states, and different methods of calculating such changes can yield wildly different results.

For example, many years ago, a student was doing research to show that blinded rats are batter than sighted rats at transferring their learning to a new task. The trouble was, a previous researcher had found just the opposite effect. The difference between the two studies? How they measured change. The earlier researcher had calculated the simple difference between the number of errors the rats made on the first task and the number of errors they made on the second task; the student, meanwhile, had measured the changes in terms of percentages. This seemingly innocuous difference led to completely opposite findings! When we used the same measuring technique on both studies, they yielded uniform results.

In addition to the potential pitfalls of choosing a measuring method, researchers must also account for the great degree of variability of physiological changes, which Radin does not do convincingly. Skin resistance, like other physiological measures, varies greatly from person to person and over short and long periods. It also reacts to many aspects of the test subjects' internal and external environment, which is why investigators use a number of adjustments to remove unwanted variation so they can focus only on the changes in which they are interested.

While to his credit, Radin does try to reduce some unwanted variability, his efforts seem to be indirect and arbitrary at best, especially when the process can be very tricky. Radin measured the change in physiological states by subtracting the very first sample of skin resistance on each trial from all the remaining samples of skin resistance for that trial. The evidence for presentiment, he says, is the fact that the averages of the change in skin resistance are larger before viewing emotional pictures than before calm pictures. That seems to make sense. But the first samples of skin readings taken in the trial set the baseline against which the results of all future trials will be compared and computed. So if, for some reason, the first samples of the trials involving emotional targets happen to have a somewhat lower value of skin resistance than the first samples of the calm trials, this alone would yield, perhaps falsely, a bigger "change score" for the emotional trials.

To see this problem in action, assume that the average raw score level for both calm and emotional trials is 20. If the baseline for the calm trials is 15, then the change score for the calm trials would he 20-15=5. If the baseline for the emotional trials is 10, then the change score for the emotional trials would he 20-10=10. Thus, the scoring procedure produces a bigger change in the emotional trials, all because of the differences in baselines. As you can see, the simple choice of method can greatly influence the findings. The devil, as they say, is in the details.

So how do we know which measure to trust when each gives a different outcome? The solution is clear only when we have a detailed theory of the underlying process being studied. But that's a key problem here: There is a general lack of a positive theory of ESP or psi. What kind of a process is it? How does it behave? Indeed, as many parapsychologists recognize, ESP is, at present, defined negatively, in terms of what it is not; the experimenter claims she has found psi when she has eliminated all normal scientific explanations for the outcome. Given this hazy state of affairs, there is no principled way to state what the correct measurement procedure should he. This would not be too serious if different methods produced the same outcome. But we do not know if this is the case in Radin's experiments.

If I am investigating changes in the firings of nerve impulses in the optic nerve, for example, we have both extensive theory and data to inform us of the appropriate measures to use: We know the underlying distribution of such firings and we know how to appropriately transform them so that the measures of change make sense in terms of what we know about nerves and nerve impulses, in the case of the presentiment hypothesis, however, we do not have a detailed theory and sufficient data to know what sorts of transformations and measures of change make sense. So before we can believe that the physiological changes show that the subject is anticipating the emotional picture, we need to show, at the least, that different ways of measuring the physiological changes will yield the same outcome. We also would need to collect the physiological measures under more varied circumstances and over longer time periods.

The history of attempts to Investigate scientifically psychical phenomena goes back 150 years, and is replete with examples of psychical researchers claiming they finally proved the existence of the paranormal. In each instance, subsequent generations of parapsychologists have had to discard as badly flawed what had seamed to the previous generation to be Irrefutable proof of psi, or psychic phenomena.

A case in point is the study cited by Radin of the "significant correlations in brain waves between isolated identical twins." This study was reported in the journal Science in 1965 by Duane and Behrendt. These investigators took advantage of the fact that alpha brain waves can be induced by simply closing one's eyes. The researchers put two members of a pair of twins in separate rooms and connected them to electrodes to measure their brain waves. They instructed one of the twins to shut her eyes at predetermined times. This produced the expected alpha rhythms in her brain waves, and supposedly caused the other twin's brain waves to show alpha rhythms at the same time. If this is indeed what had happened, it would be evidence for ESP. But there were many methodological problems. First, the isolation of the twins was not very convincing since they were in adjacent rooms. Second, the evidence for the correlation of the brain waves was based solely on subjective, visual inspection of the brain wave recordings. As psychologists know, people are very poor at determining correlations subjectively, which is why experimenters trust only correlations tabulated by computers.

Duane and Behrendt later admitted, among other things, that because the twins were not in shielded rooms, they could conceivably have sent coded signals to one another. "In retrospect, the biggest defect in our experimental procedure was that we did not rule out completely conventional forms of communication between the twins, and we did not perform a statistical analysis to eliminate spontaneous alpha rhythms." While they continued to seek the "hard, quantitative data" they said would prove or refute the hypothesis, neither these authors or anyone else has succeeded, during the intervening 45 years, in replicating these results under scientific conditions.

In his book The Conscious Universe (HarperEdge, 1997), Dean Rodin remains optimistic that, correctly interpreted, the experimental outcomes of parapsychological experiment conclusively demonstrate the existence of psi or ESP.

But if the century and a half of psychical research has taught us anything, then the next generation will likely not he able to replicate Radin's presentiment results and will begin to search elsewhere for their elusive quarry. On the other hand, if history ceases to repeat itself, future parapsychologists may very well find ways to help us develop our intuitive powers, it remains to be seen whether Radin's research will pave the way.
--Ray Hyman

DIAGRAM: The dynamic red line you see demonstrates, according to parapsychologist Dean Radin, Ph.D., the heightened reaction his test subjects experienced in unconscious anticipation of an "emotional" picture about to be displayed on a computer screen. The blue lines represent their subdued reaction before seeing the calmer pictures.

PHOTO (COLOR): Ali Larter, Devon Sawa and Kerr Smith in "Final Destination," in which a boy's premonition that a certain airplane will crash prevents his friends from taking the flight; their lives are spared only temporarily, as fate kills them off one by one in mysterious ways.

-------------------
with Colleen Rae and Ray Hyman

Dean Radin, Ph.D., a parapsychologist, is president of the Boundary Institute in Los Altos, California. Colleen Rae is a freelance writer in Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Ray Hyman, Ph.D., is a professor of psychology at the University of Oregon.


-----------------
Publication: Psychology Today
Publication Date: Jul/Aug 2000
Last Revised: 18 Oct 2004
(Document ID: 220)
http://cms.psychologytoday.com/articles/pto-20000701-000034.html
 
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Anonymous

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#14
When I had my motorcycle I would say I used intuition every day . I found that while riding I got a vibe of what the cars in front were going to do. When you are speeding through traffic it helps to be aware that a car is about to change lanes without indicating. It was probably just an ability to spot people who were driving without paying attention to the road but it was finest tuned when I was driving fast.
I always found that I was more at risk while not speeding and obeying the road rules, rather than when I was riding like a maniac. Honestly most car drivers drive like they are asleep.
 

escargot

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#15
Yup Fenris, and we wake up pretty fast when a motorcycle overtakes us from nowhere! :D

The revolver story above made me laugh. Anyone who keeps a loaded gun around where people know about it, and has volatile reatives, would be crazy if they DIDN'T have a feeling of dread sometimes! :laughing:
 
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Anonymous

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#16
Fallen Angel said:
I'm wondering, who on this board uses or relies on thier intuition on a regular or semi-regular basis? Do you use it on the job, in your social life, with your family relationships? Can your intuition be relied on?

So. Do Forteans use or experience the use of intuition more than others? Or are we too skeptical?
(I snipped the rest to avoid repitition.)

All my life I've had not relied on my intuition, but have "psychic" experiences, from the fairly usual (I know who it is when the phone rings) to quite specific and detailed.

I use my intuition at work all the time. The few times I've ignored it, I regreted it.

Problem is, you can't justify not hiring someone based on "intuition" there has to be specific reasons. Rightly so, in some ways, I guess.

What hard line skeptics don't understand is that, with all of these "psychic" or episodes of psi, etc. there is a specific physical feeling that goes along with it. That's how I know that I'm right, or rather, how I know my "vision" or knowledge is correct. I don't get this feeling in any other circumstance.

Although, (and I just had this thought) it can be compared to the feeling you get when you're frightened...(not that I'm scared)-- it's a specific, certain kind of sense. I've been thinking a lot lately on this; how there is a sixth sense, for lack of a better term, that uses all of our senses in various ways. It really isn't a great big mystery, though it seems that way to some people. (As I've recently come to experience on another board full of debunkers.:eek!!!!: )
 

escargot

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#17
The 'Gift of Fear' idea is a good one, ie that if you feel uneasy you should walk away. Especially as the example given, of a man asking a woman for help in carrying something, is exactly how Ted Bundy operated! :eek!!!!:

No disrespect, Fenris, but I'd put your survival on your motorbike down to luck rather than judgement when weaving at high speed. Lost several friends that way. :(

Dunno what the story is behind this one!
 

JudgeNutmeg

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#18
just a short example of when i should have gone with my intuition,

I went out with the family for a meal at a restaurant,and parked the car on their small car park,there were no other cars there at the time.We walked a few yards down the road to the restaurant when i suddenly turned and said "i'm just going to move the car" and started to walk back towards it.Everyone else said not to worry it would be ok and why did i want to move it.I decided not to and went into the restaurant.
Upon leaving the restaurant a couple of hours later,we returned to the car to find someone had reversed into my car and smashed the rear light cluster!
Everyone thought it strange about my earlier thought to move the car as there was no reason at the time why it needed to be moved
 

MagikBug

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#19
Years ago when I lived up North I used to cycle on my mountain bike into Preston every day, I believe intuition saved me a few times over the years.

One day I was cruising downhill on one of the main A roads into town and I spotted a small white van coming up the hill, I don't know why but I just had a bad feeling about it. The van was not indicating to turn right into a junction that I was just about to cycle past, there was no lane changing, nothing. As the van did turn right without seeing me coming down the hill directly into its path I found myself turning left into the junction as I knew if I didn't it was going to hit me. The van driver was completely unaware of my presence even though I was right next to him and very visible. I did wobble a lot and sort of fell of my bike onto the pavement, at least I didn't end up under the van.

I have been driving for several years now and sometimes get a bit twitchy about other road users, sometimes they do something silly sometimes they don't.

Earlier this year I should have paid more attention to my intuition. We (me,bf and our son) went to the Canadian rockies on holiday and booked a trip snowmobiling, I was really looking forward to it, as we had done it in Finland the year before and it was great fun. There was just us and our guide, just before we set off, he was going through all the controls etc, and safety stuff. I was sat on my snowmobile thinking I don't want to do this - it doesn't feel right, like something shifted in me from excitement to apprehension to downright scared for no reason. We set off and I was thinking I want to stop and go back. After while on this trail up a mountain, our guide was going all over the place, he set off at a right angle up the side of the trail. I stopped, thinking are we supposed to follow him up there - it's really steep ? I decided to carry on on the trail as he was just messing about, then as I hit the throttle I ended up turned 90 degrees the other way and hurtled off the trail on the downside of the mountain. The result was I flew a good 20 ft through the air, jumped off mid flight, fell about 10ft into thick snow thank god!! Snowmobile ended up sort off stuck in a tree! I had whiplash and pulled my shoulder badly. After several Canadian blokes had a good laugh at me and retrieved the snowmobile, the guide even made me carry on going as he said we had to return via a different trail?!? Very bad experience. :nooo:

I will never ignore it again.

My Mum also experiences the occasional feeling that 'something bad is going to happen' and events have proved her right.
 

Electric_Monk

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#20
I just thought I'd post on this thread as I've been thinking lately about some things involving intuition and instead of starting a new thread this one seems fairly fitting.

What I've mainly been thinking about is the connection between intuition and the ability to foretell the future. The main instances I've experienced a strong feeling of intuition are when I've been driving. Often I've been going along a small country lane or whatever, and thought "Something silly is happening up ahead where I can't see, and I need to slow down". So I do, and it turns out something really has been happening on these occasions, without any way I could have known (windy wee country lanes where you couldn't see round corners, not listening to the radio (although often these incidents are too small to have been reported like that, such as men with dogs running loose about the main road or big lorries reversing from the small main road into an even smaller side road)).

Where I'm going with this is that perhaps such intuition is connected to the psychic powers we're endlessly searching for. If the ability to predict the future does exist, it'd be a huge advantage to the animal as it would be able to just "know" something was about to happen adversely, and with the added gut instinct would be able to avoid it and increase it's chances of survival incredibly, and so it may well have evolved that way. The ability to "sense" other people's thoughts/etc. psychically could just be an added bonus from this skill.

I've also in the past had dreams that subsequently turned out to happen later (separated by days or months generally), one very specific instance was where I woke up, thought "What a weird dream" and thought about it, and so when it actually occurred I was still able to recall the dream easily, and it was very accurate. I was thinking this could be the result of the same "intuition" above, except for whatever reason it's working on a more distant level. If so, it's something I'd like to practice, as predicting the future would be fun ;)

Just as an aside since this is the thread for it, I also seem to have some other intuition-type skills. One I've noticed for a few years now is my ability to detect relationships between people, even if they are keeping them secret. I'd have put this down to body language, but it's happened online (a few times it's been people on IRC I've detected this with, and so the only non-paranormal means I can think of detecting this is that I'm picking up differences in the way they talk to each other subconsciously). It also happened at my last place of employment, where a couple were keeping it quiet as they were concerned the boss wouldn't be pleased. None of the other men seemed to have picked it up, and needed told by the secretary. I also picked up a bit of unrequited love between the girl of the couple and another guy, very odd :)
 

escargot

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#21
Yup, go with it, I agree.

Many years ago I had a friend who was away and I was worried about him and wished he'd get in touch.

One morning I woke up, opened my eyes wide and thought, a letter is coming. Seconds later I heard a letter come through the letterbox and I thought, yup, here it is. And it was. :)

Little intuitive things happen all the time.
Yesterday I went to collect Escette from t'station and she asked me to take her to the next town where she was meeting a college mate in the town centre.
I moaned at her as she doesn't know the centre that well and the traffic would be heavy etc etc. No, she said, it'll be OK.

So we set off and she suggested a shortcut, and there was her mate walking up to meet her, a good mile from the centre in an area she doesn't know. :D
 

Electric_Monk

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#22
escargot said:
Many years ago I had a friend who was away and I was worried about him and wished he'd get in touch.

One morning I woke up, opened my eyes wide and thought, a letter is coming. Seconds later I heard a letter come through the letterbox and I thought, yup, here it is. And it was. :)
I have something slightly similar myself, that you've just reminded me of (with the waking up part). As I do programming in my spare time I sell some of my own software as shareware on my website, and one of these programs had competition I was fairly actively trying to compete with (e.g. he'd make a new update, then I would, he would, I would), and I woke up one morning and thought, still lying in my bed with no access to the internet, "He's made a new release of his software today, I better get on that". And when I checked the internet, he had :)

(It's worth noting that it wasn't a steady schedule of releases, it was fairly random, so I couldn't have known it was going to have been out based on the date of the last one or anything)

Sleep certainly seems to have something to do with such things...
 
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Anonymous

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#23
i once tryed at a party predicting cards randonly drawn from a pack of playing cards,by a freind(while i was drunk)
adopting a dont bother guessing as it dosnt work polcie and insted tryed letting my gut feling do the work and not even try to think at all what i thought would be correct, i sucsessfully got about 12 on the trott .
unfortunatly ive not managed to recreate this ....lol,but have started to used it in "guessing"other stuff funnily anough it seems to work best when i will not gain anything.
 

escargot

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#24
When I was a school dinner lady I used to amuse the kids with little tricks and one day decided to show them how flipping a coin gave a random result.

I said, 'You flip it and I'll try to guess what you get, and I'll probably be right only half the time.'

So the kid flipped, and about a dozen or so watched, and I got 7 right in a row.............. :lol:

I tried explaining that it was a fluke and that overall I'd get the equivalent 7 wrong, but the bell rang, so I retired undefeated. :D
Kids thought I was doing magic!
 

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#25
Fenris said:
I always found that I was more at risk while not speeding and obeying the road rules, rather than when I was riding like a maniac.
I drive brilliantly when I'm in those video-game-like scenarios where nothing and nobody follows 'the rules'. Manhattan? No problem. 8) On the other hand, Seattle, Washington (the most law-abiding motorists, cyclists and pedestrians in the world ~ IMO) was one near miss after another for me. I lived there for two years and never got the hang of it. I always put this down to a person's adrenaline/attention being sharper when they're in percieved danger . . . . but my husband is my polar opposite in this regard; he's just as wary driving in Manhattan, but he can't seem to get into the zone. On the other hand, Seattle gave him no problems at all. Maybe this type of seemingly intuitive awareness has something to do with who we are. Maybe I'm chaotic or organic, while my husband is more alert to signals and rules, so we do well in different enviornments.
 

escargot

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#26
My daughter 'Escette' had arranged to spend the winter bumming around/working somewhere warm with a group of mates. She was due to leave with a mate just a few days before xmas and fully intended to have xmas week and new year on the beach.

As the time grew nearer, she felt less and less enthusiastic until by December she had bottled completely - couldn't explain it, just dreaded the thought of it.

So she eventually rang her mate and told him, sorry, I just can't go, can't face it. He was a sport about it, bless him, if a little baffled.

On Boxing Day her phone was going mad with calls and texts from people desperate to know if she was safe in...........Thailand :shock:

Her mate was so alarmed by her call that he hadn't gone either.

Escette isn't a scaredy-cat and has just spent the summer working in Switzerland where she didn't know a soul, so she's not afraid of travelling.

Sixth sense, hmm.
 
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Anonymous

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#27
Fantastic...I remember hearing lots of similar stories after 9/11. The normally very dedicated people who "just couldn't face going to work that day". I believe in this sort of intuition 100%. I always try to listen to that little voice inside, and I've regreted it the times I haven't. Even something small like, "take an umbrella" ;)

A few years ago my friend told me about waking up in the middle of the night feeling really sad and upset - for no reason. She crept downstairs (not to wake her hubby) and rang her twin in America. Her sis answered the phone in tears - she had had a big fight with her step-daughter who had said some very hurtful things to her along the lines of, "You're not my mum, why don't you eff off back to Ireland and leave me and my Dad alone!" My friend just KNEW that something was wrong sister - it woke her up.
 

conchell

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#28
intuition in everyday use

Yeah, I often rely on intuition especially at the super market. If I'm going to try a new product I ask my gut if it will be as tasty as the sales pitch on the package promises.
But I remember that tapping into intuition didn't become a regular thing for me until I hit puberty. It seems that along with everything else happening during those years of fastest growth, nature provides a boost of "ESP". I believe it must be physical in it's nature and connected to our neurological systems. Because when I contracted Lyme and the disease shut down my cognitive skills for awhile I also lost my ability to use intuition. Now that I'm better the intuition is comming back. Makes sense. Our nerves are the pathways to the Brain and if any of the "bridges" are down you don't get the messages sent to your brain that you need to get a gut feeling about something. That would also lend credence to the theory that kids could be "taught" to read their gut feelings more accurately
 

TheQuixote

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#29
Gut feeling saved girl from joining fatal ride

14.02.05 1.00pm

"I was supposed to get in the car but didn't feel right about it."

It was that feeling on Saturday morning in Hamilton that probably saved the life of Aroha Kerehoma.

Three of her friends got into the car, which later plunged off Cobham Bridge into the Waikato River.

Police later recovered the bodies of Sandra Tungia, 16, and Kristen Armstrong.

The body of a third friend, Hayley Forbes, 16, is still missing.

Luana Kerehoma is thankful her 15-year-old daughter listened to her gut feeling.

The pair were sitting on the bank of the Waikato River yesterday, hoping it would give up the last body.

The Subaru car was found by a sonar-equipped police rescue boat on Saturday morning in 5.7m of water and divers struggled for several hours to secure a cable to tow the vehicle out.

Aroha shared classes at Hamilton's Melville High School with Hayley and Kristen.

Ms Kerehoma said she was very very grateful her daughter was still with her and intended keeping Aroha close to her this week.
[...]
New Zealand Herald
 

Min Bannister

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#30
According to an experiment done during the Edinburgh Science festival female intuition is a myth!
The Scotsman
FEMALE intuition is a myth, according to a new study which suggests men have an equal, if not greater, claim to the power of the mind.

The study of more than 15,000 people for the Edinburgh International Science Festival found that men are slightly more intuitive when asked to judge whether smiles are real or fake.

Participants in the study called Sixth Sense were asked to judge how intuitive they thought they were before being shown a series of photographs of people smiling. Women thought they were more intuitive, with 78 per cent of women ranking themselves as highly intuitive, compared to only 58 per cent of men.

But when participants - 60 per cent of whom were female - were shown ten pairs of photographs of men and women smiling, men managed to identify 72 per cent of the genuine smiles, while women spotted 71 per cent.

Professor Richard Wiseman, the psychologist behind the study, said: "We have amassed a huge amount of information, and initial analyses from the festival events have already yielded some fascinating findings.

"These findings question the notion that women are really more intuitive than men. Some previous research has found evidence for female intuition, but perhaps over time men have become more in touch with their intuitive side."

Participants were shown the images on the festival’s website as well as at events across the city. People aged between ten and 89 took part in the survey but Prof Wiseman revealed that there was no correlation between the age of the participants and their ability to tell the differences between smiles.

Female intuition was dealt another blow when it was shown that women had trouble telling if the male models used in the pictures were faking their smiles. Only 67 per cent of women correctly identified male fake smiles compared with 76 per cent of men spotting female fake smiles.

Elisabeth Cornwell, a psychologist at St Andrews University’s perception lab, said: "What we think of as intuition is often just our brains being clever and processing information.

"It’s more a case of our experiences influencing our decisions in a way that we’re not aware of consciously."

Singling out one particular part of the study, Ms Cornwell said: "One possible explanation for men interpreting women’s smiles well is that men tend to read more into women’s smiles."

Members of the public can still test their own intuition at the science festival’s website, www.sciencefestival.co.uk.
 
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