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Monday, May 2, 2011

Can the Future Influence the Past?

by Scott Heffernan (bio)

Imagine you have an important test to take. You study beforehand and then you take the test. What if I told you you can increase your score by also studying after you take the test?

There are some fascinating experiments being conducted by Cornell Professor Daryl Bem. And this is not some crackpot “doctor” you might see on The Secret or What the Bleep!? He is one of the most widely published and respected psychology professors in the country.

In one of the studies participants are shown 48 words (one at a time) on a computer screen, then asked to recall as many as possible. Participants type as many words as they can remember and that is the score they receive on the test. Then they are shown 24 randomly selected words from the list and asked to type them again. Obviously this would help participants better commit these words to memory. But the test is over by this point, the scores are set.

Test results showed that participants were better able to recall words that they had retyped after the test. Dr. Bem states, "The results show that practicing a set of words after the recall test does, in fact, reach back in time to facilitate the recall of those words." What the what? Can we somehow feel the future? Are events that are occurring in the future affecting the present?

What are your thoughts on retrocausality and precognition? Is time linear? Does this have any doctrinal implications? Fascinating stuff!

See NPR’s (more professional) report here and Dr. Bem’s original article here.

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