Quick update on our experiment: We are nearing completion of our pilot tests and equipment upgrades. We will begin our first formal experiment soon (likely just a few weeks away!). The follow figures are examples of raw EEG data taken from four occipital (back of the head) electrodes and the digital channel, which records an external electronic signal. The digital channel is used to identify stimulus type (light, sound, or null) and duration.
The first figure shows a light flash. The digital channel (bottom row) is hooked up to two miniature solar panels which record the duration of the light flash. We can then look at the data recorded from the electrodes to see any physiological effects.
This second figure shows a control trial. The digital channel is sent a longer pulse which tells an analysis program to mark this time region as control data.
Hello! My name is Sharon Su, and I am extremely excited to be an intern in the TANC lab. My interest in neuroscience stems from a childhood encounter in my aunt’s restaurant. As an obnoxious and curious child, I would often bother customers while they were eating and press them for information about their lives. One particularly rainy day, I met a visiting neuroscientist from Germany and he briefly explained his research to me– of course, in terms that a child could understand. He explained what neurons were, what they did, and how they worked. I was soon reprimanded by my aunt and was left with a thousand unanswered questions. I decided to conduct my own “research” in my elementary school’s library, and gained a simple understanding of the brain.
It wasn’t until middle school that I began my interest in consciousness. A book I had read referenced Descartes’ famous proposition, “I think, therefore I am”, and I looked up supplemental material for it, thus marking my venture into solipsism. Solipsism laid the groundwork for my interests in consciousness, as it created a shift in my conceptualization of incontrovertible certainty. At that point, absolute truth did not exist to me, only relative truth did. I became more and more interested in the idea of subjective experiences, which is how I stumbled upon the concept of qualia and the hard problem of consciousness. Ever since then, I’ve been trying to learn more about the subject. My favorite researcher/author is Christof Koch, whose research deals with neural correlates of consciousness.
Currently, I attend the University of California, Santa Barbara as a second year biopsychology student. In addition to the TANC lab, I am also working in the Simpson Lab, in which I’ve been learning a lot about unsupervised learning and digital signal processing. I’m also in the early stages of pursuing a side project, inspired by Helen Keller, that deals with coding a somatosensory based learning model. As to where I am in my exploration of consciousness and the like, I’m currently reading a lot of arguments for and against the existence of the “hard problem of consciousness”.
I’m thrilled to be a part of the TANC lab, and I hope to aid in their endeavor of making a huge contribution to precognition research!
Hiroumi Kevin Jimbo
Hello, I am an intern research assistant of the TANC Lab. I am a fourth year undergraduate at University of California Sana Barbara studying for a B.S. in biopsychology. Initially I entered UCSB as a psychology major, interested in learning about the vast and still mysterious human mind. At the end of my freshmen year I noticed that there was a limit on what I can learn about psychology itself without some scientific knowledge on the brain. Though the additional four years of science combined with being behind a year meant long nights studying, I changed my major to biopsychology. At the end my better understanding of the brain has led to better understanding of our perception of our world and the mind. It was worth the two years of heavy schoolwork.
I experienced firsthand research as a research assistant for two labs in UCSB. For my sophomore year I took part in the Attention Lab by Professor Barry Gieshbrecht. The research in the lab emphasizes the consequences, control, and classification of selective attention. In his lab, I experienced working with EEG, gaining proficiency with the equipment. In addition, the specific experiment I assisted was done using an fMRI with EEG giving me an extraordinary experience with very expensive, complicating, and exciting equipment.
Right now, I am working as a research assistant in the VIU (Vision and Imaging Understanding) Lab by Professor Miguel P. Eckstein. As a research assistant I have taken part in experiments testing the ability to distinguish a stimulus at different eccentricity, size, and presence of color. I have participated in this lab since March of 2014 and have become acquainted with the usage of eye tracking equipment.
Other than my school work, I have been working hard trying to spread a further understanding of Japanese culture as the President of the Japanese Language Club. Even with the very small Japanese population at UCSB, I am pleased to see that there are people who are interested in Japan and Japanese exchange students willing to teach students about Japanese language and culture.
I am very enthusiastic in being part of a lab working with such an interesting but also contradictory topic. Most people seem to see precognition as a supernatural phenomenon that does not actually exist. I myself did not know about the scientific research done on precognition until seeing the TANC website, opening up a new field of research to me. Though it is not likely that we will find the ability to sense when the next natural disaster is going to happen or anything of that sort, I hope to see advancement in the scientific field of precognition.
TANC Lab has acquired the equipment needed for its first experiment on measuring unconscious precognition via EEG. The system is currently being programmed before the first pilot tests are run. It hopefully won’t be so long before the first data is taken! In the meantime, here is a photo tour of TANC Lab:
Sound isolation booth and control station. We don’t want our experiments interrupted by background noise, so experiment participants will sit inside the sound isolation booth while data is being collected via EEG.
The Mobita EEG system and headsets. A new, advanced 32-channel EEG system will be used to collect data.
This is our rest area so people can relax after exploring the depths of the human mind.
The TANC Lab library has an extensive collection of books on consciousness, psychology, physics, and the nature of time.
We will continue to post updates as research progresses. Also, we will be offering a paid internship to do research at TANC Lab. Stay tuned for more updates!
Here we have a guest blog from Michael Duggan who is one of the authors of the meta-analysis of replications of Daryl Bem’s controversial retroactive facilitation experiments http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2423692, and has a long term interest in serious psi research. He is classically trained in the sciences (Ph.D Catalytic chemistry), but it is psi research that truly excites him. Here, he blogs about the controversy surrounding the publication of Daryl Bem’s seminal Feeling The Future Paper in 2011, and the experience of trying to publish a meta analysis of 90 experiments supporting Bem’s earlier findings.