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Ramsés D’León: Development of a predictive anticipatory activity (PAA) software: A first-step towards a medium-term goal

Published by View Parapsychological Association's profile Parapsychological Association on Monday, September 10, 2018

Ramsés D’León & Neil Izara
Unidad Parapsicológica de Investigación, Difusión y Enseñanza – UPIDE, Edo. Mex., Mexico

There has been enough research in the last two decades to report significant effects regarding predictive anticipatory activity (PAA), the unconscious ability to predict future events as measured by physiological responses. Though there have been advances in the design, methodology, and analysis of data, replication of this phenomena still seems to be insufficient to confirm many of the findings concerning which type of stimuli, physiological response or even task duration is best used. Furthermore, the cost of the psychophysiology equipment, the high level of statistical analysis and the skepticism of professional researchers in other areas decrease the probability that replications will ensue. Therefore, we have set a medium-term goal to develop PAA software with high-quality design that is compatible with low-cost psychophysiological equipment and allows testing with a wide range of stimuli. The first step in the development of this tool was to replicate a double-blind free-running PAA experiment, using visual stimuli with 39 participants, in more than 1600 trials, and measuring the skin conductance level and heart rate of the participants with inexpensive psychophysiological hardware and an exercise device. We divided the visual stimuli into different categories for independent analysis and comparison; the Calm category, formed by 40 images of landscapes and objects was used as control group. The Excitatory category contained both the Erotic category formed by 10 images, as the Fearful one, formed by 5 images in the Animal-Injury category and 5 images in the Death-Danger category. The results showed evident differences prior to the shown stimuli, both in the skin conductance level and in the heart rate. In the former, a significant difference between Calm and Death-Danger trials was found in all participants (z=1.73, p=0.0418, one-tailed); in the latter, there was a significant difference between Calm and Erotic trials in males (z=-1.98, p=0.0239, one-tailed), between Calm and Fearful trials in females (z=1.69, p=0.0455, one tailed), and between Calm and Animal-Injury trials in females (z=1.77, p=0.0384, one-tailed). Differences in gender were found in the correlation analysis, suggesting the idea that fear negatively affects PAA in females, while it aids the physiological prediction in males. The general difference between Calm and Excitatory images in all participants, both in skin conductance (z=1.45, p=0.07, one-tailed) and heart rate (z=0.58, p=0.28, one-tailed), were non-significant; though it is discussed why this may be due to differences in gender perception and stimuli valence. Arousal and valence, as the orienting and defense response, seem to play fundamental roles on physiological activity in the anticipation of any event, as it also happens in normal physiology studies when the stimuli are presented. Overall, we have independently replicated previous research and suggested new characteristics of the phenomena regarding the influence of the stimulus’s valence, while implying that the use of inexpensive psychophysiological hardware may be used to test the body’s ability to scan the future. Nonetheless, further research needs to be made to better understand the characteristics of the PAA.


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