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Published: Jun.22.2012

Physics, Synchronicity, and Experimenter Expectation

Sky Nelson (sponsored by Adam Curry)

A new model is proposed where the time evolution operator ‘A’ of a quantum system is factored into its singular value decomposition. A physical interpretation is given with the following consequences: 1) Any action or measurement by an observer is treated as “imagining the future possible outcomes of the system” and writing the state of the system in an orthonormal basis composed of those outcomes, and 2) the singular values σi of ‘A’ weight the possible outcomes and represent the level of expectation that the experimenter has that the state “i” will occur. As a consequence of this interpretation, the observer’s action on and beliefs/expectations of the system determine the set of available outcomes and bias the system toward a particular outcome. This may provide a useful model for understanding psi experiments in the literature. For instance, with regards to experiments by both Radin and Bem, the possible influence of experimenter expectations described above may provide an explanation for both a variance in the data over time, as well as the difficulty for some parties (but not others) to replicate the results.

Justification will be briefly made (in reference to previous papers) for why these results may apply to macroscopic situations as well. It will be suggested that, if the result above is true, effects such as these may have consequences for addressing real world societal problems, such as climate change. In the macroscopic domain, this described effect would appear as the occurrence of ‘synchronistic’ or meaningful connections within seemingly random events. The effect would bring the observer a greater-than-chance possibility of fulfilling her expectations about everyday events. This would have consequences both positive and negative for human experience. For instance, an individual who believes that challenges such as global climate change are solvable will be more likely to run across coincidences which help her be successful in her attempts to find solutions. Conversely, an individual who thinks the solutions are too difficult or too expensive will find equal appearance of synchronicity to confirm her beliefs. One could reasonably extrapolate that the effect may happen not only at an individual level, but also for collective groups of individuals, bringing about collective meaningful coincidences.

In conclusion, it will be suggested that if the proposition is confirmed to be correct then there is an urgent need for more understanding of this issue not only among intellectual circles but among the general public, for our collective beliefs would potentially have an impact on our collective future.