Effects of Interconnection: Group and Mass Consciousness at Work
Global Consciousness Project
Princeton, New Jersey
In the early 1990s the PEAR lab developed random event generator (REG) technology to record data outside the lab in field studies of groups. Departures from expectation were found, and they were linked with situations characterized by group resonance or coherence. Data collected during deeply engaging rituals, concerts, and creative activities showed deviations, while data collected in mundane or chaotic situations did not.
These field experiments raised more questions. What if we used multiple REGs, and what if they were widely separated? The newly coalescing Internet created the means to build a globe-spanning network of REGs, while instantaneous news ensured synchronous reactions to major events. We could ask whether mass consciousness might be reflected in correlated REG behavior. Would shared emotional responses to a devastating earthquake produce effects? Or the world shaking 9/11 terrorist attacks? What about the passions of a billion World Cup fans? Could the shared joy of great celebrations evoke changes in the random behavior of our instruments? All these questions and more became the subject of the Global Consciousness Project, which is now nearly old enough to vote at 17 years and counting.
We have accumulated a seven-sigma deviation in answer to our basic question: Is there structure in random data during periods of shared attention to global events? The odds against chance are trillions to one, but beyond that, secondary analysis shows further structure. The findings suggest deep unconscious connections among humans that may be the source of correlations we find in otherwise random data. There are competing explanations for our anomalous results, but it is notable that an interconnected humanity is consonant with both ancient and modern ideas of unity and oneness.
These subtle indications of mind-to-mind connections bear a profound and timely message. Without effort we come together and we become one during a great tragedy or celebration, and in so doing we change the physical world. What might we accomplish if we deliberately interconnect and work to become an effective global consciousness?
Roger Nelson is the founder and director of the Global Consciousness Project, an international collaboration of scientists, artists, and others interested in the extraordinary aspects of human consciousness. He coordinated research in the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research (PEAR) laboratory at Princeton University for more than 20 years.