A replication of the slight effect of human thought on a pseudorandom number generator

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Experiments conducted and repeated worldwide over the last five decades have claimed to show that human consciousness, intention or thought (often termed 'psychokinesis' or 'telekinesis') can have an effect on random number generators. The reason for this, or even its acceptance by mainstream science, is still uncertain. Quantum mechanics or some other as yet undiscovered aspect of the natural world is typically preferred as a tentative explanation compared to mysticism or invoking the supernatural. Given that many different types of computer programs - Even those used in experiments and simulations - Rely to some extent on (pseudo)random number generators, any external effect such as this could be significant and should be accounted for. To test if a random number generator used by a computer program could be affected by psychokinesis, we developed a simple program that generated a sequence of 30 random integers between 1 and 10. Along with its mean or average, this constituted one 'cycle'. Thirty cycles were evaluated and the 'overall' average was used as a means of comparing situations where, using two subjects, human thought was directed at increasing or decreasing the values of the numbers generated and where it was not (the control). Consistent with previous 'successful' experiments, a small but noticeable and significant effect on the overall averages was present. While this remains fascinating yet of little consequence in and of itself, the potential of a kind of 'butterfly effect' in computer systems where random number generators are involved in proximity to humans should be further investigated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)519-526
Number of pages8
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Cognitive Neuroscience

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