Morris Freedman | A Novel Approach to Psi Research

Enhanced Mind-Matter Interactions Following Rtms Induced Frontal Lobe Inhibition: A Novel Approach to Psi Research

Morris Freedman

Austin Centre for Neurology and Behavioral SupportA major barrier to acceptance of psi, especially among mainstream scientists, is that effects are small and hard to replicate under controlled experimental conditions. To address this barrier, we need novel models to study psi that will enhance the detection and replication of psi effects.

In the early 1900s, Henri Bergson postulated that the nervous system inhibits psychic abilities and that deficits in this inhibitory mechanism may lead to the emergence of psi phenomena. To expand on Bergson’s concept, we postulated that psi inhibition by the brain involves the frontal lobes. To test this hypothesis, we studied individuals with neurological damage affecting their frontal lobes and found that the left medial middle frontal region involving Brodmann areas 9, 10, and 32 may act as a biological filter to inhibit psi. This was based on identifying the areas of lesion overlap in the individuals studied. The experimental task was to influence the output of a Random Event Generator (REG) translated into the movement of an arrow on a computer screen to the right or left. Compared to a well-designed control condition, individuals with frontal lesions demonstrated a significant effect in moving the arrow contralateral to the side of their primary lesion overlap, i.e., to the right. However, these findings were based on two cases. We now report findings from a study of 108 participants using repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS). We confirmed our a priori hypothesis that healthy participants with reversible rTMS-induced lesions affecting the left medial middle frontal region would show larger right intention psi effects on a mind-matter interaction task compared to healthy participants without rTMS-induced lesions.

Methods: We studied mind-matter interactions in healthy participants (n=108). There were three groups: rTMS-induced lesions in the left medial middle frontal region (n=36), rTMS-induced lesions in the right medial middle frontal region (n=36), and sham stimulation (n=36). For the mind-matter interaction task, participants were asked to try to influence the output of a REG that was translated into the movement of an arrow on a computer screen to the right or left.


In support of our a priori hypothesis, we found significant psi effects following rTMS inhibition of the left medial middle frontal lobe compared to sham stimulation when trying to move the arrow on the computer screen to the right ( = -0.17, LCL = -0.29, UCL = -0.05, t = -2.80, p = 0.006, d = 0.38).

Implications / Discussion:

Our study represents the fourth replication by our group of the finding that disruption of the left medial middle frontal region can increase the influence of the human brain on seemingly random events. This supports the concept that the brain acts as a psi-inhibitory filter. Our research suggests that individuals with frontal lesions may comprise an enriched sample for detecting and replicating psi effects. Our findings are potentially transformative for the way we view interactions between the brain and psi.

Bio: Morris Freedman is Head of Neurology and Medical Director, Austin Centre for Neurology and Behavioral Support at Baycrest Health Sciences. He is a Professor, Division of Neurology, Department of Medicine, University of Toronto, and a scientist, Baycrest’s Rotman Research Institute. He is carrying out mainstream research aimed at understanding mechanisms underlying cognitive impairment due to degenerative dementias. His research also includes the development of cognitive assessment procedures in dementia, such as the Toronto Cognitive Assessment, as well as program development for the care of individuals with dementia.  His work on psi focuses on the role of the brain in this phenomenon.-

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Published on January 5, 2024