Carlos S. Alvarado, PhD, Research Fellow, Parapsychology Foundation Over the years there have been many speculations about the nature of precognition. A recently published paper is probably the most scientifically sophisticated attempt to explain this phenomenon to date and a useful contribution to guide future research on the subject. The paper in question, “Rethinking Extrasensory Perception: Toward a Multiphasic Model of Precognition,” is authored by Dr. Sonali Bhatt Marwaha and Dr. Edwin C. May (Sage Open, January-March 2015, 1–17. DOI: 10.1177/2158244015576056).

Dr. Sonali Marwaha

Dr. Sonali Marwaha

Dr. Edward C. May

Dr. Edward C. May

I asked the authors for a statement about the paper and they send me the following: “In our view, the person-centric experience of precognition is a manifestation of the fundamental problem of information-centric retrocausal signals. Thus, we view the experience of precognition as a process rather than an event. The MMPC is a signal-based, process-oriented model designed to determine the causal mechanisms leading to the experience of precognition. The MMPC identifies two distinct phases:

Phase I: The Physics Domain (PD), addresses the question of retrocausation and how it is possible for information to traverse from one spacetime point to another. We suggest that the solution might be found within entropic considerations.

Phase II: The Neuroscience Domain (ND), addresses the acquisition and interpretation of retrocausal signals. We propose that this occurs across three stages:    

      Stage 1: perception of signals from an information carrier, based on psychophysical variability in a putative signal transducer.      

      Stage 2: cortical processing of the signals, mediated by a cortical hyper-associative mechanism; and      

      Stage 3: cognition, mediated by normal cognitive processes, leading to a response based on retrocausal information. Based on research data, the MMPC addresses both the PD and the ND by considering the well-established laws of the physical world and what we currently know—and will know—about brain–behavior relationships. Thus, the MMPC is a coherent assimilation of existing concepts that we believe can lead to understanding the process of retrocausation-precognition—from the point of information origin to cognition. According to the MMPC, precognition is an inherent, similar to musical ability, arising out of individual differences in brain connectivity. Thus, one cannot train to acquire the ability. Based on the model, we define precognition as an atypical perceptual ability that allows the acquisition of non-inferential information arising from a future point in spacetime. The model is comprehensive, brain-based, and provides a new direction for research requiring multidisciplinary expertise.”

See also Dr. May’s presentation.

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