Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research Lab

Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research Lab

The Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research (PEAR) program was established at Princeton University in 1979 by Robert G. Jahn, then Dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science, to pursue rigorous scientific study of the interaction of human consciousness with physical devices, systems, and processes common to contemporary engineering practice. Its methods were controversial and at the end of February 2007, it closed its doors.[1] From 1979 until its closing, interdisciplinary staff of engineers, physicists, psychologists, and humanists conducted a comprehensive agenda of experiments and attempted the development of complementary theoretical models to enable better understanding of the role of consciousness within physical reality. A number of academics have called the PEAR data into question stating that the PEAR methodologies were flawed and questioning their interpretation of the collected data.[2]



Consciousness Fields

In the PEAR Labs, operators frequently spoke of "achieving a state of resonance" with the devices they were working with, which positively correlated with higher than chance performance in random trials. Their data gives “a consistent empirical indication in the presence of groups of people engaged in shared cognitive or emotional activity”[3] “One conceptual hypothesis for the group-related anomalies indicated by FieldREG is that the emotional/intellectual dynamics of the interacting participants somehow generate a coherent ‘consciousness field,’ to which the REG responds via an anomalous decrease in the entropy of its nominally random output.” That is, emotional intention, especially group emotional intention, increases order. “Bonded co-operator pairs” also show increased order (Dunne, 1991) [3] Jahn and his team confirm Radin’s experiments indicating that random chance machines “may be affected by group consciousness.”[3] Such a group consciousness field effect apparently transcends space and time limitations.


PEAR employed the use of random number generators (RNG), to test for psychokinesis. In these experiments, subjects attempted to mentally alter the distribution of the random numbers, in an experimental design that is functionally equivalent to getting more "heads" than "tails" while flipping a coin. In the RNG experiment, design flexibility can be combined with rigorous controls, while collecting a large amount of data in very short period of time.[4]

Meta-analyses of the RNG database have been published every few years since appearing in the journal Foundations of Physics in 1986.[4] PEAR founder Robert G. Jahn and his colleague Brenda Dunne stated that the effect size in all cases was found to be very small, but consistent across time and experimental designs, resulting in an overall statistical significance. A recent meta-analysis on psychokinesis was published in Psychological Bulletin, along with several critical commentaries.[5][6] It analyzed the results of 380 studies. While the authors reported an overall positive effect size that was statistically significant, it was small relative to the sample size and could be explained by publication bias.[6]

Remote viewing

Following the termination in 1995 of the U.S. government espionage program Stargate Project, which failed, in the government's eyes, to document practical intelligence value,[7] PEAR sought to replicate the SAIC and SRI experiments. PEAR created an analytical judgment methodology to replace the human judging process that was criticized in past experiments. The researchers felt that the results of the experiments were consistent with the SRI experiments.[8]

Closing of the laboratory

PEAR closed its doors at the end of February 2007 with its founder, Robert G. Jahn, concluding that after tens of millions of trials they had demonstrated that human intention has a slight effect on random-event machines.[9] "For 28 years, we’ve done what we wanted to do, and there’s no reason to stay and generate more of the same data,"[1] Jahn said. Jahn felt that the work showed, on average, people can shift 2–3 events out of 10,000 from chance expectations.[9]

These tiny deviations from chance have failed to convince mainstream scientists who feel that the effect is inconsistent and that relatively few negative studies would cancel it out.[5] Physicist Robert L. Park said of PEAR, "It’s been an embarrassment to science, and I think an embarrassment for Princeton".[1] Park maintains that if a coin is flipped enough times, even a slight imperfection can produce more than 50% heads, and that the "tiny statistical edges" PEAR reported are the result of statistical flaws.[9]


  • Robert G. Jahn, Program Director.
  • Brenda J. Dunne, Laboratory Manager. Dunne is formally trained as a psychologist and serves as the Laboratory Manager of the PEAR lab.
  • York H. Dobyns, Analytical Coordinator
  • Lisa Langelier-Marks, Administrative Assistant
  • Elissa Hoeger, General Factotum

Emeritus members

  • G. Johnston Bradish, Technical Coordinator
  • Arnold L. Lettieri Jr., Communications Director
  • Roger D. Nelson, Operations Coordinator


See also


  1. ^ a b c Carey, Benedict (2007-02-06). "A Princeton Lab on ESP Plans to Close Its Doors". New York Times. Retrieved 2007-08-03. 
  2. ^ Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research at The Skeptic's Dictionary
  3. ^ a b c Nelson, R. D.; Jahn, R. G., Dunne, B. J., Dobyns, Y. H., & Bradish, G. J. (1998). "Field REG II: Consciousness field effects: Replications and explorations". Journal of Scientific Exploration 12 (3): 425–454. 
  4. ^ a b Dunne, Brenda J.; Jahn, Robert G. (1985). "On the quantum mechanics of consciousness, with application to anomalous phenomena". Foundations of Physics 16 (8): 721–772. Bibcode 1986FoPh...16..721J. doi:10.1007/BF00735378. Retrieved 2007-07-31. 
  5. ^ a b Bösch H, Steinkamp F, Boller E (2006). "Examining psychokinesis: the interaction of human intention with random number generators—a meta-analysis". Psychological bulletin 132 (4): 497–523. doi:10.1037/0033-2909.132.4.497. PMID 16822162. "The study effect sizes were strongly and inversely related to sample size and were extremely heterogeneous. A Monte Carlo simulation revealed that the very small effect size relative to the large, heterogenous sample size could in principle be a result of publication bias." 
  6. ^ a b Radin, D.; Nelson, R.; Dobyns, Y.; Houtkooper, J. (2006). "Reexamining psychokinesis: comment on Bösch, Steinkamp, and Boller". Psychological bulletin 132 (4): 529–32; discussion 533–37. doi:10.1037/0033-2909.132.4.529. PMID 16822164. 
  7. ^ Time magazine, 11 December 1995, p.45, The Vision Thing by Douglas Waller, Washington
  8. ^ "Precognitive Remote Perception: Replication of Remote Viewing" (PDF). Journal of Scientific Exploration (Society for Scientific Exploration) 10 (1): 109–110. 1996. Archived from the original on 2008-04-07. Retrieved 2008-06-02. 
  9. ^ a b c Odling-Smee, Lucy (2007-03-01). "The lab that asked the wrong questions". Nature 446 (7131): 10–11. doi:10.1038/446010a. PMID 17330012. 
  10. ^ a b c "Princeton's PEAR Laboratory to Close". 2007-02-10. Retrieved 2009-09-25. [dead link]
  11. ^ a b John Weber, editor (2009). An Illustrated Guide to the Lost Symbol. New York: Pocket Books/Simon & Schuster Inc.. p. 130. ISBN 978-1-4165-2366-6. "Chapter by Brenda Dunne, "The PEAR Laboratory": PEAR has now incorporated its former and future operations into the broader venues of the International Consciousness Research Laboratories (ICRL), a not-for-profit organization, and Psyleron, Inc., a company that develops products and deploys broadly ranging intellectual property that enable ongoing research and public exploration of mind-matter effects." 

Further reading

External links

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