The ability for a human being to gain knowledge of the future through some kind of mysterious sixth sense is a mainstay of science fiction movies, fantasy novels, religious cults. It is an idea which fascinates humanity; an idea which has been with us for many thousands of years in the form of prophets and seers, and continues to draw many millions of people around the world to read their daily horoscopes in the hope of gaining some kind of insight into the day ahead.
Now scientists are beginning to take ‘presentiment’ – the ability to sense a future event without any clues coming in from the five senses – a little bit more seriously. Of course that is not to say that there is any scientific evidence that your newspaper astrologer can predict what is going to happen to you today, but a new scientific study which analyses data from 26 separate studies undertaken from 1978 to 2010 has found good evidence for something that Julia Mossbridge, the lead author of the study, calls ‘anomalous anticipatory activity’:
“I like to call the phenomenon ‘anomalous anticipatory activity,’” she said. “The phenomenon is anomalous, some scientists argue, because we can’t explain it using present-day understanding about how biology works; though explanations related to recent quantum biological findings could potentially make sense. It’s anticipatory because it seems to predict future physiological changes in response to an important event without any known clues, and it’s an activity because it consists of changes in the cardiopulmonary, skin and nervous systems.”
In quantum physics causation through time is not as simple as we experience it in everyday life – there are many examples of backwards causation in time (a future event influencing the present) in quantum physics. What Mossbridge is suggesting is that this phenomena could be allowing for some form of ‘presentiment’ of events which will have a strong emotional impact. So you may not be able to have visions of the future, but you may get a tingly feeling prior to a car accident, for example, even before you can see, hear or smell anything which could indicate that a crash is imminent (that is my example btw, not one from the research).
The research paper, called “Predictive Physiological Anticipation Preceding Seemingly Unpredictable Stimuli: A Meta-Analysis,” has been published in the current edition of Frontiers in Perception Science.