Paper: Mind-matter interactions and the frontal lobes of the brain


A major barrier to acceptance of psi is that effects are small and hard to replicate under controlled experimental conditions. To address this barrier, we developed a novel neurobiological model to study psi based on the concept that brain acts as a psi-inhibitory filter. Our research in individuals with frontal lobe brain damage suggests that this filter includes the left medial middle frontal region.

To determine whether the left medial middle frontal region of the brain acts as a neurobiological filter to inhibit mind-matter interactions (MMIs).

Reversible brain lesions were induced using repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS). MMIs in healthy participants (n=108) were examined. Participants were randomly assigned to one of 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 MMI task, participants were instructed to try to influence the output of a Random Event Generator that was translated into movement of an arrow on a computer screen to the right or left.

Supporting our a priori hypothesis, significant psi effects were identified 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).

Our study supports the concept that the brain acts as a psi-inhibitory filter, potentially transforming the way we view interactions between the brain and psi. Individuals with frontal lesions may comprise an enriched sample for detection and replication of psi effects.

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It’s generally a good thing when more research and published papers expose the public to MMI or A.C.E. That may still be true in this case, but there is a fundamental issue with the authors’ premises and conclusions. Evolution always progresses in a way that increases the ability to survive and thrive. In what way could a brain function that inhibits anomalous cognition or effects be beneficial? Studies of so-called primitive cultures, such as Australian aborigines, shows they rely on well-developed mental capabilities that some would call “paranormal.” The paper suggests that inducing brain damage may increase these mental capabilities, but that would be fundamentally inconsistent with how evolution works.

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The authors address this point in the paper:

As we previously noted (Freedman et al., 2018), one would expect that if psi abilities are real, they should have developed as prominent human traits due to their potentially great significance. However, this has clearly not been the case. Thus, there may have been a strong evolutionary advantage for the emergence of neurobiological mechanisms to inhibit these phenomena. The benefits of inhibiting psi might include preventing exposure to constant bombardment with irrelevant stimuli from telepathy, precognition, and clairvoyance that might divert attention away from environmental events threatening survival. The same notion might also apply to inhibiting mind-matter interactions that could cause chaos in the environment. This concept is in keeping with the “attention to life” theory proposed by Henri Bergson in the early 1900s in which he postulated that the nervous system may have evolved to inhibit psi as a protective mechanism to screen individuals from stimuli that are of no interest or benefit to them (Bergson, 1914; Ehrenwald, 1975, 1978). These stimuli could create a significant distraction that could have a negative effect on survival. Thus, neural mechanisms that filter these stimuli, as well as filtering neural output resulting in mind-matter interactions, may help explain why psi effects are so small and difficult to detect.

In any case, the results seem to speak for themselves.

I find their arguments self serving and tautological. All our senses are subject to noise, that is, stimuli that do not seem to provide beneficial information. However, our mind (or brain for reductionists) has evolved filters that decide which information is important in the moment. The authors suggest that information that comes to us through alternate “senses” or mind is somehow overwhelming and cannot be handled. Again, this is not how evolution works. I think the main reason MMI is not “prominent” is that it has been trained out of use from an early age. That makes it a cultural program, not a natural one.

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Alright, fair enough. And I find your response to be unfortunately consistent with what I perceive to be an ego-driven pattern of responding with strong confidence and authority while being generally dismissive of new ideas and approaches. These people invested an immense of time to rigorously test their hypothesis, and then they openly shared all of the data while publishing the positive result they obtained. Do you find some issue with their methodology? Because the results they obtained speak much louder than some philosophical disagreement about the nature of evolution. I would be absolutely thrilled to see you similarly share real data (and detailed methodology) from the hundreds of experiments with highly significant results you assert to have executed over the last 30 years.


From my research, I can tell, that MMI(or magic) require completely different optimums of information processing from efficient cognition.
Cognition require as less noisy and redundant computations as possible for cheapest possible energy expenses.
MMI require very redundant processing, which are entangled with high spikes of entropy production. And analysis of noise in brain signals.
So, highly likely, that brain was adapted for cognition. MMI mode either requires special training or significant physical alterations of homeostasis.

So, I could support results of that research. Highly likely, that humans neither has very well developed consciousness, nor developed MMI capabilities. Even if their brain is significantly more advanced, than brain of most earth species, that’s not enough to either align own life with meaning, nor to mess with fabric of reality proficiently.

I would second what you said here. If the MMI is trained out of use or simply not exercised at all I think we could consider this as an external factor similar to what happens with any other skill such as football or painting. But there should be also genetic factors that would influence, specially because there having been reports of people with these “paranormal abilities” even without any prior development. In many places such people would be persecuted and killed because of cultural beliefs and laws. And many of those who survive have a tendency of developing psychological or psychiatric problems.
A good amount of practioners of “magick” or “occultism”, for example, end up having a psychotic breakdown. Although this last part could be argued as being caused by the prejudice and exclusion from society, we can’t rule out the possiblity of it being also caused by exposure to something out there.

In this way, I think this could make the author’s conclusion more consistent with evolutionary mechanisms. Not only this sense were not estimulated by a cultural program, but the genes that would favor their development or cause a huge talent in individuals would, in many cases, lead to death. So perhaps it was better to surpress this mental capacity in order to survive and reproduce.

I may be biased though, because this is a theory I’ve had for some time

I think the authors came to an interesting conclusion, but missed an explanation for what they observed