Research Item – J. E. Kennedy
ABSTRACT: Information consists of symbols, media for storing and transmitting the symbols, and an interpretational infrastructure that establishes the meaning of the symbols, can generate and decode the symbols, and can take actions based on the symbols. Information processing in livings systems includes genetics, perception, behavior, memory, learning, communication, imagination, creativity, and culture. For certain hypotheses in quantum physics and most hypotheses in parapsychology, the media and interpretational infrastructures for information processing are beyond current scientific understanding. After extensive research, the hypothesis that an observer can sometimes paranormally influence the outcome of quantum events does not have convincing empirical support. The current experimental results in parapsychology do not have the properties of a signal in noise and cannot be convincingly distinguished from methodological bias. Prospective registration of experimental protocols could greatly reduce the confounding problem of methodological bias; however, the experimental results will likely continue to be inconsistent with the positions of both proponents and skeptics of experimental parapsychology. The findings of parapsychology may be most consistent with a model that paranormal phenomena are the result of supernatural information processing agencies with relatively independent motivations that manifest as spirituality and influence the meaning and direction of an individual’s life.