Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research

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Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research (or PEAR) was from 1979 to 2007, a laboratory at Princeton University that conducted scientific study of consciousness-related physical phenomena, otherwise known as parapsychology or psychic phenomena.[1] The laboratory was founded by Robert G. Jahn, then Dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science, who found private donors to finance its work and a small staff.

Most of the research consisted of asking people to attempt to influence machines such as electronic random-number generators. According to a New York Times article about the February 6, 2007 closing of the lab—due, it would appear, mostly to the aging of its founder—they found that "people could alter the behavior of these machines very slightly, changing about 2 or 3 flips out of 10,000." The laboratory published over sixty research reports[2], but had trouble publishing them in peer reviewed journals: “We submitted our data for review to very good journals,” [a staff member] said, “but no one would review it. We have been very open with our data. But how do you get peer review when you don’t have peers?” The article said that "Several expert panels examined PEAR’s methods over the years, looking for irregularities, but did not find sufficient reasons to interrupt the work."[3]

References

  1. Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research, PEAR's website
  2. PEAR publications PEAR's website
  3. A Princeton Lab on ESP Plans to Close Its Doors: "2 or 3 flips out of 10,000;" "no one would review it"
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