To help with an understanding of the Global Consciousness project or
GCP, several unfamiliar concepts need to be defined and explained.
This is a scientific exploration with no precedent because the
technology and methods are new. On the other hand,
the instrumentation and analyses in
the project are direct extensions of laboratory procedures which
have been in use for decades. In the laboratory and in recently
developed field applications, striking effects have been found
indicating that human consciousness interacts at some level with the
physical world -- that what we feel and think has a small but
detectable effect. Here we describe the
technology in very basic terms, acknowledging those aspects which are
not presently understood.
The question is, how do the actual instruments work?
There are really two aspects to the issue. One refers to the
technical functioning, and the other asks
what we can understand when we read the data?
How the intsrument works physically is straightforward;
how the connection with consciousness occurs is not.
Note: This page is unfinished, but is presented while "under
construction" to be helpful. Questions are welcome.
Random Event Generator
We begin with the easy part. The measurement relies on small changes
in the behavior of an electronic device designed to produce a random
A random event generator, or REG,
as used for the GCP data collection, is essentially
a high-speed electronic coin flipper. Instead of heads and tails,
the REG produces + or - pulses relative to a mean value,
and these pulses are converted into 1's and 0's, the bits that are
the language of computers. The bits can be counted, and stored as
samples from a well understood mathematical distribution of random
numbers. The device also is often
called a random number generator (RNG), which is a name given to computer
programs that produce "pseudo" random numbers. The REG and RNG
devices used in the GCP are hardware sources
of "true" random events -- fundamentally unpredictable 1's and 0's.
There are three different random event or random number generators
in use in the GCP network. They are all electronic and their
different sources of "white noise" all depend on completely
unpredictable quantum fluctuations.
The PEAR REG is based on Johnson noise, the extremely low-level
fluctuations in electron flow in a resistor due to thermal influences.
It has a built-in logic transformation (XOR) of every other bit from 1 to 0
or vice versa, to eliminate in principle any bias of the mean output
of the device.
The MICROREG uses a Field-Effect Transistor (FET)
for the white noise, and also has an XOR stage, in this case
with a table of all bytes
with equal numbers of 1 and 0. The ORION uses two diodes,
each independently producing a random bitstream
and in this case the two output
signals are XOR'ed against each other. The Orions have no
built-in protection against bias, so a computed XOR is
imposed for this type in the egg software.
The Effect of Consciousness
When it comes to "what we are measuring" the story becomes more
complicated because there is no real understanding of the mechanism
whereby an REG's behavior can be altered by thoughts and emotions or
We know empirically the effects touch upon information theory
and imply entropy reduction, and we think that
resonance and coherence are good metaphoric descriptors for the
necessary conditions. We find some useful points in models based
on David Bohm's notion of active information, and we expect that
the global consciousness effect is more than just casually
related to nonlinear dynamical system models.
However, most of what can be said is speculative, and not
immediately useful for understanding the empirical data. We do not
know how a mental state such as an intention or emotion is able to
inform the physical system to affect its behavior. In
addition, all of the robust measures we have providing evidence
for the anomalous effects are statistical in nature, and the signal to
noise ratio is extremely low. This means that
we typically cannot be sure that the "signature" of an effect in any
individual analysis is driven by the hypothesized influence of
consciousness. The details written in the data from single instances
are more likely to be chance fluctuations than consciousness effects.
Only in larger concatenations, gathering the weak signals from many
separate events, can we be satisfied that trends and structure
represent the hypothesized effect.
After all the caveats, however, we can say that the evidence for an
effect of consciousness on REGs is strong. We are driven by that
evidence to infer that something like a "consciousness field" exists,
and that intentions or emotional states which structure the field
are conveyed as information
that is absorbed into the distribution of output values of labile
physical systems. The output of the REG differs from what would be expected
without the influence of consciousness.
The data come from electronic random sources (random event generators)
which produce a steady flow of unpredictable bits.
The GCP data consist of a continuous stream of "trials" taken by each
Egg at a rate of one per second. Each trial is the equivalent of
flipping 200 unbiased coins, and counting the number of heads. The
software on the host computer simply records the sum
of the 200 bits, or the number of "heads,"
and we expect that the outcome for each trial will be about
100 (there is a 50/50 chance for a bit to be 1 or 0).
This is a varying quantity,
of course, depending on chance fluctuations, with a bell-curve
distribution. The most frequent outcome is 100, tapering off to very
few trials with scores smaller than 70 or larger than 130. The
distribution for large numbers of trials is very predictable,
even though the variations from trial to trial are not.
The idea is that we can use the scale of those variations, in particular,
unusual deviations from the expected mean value,
as a measure of some aspect of "consciousness."
Three decades of laboratory research have shown that conscious
intention can affect the randomness of REG
devices in controlled experiments. In these experiments there
is a tendency for the
deviations of the trial mean from its expected value to be
larger than expected when people wish for or intend this to happen.
In field applications, the research shows that in situations which
produce a coherent "group consciousness" the data may
depart from expectation even
without specific intentions. The GCP/EGG project's measures are
a direct extension of the laboratory and field applications of the
In "field" studies with REGs we have found consistent deviations
from expected randomicity in data
taken in situations where groups become integrated or unified by
something of common interest.
During deeply engaging meetings, concerts, rituals, etc., the data
tend to exhibit slightly greater order than random data should,
and we are able to predict this deviation with small
but significant success.
The GCP Network of Eggs
The background of field studies includes a few cases where the
events that apparently created an anomalous effect were thousands of
miles from the REG device. This finding suggested the value of
a very large scale experiment designed to look at
possible effects of "global events." We began to focus on
the hypothesis that the whole
world might become a "group" on occasions that draw the attention
and engage the emotions of large numbers of people. To test for an
effect of such global engagement, we designed a network of "Eggs",
consisting of an REG device and sophisticated software running on a
computer connected to the internet. The software functions to record
from the REG and transmit it at intervals to a central server for
archival storage and statistical processing.
The Eggs are hosted by people all around the world, and
the network has been in continuous operation since August, 1998, with
a gradual increase in the number of nodes to 37 in December of 2000.
In the Global Consciousness Project, exactly the same measures are
made as in the Fieldreg studies with local groups. For each of the
Eggs, and for all of them as an ensemble, we
predict a detectable ordering (in the form of slight, non-random
meanshifts) in otherwise random data during world-scale
events that are likely to engage the attention of large numbers of
us around the globe.
The continuous data streams registered by the Egg network have a
well-defined theoretical expectation, and we simply look at the
empirical statistics to see whether the data support
our predictions of
departures from expectation that are correlated with the events.
Just as in the field studies, the statistical evidence reveals that
something unusual happens to the data just at the times we predict;
not always, but so frequently that the odds against a chance
explanation are more than a thousand to one.
Anomalous Effects of Consciousness
The best way to describe the anomalous effects we see in the data
is as a correlation that comes to exist between the devices spread
around the world -- just during major events, defined in terms of the
widespread attention and emotion the produce. That is, there are
departures from expectation when human consciousness is powerfully
engaged. The devices are designed to be independent, and they are
separated by hundreds or thousands of kilometers, and yet we see the
correlations -- that is anomalous, and it is linked with consciousness.
The implication is that we are not isolated from each other as seems to
be the case, but linked in a subtle, unconscious and inaccessible way.
Learning more about that, and tapping into the potential of our
interconnection is the next phase of human development. We are at the
beginning, and ready to move forward.
For a more technical and rigorous discussion of the anomalous effects,
you can download papers from our publications
page. The two most recent are Effects
of Mass Consciousness, and The
GCP Event Experiment.
Why should there be any effect of a
world-wide New Years celebration, or a billion people watching a funeral
ceremony, or the beginning of
a war, on such REG devices located around the world? Although it must be
recognized as a metaphor, it
may be helpful to envision a "consciousness field." Picture a faint
radiance of information extending out
indefinitely from each mind, with a wavelike interpenetration creating
tenuous interference patterns that
differ depending on our intentions and our degree of engagement. Again,
we are speaking of a metaphor,
not an actual physical energy that we can directly measure, but
something like a consciousness field
carrying information, which may be responsible for the anomalous effects
in "field" studies with REGs.
In the GCP, exactly the same procedure is applied on a broader scale. We
predict a detectable ordering
in otherwise random data during world-scale events that are likely to
engage the attention of large
numbers of people around the globe. The prediction is tested by looking
for slight, anomalous meanshifts
in either direction, that is, changes in the variability of the data.
The statistics for the continuous data
streams registered by the EGG network have well-defined expectations
based on theory and calibrations.
We simply compare the empirical data with this background to see whether
our hypothesis is supported.
Simply put, we predict differences from expectation which are correlated
with certain global events. If
there is any effect of global consciousness on our detectors, we look
for it to be concentrated during
those special times when humanity experiences broadly shared interests,
feelings, and reactions.
Theory and Speculation
FAQ and Links