Published on January 15th, 20140
Is there a sixth sense? Can people detect changes in their surroundings?
A study from Australia suggests that people have the ability to detect changes in the environment, even if they can not describe it accurately.
If you can detect the presence of people that they can not see or have prescient knowledge of danger, then maybe you’ll be disappointed when you find out that scientists have ruled out the possibility of the “six sense“.
A study that lasted for one year by scientists at the University of Melbourne, published in the journal Plos One, has revealed that some people can detect changes in the environment, even if they fail to describe it accurately.
However, scientists said this phenomenon does not occure due to any supernatural abilities, but rather, based on more conventional clues collected such as the senses sight.
In the study, volunteers received 48 pairs of photographs that captures a woman. In some cases, in one of the pictures, the woman’s appearance was changed with a new hairstyle or the presence of glasses.
The pictures were shown to the subjects for 1.5 seconds with a one-second break between them. Subsequently, subjects were asked if there is any change in the image and if they can identify the change from a list of nine possibilities
The results indicated that although subjects could “feel” that there was a change, they could not express in words. While this result may seem like an acknowledgment for some subjects who believed they had a sixth sense, scientists argue that these findings indicate the opposite.
“What people were doing was processing information that they couldn’t verbalise but were picking up on, often subconsciously. It’s a bit like an abstract painting – it doesn’t depict anything you can label, such as a sea or mountain, but you can still get a lot of information on what’s going on”, said Dr Piers Howe from Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences.
“The information was enough to tell them that a change had occurred, because they could tell the picture was more crowded, but not enough to say what that change was. Many believed they had a quasi-magical ability even though we had set them up”.
Howe began investigating after one of his students said to possess a sixth sense. “She said she had the ability to tell if something bad had happened to someone just by looking at them. She said she knew an acquaintance had been in a car accident even though he had no visual markings or injuries. I told her that she may not have been able to verbally label the markings, but she picked up on them and wasn’t consciously aware of them”, she told the researcher.
“We get a lot of information that we can’t verbalize. For example, this often occurs when something disappears. If, in the next room, my kids do a lot of noise and then suddenly become silent, not realizing that what scares me is precisely that they are quiet. Subconsciously we become alerted and go to the room where they do find that the silence is just because they are doing something naughty. And this is the sixth sense“, explained Howe.
ESP, a broad term that describes everything from telepathy to clairvoyance, has been studied in the 30s, but Howe argues that his research was the first to show that people can feel the information that they can not verbalize.
Source: The Gurdian