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Can the simple fact of observation affect the outcome of an event? http://www.princeton.edu/~pear/experiments.html

I read of an experiment, where small balls were set to fall at random and collect in tubes. When the experiment wasn't being watched the balls fell at random. But when an individual was told to stair and considerate at this wall of balls, could generate a small but measurable result. In other words the act of observation affects the outcome of things. Care to comment?

  • Aug 24 2012: It definitely can - prayer, etc...there are electromagnetic fields affected by thought waves. Some people can generate strong waves and produce disturbances in these electric and magnetic fields. In Starwars, this term is used - a disturbance in the force. Some people study martial arts that can generate strong chi which propel objects and people by intense concentration - fully documented.
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    Aug 22 2012: That is pseudo-science. An attempt to reconcile the soul with the cosmos.
    • Aug 22 2012: Yea I started to research it a bit more to get an understanding. It falls under Pseudoscience, particularly pseudo physics. And the only reason pseudo physics isn't considered a joke is because of the new realization that particles at the smallest levels are some how connected no matter the distance a part form each other. Scientists demonstrated this using a photon that was successfully teleported. The only question is how the photons are interconnected with out a physical connection. That is where Pseudoscience comes into play.
  • Aug 22 2012: On a quantum level, it may be true - there are a number of experiments that have allegedly proved that. Einstein was against it, calling it "spooky action at a distance". I personally have some doubts about the validity of the experiments that I've seen described, there seem to be some holes in the experiment in my mind. Plus I really can't follow the math or logic involved. But it's allegedly true. I'd love someone to explain it in a way I understand.

    But on a macro level, I can't see it at all.
    • Aug 22 2012: He is another example of human observation affecting the outcome on other humans. Take an Olympic race, billions of people are watch 7 people compete for a metal. The fact that the athlete knows that so many people are watching could affect the performance in the race. But this doesn't really have much to do with inanimate objects. Because they don't know that they are being watched. But again going back to observation, Schrödinger's cat would be an example of observation choosing an outcome, thus affecting it. The experiment is as follows A cat, a flask of poison and a radioactive source are placed in a sealed box. If an internal monitor detects radioactivity, the flask is shattered, releasing the poison that kills the cat. The Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics implies that after a while, the cat is simultaneously alive and dead. Yet, when we look in the box, we see the cat either alive or dead, not both alive and dead. There for observation can in a way affect an outcome.
  • Aug 22 2012: There is some very serious scientific research in this area. Check this out:

    http://noosphere.princeton.edu/

    Personally, I think it is possible, but the science will be extremely difficult.

    My wife has known this always, from personal experience. She thinks science is playing catch-up.
    • Aug 22 2012: Yea I started to research it a bit more to get an understanding. It falls under Pseudoscience, particularly pseudo physics. And the only reason pseudo physics isn't considered a joke is because of the new realization that particles at the smallest levels are some how connected no matter the distance a part form each other. Scientists demonstrated this using a photon that was successfully teleported. The only question is how the photons are interconnected with out a physical connection. That is where Pseudoscience comes into play.
      • Aug 23 2012: Scientists are a strange bunch. They think a particle can be in two places at the same time, and this is considered serious, accepted scientific fact. But the hypothesis that a person can affect something at a distance is pseudoscience.
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    Aug 22 2012: First let me put on my tinfoil hat. As I type this I am staring at the "characters remaining" counter and concentrating on it. I am unable to cause the counter to do anything other than subtract one every time I make a character entry. I will keep trying until the number reaches zero, but I don't think it will alter its function for me. Here I go . . . . .
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    Aug 21 2012: Isn't this what the Heisenberg Uncertaintly Principle is all about?
    • Aug 22 2012: Hi Fritzie,

      It is my understanding that the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle applies only to quantum (extremely small) phenomena. I find this distinction mind boggling. All interactions between items of any size actually occur at the atomic level. I wonder if physicists see any irony in the name of the Uncertainty Principle.
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    Aug 21 2012: Scientifically I do not know. Your experiment if verified and authenticated by your peers, has proved that observation does affect the outcome of the event. Spiritually I know that observation does effect the outcome of the event. Intense observation and channelizing of thoughts are known to have affected the outcome of the event, more specifically a condition.
    On a lighter note, observation does affect the outcome of an event. An observing parent can affect the outcome of his/her unruly child !!