Predicting the unpredictable: Critical analysis and practical implications of predictive anticipatory activity

A recent meta-analysis of experiments from seven independent laboratories (n=26) published since 1978 indicates that the human body can apparently detect randomly delivered stimuli occurring 1-10 seconds in the future. The key observation in these studies is that human physiology appears to be able to distinguish between unpredictable dichotomous future stimuli, such as emotional vs. neutral images or sound vs. silence. This phenomenon has been called presentiment (as in "feeling the future"). In this paper we call it predictive anticipatory activity or PAA.

Electrodermal Presentiments of Future Emotions

Many people have experienced intuitive hunches or forebodings about future events that later turned out to be correct. Most such hunches can be attributed to unconscious inferences, others are undoubtedly coincidences, instances of selective memory, or due to forgotten expertise. However, sometimes a hunch seems so intrinsically unlikely and yet turns out to be valid, that one wonders whether such experiences, often on the edge of conscious awareness, might involve perception of future information.

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