Transferring thoughts, feelings, emotions, or one person invoking some sort of biological response in another, one that can be measured using modern day medical equipment like Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), was the subject of a 2006 study published by several researchers in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, titled Evidence for Correlations Between Distant Intentionality and Brain Function in Recipients: A Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging Analysis.
The study found that distant intentionality (DI), which is defined as sending thoughts at a distance (telepathy) from a 'sender' is actually correlated with an activation of certain brain regions of the 'receiver.'
The study used eleven "healers" who do work in this area, and 11 other people who did not claim to be healers, but had some sort of special connection with the healer.
As the study describes:
The healers sent forms of DI that related to their own healing practices at random 2-minute intervals that were unknown to the recipient. Significant differences between experimental (send) and control (no send) procedures were found. Areas activated during the experimental procedures included the anterior and middle cingulate area, precuneus, and frontal area. It was concluded that instructions to a healer to make an intentional connection with a sensory isolated person can be correlated to changes in brain function of that individual.
The authors make it clear that the intentions of the study were not to measure healing of any ailment, but rather examine whether there was some sort of biological response when the sender sent these types of thoughts and feelings to the receiver at a distance.
While the receivers were placed in an MRI machine, the healers used a variety of techniques including touch, prayer, chant, Reiki, vibration or sound healing, Qigong and other forms of DI.
The healers were given specific information about their role in the study, and it included an "On (send)" and Off (No send)" procedures to follow. During the "On" condition, healers were sending information and trying to connect with the receiver, and during the "Off" condition they stopped. The type of information sent was described "as sending energy, prayer, or good intentions, or as thinking of the individual in the scanner and wishing for them the highest good."
The receivers were instructed to relax and lay inside the machine, and they were not provided any information at all about the timing of the On/Off conditions, and the healers themselves were not informed about the timing of the On/Off conditions. This way they could not have relayed this information to their receivers before the scan. The healer was also in an electromagnetically shielded control room and both physically and optically isolated from the receiver in the scanner.
The authors found that "group analysis revealed significant activation in several areas of the brain" during the times when the DI practitioner was sending to the receiver. They concluded that "overall, the results show significant activation of brain regions coincident with DI intervals."
The study goes on to mention possible criticism and challenges of the study, but again, outlines how some very compelling statistically significant results were seen.
One of the limitations was that there are no known biological processes that can really explain or identify telepathy appropriately. As a hypothesis, they mention that the study "may be interpreted as consistent with the idea of entanglement in quantum theory." It's important to mention just because there is no scientific way or biological methods that can be pinpointed yet to explain the phenomenon, does not mean it's not real and not a result of human consciousness.
Comment: The state of Science as dogmatically materialistic is probably the biggest barrier towards studying and accepting the existence of psi phenomena. See also:
It's Time For Science to Move On from Materialism
Book Review: The Science Delusion by Rupert Sheldrake
'Science Uprising': New video series will strip away materialist dogma and share the truths being uncovered by real science
Quantum entanglement has occurred between matter at the tiniest level that's able to be observed and measured. Photons have been separated into two, and what you do to one of them also happens to the other. This suggests that the two separated parts of that photon are still connected by some sort of strange invisible force, in essence, they are still one.
Entanglement has been confirmed to occur between photons, and many have speculated that certain highly organized macroscopic systems, including the brain, exhibit the property of entanglement with other complex systems. In a recent study, evidence was found for nonlocal connections between separated preparations of human neurons. These findings, plus the current study correlating brain activity in two sensory-isolated humans, do not fit the classic model of current material physics and can be interpreted as consistent with entanglement at the macroscopic level.
A number of studies like this one have taken place. Decades ago, what researchers called "extrasensory induction" was reported in 15 pairs of monozygotic twins who were isolated from each other and kept in separate rooms. In two of the 15 pairs, changes in EEG alpha brain rhythms in one twin were observed simultaneously in the other. The experiment was repeated several times yielding the same, repeatable results.
The study also cites several other EEG studies showing that a "visually evoked potential in one member of a pair of individuals who felt a close personal connection occurred at above chance rates in the non-stimulated brain of the other who was at a distance in an electromagnetically shielded room."
A paper published in 2015 titled Distant Healing Intention Therapies: An Overview of the Scientific Evidence suggests that, without question, physiological observations, correlations and measures have been seen, and have been quite significant, but when it comes to healing somebody the results are far weaker. So, it's safe to say that one person can invoke a physical response in another person at a distance, but when it comes to healing an ailment, from a scientific perspective not many examples exist. But some do, the 2015 studies cite a few examples of healers being able to do extraordinary things.
A study published in 2004 examined two meta-analyses and found small but significant results in 36 studies regarding direct mental influence. One of the authors on that paper was Dr. Jessica Utts, Chair of the Department of Statistics at the University of California, Irvine and a professor there since 2008.
Nearly 16 years after the publication of the 2004 study above, she had this to say about the phenomenon of Remote Viewing, which is the ability of one person to describe a remote geographical location, its physical characteristics and more regardless of distance.Obviously a little different than invoking a biological response in another person at a distance, but I just wanted to share the quote given the fact that I believe it pertains to most areas of parapsychology. There are a number of studies that have shown some very interesting and statistically significant results in many areas under the umbrella of parapsychology.
"What convinced me was just the evidence, the accumulating evidence as I worked in this field and I got to see more and more of the evidence. I visited the laboratories, even beyond where I was working to see what they were doing and I could see that they had really tight controls...and so I got convinced by the good science that I saw being done. And in fact I will say as a statistician I've consulted in a lot of different areas of science; the methodology and the controls on these experience are tighter than any other area of science where I've worked." (source)
The Takeaway: How important is the science of consciousness? How much does it conflict with long held belief systems about us, and our world? Would these truths change the worldview of the collective? Could this then perhaps change how we live in our society?
Exploring topics that deal with mind matter interaction, or in this case the ability of one person to somehow influence another person without any direct physical contact, can and does provide challenges to ones belief systems. That being said, evidence and significant results should not be dismissed or ignored simply because they don't fit in the accepted framework of our reality.
Studies like this suggest that we are much more than what we've been made to believe, and we are capable of a lot more than we know, and also that we still have so much to discover about ourselves.
Understanding human consciousness, and the power of human consciousness, may be the key that is required to unlock solutions to the world's current challenges. We have to step back and question what type lens are we perceiving and viewing our world from? Perhaps what we are viewing is not what needs to change, maybe it's the lens we are looking through that does?