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article imageScientists succeed in using Internet for telepathic messages

By Stephen Morgan     Nov 10, 2014 in Science
The idea of telepathy, once considered the nonsense of mystics and parapsychologists, has now been confirmed by mainstream science in an experiment using the Internet.
Scientists at the University of Washington have now successfully linked up two person's brains across the Web without direct verbal or visual contact. Instead, the participants were able to send and receive thought-messages used to transfer commands and direct their actions.
Initial success a year ago has now been refined so that the telepathic message was sent and received almost as quickly as the thought itself was made.
In the experiment, one person's thought was passed to another one, who then physically carried out what the other was thinking, while the two were separated into two buildings half a mile apart. The experiment was then confirmed using three separate pairs of individuals.
The co-author of the study, Andrea Stocco, who is a professor of psychology at UW’s Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences stated that “we have replicated our methods and know that they can work reliably."
The Huffington Post explains what happened;
“One participant, the 'sender,' is hooked to an electroencephalography machine that reads his brain activity and sends electrical pulses via the Internet to the 'receiver,' who has a transcranial magnetic stimulation coil placed near the part of his brain that controls hand movements. With this technology, the sender can issue a command to move the hand of the receiver by simply thinking about the hand movement.”
The receiver was sitting in front of a computer screen playing a game in which he has to defend a castle by using cannons. The sender then relayed the message “Fire”and the receiver executed the command. This was done with between a 25% and 83% success rate, the lower number attributed to the failure of the receiver to hit the button properly, rather than being unable to hear the thought.
An electroencephalography machine was used to read brain activity and the signals were then sent via the Internet to the other person, who was wearing a transcranial magnetic stimulation coil situated on the part of the brain which controls hand movements.
According to RT, the scientists had already made a similar, spectacular experiment in September, when they managed to send a signal from two people 5,000 miles apart in India and France. But the communication was a simple greeting, "Hola" and "Ciao." This new advance shows that it can be used for more complex actions, with more far-reaching implications.
Gizmodo says that the researchers want to find out if a teacher could just transfer the information contained in a lesson directly into the students brains and by-pass the difficulties of understanding complicated language.
The Huffington Post quotes researcher Chantel Prat of the UW Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences, who believes the research could also lead to help for people with brain damage.
"This paradigm offers a wide opportunity for developing protocols for interacting with or putting information into a human brain," Prat said in an email to the Huffington Post. "This technology could eventually be used to 'patch' what is missing or lost in a brain-damaged individual."
The US Army and the Keck Foundation have also been funding the work and the researchers have now been given a $1 million grant to find out what types of information can be transferred.
The paper detailing the research was originally published in PLOS ONE.
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