Could Time Be Leaking? And Should We Be Worried If It Is?

What if I said to you instead of studying before a test, try studying after it as you might have more chance of passing.

Huh? You probably think I am mad to even suggest such an extraordinary concept, but please, hear me out on this.

If the nature of space and time wasn’t already bizarre and confusing enough to freak you out, a study done by psychologist Professor Daryl Bem just might be the thing to do the trick.

A social psychologist at Cornell University, Professor Daryl Bem is most famous for developing his self-perception theory, which suggests that we formulate our attitudes and opinions by watching our own behavior and figuring out what caused it after the fact.

This is directly the opposite of what had been most widely accepted, which is that our attitudes determined our behaviors– in other words, he challenged the chronological order of our own attitude formation.

So it should be no surprise that he also delves into what mainstream science would call parapsychology, and that his findings flew in the face of conventional ideologies related to time.

His experiments, which are simple and repeatable, suggest that time may not flow in a strictly unidirectional manner.

Rather than walking along a one-way road that begins in the present and ends in the future, we may be caught in a two-way street, where the past and the future can influence one another.
[dropshadowbox align=”none” effect=”lifted-both” background_color=”#F2F5A9″ border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]In short, his research poses a question that mainstream science finds uncomfortable: could time be leaking?
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His article, titled “Feeling The Future,” was published in The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology in the year 2010.

His research, which revolves around the ideas of precognition and premonition, suggests that normal, everyday people are influenced by experiences they will have in the future.

Many critics attempted to tear down his research before it was even published, but Professor Daryl Bem had established himself as a respected presence in the scientific community long before pursuing premonition and precognition.

Though he was known to challenge what was accepted as the truth, he had never been considered a man prone to fits of delusion.

So what does the research say? Let’s look at the experiments:

The first experiment was a quiz taken on a series of computers. For this study, 100 students at Cornell (50 of whom were female, and 50 of whom were male), were told to sit in front of the computers for an experiment testing for ESP. First, they had to answer a few short questions.

Then an image of two curtains placed side-by-side would show up on the screen– behind one curtain was nothing, and behind the other curtain was a picture.

The students were instructed to pick whichever curtain they felt had the picture behind it. Some of the pictures were pornographic in nature, while others were neutral.
[dropshadowbox align=”none” effect=”lifted-both” background_color=”#F2F5A9″ border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]What were the results? For the students who were shown erotic pictures, their accuracy was 53%, which is above chance.
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For students who saw neutral images, the hit rate was only 49%. According to Bem, this suggests that sexual arousal may be strong enough to pass back in time, encouraging the students to pick the right curtain. Even weirder?

The recorded physiological changes occurred two or three seconds before the students saw the erotic images!

This isn’t an entirely new idea, as many people who have narrowly avoided fatal accidents report feeling a strong sense of impending doom that causes them to cancel their plans.

If emotions can “bleed” back into the present, this may also explain why some people claim to sense when bad things are going to happen to their loved ones.

The second study showed 100 Cornell students a list of 48 easy, simple nouns in a sequence for about three seconds each.

After the end of the list, they were given a memory test to see how many of the words they still remembered. Then the computer randomly picked 24 words and instructed the students to continue studying them after the test was over.

The weird part? Upon examining the test results, a bizarre pattern showed up: the students consistently remembered the 24 words they studied after the test better than the other 24.

This indicates that practicing the set of words after the test retroactively made the students perform better.

This of course becomes a mind distorter because if this is true, what happens if you plan to study for a test after sitting, then pass with a great mark so don’t end up studying after?

Your mark isn’t going to change so maybe that is what you would have got anyway and if you had forced yourself to study after you might have got a better result.

The problem is of course how could you ever know unless you had two people that both had exactly the same knowledge about something, and one studied after and the other one didn’t and then their results were compared.

Conventional wisdom asserts that once you’ve taken a test, it’s too late for studying to provide any help whatsoever. Bem’s research suggests otherwise.

Your first reaction may be to point out the relatively small difference (53% versus 49%) and argue that it’s not significant enough to be worthwhile, but it’s important to remember that this is only very early research.

As scientists continue to experiment and refine their techniques in exploring the impact of the future on the present, we will get a better idea of just how much of tomorrow leaks into today, how we can use it to our advantage, and ultimately, what this all means for humanity.

What do you think? Could time really be leaking?

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