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About the PA | Member Index Who is Roger Nelson?

Roger Nelson Roger Nelson is Director of the IONS-sponsored Global Consciousness Project (GCP), an international collaboration of scientists, artists, and citizens interested in the extraordinary aspects of human consciousness. He also coordinates research in the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research (PEAR) laboratory at Princeton University. Nelson's professional training is in experimental psychology and psychophysiology, supplemented by a background in physics, statistical methods, engineering, sculpture, electronic music, and multi-media production. He is a student of "alternate psychologies" which represent a wide range of transpersonal and non-western approaches to the understanding of consciousness. He feels that an inclusive and multi-disciplinary approach combining scientific, aesthetic, and spiritual perspectives is essential if we are to come to terms with consciousness as it exists and operates in the physical world.

In 1980, Dr. Nelson moved to Princeton from northern Vermont, where he was professor of psychology at Johnson State College, to join the PEAR team. Over the past two decades he has worked with the creative, interdisciplinary group in the PEAR lab to develop technologies and experimental applications to study direct manifestations of consciousness and intention. The main experiments look at anomalous information transfer (Remote Perception) and anomalous interactions of mind and machine, using sensitive physical systems such as electronic random event generators (REGs). More recently, Nelson has extended the experimental laboratory research to real-world situations, to examine group consciousness effects and related applications such as nonlocal healing. The implications of the research are that consciousness plays a subtle but important constructive role in the physical world.

Nelson has been a member since 1993 of the Esalen Institute's Center for Theory and Research working groups on Healing Interactions and Subtle Energies. He was a participant in the formative meetings for the Office of Alternative Medicine (now NCCAM) of the NIH and contributed "Meditation and Medicine" to the published report of the NIH Mind/Body working group. He serves on the Advisory Board of Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, and is a councillor for the Society of Scientific Exploration.

In the past decade Nelson has focused progressively more on "FieldREG" studies, in which the technology used to study anomalous effects of intention in the laboratory is taken into field situations to examine the effects of various types of group consciousness. The results suggest something like a "consciousness field," generated by resonant or coherent interactions of groups during special moments. Drawing on this background, Dr. Nelson established the Global Consciousness Project in 1998, expanding the concepts of consciousness field research to global dimensions. The GCP's researchers have created a world-spanning network of detectors to record effects of major "global events" on a hypothesized global consciousness. There are currently about 40 detectors in all parts of the world, which take data continuously and send it over the internet to a server in Princeton.

The goal of the project is to capture indications of the first glimmerings of a "noosphere" of intelligence for the globe, in the sense of Teilhard de Chardin's vision of human evolution and purpose. Three years of accumulated data show a persistent pattern: when we are collectively engaged by powerful events, the network of REG detectors responds with a tiny correlation. The odds are about a million to one that the overall result is not a chance outcome, but an indication of something like a global consciousness field, a noosphere that we are beginning to perceive.

At least that is one viable "story" that may help to interpret the remarkable results. Beyond the formal studies, the GCP analyses include many explorations that tap into the direct perception of meaning through structure, symmetry, and beauty. The complementary combination of scientific and aesthetic perspectives is a fundamental aspect of Dr. Nelson's work, leading to an ongoing search for the story that underlies and supports rigorous research, and may be essential for its interpretation. Our scientific models and theories are only skeletal approximations of the complexities that characterize consciousness, so that an enrichment of scientific research by the beauty of creative insight and the wisdom of spiritual disciplines is required, ultimately, for deeper understanding.

We are at a critical time in history, facing the necessity to transform our civilization into one that can survive by taking responsibility for our ominous potential to destroy the world we love -- but which we take for granted. I believe the GCP has a role to play by focusing an illuminating technological perspective on our deep interconnections to each other and to the earth. It is one of a thousand thought-provoking trickles that may coalesce into streams that converge into rivers of understanding of who we really are and how we may become conscious stewards of our destiny. When these rivulets reach the ocean we will have it made.

The Global Consciousness Project maintains a website with detailed descriptions and access to the data and the results at

Selected Publications:

Nelson, R. D., Jahn, R. G. & Dunne, B. J. (1986). Operator-Related Anomalies in Physical Systems and Information Processes, Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, Vol. 53, No. 803, April, pp. 261-285.

Jahn, R. G., Dunne, B. J., and Nelson R. D. (1987). "Engineering Anomalies Research" Journal of Scientific Exploration, Vol. 1, No. 1, pp. 21-50.

Radin, D. I. and Nelson, R. D. (1987). "When Immovable Objection Meets Irresistible Evidence: A Case of Selective Reporting." Behavioral and Brain Sciences, Vol. 10, No. 4.

Dunne, B. J., Nelson, R. D., and Jahn, R. G. (1988). "Operator Related Anomalies in a Random Mechanical Cascade Experiment." Journal of Scientific Exploration, Vol. 2, No. 2.

Radin, D. I. and Nelson R. D. (1989). "Evidence for Consciousness-related Anomalies in Random Physical Systems." Foundations of Physics, Vol. 19, No. 12.

Nelson R. D. (in press). "Anzeichen fuer geistesabhaengige Anomalitaeten in physikalischen Zufallssystemen," (Evidence for Consciousness-related Anomalies in Random Physical Systems), Zeitschrift f"ur Parapsychologie und Grenzgebiete der Psychologie.

Dobyns, Y. H., Dunne, B. J., Jahn, R. G., and Nelson, R. D. (1992). "Response to Hansen, Utts, and Markwick: Statistical and Methodological Problems of the PEAR Remote Viewing (sic) Experiments." Journal of Parapsychology, 56, 2, 115-146.

Dunne, B. J., Dobyns, Y. H., Jahn, R. G., and Nelson, R. D. (1994). "Series Position Effects in Random Event Generator Experiments, with Appendix by Angela Thompson." Journal of Scientific Exploration, Vol. 8, No. 2, pp. 197-216.

Nelson, R. D., and Bradish, G. J., Dunne, B. J., and Jahn, R. G. (1994). "A Linear Pendulum Experiment: Effect of Operator Intention on Damping Rate" Journal of Scientific Exploration, Vol 8, No 4, pp. 471-489.

Nelson, R. D., Bradish, G. J., Dobyns, Y. H., Dunne, B. J., Jahn, R. G. (1996). FieldREG Anomalies in Group Situations. Journal of Scientific Exploration, Vol. 10, No. 1, pp. 111-141.

Nelson, R. D., Dunne, B. J., Dobyns, Y. H., Jahn, R. G. (1996). Precognitive Remote Perception: Replication of Remote Viewing. Journal of Scientific Exploration, Vol. 10, No. 1, pp. 109-110.

Nelson, R. D. (1997). Wishing for Good Weather: A Natural Experiment in Group Consciousness. Journal of Scientific Exploration, 11, No. 1, pp. 47-58.

Nelson, R. D. (1997). Multiple Field REG/RNG Recordings During a Global Event, Part I and II. The Electronic Journal for Anomalous Phenomena, 97.2

Nelson, R. D., Boesch, H., Boller, E., Dobyns, Y. H., Houtkooper, J., Lettieri, A., Radin, D. I., Russek, L., Schwartz, G., Wesch, J. (1998). Global Resonance of Consciousness: Princess Diana and Mother Teresa. The Electronic Journal for Anomalous Phenomena, 98.1

Jahn, R. G. Dunne, B. J., Nelson, R. D., Dobyns, Y. H., and Bradish, G. J. (1996). Correlations of Random Binary Sequences with Pre-Stated Operator Intentions. Journal of Scientific Exploration, 11 No. 3, pp. 345-367.

Dobyns, Y. H. and Nelson, R. D. (1997). Empirical Evidence Against Decision Augmentation Theory. Journal of Scientific Exploration, 12, No. 2, pp. 231-58.

Nelson, R. D., Jahn, R. G. Dunne, B. J., Dobyns, Y. H., Bradish, G. J. (1997). FieldREG II: Consciousness Field Effects, Replications and Explorations. Journal of Scientific Exploration, 12, No. 3, pp. 407-54.

Atmanspacher, H. A., Boesch, H., Boller, E., Nelson, R. D., and Scheingraber, H. (1998). Deviations from Physical Randomness Due to Human Agent Intention. Chaos, Solitons, & Fractals 10 No. 6, pp. 935-952.

Nelson, R. D., Jahn, R. G., Dobyns, Y. H., and Dunne, B. J. (2000). Contributions to Variance in REG Experiments: ANOVA Models and Specialized Subsidiary Analyses. Journal of Scientific Exploration, 14, 1, pp. 73-89.

Jahn, R. J., Dunne, B. J., Dobyns, Y. H., Nelson, R. D., and Bradish, G. J. (2000). ArtREG: A random event experiment utilizing picture-preference feedback. Journal of Scientific Exploration, 14, 3, pp. 383-409.

Jahn, R., Mischo, J., Vaitl, D., et al. (2000). Mind/Machine Interaction Consortium: PortREG Replication Experiments. Journal of Scientific Exploration, 14, 4, pp. 499-556

Nelson R. D., Editor, Research in Parapsychology 1986, (with D. Weiner), Scarecrow Press, Metuchen, NJ, 1987.

Nelson, R. D. (in press). The Physical Basis of Intentional Healing Systems. Chapter in: Textbook of Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Wayne B. Jonas and Jeffrey S. Levin, Eds. Baltimore: WIlliams and Wilkins.

Nelson, R. D. (2000). Gathering of Global Mind. Chapter prepared for Subtle Energies and the Uncharted Realms of Mind, George Leonard, Ed. In Press.



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