Something is amiss, I just can’t say exactly what

The ability to detect something different or wrong has nothing to do with a sixth sense but subtle clues we don’t even consciously notice.

Researchers dismiss sixth sense – and put their faith in common sense | Science | theguardian.com.

A year-long University of Melbourne study, published in the journal Plos One, found that people could reliably detect a change in their surroundings, even if they could not accurately describe what that change was.

However, the research concluded that this was not due to any kind of supernatural ability, but rather from cues picked up from more conventional senses such as sight.

Researchers tested subject with photographs and asked whether a change had occured from one picture to another.

The results showed that while the subjects could “sense” a change had occurred, they could not verbalise what it was.

Some of the subjects, and lots of people, will say they possessed a sixth sense, or extrasensory perception, but it’s nothing so mysterious. Let’s give credit to our brain and our perception to notice something off in the surroundings. This is an evolutionarily adapted instinct. It’s not paranormal. It’s NORMAL. Though some are better at it than others. 

Here is the entire paper. PLOS ONE: Detecting Unidentified Changes.

  11 comments for “Something is amiss, I just can’t say exactly what

  1. Dustin
    January 14, 2014 at 2:12 PM

    As a poker player, the “gut feeling” has always interested me. Frequent situations arise where you’re inarticulately compelled to take a certain action, even though the math, game theory and common sense would call for a completely different one. It doesn’t seem entirely implausible that after logging hundreds of hours at the card table that one might experience some kind of subconscious pattern detection that is triggered now and again. There’s an interesting clip on YT where Orson Welles discusses cold reading, and the last few moments illustrates this concept exactly.

    http://youtu.be/IjPsnfysrp8

    Definitely worth watching.

    Of course, it’s entirely possible that I’ve fooled myself into thinking that my “going with the gut” in poker is any better than random chance, and perhaps even more so that Orson was full of shit.

    • One Eyed Jack
      January 15, 2014 at 8:14 AM

      As a fellow poker player I agree with you completely. I’ve often made that river call because “it doesn’t feel right”, but much of that comes from experience (like you say). Patterns emerge and when things don’t make sense, there’s usually a reason. The clues are often overt, but sometimes, it’s just a feeling.

    • Kiljoy616
      January 16, 2014 at 12:47 AM

      Interesting, did not know this about him.

  2. spookyparadigm
    January 14, 2014 at 8:24 PM

    But, some scientists want to keep studying ESP, or as I like to think of it, the aether, and even wrote a petition about it.

  3. January 14, 2014 at 8:51 PM

    First of all, that there are only five senses is a myth — we have lots more than 5, including temperature sense, sense of balance, pain sense, and so on. It’s my understanding that the ‘five senses’ comes from Shakespeare’s time, and that neuroscientists have been able to detect other types of senses (some of which are only found commonly in some animals, such as magnetosense, and echolocation).

    In any case, I remember a conversation where someone asked me a question about what I thought someone’s opinion was. I gave a very specific answer, to which I received the surprised response ‘you must have a sixth sense’. I responded, ”no, I heard you say it earlier — and that’s one of the five’.

    • January 14, 2014 at 8:53 PM

      Ack, I wrote that before watching the video lol. Sorry for being redundant 8-).

  4. Lagaya1
    January 15, 2014 at 12:51 AM

    I once had a dream that a snake crawled out of my arm. About a week later, I had tendonitis in the exact same place. I could have thought that I was psychic, but instead, I realized that my body know what was happening before my conscious mind did.

  5. Brian
    January 15, 2014 at 6:26 AM

    I am able to ‘sense’ when cars are going to turn corners, from like hundreds of feet away. then again, I live in an area that if you don’t have reactions like a fighter pilot on a gallon of espresso EVERY day, you get run down. We live in the worst place for pedestrians. I have honed senses that would scare the pants off of most people. My hearing is amazing for my age ( Me and almost EVERY kid at Epcot heard speaker feedback. My wife was looking at me like I had gone nuts.). I catch the absolute slightest movements, be it bugs, or something moving slightly.

    And I still get walloped on the head when my kid finds the dustpan and decides to go seining the thing…. :-P

  6. Chris Howard
    January 15, 2014 at 7:20 AM

    They call it hypersensory awareness in sensation and perception classes in psychology departments.

    Basically, some people are really good at picking up sensory ques, and interpreting them accurately. No sixth sense necessary.

    As to dreams, when someone says “I dreamed about X, and X happened. How do you explain that?” the answer is odds.

    At some point you are going to dream about something that will, resemble, or symbolically represent, something in your life that will be perceived as a foretelling.

    The problem is that you have to count the misses. In other words, the overwhelming majority of your dreams don’t portend anything, because dreams tend to be the brain making sense of sensory organs that are in sleep mode.

    But eventually you’ll dream about something that comes pretty close to an event that has yet to happen. Again, no sixth sense necessary to explain such an event.

  7. Lukas
    January 15, 2014 at 10:50 AM

    This kind of research should be send to Dean Radin and those parapsychologists who call for open mindedness. I would like to know how would they then claim that we have some PSI powers. The study was great its even on Science daily with the name: Debunking the sixth sense – Science Daily.

    Its interesting how claims work like a boomerang yesterday I was reading the news that Dean Radin and his pals call for open mindedness to PSI in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience and the next day we receive a study which destroys their claims that PSI exists. If this is the thing that Dean Radin was talking about then I agree there are studies in parapsychology made but they mostly destroy the notion that we have some super powers which Dean Radin claims are true.

  8. January 17, 2014 at 4:27 PM

    Intuition is merely the application of experience to incomplete data in order to make an educated guess. I was a programmer or Systems Analyst for over 25 years, and it got to the point where if a junior programmer came to me with a bug or a problem that he couldn’t figure out, I often could tell him with some accuracy what the issue was without even looking at his code. It’s not magic or an extra sense, but with enough experience, it can come naturally and appear like magic to those without that same amount of experience.

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