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Does Intention Really Work? A Test of Intention

Posted Oct 17 2008 12:27pm
I have been studying intention for many years now and still have a bit of skepticism regarding all of the hoopla about changing your reality by changing your thoughts and beliefs. Yes, I think you can change your life by looking at it from the glass is half full perspective but what I’m talking about is physical reality. In other words can you have an effect on physical reality by using your thoughts?

I’m not talking about moving rocks or starting your car with your mind in the dead of winter or even sending a message to your spouse to take out the garbage, I’m just looking to move a needle on some sensitive equipment or influence some event in some minor way. So I set out to find some sort of test that would “show me the money” when it came to demonstrating intention.

My research led me to the random event generator studies performed at the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research Center by the likes of Roger Nelson and Dean Radin. These scientists are no slouches. They performed thousands of trials with random event generators spitting out millions of ones and zeros. Many of these trials incorporated subjects who tried to influence these machines to spit out more ones or more zeros. The data is convincing that humans can indeed have an influence over these machines.

But I’m a kind of show me guy. I want to see this effect for myself. I want to see something react to just me sitting there thinking some kind of thought or another. So I found another series of experiments carried out by a lie detector expert by the name of Cleve Backster. Backster was a polygraph expert who in 1966 hooked up a plant to a lie detector hoping to measure the time it took for water to reach a leaf. Backster found that when he thought about harming the plant the polygraph displayed a reaction much like an alarm reaction in a human subject. This led to many follow up experiments testing whether plants can sense danger or pick up information from humans with mixed results.

So, since I have access to an EEG machine in my lab I thought I would conduct my own test of intention. I visited my local Home Depot and purchased a basic philodendron for my subject. I brought the plant to my lab and attached three sticky electrodes to one large leaf being careful not to damage it. I then took a baseline reading for about a minute. So far the EEG machine signal just showed some very mild activity but basically a flat line. I was actually surprised to find any signal at all since I didn’t think the plant was capable of producing anything that looked like brain waves.

Now for the spooky part. I inserted a marker in the data to let me know just when I would threaten the poor defenseless plant. I then lit a Bunsen burner on the lab table about six feet from the plant. I took a loop of wire and heated it to red hot with the intention of burning the plant. To my further surprise I noticed a few blips on the screen. I brought the red hot loop of wire closer to one of the plant leaves and noticed a few more blips. It seemed as though the blips were more in synch with my thoughts than my movements closer to the plant.

Frankly at this point I had to sit down and collect my thoughts so I stopped the recording for a bit. After a couple of minutes I started it up again and threatened the plant one more time. Sure enough, there were the blips just when I thought those nasty plant burning thoughts.

Skepticism diminished I took a good look at the data and it appears that Cleve Backster was really on to something at least in my lunch hour plant torturing session. It seemed unlikely that the blips appeared at random since I was thinking about affecting the plant in a threatening way when they appeared and there was a flat line when I wasn’t thinking of affecting the plant.

So what the heck is going on here? Could the plant somehow be picking up my bad vibes? According to the intention folks that is what happens. Our thoughts connect to a field that connects to everything else. The plant is just reacting to the information in the field.

This little experiment did a couple of things for me. For one, I have a deeper respect for plants. I also was able to witness something concrete about intention and the physical world. I’ll be sure to be more aware of negative thoughts in the future.

For more about intention and healing visit:

Lunch hour experiment with plant and eeg machine.
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