Tart: On the Resurrection of Trans-Temporal Inhibition



On the Resurrection of Trans-Temporal Inhibition

Application of basic learning theory to multiple-choice ESP tests, like card guessing with delayed feedback, revealed this standard procedure to be an extinction paradigm, an analysis further supported by the evidence of frequent declines in ESP performance with continuing practice. This application of learning theory predicted that percipients who possessed some demonstrable ESP ability to begin with, who were attentive and motivated to learn, and who received immediate feedback, could learn how to score better and not experience declines. In a 3-stage Selection, Confirmation (for ESP ability), and Training Study, not only were declines absent, but much higher ESP-hitting than usually seen on the present time target was observed. A later exploratory analysis showed unexpected and very strong ESP-missing on the immediately future target. The theory postulated to explain this, Trans-Temporal Inhibition (TTI), parallels sensory enhancement processes in our ordinary senses, and, perhaps more importantly, suggests that some aspect of the mind may have a temporally wider “now” than our ordinary “now.” The author hopes that presentation and discussion of this material here may stimulate others to devise more adequate physical theories about the nature of time and/or psychological theories about information processing procedures in ESP.
See also commentary by Braude

This suggested to Tart that psi inherently operates in a wider “now” than ordinary sensory perception, one which would allow interference from the immediately future target. But in that case, from an engineering or perhaps evolutionary perspective one might expect to find some sort of extrasensory discrimination process, whereby percipients suppress information about the immediate past and future in order to enhance the detectability of the desired real-time target
Tart’s discussion wavers between describing trans-temporal inhibition psychologically (as a process creating dispositions or biases against calling targets) and more mechanistically (as an information-suppression mechanism). Of the two, the latter most closely corresponds to descriptions of lateral inhibition. But the descriptions are not incompatible. For example, if information about the identity of the +1 target is suppressed, the subject may develop a bias against calling that target. Of course, one must be careful here, because the putative relationship between information suppression and bias development is likely to be contingent and not lawlike. Thus, that relationship may hold only for some percipients, or only for certain times rather than others. In any case, Tart postulated that the suppression at t i of the identity of the target at t i + 1 would create a kind of holdover effect. That is, the suppression (and any biases developed at t i against calling the digit of the next target) would probably linger for a while, thus increasing the likelihood that the subject would not call the digit corresponding to the (t i + 1)th target at t i + 1. Since Tart hypothesized that trans-temporal inhibition is correlated with psi-hitting, he suggested that, when a subject hits at t i , he is more likely to miss on the next trial than if he had not hit at t i . Therefore, Tart reasons that the data should show fewer hit doublets (i.e. two hits in a row) than would be expected if every trial were independent of the previous one, an effect Tart called psi-stuttering. There is, indeed, some evidence for this in Tart’s data: the more that percipients showed real-time hitting, the more hitting tended not to occur sequentially
I should emphasize that Tart’s personal position for decades now has been that the existence of ESP was established long ago and that he only works with it to try to understand its nature and potential applications. Accordingly, Tart felt that trans-temporal inhibition may provide a clue to the nature of psi and mind. That, after all, was the topic in which he was most interested. Finally, I’m pleased to say that, after I decided to write about this subject for my Editorial, I was able to persuade Tart to say even more about it for this issue. It’s been many decades since Tart originally tackled the topic of trans-temporal inhibition, and now JSE readers can see for themselves what his current thoughts are.
Finally, check out Lee Smolin on the idea of a thick present:

Lee Smolin:Part of our view is that an aspect of moments, or events, is that they are generative of other moments. A moment is not a static thing, it is an aspect of a process (or visa versa) which generates new moments. The activity of time is a process by which present events bring forth or give rise to the next events.

I studied this idea together with Marina Cortes. We developed a mathematical model of causation from a thick present which we called energetic causal sets [6]. Our thought is that each moment or event may be a parent of future events. A present moment is one that has not yet exhausted or spent its capability to parent new events. There is a thick present of such events. Past events were those that exhausted their potential and so are no longer involved in the process of producing new events, they play no further role and therefore there is no reason to regard them as still existing. (So no to Ellis’s growing block universe.)

AO: Can you help me understand what you mean by a “thick present”? I’m confused because if the present moment is “thick” rather than instantaneous, and may contain events, it seems like you’re defining the present moment as a stretch of time, which looks like a contradiction in terms. Similarly, when you say that the activity of time is a process I’m left thinking that events, activities and processes are all already temporal notions, and so to account for time in those terms seems circular.

LS:I can appreciate your confusion but look, think about it this way: the world is complex. What ever it is, it contains many elements in a complicated network of relations. To say what exists is events in the present does not mean it is one thing. The present is not one simple thing, it is the whole world, therefore it contains a vast complexity and plurality. Of what? Of processes, which are dual to events.


Another paper, previously posted on this board at least once, on similar themes:

Quantum Physics, Advanced Waves and Consciousness

An essential component of the Copenhagen Interpretation of quantum mechanics is Schrödinger’s wave equation. According to this interpretation, consciousness, through the exercise of observation, forces the wave function to collapse into a particle. Schrödinger’s wave equation is not relativistically invariant and when the relativistically invariant wave equation (Klein-Gordon’s equation) is taken into account, there is no collapse of the wave function and no justification for consciousness as a prerequisite to reality. Klein-Gordon’s wave equation depends on a square root and yields two solutions: retarded waves which move forwards in time and advanced waves which move backwards in time. Advanced waves were considered to be unacceptable since they contradict the law of causality, according to which causes always precede effects. However, while studying the mathematical properties of KleinGordon’s equation, the mathematician Luigi Fantappiè noted that retarded waves are governed by the law of entropy (from Greek en=diverge, tropos=tendency), whereas advanced waves are governed by a law opposite to entropy which leads to concentration of energy, differentiation, complexity, order and growth of structures. Fantappiè named this law syntropy (syn=converge, tropos=tendency) and noted that its properties coincide with the qualities of living systems, arriving in this way at the conclusion that life and consciousness are a consequence of advanced waves (Fantappiè, 1942).