The Global Consciousness Project

24 06 2009


Is there such a thing as mass human consciousness, and is it something that can be measured?

As “new age” as that may sound, it is a question that scientists began to explore in the late 1960’s, concurrent with the advent of computers and micro electronic technology.  In 1979, Princeton University established a laboratory–the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research (PEAR) group–to study the effect of human consciousness on electronic devices.  In 1980 Dr. Roger Nelson, an experimental psychologist with a background in physics, statistical methods, and engineering, joined the group.

For the next 22 years Dr. Nelson and his colleagues developed and refined electronic hardware designed to generate random data, and used it to test their hypothesis that human consciousness can exert a measurable influence on physical electronic systems.  During this time Dr. Nelson began to formulate ideas for what would later become the Global Consciousness Project


The GCP’s core hypothesis is that mass human consciousness, when it is focused on some major global event, should measurably affect a network of continuously operating random number generators set up in 40 countries over the course of about 10 years.  The process is rather complicated, but the concept is simple.

GCP’s instruments, referred to as “EGG’s” (an acronym for electrogaiagram), generate random numbers which can be represented as a continuous output of 1’s or 0’s.  The principle is similar to that of flipping a coin, only much faster.  In any set number of coin flips, an observer has an expectation that half of the coin flips will produce a result of “heads,” and half will produce “tails.”  In Dr. Nelson’s process, “heads and tails” are replaced by “1’s and 0’s,” but the concept of an “expected result” remains the same.

Fractal Analysis of Random Data (Image courtesy of Dr. Roger Nelson)

Fractal Analysis of Random Data (Image courtesy of Dr. Roger Nelson)

In his analysis of this data, Dr. Nelson is looking for significant deviations from the expected result.  That is to say, suspiciously long strings of either 1’s or 0’s.  Using our coin analogy, imagine that you decide to flip a coin 100 times.  You would expect to get 50 “heads” and 50 “tails,” with the understanding that the actual results might deviate slightly one way or the other.  But what if you got “heads” 90 times in a row?  That would indicate a significant deviation from the expected result.

By itself, this seeming coherence in a random system is meaningless.  It isn’t until we apply the data to Dr. Nelson’s hypothesis that a very interesting phenomenon is revealed.  Using a very strict criteria, Dr. Nelson began to examine the data as it correlated to major world events.  Targeted events included such things as the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the death of Princess Diana, and even New Year’s Eve celebrations.  What Dr. Nelson discovered was that in the majority of these instances, the sampled data from the EGG network did indeed show the significant deviation from expected result that I describe above, and that Dr. Nelson predicted.  Stated more simply (if somewhat less accurately), the results seemed to indicate that during major global events, the consciousness of a vast number of the world’s people–likely focused on the event–seems to exert some influence on the EGG network…the random number generators begin to generate long strings of non-random numbers.


For me, it is interesting in and of itself.  Dr. Nelson has data that seems to reveal a meaningful correlation between coherence in continuously generated random data, and focused mass consciousness during major global events.  He has his critics, and I find it reassuring that Dr. Nelson meets them head-on on his web site.  He doesn’t shy away from it.

But let’s go ahead and unpack this.  If Dr. Nelson’s core hypothesis…that our instrument (the network of “eggs”) will show anomalous deviations associated with Global Events when there is widespread participation or reaction to the event…is proved, then what does it mean?

Well, it would seem to mean that there is such a thing as “Global Consciousness.”  It would seem to mean that we humans…each and every one of us…are connected one to another in a very intimate and hitherto unsuspected way.  Or it may mean that the planet we live on has a consciousness, and is generating the “cause” for Dr. Nelson’s “effect.”  I prefer the first possibility, not being a part of the “gaia-worship” crowd.  Either way, it is for you to further explore.  Here’s the LINK…and I hope your journey on this particular path is as rewarding as mine.



2 responses

11 04 2012
The GCP: Does Mass Human Consciousness Exist?

[…] the blog, Vacuum Genesis, Is there such a thing as mass human consciousness, and is it something that can be […]

10 06 2015
Does Mass Human Consciousness Exist? - About Meditation

[…] From the blog, Vacuum Genesis, […]

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