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Dissociative Symptoms and Anomalous Information Reception

  • ORIGINAL ARTICLE
  • Published:
Activitas Nervosa Superior

Abstract

The belief and prevalence of self-report anomalous information reception (AIR) is widespread worldwide. Some argue that these experiences are a dissociative type of pathology. However, researchers have found conflicting dissociative symptoms in people who claim AIR, with some studies demonstrating differences between those that do and do not endorse AIR experiences and other studies showing increased dissociative symptoms but not at a pathological level. The purpose of this study was to analyze the relationship of dissociative symptoms to self-report AIR experiences in a large secondary dataset of 2215 participants. Participants were mostly middle-aged, Caucasian, well-educated, not in relationship, middle- to upper-class adults from the USA who were raised Christian but now identify as “Spiritual but not religious.” The occupations were quite varied. The AIR experiences usually began in childhood, and most participants had family members with similar experiences. Clairempathy (87.9%) or the ability to feel the emotions of another person or non-physical entity and claircognizance (88.1%) or the ability to understand or know something without any direct evidence or reasoning process were the most commonly endorsed AIR experiences. They also had the highest weighted scores that summed AIR endorsement, and perceived strength, frequency, and accuracy. Pyrokinesis, levitation, and psychic surgery were quite rare. The mean Dissociation Experience Scale score for all participants was 15.4% ± 17.3. Variability in the total weighted AIR experience score (R-squared, 0.34) was accounted for by the Dissociation Experience Scale score, age, quadratic age, race, education, income, relationship status, family history of AIR experiences, childhood spirituality and importance, and current spirituality and importance (F (26, 1670) = 34.2, p < 0.00005). More research is needed to examine the impact of AIR on people’s lives and functionality when having AIR experiences.

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Abbreviations

AIR:

anomalous information reception

PTSD:

post-traumatic stress disorder

DID:

dissociative identity disorder

DSM-V:

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5th edition

IONS:

Institute of Noetic Sciences

DES-T:

Dissociation Experiences Scale Taxon

PCT-AIR:

combined weighted score of AIR items

SD:

standard deviation

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Acknowledgments

The authors would like to thank Melissa Nelson and the Institute of Noetic Sciences for their help with this project.

Funding

This study was funded in part by the BIAL Foundation, Ray Benton Fund, and Federico and Elvia Faggin Foundation. The funders did not have a role in the design of the study and collection, analysis and interpretation of the data, and writing of the manuscript.

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HW designed the study, collected the data, and analyzed and interpreted the data, and was a major contributor in writing the manuscript. KM contributed to analysis design and analyzed and interpreted the data. AS was a major contributor in writing the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

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Correspondence to Helané Wahbeh.

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This study was approved by the Institute of Noetic Sciences Institutional Review Board.

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The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Wahbeh, H., McDermott, K. & Sagher, A. Dissociative Symptoms and Anomalous Information Reception. Act Nerv Super 60, 75–85 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s41470-018-0023-6

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