The precognitive decision-maker The PSI Communications Project at the Newark College of Engineering (now the New Jersey Institute of Technology) researched the phenomenon of precognition and the nature of the precognitive decision-maker in the 1960s and 1970s. There is now evidence to suggest that the successful “hunch player”—a person who makes decisions based on hunches rather than fact or evidence—may have something more solid going for him or her than the odds of chance. Experiments indicate that what the texts call illogical (and what managers privately call “lucky”) decisions have some scientific—that is observable, dependable, and explainable—support. The research project strongly supports the idea that some executives have more precognitive ability than others—that is, they are better able to anticipate the future intuitively rather than logically and thus, when put in positions where strong data support may not always exist, will make better decisions. Moreover, a valid test has been developed for determining which people do, and which do not, have this ability. The test consists of asking the participants to guess at a 100-digit number not currently in existence. (The numbers would later be computer-generated using random-number techniques.) Each of the 100 digits can take on any value from zero to nine. A computer generates a specific target for each participant. As expected, some people guess above the chance level of 10 correct guesses out of the 100 digits, while others guess at, or below, the chance level. That some people score above chance on this test would, by itself, not prove they have precognitive ability. But the research has revealed some interesting and significant relationships between high scores on this simple guessing game and other kinds of data. For example, participants are asked to rank their preferences among five metaphors (such as “a motionless ocean,” “a dashing horseman,” and so forth) that have been adapted from a psychological test. Based on their choices, the subjects are divided into “dynamic” and “nondynamic” types. Admittedly, this is not a very sophisticated classification. But invariably, those classified as dynamic by this relatively simple means also tend to score above chance in predicting the computer’s random numbers. In tests on 27 different groups, ranging from four members to 100, dynamic people outscored non-dynamic people in 22 of the groups. Statistically, the chances of this happening by accident are fewer than five in 1,000. Many other groups were tested after this initial 27. But what does a dynamic executive mean? Whatever it connotes, it must also be measured somehow by performance. Four groups of chief operating officers of corporations, all of them in their present jobs for at least five years, were asked to take the tests. These men had held office long enough to assume responsibility for the reliability of their decisions and the recent performance of their companies. The first two groups of chief executives were divided into two classes: those who had at least doubled profits in the past five years, and those who had not. The second group included some who had lost money. Of the 12 men whose companies doubled their profits, 11 scored above the chance level on the computer guessing game. One scored at the chance level, and not a single one fell below chance. Of the 13 who had not doubled profits, seven scored below chance, one scored at chance, and five scored above chance. This last five had improved profits by 50 to 100 percent. Of the seven who scored below chance, five had improved profits less than 50 percent. Only two of those who scored below chance had improved profits more substantially than that. The chief executives who had more than doubled their companies’ profits in five years had an average score of 12.8. Those who had not met this criteria scored an average of 8.3, well below what they should have achieved even on a random basis.An example To give one striking example of the difference between the two groups: Over a five-year period, one president had increased his company’s annual profit from $1.3 million to $19.4 million. His test score was 16. Another had been able to increase his profit by only $374,000. His score was eight. The third group of participants consisted of 41 members of the Steel Distributors Association. Of the 41, 11 had been a company president for at least a five-year tenure. Of those 11, nine had at least doubled their company’s profits over the last five years. Eight of these nine scored above chance. Their average was 11.44 percent. The remaining two, who had not at least doubled their company profits, averaged 9.5 percent, with both scoring at chance or less. The fourth group was composed of 20 Canadians. Of them, six had been company presidents in their current job for at least five years. Five of the six at least doubled the profits, while one fell into the 50-to-95 percent improvement class. Of the five profit-doublers, three scored above chance; the other two were below chance. The sixth person scored at chance level. This finding has interesting implications for selection of executives for the “top spot.” Given a group of people who have the usual traits needed for such a position, which one should be selected? I feel that it should be the person with the something “extra”—in this case the ability to make good decisions under conditions of uncertainty. In the groups of company presidents tested, had the selection been made on the basis of their scores, there would have been an 81.5 percent chance of choosing a person who at least doubled the company’s profits, while if someone who scored below chance had been chosen, there would have been only a 27.3 percent chance of choosing a person who would have doubled the company’s profits.Development of precognition abilities Precognition is not a mystical origin, but rather an energy or information transfer using senses currently not recognizable or known. I believe that everyone has this ability. It is thus not a question of having precognitive ability but rather one of developing the use of the precognitive ability we all possess. Precognitive information comes in many forms—dreams at night, daydreams, flashes, hunches, and “gut feelings.” The user has to first be aware of these various forms and then look for their appearance. With precognition abilities, usage sharpens the talent. With executives, it has been found that they believe in precognition, use it, and then build a rationale to justify the idea they used, or the decision they made, so as “to not look foolish.” Precognitive information is usually obtained concerning a matter in which the problem-solver has been deeply and emotionally involved. It also tends to arrive at times when the mind is supposedly resting and not thinking specifically about the problem. Problem-solvers accept and use such information to make decisions, find solutions, and form ideas. There are many engineers and scientists, but the number of those who can come up with good ideas is very small. These superior idea-generators review the same hard data that others have, but they must contribute something extra to come up with their ideas. Could not part of this something extra be their ability to gather information through what is loosely called ESP?The utilization of precognition ability Research on precognition ability does not support the idea that this ability is a unique trait. However, it does support the idea that some people have more of this ability—and make better use of it—than others. The executive who wishes to avail himself of the ability to use precognition must first understand the nature and form of this phenomenon. Precognition is a part of the unconscious process. As such, it is not bound by the usual limitations of space and time. The ideal condition for the utilization of precognition information is when it does not require decoding or interpretation. The interpretation process, which tends to be logical and rational, can rework the illogical, but incorrect, information. An example of getting precognition information would be the sudden thought that comes to an automobile driver to take a side road rather than the usual straight and shorter highway. The thought is not heeded, and later on down the highway, the motorist runs into a traffic jam. Sir Winston Churchill is reported to have “gotten a feeling” that caused him to sit on the side of the car that he never uses. Later on during the auto trip, as the auto was speeding down the road, a bomb exploded, causing the auto to rise up on two side wheels. Due to Churchill’s weight, the auto did not turn over but righted itself. Had Churchill not heeded the information that came to him, he would probably have been killed. The executives studied not only had to be able to recognize the format of precognition information, but they also had to be prepared to get it any time. For them, this was not an ability that could be turned on and off at will. Next, the user of precognition information has to have the faith and “guts” to use it. It is necessary to accept the existence of the phenomenon, whether or not the user knows how or why it happens. Finally, the “practice makes perfect” rule should be followed. The intuitive decision-maker has to make using precognition information a habit. Each decision-maker has to test the existence of precognition for himself with an open and positive mental attitude. If you deny its existence you are, in effect, repressing it, and it will go away. We tend, out of fear, to resist anything we do not understand. Our research indicates that the best results were achieved when resistance was at a minimum. For ESP abilities to function, we have to overcome any resistance we may have. Several individuals I know had precognition abilities, were frightened of them, and ultimately managed to suppress them. When they realized that the ability could be very useful, a more relaxed attitude resulted and the ability began to return. Common sense dictates that in any situation where knowledge is incomplete, the approach should be gentle. This is probably the best advice one can offer concerning precognition. Be willing to believe that it exists. Have the courage to use it.What inhibits ESP Do not expect to get good intuitive action under stressful conditions. When test subjects are under stress, the results follow the inverse hypothesis—that is, the dynamic managers who should have scored above chance did not do so. In fact, they scored below chance. Similarly, you should not expect good results when you are tired or physically under par. Precognition tests consistently indicate that better results are achieved when tests are held early in the day. Alcohol may also impair precognitive ability. After a three-martini lunch, dynamics from a group of production engineers scored 9.9 on average, and nondynamics scored 9.3 on average. The entire group, in other words, scored below chance. While we cannot with certainty blame the martinis, much evidence already exists concerning alcohol’s effect on mental processes. I would suspect that ESP is no exception.The Dominance Effect Lastly, you should probably try not to make intuitive decisions in any environment where you feel dominated. If you do, it is possible you may “intentionally” predict the future incorrectly. It appears that if you are assured of a dominant role in the environment, and have precognitive ability, you will probably score high, almost as if validating the status quo. We call this the dominance effect. But if your role is a dominated one, you may reinforce the existing hierarchical structure by “deliberately” scoring low. During tests with mixed-sex groups the dominating sex followed the hypothesis; dynamics scored higher than nondynamics. But the dominated sex produced a mirror image—that is, dynamics scored lower. In another case, executives/owners who were fathers or fathers-in-law dominated their sons and sons-in-law. (By dominance we do not mean numerical superiority. It might better be termed environmental.) In tests in groups where the environment was discernibly dominated by one sex, the dominance effect was noted. In groups where the sexes met on an equal footing there was no mirror imaging or following of the inverse hypothesis.Using precognition for good business Here is a story from Silva instructor Nelda Sheets about a time when she used precognition abilities to obtain information to help her employer make a major business decision, in her own words: “When you practice using your intuition enough, you learn to recognize that special feeling of being right. Jose Silva referred to this as an emotional feeling. “I was the office-manager and a salesperson for a John Deere dealership. My boss and I had taken the Silva training together and used it for such things as mentally encouraging people to pay their bills. If we reached a certain sales quota, we’d win a trip to Nassau in the Bahamas. Our goal was 50 tractors. “When it was time to place our next order, my boss and I worked a case to determine what kind of tractors our customers would need. Normally I was the orientologist, but this time he was. I was the psychic. I went to level and asked how many diesel tractors we should order but was interrupted by a sign on my mental screen flashing the words “order all 50 tractors now” over and over. I told Gene, my boss, and he tried to talk me out of it. (We normally ordered five tractors at a time.) Gene had another concern: our bank balance. “I took a deep breath, relaxed, and did some deepening exercises to make sure I was at a good deep level. I mentally asked the question again. In response, I got the same neon sign flashing, telling me to order all 50 tractors. This time, I got that familiar feeling that I was right. I knew I was right, and I told Gene. Gene agreed this time, but because of a tax incentive he knew about. Having tractors in stock once a tax break was announced would help the business. “We ordered all 50 tractors. The John Deere people called me, thinking it was a mistake, since we always order just five at a time. The tractors were delivered, but our lot would only hold five! We had tractors parked in every empty space we could find. The local paper even came to do a story on us. “About a week later we got a call from the John Deere office saying that their workers had gone on strike and that no more equipment would be available. We had our tractors, and we sold all 50. And we enjoyed Nassau!” Professor Emeritus John Mihalasky taught industrial engineering at New Jersey Institute of Technology (formerly Newark College of Engineering) for 31 years. He was the director of the PSI Communications Project. Although he retired in 1987, he continued to teach part-time until his passing in 2006. He is coauthor of Executive ESP, the book about the landmark research project on precognition (Prentice Hall, 1974).
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ESP for executivesby John Mihalasky, Ed.D In the last few years it has become increasingly difficult for business and industry to stay competitive. Critics charge that there is too much reliance on short-term thinking and on the fear of taking risks. With more data being generated by more and more computers, there has been a tendency to slip into a posture of “managing by the numbers.” The emphasis has been on the use of rationality and logic in problem-solving and decision-making—operations research, management science, modeling, and the development of computers that “think.” Unfortunately, all this has given us more and more incorrect, invalid, and/or unreliable data, faster, to make decisions whose outcomes have been correct about as many times as when we made decisions by holding a wet finger up to the wind. It is my contention that this state of affairs is due to the fact that not enough has been done to investigate the application of illogical, non-rational, unconscious thinking. We have spent most of our time on rational, logical, conscious thinking. It is (and has been for a long time) necessary to delve into the use of the unconscious. The purpose of the material in this report is to explore the basis for the use of the unconscious—ESP, if you will—in the problem-solving and decision-making processes.