From the abstract;Background
The possibility of predicting random future events before any sensory clues by using human physiology as a dependent variable has been supported by the meta-analysis of Moss-bridge et al. (2012)1 and recent findings by Tressoldi et al. (2011 and 2013)2, 3 and Mossbridge et al. (2014)4 defined this phenomenon predictive anticipatory activity (PAA).
Aim of the study
From a theoretical point of view, one interesting question is whether PAA is related to the effective, real future presentation of these stimuli or whether it is related only to the probability of their presentation.
This hypothesis was tested with four experiments, two using heart rate and two using pupil dilation as dependent variables.
In all four experiments, both a neutral stimulus and a potentially threatening stimulus were predicted 7–10% above chance, independently from whether the predicted threatening stimulus was presented or not.
These findings are discussed with reference to the “grandfather paradox,” and some candidate explanations for this phenomena are presented.
Italian researcher Tressoldi made an interesting variation on the type of subconscious predictive experiments or PAA more associated with Dean Radin. For reference to Radin's experiment see:
In the standard experiment the subject was wired up to a heart monitor and a baseline taken. Heart rate is monitored as a computer randomised series of images are presented. Subjects reacted above chance expectations in correlation to the upcoming random image. The Tressoldi experiments made a few modifications, specifically he added an instruction to the computer to not display a provocative image if the subject's response predicted one. Oddly this did not affect the result, which was much the same as when the stimulus images were not pulled.
The abstract suggests that this could mean that the subjects are reacting to stimuli which is never given. This surely is impossible.
With only two experiments thus far run this may only be a statistical fluke, which is the easy answer. Tressoldi did make a few other variations such as having a set number of showings for both the stimulating and neutral images. If the participants knew this, which they seem not to have, they could have beaten the odds by counting how many of each image had been shown. This would have been fairly obvious in the results though if a well above expectation number of subjects predicted the last images shown, once all examples of one of the two pictures had been flashed. Radin's experiment in contrast was fully random to avoid this problem.
If the result is confirmed as neither fluke nor flaw and we have to accept it, what could it mean? In General Relativity the future is a location with it's own position, normally out of reach as we only consciously perceive a present. That would permit a retrocausal effect as Radin's experiments suggest. Tressoldi suggested that an indefinite future might explain his result, but if the future were unformed, nonexistent then it would not be possible to extract information from it. If the future were superpositioned or branching off into multiple alternates this still would not explain the result, as all possibilities would be available, giving a chance result. Also, the outcome of a stimulus image is impossible if predicted with the change in software which aborts a result of said image if a predicting response is noted.
The last explanation I can come up with is that the results come from a Psi interaction with the computer itself, the programme was about to instigate a stimulus picture until the further instruction to abort cut in, due to the predictive reaction. Before the main trial the subjects each had to do a trial run to test their reactions to the two pictures. Could this be an extreme form of Pavlovian reaction? A reaction triggered by no more than a register in a hard drive?