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Go With Your Gut

Science finds new evidence for gut instincts.

Ever have a “gut feeling”? Okay, stupid question. Most people have, right? In fact, statistics show that approximately fifty percent of humans have experienced a gut feeling about something that later came true. With statistics like that, you'd think science would have long been hankering to understand exactly what is going on in the human stomach. Well, recently, at least, there are a few researchers who are beginning to suspect that everything might not be as it seems beneath the belt. Indeed, parapsychologist Dean Radin, author of The Conscious Universe, is committed to finding out if the gut may in fact have “perception intelligence,” an intelligence that would explain all of those gut feelings. Say that again? The gut is intelligent? Okay, it might not get you into MIT, but it does appear that the mind has a rival, or at least a smaller sibling. According to Radin, research results support growing evidence that humans do have more than one brain—that there is a “dense place of neurons,” down below, that points to the existence of a “belly brain.” And the belly brain, as you might imagine, seems to have responses and “feelings” that are all its own. In fact, it might sometimes have a different take on things than big brother upstairs. Who would have guessed so much could be going on between meals?

Radin's research has also shown some surprising evidence of just how perceptive the belly brain can be. In an experiment at the Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS) with twenty-six pairs of people, Radin showed one person, the “sender,” eight minutes of video images, split into four segments, each according to their emotional content—happy, angry, sad, neutral (no images). Sixty feet away, a second participant, the “receiver,” was locked in a sealed room with electrodes monitoring heart, skin, and stomach muscles. Then the sender consciously tried to send the images to the receiver. The results have been persuasive. IONS research director Marilyn Schlitz says, “We are seeing that the gut is a very sensitive organ, so even if you are in another room, my gut can sense when you see a particularly evocative image and respond emotionally. Therefore, your state can actually influence my state.” Impressive. Not only is our belly brain sensitive, it appears to be psychic to boot.

Exciting as these results are in providing evidence of psychic phenomena between humans, they may also end up proving our good old common sense. During Radin's experiments, the largest effect on the receiver has been when the sender is being shown images of food. All that sensitivity, all that psychic power, and what does the belly brain really care about? Surprise, surprise . . lunch.


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This article is from
Our Collective Intelligence Issue


May–July 2004