Measuring group connections: HRV and RNG

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Eric (Rick) Leskowitz MD 
Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital 
Harvard Medical School, Boston MA 

Most people have experienced the power of group energies, whether at a political rally, a sporting event, a musical concert, or a meditation retreat. While concrete factors like the volume of the cheers and the sight of other people clapping are easy to identify as contributors to the impact of these events, objective measurement of the intangible aspects of this phenomenon has been problematic. In this report, I describe the detection and measurement of the subtle energy aspects of group connections using two well-validated techniques: heart rate variability (HRC) (in particular, Heart Coherence (HC)) and random number generators (RNG). The first demonstration was done in a laboratory setting and the second was done while attending a professional baseball game. Both produced significant confirmatory evidence that intangible group connections are in fact real, measurable and quantifiable. 

HRV: On site at the Institute of HeartMath, a volunteer (the author) who was naïve to the IHM practice of heart coherence (HC) had all incoming visual and auditory cues blocked by blindfolds and headphones. He then had his baseline HRV status was measured with standard heart-rate biofeedback monitors, before being joined by four experienced HeartMath practitioners (Figure 1). At a moment in time unbeknownst to the subject, they began their meditation practice, while he continued to be monitored to determine whether his HC status was being affected by the nearby group’s meditative activities. 

RNG: A software program for continuously generating random numbers was installed in a laptop computer that the author brought to a professional baseball game. The program allowed to run throughout the game, which the author watched while seated several hundred feet away from the computer. He made note of moments that he subjectively determined were emotionally significant or intense. After the game ended, the RNG data file was analyzed by an off-site statistician who was blind to the proceedings, in order to determine at what moments in time the RNG output varied from randomness by more than two standard deviations (ie, attained statistical significance).  

HRV: During the baseline phase, the subject showed no significant degree of heart coherence, ranging from 0-5% on the coherence ratio weighted average HC index. Shortly after the HeartMath team entered the room, and within seconds of them beginning to meditate, the subject’s HC tracing showed an immediate and sustained increase in coherence to 25% over the next minute. At that point the study was terminated by the lab director.  

RNG: Seven moments of statistically significant spikes in RNG non-randomness were noted, and five of them corresponded exactly in time to the five of the eight most emotionally significant moments of the game, as previously determined subjectively by the author (Figure 2). The odds that these co-occurrences happened due to chance alone were 1:2,000 (p<0.0005). 

Both studies validated the initial hypothesis that group energetic connections could be measured by fairly simple instrumentation. The mechanism of action for these effects is not clear, though the apparent synchronization of heart rhythms is thought by IHM researchers to represent a resonance phenomenon between the cardiac magnetic fields of the participants. Future studies could shield out various components of the EMF and biofield, via Faraday cages and mu-metal shielding, to isolate any putative non-EMF or etheric components of this interaction. 

The baseball study mirrored findings by the PEAR Lab and the Global Consciousness Project, but with more precise moment-to-moment data analysis made possible via the novel proprietary software used in this study. In contrast to the cumulative data analysis favored by those labs, the use of this novel software could enable more precise studies of the impact of group consciousness on RNG devices. 


Figure 1 – Group heart resonance demonstration 

Figure 2 – Results of RNG measurements during Red Sox baseball game 

Dossey L, The PEAR Lab and Nonlocal Mind: Why They Matter, Explore 3:191-196, 2007. 

Jahn R and Dunne B. The PEAR Proposition, Journal of Scientific Exploration, 19(2), 2005. 

Leskowitz E. Random number generators at the ballpark: Preliminary evidence for the detection of moment-by-moment fluctuations in group attention as measured by Psigenics software. International Journal of Healing and Caring, 11(1):1-11, Jan. 2011. 

Leskowitz E. The influence of group heart rhythm on target subject physiology: Case report of a laboratory demonstration, and suggestions for future research. Subtle Energies and Energy Medicine 18(3):1-12. 

McCraty R, The energetic heart: Bioelectromagnetic communication within and between people, in Bioelectromagnetic Medicine, Ed. Rosch P & Markov M, Marcel Dekker Publisher, NY, 2004. 


Rick Leskowitz
Rick Leskowitz

Rick Leskowitz MD was a consultant psychiatrist to the Pain Management Program at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital and Harvard Medical School for over 25 years, and founded their Integrative Medicine Task Force. He has studied energy healing, meditation and hypnosis for over 40 years, written widely on subtle energy concepts, and edited three texts. His documentary film about group energies and sports, “The Joy of Sox: Weird Science and the Power of Intention”, was broadcast on PBS in 2012.

Measuring group connections: HRV and RNG


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