By HARRY PHILLIPS
Imagine this scenario: A man is playing a video game at work while wearing headphones. He can't hear his boss coming around the corner, yet he manages to close the game just in time.
How did he know? A new study supports the possibility of "presentiment" - the ability to sense the future.
"Our analysis suggests that if you were tuned into your body, you might be able to detect these anticipatory changes between 2 and 10 seconds beforehand and close your video game," said neuroscientist Julia Mossbridge, of Northwestern University. Mossbridge is the lead author of the review of data from 26 mainstream psychological studies and experiments dating back as far as 1978.
Test subjects in the studies exhibited significant changes in cardio and brain waves as well as electrical measurements in their skin up to 10 seconds prior to experiencing randomly chosen stimuli, such as a disturbing or arousing photo, suggesting that the subjects somehow anticipated they were about to see something that would provoke a sensory response.
Mossbridge said that researchers are not sure whether people are really sensing the future, but added that her group's findings were particularly interesting because the 26 studies she examined had purposes other than to look for evidence of presentiment. Her analysis of the data, she said, puts the odds of her findings being the result of chance or coincidence at 400 billion to one.
The analysis was published in Frontiers in Perception Science.
Watch the surprising stories of people who say they've had premonitions on "20/20: The Sixth Sense" Friday at 10 p.m. ET.