The 14th annual  PsiberDreaming Conference

of the International Association for the Study of Dreams


Paper: “Quantum Discord and Psi – Dreaming”

Author: Ralf Penderak


Universe at its birth: a nearly dimensionless boiling drop of pure energy containing what we now experience as different forms of matter and radiation, as extended over unfathomable wide spaces in eons of time.

What once has been so intimately in touch, what has been one, has now exploded, cooled down, the space inflated, the former unity is spread out like a spilled glass of water vaporizes in the desert sun. Are its parts still tuning in to the whole of universe? Are we tuning in to universe, and into each other?

Classical physics sees the parts of the former unity still bound by natural forces, like gravitation, electromagnetism. Influence between parts – in this paradigm – is limited by the speed of light, and this means much in a universe measuring billions of light years. Influence between parts is also thought to be shielded by different forms of matter. Consequently inside this materialist paradigm there is no place for genuine psi, which defies space and time, and disrespects physical shielding (Radin D. I., 1997, p. 13). Dreams, so classical, reductionist worldview says, they only happen inside the brain, like consciousness, generally (Radin D. I., 1997, p. 263 ff).

As physicists encountered quanta in their search to understand the nature of matter and radiation, this classical, materialist worldview was challenged. “Quantum” is a technical term for what physicists observed researching sub – atomic particles and radiation: Their physical properties occur at certain, discrete levels, other than classical physics predicted (Radin D. I., 2006, p. 212) (Quantum, 2016).

A new discipline, quantum physics, was born.  Great minds like Albert Einstein battled with the idea of “spooky actions at a distance”, a consequence of quantum theory, which has only later been proven experimentally. This challenging consequence is also called “EPR paradox”. Later on the now somewhat popular term “quantum entanglement” was coined by Erwin Schrödinger (Radin D. I., 2006, p. 226 f).

To put it short: Quanta, like pairs or larger groups of electrons or photons, which have interacted once, keep on behaving like a unity, like they are one “object” or process, even if they are far apart from each other. They are “entangled”. Experimentally this has been proven for distances of 50 km, as of year 2004 (Radin D. I., 2006, p. 267).

If this is true, why are we not aware of tuning in to the whole of universe all of the time? There are different theories for explanation, and I will focus on two of them: Local entanglement and quantum decoherence. Other theories go into the role of attention, intention, memory, and needs for survival.

With local entanglement I mean the interactions of quanta locally – like on planet earth – by far outnumber those which happened with now remote partners – say in our neighbor galaxy Andromeda (Radin D. I., 2006, p. 271 f).

Then quantum decoherence means information is lost, while the entangled system of quanta interacts with its environment (Radin D. I., 2006, p. 224 f) (Quantum_decoherence, 2016).

The undecided discussion about the role of decoherence made me doubt, if quantum entanglement does persist in living systems, and consequently if quantum theory can serve in understanding and furthering our experience of psi, at all. So I turned more to the practice of psi – dreaming, until in 2015 I saw a youtube of a presentation given by Dean Radin  going into quantum discord. It is really worthwhile watching the video, it includes some illustrative graphics.

Quantum discord is akin to entanglement, but it is a different kind of non – local connection (or coherence) of quanta. Other than quantum entanglement it comes in degrees, and appears to be more stable:

“… But then somebody says ‘aren’t quantum effects so fragile they can’t have anything to do with living systems?’ … this is 20 twentieth century. It’s not true anymore. Why not? Because of dawn of quantum biology. … it turns out living systems not only have quantum effects, they require them in order to work the way that they do” (Radin D. I., 2014).

Radin then includes a video of New Scientist on quantum discord in his presentation:

“It turned out that entanglement is only one kind of connection that particles in the quantum world can have, quantum discord is another. If entanglement is a perfect link, discord is a less than perfect link. It doesn’t carry as much information, but still that’s quantum particles interact in ways that classical particles can’t.

The more discord a system has, the stronger it’s quantum behavior, while a system with no discord behaves classically, with no quantum effects. So the amount of discord is what determines the “quantumness” of a system. And when two particles are linked by discord it becomes possible to change one by manipulating the other. This means discord may be useful for things like quantum computers, which until now have relied on delicate entanglement to work.

Quantum discord is more fundamental, than entanglement, and scientist are only beginning to understand exactly how it gives rise to all the strangeness of the quantum world. For one thing seems clear, discord is more than just a way to link quantum particles. It is one of the rules that govern the most basic level of reality” (Campbell, 2014).

Radin comments on the NewScientist video:

“Things are connected all the time to various degrees … [Quantum discord] it’s probably much more pervasive. …  Quantum discord basically is talking about mutual information, the sharing of informational structures between separate systems” (Radin D. I., 2014).

So back to the questions at the start: Are its parts still tuning in to the whole of universe? Are we still tuning in to universe, and into each other? Quantum physics appears to supply – especially with the discovery of quantum discord – a theoretical framework for non – local communication, which most probably includes brain/ mind.

Caution is advised, as results of physicist’s research can’t easily be transferred to the experience of psi dreaming, or explain the range, the many colors of psi experience, generally. It is tempting, nonetheless, to look for commonalities in these two realms.

What I get out of the concept of quantum discord:

  1. Universe maybe is coherent since the beginning of time, it seems to be an encompassing quantum system.
  2. Possibly brains/ minds and (“inanimate”) matter are tuning in to each other and continuously influence each other on a fundamental level in non – local and trans – temporal ways. From quantum physics point of view they may be regarded as one system, as a unity.  
  3. These connections may vary, and be less than perfect.
  4. Under certain circumstances local connections may be stronger, than remote ones.


Now on to the experience of psi, generally, and psi – dreaming especially matching with quantum discord:

Watt and Tierney go into the phenomenology of spontaneous psi related experiences as follows:

“ESP experiences are reported to take on four forms: Realistic visual images (44%), intuitive impressions (26%), unrealistic visual images (21%), or hallucinations (9%…). Realistic visual images in ESP experiences most often occur as dreams, in which the imagery seems to refer quite literally and specifically to events. …

ESP experiences usually include only partial information about the event to which they presumably refer. Analyses of whether the experience conveyed the general meaning of what happened and to whom have revealed that the highest level of completeness of content is for realistic visual images (91%), followed by unrealistic images (72%), intuitions (55%), and hallucinatory experiences (32%…). The content often tends to be personally significant to the experient; to be related to someone emotionally close to the experient; …Thus, for the individual, the ESP experience seems to be purposive and meaningful” (Watt & Tierney, 2014, p. 243 f).

The good “news” first: Dreaming seems to be a state of mind adapted to tuning in to quantum – coherence, and to dealing with the mostly fragmentary nature of quantum discord.

The experience of psi generally seems to be including often only partial information, though it ranges from the slightest of gut feelings to fully blown up images or scenes nearly perfectly tuning in to events in non – local or trans – temporal ways. We often get realistic images.

Unrealistic images may also contain elements of psi, as the substitution phenomenon shows:

” … refers to the fact that the dreaming mind often shows very poor discrimination by identifying unfamiliar dream people, or things, with familiar and somewhat similar physical reality counterparts. … which I called ‘the substitution phenomenon’ ” (Kellogg E. W., 1997).

“Non – sensory perceptions are occasionally evoked in the brain because, as an exquisite pattern recognizer, it responds to ripples resembling similar undulations with previous events. … One implication … is that we wouldn’t be able to perceive something with psi that we weren’t already familiar with” (Radin D. I., 2006)

Personal significance and emotional importance are factors apparently driving psi experience,  as mentioned in point 4. above: The local entanglement or quantum discord appears to be more important, than the more remote connections.  

There are other important elements I see related to experiences with intended, incubated psi dreams, which are not part of the analysis of Watt and Tierney quoted above.

First of all it appears intention and attention play an important role for the successful incubation of psi dreams. From a quantum physics point of view Radin comments:

” To navigate through this space [of correlated quanta], we use attention and intention. From this perspective, psychic experiences are reframed not as mysterious ‘powers of the mind’ but as momentary glimpses of the entangled fabric of reality” (Radin D. I., 2006, p. 264)

From my own experience of psi, especially in focused group dreaming, I can refer to many instances of dream to waking physical synchronicities between group members, and a good part of them seems mundane, and apparently without meaning (in regard to our focus or goal), spare reminding us of the fact we are connected. These synchronicities may serve as an example of point 2. mentioned above, an example of brains/ minds of a group may be getting entangled in a quantum field. Through focusing on a shared goal we are tuning in to each other. A study of focused group dreaming may point this way, but it needs a larger sample size to possibly achieve significant results. See table 1: “synchronistic” in (Penderak, 2008).  These experiences of synchronicity may be akin to the effect focused groups seem to have on random number generators. Radin writes: “We were able to predict synchronistic-like events” (Radin D. I., 1997, p. 173).

Putting the parallels of quantum theory and research, and the experience of psi dreaming in a nutshell: We seem to be connected, anyway, in ways defying space and time. We are able to tune in to each other and universe through attention and intention. The nature of these non – local and trans – temporal connections though may be fragmentary, and their perception depending on our personal “tunnel of reality”, and the state of consciousness we are in.


For the practice of intentionally tuning in to psi through dreams, I would offer the following suggestions, which may sound familiar, but seen from a different view, combining quantum physics and dreaming experience:

It may be useful to refer to psi as a signal, an information passed from a source / sender/ target to a receiver, though quantum physics speaks of correlations in systems of quanta, and our experience may amount to: We are one, anyway.

The task at hand is increasing the signal and reducing the noise. And this is how to:

We are increasing the signal by focusing our psychic antennae on the signal through intention and attention, through using incubation techniques.

We are reducing the noise by blending out day residue (the strong local entanglement…). We are also analyzing dreams for structures, elements, patterns, themes, so to get around the substitution phenomenon to the best we can.

We should also develop an intuitive sense for which elements in dreams feel like psi, before we see the target in conventional ways (this is also a way to increase the signal).

For the purpose of this paper this may suffice, because Ed Kellogg offered an intense psi dreaming workshop, which is available online, and covers the above, and more (Kellogg E. W., 2010).  


There is a relative new development, at least for the post – industrial culture, and it is group psi dreaming. In regard to increasing the signal, and reducing the noise, it seems to offer new ways of fostering the practice of psi dreaming. The Group Psi Game (GPG) of the Psiberdreaming Conference of the International Association for the Study of Dreams (IASD) may serve as an example (Fatooh, 2016).

Reducing the noise: When a group of 41 dreamers (like in GPG 2015) focuses on a precognitive task, it is possible to look for repeating elements in the multitude of dreams. Through the different dreaming styles coming together it also gets feasible to more easily evade the substitution phenomenon, because all players – dreamers cast their vote for possible targets based on all dreams of the group.  So much for the more conventional/ rational side of the group setting.

Increasing the signal: It is the atmosphere of the GPG, which makes me (as a participant, and a facilitator) feel like the group is more, than the sum of the players, like we are tuning in to an entangled group mind, into field consciousness, while tuning in to the target. Dean Radin shared Roger Nelson’s recipe for fostering field consciousness:

“[It] involved times and places that evoke unusually warm or close feelings of togetherness, with emotional content that tends to draw people together, where personal involvement is important is important but focused more toward a group goal involving a deeply engrossing theme, located in uplifting physical sites like the ocean or mountains, during creative or humorous moments, and enlivened with a sense of freshness or novelty” (Radin D. I., 2006, p. 184 f).

Sometimes it rather feels to some participants, like this group mind were playing with our dreams, while we think it is us directing the game. And so far the group voting process has been on the target, or the target received the second most votes.

“…, individual minds may combine into networks of entangled minds, giving rise to more complex ‘mind circuits,’ forms of awareness, and collective psi – effects beyond our conception” (Radin D. I., 2006, p. 270).


Looking forward to tuning in, again!



Campbell, M. (2014, 9 10). Quantum discord: entanglement’s noisy twin.

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Fatooh, J. (2016, 08). Group Psi Game. Retrieved from

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Penderak, R. (2008). Da-Fu Mu and Evolution. Retrieved from

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Radin, D. I. (1997). The Conscious Universe: The Scientific Truth of Psychic Phenomena (1st ed.). San Francisco, CA, USA: HarperEdge.

Radin, D. I. (2006). Entangled Minds: extrasensory experiences in a quantum reality. New York, NY, USA: Paraview Pocket Books.

Radin, D. I. (2014, 11 4). The Extended Mind,Past,Present and Future.

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Watt, C., & Tierney, I. (2014). Psi-Related Experiences. In E. Cardeña, S. J. Lynn, & S. Krippner (Eds.), Varieties of anomalous experience: Examining the scientific evidence (2nd ed., pp. 241 – 272). Washington, DC, USA: American Psychological Association.


Picture 1: Particle tracks are captured on film in Fermilab’s bubble chamber in 1978. (Image courtesy Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory) 

Picture 2: “The Starry Night”, Vincent van Gogh, 1889