Activitas Nervosa Superior

, Volume 60, Issue 3–4, pp 75–85 | Cite as

Dissociative Symptoms and Anomalous Information Reception

  • Helané WahbehEmail author
  • Kelly McDermott
  • Amira Sagher


The belief and prevalence of self-report anomalous information reception (AIR) is widespread worldwide. Some argue that these experiences are a dissociative type of pathology. However, researchers have found conflicting dissociative symptoms in people who claim AIR, with some studies demonstrating differences between those that do and do not endorse AIR experiences and other studies showing increased dissociative symptoms but not at a pathological level. The purpose of this study was to analyze the relationship of dissociative symptoms to self-report AIR experiences in a large secondary dataset of 2215 participants. Participants were mostly middle-aged, Caucasian, well-educated, not in relationship, middle- to upper-class adults from the USA who were raised Christian but now identify as “Spiritual but not religious.” The occupations were quite varied. The AIR experiences usually began in childhood, and most participants had family members with similar experiences. Clairempathy (87.9%) or the ability to feel the emotions of another person or non-physical entity and claircognizance (88.1%) or the ability to understand or know something without any direct evidence or reasoning process were the most commonly endorsed AIR experiences. They also had the highest weighted scores that summed AIR endorsement, and perceived strength, frequency, and accuracy. Pyrokinesis, levitation, and psychic surgery were quite rare. The mean Dissociation Experience Scale score for all participants was 15.4% ± 17.3. Variability in the total weighted AIR experience score (R-squared, 0.34) was accounted for by the Dissociation Experience Scale score, age, quadratic age, race, education, income, relationship status, family history of AIR experiences, childhood spirituality and importance, and current spirituality and importance (F (26, 1670) = 34.2, p < 0.00005). More research is needed to examine the impact of AIR on people’s lives and functionality when having AIR experiences.


Dissociative symptoms Anomalous information reception 



anomalous information reception


post-traumatic stress disorder


dissociative identity disorder


Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5th edition


Institute of Noetic Sciences


Dissociation Experiences Scale Taxon


combined weighted score of AIR items


standard deviation



The authors would like to thank Melissa Nelson and the Institute of Noetic Sciences for their help with this project.

Authors’ Contributions

HW designed the study, collected the data, and analyzed and interpreted the data, and was a major contributor in writing the manuscript. KM contributed to analysis design and analyzed and interpreted the data. AS was a major contributor in writing the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Funding Information

This study was funded in part by the BIAL Foundation, Ray Benton Fund, and Federico and Elvia Faggin Foundation. The funders did not have a role in the design of the study and collection, analysis and interpretation of the data, and writing of the manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Ethics Approval and Consent to Participate

This study was approved by the Institute of Noetic Sciences Institutional Review Board.

Consent for Publication

Not applicable.

Competing Interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Noetic SciencesPetalumaUSA
  2. 2.University of San FranciscoSan FranciscoUSA

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