David Ian Miller interviews Dean Radin in his column Finding My Religion.
I take an excerpt:
Last year you conducted an experiment with something you call "intentional chocolate." You had several Tibetan monks and a Mongolian shaman bless chocolate, and then you tested the moods of people who ate it. What prompted the idea?
It came up during a discussion with a chocolate maker from Hawaii. I'm not much of a foodie, so I don't think about these things very often, but I certainly know that there is something that seems different when food is cooked by someone you love. It feels better. It tastes better. And a lot of chefs swear by the idea that somehow their attitude, their intentions, make a difference in terms of how people respond to food. It occurred to me that this was a testable idea. So we did double-blind experiments to see what would happen if you exposed some chocolate to the highly trained intentions of expert meditators. It came out with results that significantly supported the idea people report having a better mood when eating the intentional chocolate as opposed to the placebo.
It was probably the strangest experiment that I've done so far because it implies not only that intention changes substance, but whatever is being changed also results in a behavioral difference.
I'll admit I had mixed reactions when I heard about this. On the one hand, I have a general feeling that when food is being created with love and attention that it actually tastes better. But another part of me was thinking: "Oh, come on! This is a scam." Has this experiment been replicated anywhere else?
I don't think it's been replicated; the study was just recently published. But I think I point out in the paper that there are previous studies that suggest that something like this probably should work. These are mostly studies involving water and people who do hands-on healing, like therapies of touch, perhaps. And they are asked to hold vials of water while they are doing the healing with the idea that maybe the water will be changed as a result of what's going on. Then you see if the water makes a difference when it's used on plants and seeds, as opposed to control water that is not handled. And most of the studies do show that there are small effects that can be detected.