FTP037: Dr. Kirby Surprise Explains The Science Behind Synchronicity, Pt. 1

In this podcast episode we talk to Dr. Kirby Surprise. Dr. Surprise is a clinical psychologist who has had a life-long interest in the synchronicity phenomena – seemingly random but meaningful coincidences that happen in people’s lives. His interest in philosophy and metaphysics, as well as his own work in psychology, has led him to study synchronicity from a scientific perspective and write several books, the most well-known being Synchronicity: The Art of Coincidence, Choice, and Unlocking Your Mind.

The term Synchronicity was originally coined by Carl Jung. The term describes meaningful coincidences – something that people have been experiencing since the beginning of time. Throughout history, people have come up with various mystical explanations for synchronistic events – seeing them as good or bad omens, or messages from the universe.

This historical perspective has led to the phenomenon being largely overlooked by the academic and scientific communities. That said, there have been a number of interesting studies or related phenomena done throughout the last 50 years. A notable meta-study (large study of many different academic experiments across 3 decades) has shown that people have the ability to change the outcome of probabilistic events with their mind – by as much as 6% over mere chance. This has been shown with dice rolls (including where the dice were rolled mechanically and not by a person), and with random number generators.

The key idea here is that having an observer in a situation changes the outcome of the situation. Scientists have already known this for several decades. It’s why they do double-blind experiments, where neither the facilitator nor the participant know what the expected outcome of the experiment is.

Synchronicities are not a big cosmic deal. This is something every human being is doing. Click To Tweet

Dr. Kirby Surprise Explains Synchronicity

The idea of synchronicity works based on the exact same principle – when you have an expected outcome in mind, it actually changes the outcome of the event. Of course, this happens on a conscious physical level – for example, you take different actions. It also affects the outcome on an unconscious level – you may notice different things in your environment. But most interestingly, the principle seems to act on some other non-physical level, which we still cannot fully understand. In the dice roll experiments, neither the scientists nor the participants were touching the dice (they were rolled mechanically). And yet, when the participants focused their mind on a specific number, it was more likely to come up.

In this podcast conversation, Dr. Surprise explains more about how synchronicity works from the scientific perspective, and tells a story of own his lifelong experience of living with synchronicities.

Your brain is the biggest supercomputer in the known universe, with billions of sensors. Click To Tweet

In This Episode of Future Thinkers Podcast:

  • [2:29] – What is synchronicity?
  • [4:52] – First experiments
  • [10:45] – Modern science and synchronicity
  • [21:00] – You make synchronicities happen
  • [39:11] – How can you become more aware of it
  • [45:13] – Can quantum physics explain synchronicity?
  • [51:32] – How does meditation play into synchronicity?
  • [56:55] – Personal mythology and outlook


“If the political leaders can keep their act together and stop draining our resources with useless wars, funnelling money to extremely wealthy people, I think that what’s going to happen in the next 50 years is going to be absolutely remarkable.”

“Our mental activity is steering us as we move through probabilities, to probabilities that more closely match the content of our attention, emotion, and our process.”

Pick any symbol, concentrate on it, look into the environment, and it will begin to show up. Click To Tweet

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  1. Dave 11 months ago

    I come for second weird part. Where I could find it? :)

    • Euvie Ivanova 11 months ago

      It’s here.

  2. Brendan Franklin 11 months ago

    Disappointing to hear pseudo-science on the podcast :/

    • Euvie Ivanova 11 months ago

      @Brendan, here is a meta-study comparing 3 decades worth of research from several different labs, which concludes a positive effect of consciousness on the outcomes of probabilistic events: http://deanradin.com/evidence/Radin1991DiceMA.pdf

  3. Matt 9 months ago

    The social media icons are overlaying the article text using Chrome on a Nexus 9.

    • Euvie Ivanova 9 months ago

      Ah thanks for pointing this out, we’ll see what we can do.

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