Book 1: A New Science of Life (Released in 1981)
Book 2: The Presence of the Past - Morphic Resonance & the Habits of Nature.
Rupert Sheldrake PH.D Biologist and Author. Website: sheldrake.org the website details experiments that you can take part in.
I first need to highlight that this topic has been majorly condensed and simplified for the purpose of this article. I highly recommend your own research into this field.
If you are familiar with the founder of analytical psychology Carl Jung you are probably aware of the collective unconscious. Morphic field theory is similar to it in principle. Imagine that when you learn something new that information leaves your mind and is held in an invisible field just floating in the air. Now your friend needs to learn the exact same thing but because you have already learnt it and that information is floating in the air above them they are able to learn it faster than you because they can draw the information from the field (the floating info in the air). The field is like a collective databank that anyone can add to and draw from. This is how a lot of inventions happen at the same time and then the arguments start as to who thought of it first because once one person has thought up the idea it leaves them and is floating ready for the next person to draw from so if 2 people are trying to solve the same problem at the same time once one solves it so can the other. A term used for this is none local communication between life forms (see my article Invisible animal connection).
Prior to the book A New Science of Life, the belief within the scientific community was and still is to a lot of scientists that the big bang created existence and all of our laws such as gravity, electricity, magnetism and chemistry etc. Rupert Sheldrake is suggesting that the universe is evolutionary and what evolves are the habits of nature i.e. laws of nature are more like habits. If this is believed to be true then very species can have a collective memory field to draw from and also contribute to.
Harvard university conducted an experiment using rats in a water maze to asses their learning skills. Imagine a big box with one entrance where the rat goes in and at the end of the maze there are 2 exits. 1 exit is brightly lit and the other exit is a very dim light. When the rat leaves via the brightly lit exit it receives an electrical shock but when it leaves via the dim lit exit no harm is occurred (unpleasant I know). The rats task is to figure out that bright light exit means harm so stop using it therefore they have learnt a new piece of information. To make the task more difficult the light was swapped around from left to right to make certain the lesson was the light and not that the lesson was to always pick the exit on the left hand side say. It took these poor rats on average about 250 times of getting it wrong before they sussed it out but once they had learnt it they never chose the wrong exit again.
The next part of this experiment was to do the same thing again but this time using the ascendants of the first experiment i.e. their next generation of rats and then their ascendants and so on and so on. The idea behind this is to see if somehow the lesson is genetically passed down or as described above the information of the lesson is held in an invisible field. The results were that each generation learnt the lesson quicker than the last e.g. the first group did it wrong 250 times on average before they got it, the next generation had it figured out by 120 times of doing it wrong, then 80, then 40 and then the last group learnt after about 25 times of doing it wrong. Note all the different generations of rats had no contact with the generations that had gone before them. This result could be genetic or morphic.
Scotland university was the next to do this experiment with the same bread of rat but not ascendants of the original group. These rats picked up from where the last group left off i.e. they started by making 25/30 mistakes, they did not start back at the beginning working their way down from 250 mistakes. Where were these rats getting the information from to know this? They were from a different country and no blood relation. This favours the morphic field.
An Australian university followed suit but they use both brand new rats and also original bloodline rats to compare if the 2 groups behaved different from each other but they did not, so genetics could now be fully ruled out and only the morphic field remained.
Many experiments have been conducted involving humans, one being the crossword experiment. It was proven that people find crosswords easier if they do them the day after the newspaper is released - why maybe because other people have already figured out the answer so they are there available in the field to download. If you have to sit a written exam maybe it might be wise to answer the last question first and then go back to the beginning question because then the answer for the first question is already in the field available to be drawn down as its already been answered by someone else.