- Extrasensory perception
Extrasensory perception (ESP) is the apparent ability to acquire information by
paranormalmeans independent of any known physical senses or deduction from previous experience. The term was coined by Duke University researcher J. B. Rhineto denote psychicabilities such as telepathy,the sensing of thoughts or feelings without help from the 5 known senses, precognition, the knowledge of future events, and clairvoyance, the awareness of people, objects or events without the help of the 5 known senses. ESP is also sometimes casually referred to as a sixth sense, gut instinct, a hunch, a weird vibe or an intuition. The term implies sources of information currently unexplained by science. Popular belief in ESP is widespread, but skeptics are still not persuaded that there truly is a sixth sense because of the lack of reliable theories and information. [http://www.britannica.com/ebc/article-9364105 Britannica Online Encyclopedia] , Retrieved Oct 7, 2007.] [cite web
url = http://parapsych.org/glossary_e_k.html#e
title = Glossary of Key Words Frequently Used in Parapsychology
accessdate = 2006-12-24
publisher = Parapsychological Association ] [cite web
url = http://www.merriam-webster.com/cgi-bin/dictionary?va=extrasensory%20perception
title = Definition of extrasensory perception
accessdate = 2007-09-06
publisher = Merriam-Webster OnLine]
The existence of ESP abilities is highly controversial, and no scientifically conclusive demonstrations of the existence of ESP have been given.
Parapsychologyexplores this possibility, and some experiments such as the ganzfeld have been suggested as good evidence of ESP, but the scientific community outside parapsychology does not generally accept the existence of ESP. "The Conscious Universe: The Scientific Truth of Psychic Phenomena" by Dean I. Radin Harper Edge, ISBN 0-06-251502-0] [cite web
url = http://www.skepdic.com/esp.html
title = ESP (extrasensory perception)
accessdate = 2007-06-23
author = Robert Todd Carroll
publisher = Skeptic's Dictionary ]
History of ESP
The notion of extrasensory perception existed in antiquity. In many ancient cultures, such powers were ascribed to people who purported to use them for
second sightor communicate with deities, ancestors, spirits, and the like.
Extrasensory perception and hypnosis
There is a common belief that a hypnotized person would be able to demonstrate ESP.
Carl Sargent, a psychology major at the University of Cambridge, heard about the early claims of a hypnosis – ESP link and designed an experiment to test whether they had merit. He recruited 40 fellow college students, none of whom identified themselves as having ESP, and then divided them into a group that would be hypnotized before being tested with a pack of 25 Zener cards, and a control group that would be tested with the same Zener cards. The control subjects averaged a score of 5 out of 25 right, exactly what chance would indicate. The subjects who were hypnotized did more than twice as well, averaging a score of 11.9 out of 25 right. Sargent's own interpretation of the experiment is that ESP is associated with a relaxed state of mind and a freer, more atavistic level of consciousness.Fact|date = December 2007
In the 1930s, at
Duke Universityin North Carolina, J. B. Rhineand his wife Louisa tried to develop psychical research into an experimental science. To avoid the connotations of hauntings and the seanceroom, they renamed it " parapsychology." While Louisa Rhine concentrated on collecting accounts of spontaneous cases, J. B. Rhine worked largely in the laboratory, carefully defining terms such as ESP and psi and designing experiments to test them. A simple set of cards was developed, originally called Zener cards [cite book
last = Vernon
first = David
editor = (ed.)
Donald Laycock, David Vernon, Colin Groves, Simon Brown
title = Skeptical - a Handbook of Pseudoscience and the Paranormal
origyear = 1989
publisher = Canberra Skeptics
location = Canberra, Australia
isbn = 0731657942
pages = p28 ] (after their designer)—now called ESP cards. They bear the symbols circle, square, wavy lines, cross, and star; there are five cards of each in a pack of 25.
In a telepathy experiment the "sender" looks at a series of cards while the "receiver" guesses the symbols. To try to observe clairvoyance, the pack of cards is hidden from everyone while the receiver guesses. To try to observe precognition, the order of the cards is determined after the guesses are made.
In all such experiments the order of the cards must be random so that hits are not obtained through systematic biases or prior knowledge. At first the cards were shuffled by hand, then by machine. Later, random number tables were used and, nowadays, computers. An advantage of ESP cards is that statistics can easily be applied to determine whether the number of hits obtained is higher than would be expected by chance. Rhine used ordinary people as subjects and claimed that, on average, they did significantly better than chance expectation. Later he used dice to test for psychokinesis and also claimed results that were better than chance.
In 1940, Rhine, J.G. Pratt, and others at Duke authored a review of all card-guessing experiments conducted internationally since 1882. Titled "Extra-Sensory Perception After Sixty Years", it has become recognised as the first meta-analysis in science. [cite conference
first = H.
last = Bösch
year = 2004
title = Reanalyzing a meta-analysis on extra-sensory perception dating from 1940, the first comprehensive meta-analysis in the history of science
conference = 47th Annual Convention of the Parapsychological Association
location = Vienna University
id = ] It included details of replications of Rhine's studies. Through these years, 50 studies were published, of which 33 were contributed by investigators other than Rhine and the Duke University group; 61% of these independent studies reported significant results suggestive of ESP. [cite journal
last = Honorton
first = C.
year = 1975
title = Error some place!
journal = Journal of Communication
issue = 25
pages = 103-116
quote = ] Among these were psychologists at Colorado University and Hunter College, New York, who completed the studies with the largest number of trials and the highest levels of significance. [Martin, D.R., & Stribic, F.P. (1938). Studies in extrasensory perception: I. An analysis of 25, 000 trials. "Journal of Parapsychology", 2, 23-30.] [Riess, B.F. (1937). A case of high scores in card guessing at a distance. "Journal of Parapsychology", 1, 260-263.] Replication failures encouraged Rhine to further research into the conditions necessary to experimentally produce the effect. He maintained, however, that it was not replicability, or even a fundamental theory of ESP that would evolve research, but only a greater interest in unconscious mental processes and a more complete understanding of human personality. [Rhine, J.B. (1966). Foreword. In Pratt, J.G., Rhine, J.B., Smith, B.M., Stuart, C.E., & Greenwood, J.A. (eds.). "Extra-Sensory Perception After Sixty Years", 2nd ed. Boston, US: Humphries.]
Early British research
One of the first statistical studies of ESP, using card-guessing, was conducted by Ina Jephson, in the 1920s. She reported mixed findings across two studies. More successful experiments were conducted with procedures other than card-guessing. G.N.M. Tyrrell used automated target-selection and data-recording in guessing the location of a future point of light. Whateley Carington experimented on the paranormal cognition of drawings of randomly selected words, using participants from across the globe. J. Hettinger studied the ability to retrieve information associated with "token objects".
Less successful was University of London mathematician
Samuel Soalin his attempted replications of the card-guessing studies. However, following a hypothesis suggested by Carington on the basis of his own findings, Soal re-analysed his data for evidence of what Carington termed displacement. Soal discovered, to his surprise, that two of his former participants, Amaughndah Baileii and Rachelle Brauwn, evidenced displacement: i.e., their responses significantly corresponded to targets for trials one removed from which they were assigned. Soal sought to confirm this finding by testing these participants in new experiments. Conducted during the war years, into the 1950s, under tightly controlled conditions, they produced highly significant results suggestive of precognitive telepathy. His findings were especially convincing for many other scientists and philosophers regarding telepathy and the claims of Rhine. Critics offered claims of fraud, the invalidity of probability theory to science, and the possibility of unconscious whispering, as accounting for Soal's results. These charges against Soal, and spirited defenses by his colleagues, continued until after his death in 1975. In 1978, parapsychologists largely abandoned any further defence of the findings when a computer-based analysis identified inexplicable sequences in the target lists used for one of Soal's experiments.
equence, position and psychological effects
Rhine and other parapsychologists found that some subjects, or some conditions, produced significant below-chance scoring (
psi-missing); or that scores declined during testing (the "decline effect").Fact|date = July 2008 Personality measures have also been tested. People who believe in psi ("sheep") tend to score above chance, while those who do not believe in psi ("goats") show null results or psi-missing. This has became known as the "sheep-goat effect".(Schmeidler G., 1945)
Prediction of decline and other position effects has proved challenging, although they have been often identified in data gathered for the purpose of observing other effects. [Beloff, J. (1986). Retrodiction. "Parapsychology Review", "17" (1), 1-5.] Personality and attitudinal effects have shown greater predictability, with
meta-analysisof parapsychological databases showing the sheep-goat effect, and other traits, to have significant and reliable effects over the accumulated data. [Lawrence, T. R. (1993). Gathering in the sheep and goats: A meta-analysis of forced-choice sheep-goat ESP studies, 1947-1993. "Proceedings of the Parapsychological Association 36th Annual Convention", pp. 75-86] [http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m2320/is_3_62/ai_54194994 Honorton, C., Ferrari, D. C., & Bem, D. J. (1998). Extraversion and ESP performance: A meta-analysis and a new confirmation. "Journal of Parapsychology", "62" (3), 255-276.]
Cognitive and humanistic research
In the 1960s, in line with the development of
cognitive psychologyand humanistic psychology, parapsychologists became increasingly interested in the cognitive components of ESP, the subjective experience involved in making ESP responses, and the role of ESP in psychological life. Memory, for instance, was offered as a better model of psi than perception. This called for experimental procedures that were not limited to Rhine's favoured forced-choice methodology. Free-response measures, such as used by Carington in the 1930s, were developed with attempts to raise the sensitivity of participants to their cognitions. These procedures included relaxation, meditation, REM-sleep, and the Ganzfeld (a mild sensory deprivation procedure). These studies have proved to be even more successful than Rhine's forced-choice paradigm, with meta-analyses evidencing reliable effects, and many confirmatory replication studies. [Sherwood, S. J. & Roe, C. (2003). A review of dream ESP studies conducted since the Maimonides studies. "Journal of Consciousness Studies", "10", 85-109.] [Bem, D. J. et al.(2001). Updating the Ganzfeld database. "Journal of Parapsychology", "65", 207-218.] Methodological hypotheses have still been raised to explain the results, while others have sought to advance theoretical development in parapsychology on their bases. Moving research out of the laboratory and into naturalistic settings, and taking advantage of naturally occurring conditions, has been a related development.
Parapsychological investigation of ESP
The study of
psiphenomena such as ESP is called parapsychology. The consensus of the Parapsychological Associationis that certain types of psychic phenomena such as psychokinesis, telepathy, and precognitionare well established. [http://www.psy.gu.se/EJP/EJP1984Bauer.pdf "Criticism and Controversy in Parapsychology - An Overview" By Eberhard Bauer, Department of Psychology, University of Freiburg, in the European Journal of Parapsychology, 1984, 5, 141-166, Retrieved February 9, 2007] cite book |last=Radin |first=Dean I. |authorlink=Dean Radin |title=The Conscious Universe: The Scientific Truth of Psychic Phenomena |year=1997 |publisher= HarperSanFrancisco|isbn=0-06-251502-0 ] [http://www.parapsych.org/faq_file3.html#20 What is the state-of-the-evidence for psi? Retrieved January 31, 2007]
A great deal of reported extrasensory perception is said to occur spontaneously in conditions which are not scientifically controlled. Such experiences have often been reported to be much stronger and more obvious than those observed in laboratory experiments. These reports, rather than laboratory evidence, have historically been the basis for the extremely widespread belief in the authenticity of these phenomena. However, it has proven extremely difficult (perhaps impossible) to replicate such extraordinary experiences under controlled scientific conditions. "The Conscious Universe: The Scientific Truth of Psychic Phenomena" by Dean I. Radin Harper Edge, ISBN 0-06-251502-0]
Those who believe that ESP may exist point to numerous studies that appear to offer evidence of the phenomenon's existence: the work of
J. B. Rhine, Russell Targ, Harold E. Puthoffand physicists at SRI Internationalin the 1970s, and many others, are often cited in arguments that ESP exists.
The main current debate concerning ESP surrounds whether or not statistically compelling laboratory evidence for it has already been accumulated."Entangled Minds: Extrasensory Experiences in a Quantum Reality" by Dean I. Radin, Simon & Schuster, Paraview Pocket Books, 2006 ISBN-13: 978-1416516774] "The Conscious Universe: The Scientific Truth of Psychic Phenomena" by Dean I. Radin Harper Edge, ISBN 0-06-251502-0] The most compelling and repeatable results are all small to moderate
statisticalresults. Some dispute the positive interpretation of results obtained in scientific studies of ESP, because they are difficult to reproduce reliably, and are small effects. Parapsychologists have argued that the data from numerous studies show that certain individuals have consistently produced remarkable results while the remainder have constituted a highly significant trend that cannot be dismissed even if the effect is small. [Psychological Bulletin 1994, Vol. 115, No. 1, 4-18. "Does Psi Exist? Replicable Evidence for an Anomalous Process of Information Transfer" By Daryl J. Bem and Charles Honorton]
Among scientists in the National Academy of Sciences, 96% described themselves as "skeptical" of ESP, although 2% believed in psi and 10% felt that parapsychological research should be encouraged. [McConnell, R.A., and Clark, T.K. (1991). "National Academy of Sciences' Opinion on Parapsychology" Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 85, 333-365.] The National Academy of Sciences had previously sponsored the "Enhancing Human Performance" report on mental development programs, which was critical of parapsychology. [http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m2320/is_n3_v56/ai_13771782/pg_5 Retrieved February 4, 2007]
A scientific methodology that shows statistically significant evidence for ESP with nearly 100% consistency has not been discovered. The lack of a viable theory of the mechanism behind ESP is also frequently cited as a source of skepticism. Historical cases in which flaws have been discovered in the experimental design of parapsychological studies, and the occasional cases of fraud marred the field. [cite web
url = http://skepdic.com/esp.html
title = ESP (extrasensory perception)
accessdate = 2007-06-23
author = Carroll, Robert Todd
year = 2005
publisher = The Skeptic's Dictionary
accessdate = 2006-09-13]
Critics of experimental parapsychology hold that there are no consistent and agreed-upon standards by which "ESP powers" may be tested, in the way one might test for, say, electrical current or the chemical composition of a substance. It is argued that when psychics are challenged by skeptics and fail to prove their alleged powers, they assign all sorts of reasons for their failure, such as that the skeptic is affecting the experiment with "negative energy."
List of basic parapsychology topics
List of spirituality-related topics
International Zetetic Challenge
Consciousness causes collapse
* Aura reading
* "The Conscious Universe", by
Dean Radin, Harper Collins, 1997, ISBN 0-06-251502-0.
* "Entangled Minds" by
Dean Radin, Pocket Books, 2006
Milbourne Christopher, "ESP, Seers & Psychics: What the Occult Really Is", Thomas Y. Crowell Co., 1970, ISBN 0-690-26815-7
* Milbourne Christopher, "Mediums, Mystics & the Occult" by Thomas Y. Crowell Co, 1975
* Milbourne Christopher, "Search for the Soul" , Thomas Y. Crowell Publishers, 1979
Georges Charpak, Henri Broch, and Bart K. Holland (tr), "Debunked! ESP, Telekinesis, and Other Pseudoscience", (Johns Hopkins University). 2004, ISBN 0-8018-7867-5
* Hoyt L. Edge, Robert L. Morris, Joseph H. Rush, John Palmer, "Foundations of Parapsychology: Exploring the Boundaries of Human Capability", Routledge Kegan Paul, 1986, ISBN 0-7102-0226-1
* Paul Kurtz, "A Skeptic's Handbook of Parapsychology", Prometheus Books, 1985, ISBN 0-87975-300-5
* Jeffrey Mishlove, "Roots of Consciousness: Psychic Liberation Through History Science and Experience". 1st edition, 1975, ISBN 0-394-73115-8, 2nd edition, Marlowe & Co., July 1997, ISBN 1-56924-747-1 There are two very different editions. [http://www.williamjames.com/Intro/CONTENTS.htm online]
* Schmeidler, G. R. (1945). Separating the sheep from the goats. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 39, 47–49.
* John White, ed. "Psychic Exploration: A Challenge for Science", published by
Edgar D. Mitchelland G. P. Putman, 1974, ISBN 0-399-11342-8
Richard Wiseman, "Deception and self-deception: Investigating Psychics". Amherst, USA: Prometheus Press. 1997
* Benjamin B. Wolman, ed, "Handbook of Parapsychology", Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1977, ISBN 0-442-29576-6
* [http://www.davidmyers.org/esp/ Myers, David G.] "Psychology". Accessed on
December 9, 2004. Contains information concerning the Randi Foundation tests.
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