Extrasensory Perception (ESP)


parapsychology, study of mental phenomena not explainable by accepted principles of science. The organized, scientific investigation of paranormal phenomena began with the foundation (1882) of the Society for Psychical Research in London. Such early efforts attempted to dissociate psychical phenomena from spiritualism and superstition, and particularly to investigate mediums and their claims of evoking spirits or apparitions. The society also studied automatic writing, levitation, and ectoplasmic and poltergeist activities. One of its principal founders, Frederic William Henry Myers, summed up the society's early efforts in Human Personality and Its Survival of Bodily Death (1903). An American Society for Psychical Research was also founded, with James Hervey Hyslop as its leading spokesman. Considerable experimentation has been conducted, perhaps the best-known being that of Joseph Banks Rhine at Duke. The Foundation for Research on the Nature of Man, created in the early 1960s, has since replaced the Duke program. In Great Britain the work of Whately Carington and Samuel George Soal paralleled that of Rhine. The great majority of parapsychological studies have focused on the area called extrasensory perception (ESP), which includes telepathy, clairvoyance, and precognition. The popular press often reports stories that are parapsychological in nature. Many scientists criticize the claims made by parapsychologists, arguing in particular that there can be no proof of such phenomena.

See S. Coblentz, Light Beyond: The Wonderworld of Parapsychology (1981); A. P. Dubrov and V. N. Pushkin, Parapsychology and Contemporary Science (1982); H. Edge et al. Foundations of Parapsychology (1986); A. Berger, Lives and Letters in American Parapsychology (1988).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

Esp and Personality Patterns
Gertrude Raffel Schmeidler; R. A. McConnell.
Yale University Press, 1958
Fear of the Unknown: Enlightened Aid-in-Dying
Arthur S. Berger; Joyce Berger.
Praeger, 1995
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 4 "Extrasensory Perception"
Philosophy and Parapsychology
Jan Ludwig.
Prometheus Books, 1978
Librarian’s tip: Includes discussion of extrasensory perception in multiple chapters
Wondrous Events: Foundations of Religious Belief
James McClenon.
University of Pennsylvania Press, 1994
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 6 "Performing Wondrous Events: ESP, Psychic Surgery, and Firewalking"
CIBA Foundation Symposium on Extrasensory Perception
G. E. W. Wolstenholme; Elaine C. P. Millar.
Little, Brown, 1956
The ESP Experience: A Psychiatric Validation
Jan Ehrenwald.
Basic Books, 1978
ESP and Altered States of Consciousness: An Overview of Conceptual and Research Trends
Alvarado, Carlos S.
The Journal of Parapsychology, Vol. 62, No. 1, March 1998
The Ganzfeld Novice: Four Predictors of Initial ESP Performance
Honorton, Gregory.
The Journal of Parapsychology, Vol. 61, No. 2, June 1997
Considering the Sender as a Pk Agent in Ganzfeld ESP Studies
Roe, Chris A.; Holt, Nicola J.; Simmonds, Christine A.
The Journal of Parapsychology, Vol. 67, No. 1, Spring 2003
Anomalistic Psychology: A Study of Magical Thinking
Leonard Zusne; Warren H. Jones.
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1989 (2nd edition)
Librarian’s tip: "Parapsychological Research on Extrasensory Perception" begins on p. 152, "Theories and Explanations of ESP" begins on p. 169, and "Apparent ESP in Real-Life Situations" begins on p. 176
Meta-Analysis of Free-Response ESP Studies without Altered States of Consciousness
Milton, Julie.
The Journal of Parapsychology, Vol. 61, No. 4, December 1997
Extraversion and ESP Performance: A Meta-Analysis and a New Confirmation
Honorton, Charles; Ferrari, Diane C.; Bem, Daryl J.
The Journal of Parapsychology, Vol. 62, No. 3, September 1998
Cerebral Hemisphere Dominance and ESP Performance in the Autoganzfeld
Alexander, Cheryl H.; Broughton, Richard S.
The Journal of Parapsychology, Vol. 65, No. 4, December 2001
Indirect Application of ESP in Counseling
Vassy, Zoltan.
The Journal of Parapsychology, Vol. 59, No. 2, June 1995
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