Glossary

The Journal of Parapsychology, Spring 2014 | Go to article overview

Glossary


The definitions of most of the following terms have been borrowed or adapted from A Glossary of Terms Used in Parapsychology by Michael A. Thalbourne (republished by Puente Publications, Charlottesville, VA, USA, 2003). We highly recommend this book to those who seek a more complete glossary of parapsychological terms.

AGENT: In a test of GESP, the individual who looks at the information constituting the target and who is said to "send" or "transmit" that information to a percipient; in a test of telepathy and in cases of spontaneous ESP, the individual about whose mental states information is acquired by a percipient. The term is sometimes used to refer to the subject in a test of PK.

ANOMALOUS COGNITION (AC): A form of information transfer in which all known sensory stimuli are absent; that is, some individuals are able to gain access to information by an as yet unknown process; also known as remote viewing (RV) and clairvoyance.

ANOMALOUS PERTURBATION (AP): A form of interaction with matter in which all known physical mechanisms are absent; that is, some individuals are able to influence matter by an as yet unknown process; also known as psychokinesis (PK).

CALL: (As noun), the overt response made by the percipient in guessing the target in a test of ESP; (as verb), to make a response.

CLAIRVOYANCE: Paranormal acquisition of information about an object or contemporary physical event; in contrast to telepathy, the information is assumed to derive directly from an external physical source and not from the mind of another person.

CLOSED DECK: A procedure for generating the target order for each run, not by independent random selection of successive targets, but by randomization of a fixed set of targets (e.g., a deck of 25 ESP cards containing exactly five of each of the standard symbols).

CONFIDENCE CALL: A response the subject feels relatively certain is correct and indicates so before it is compared with its target.

CRITICAL RATIO (CR): A mathematical quantity used to decide whether the size of the observed deviation from chance in a psi test is significantly greater than the expected degree of random fluctuation about the average; it is obtained by dividing the observed deviation by the standard deviation; also called the z statistic.

Critical Ratio of Difference (CRd): A critical ratio used to decide whether the numbers of hits obtained under two conditions (or by two groups of subjects) differ significantly from each other; it is obtained by dividing the difference between the two total-hits scores by the standard deviation of the difference.

DECLINE EFFECT: The tendency for high scores in a test of psi to decrease, either within a run, within a session, or over a longer period of time; may also be used in reference to the waning and disappearance of psi talent.

DIFFERENTIAL EFFECT: In an experiment where the subjects are tested under two different procedural conditions: (i) the tendency of subjects who score above chance in one condition to score below chance in the other, and vice versa; (ii) the tendency of one condition to elicit psi-hitting from the group of subjects as a whole and the other condition to elicit psi-missing.

DISPLACEMENT: A form of ESP shown by a percipient who consistently obtains information about a target that is one or more removed, spatially or temporally, from the actual target designated for that trial. Backward Displacement: Displacement in which the target extrasensorially cognized precedes the intended target by one, two, or more steps (designated as -1, -2, etc.). Forward Displacement: Displacement in which the target actually responded to occurs later than the intended target by one, two, or more steps (designated as +1, +2, etc.).

ESP CARDS: Special cards, introduced by J. B. Rhine, for use in tests of ESP; a standard pack contains 25 cards, each portraying one of five symbols, viz. …

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