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Is There ESPecially Convincing Evidence for ESP? 

Extrasensory perception (ESP) is regarded as the sixth sense, or the sense of the mind. The term was coined by Joseph Banks (J.B.) Rhine, a psychologist at Duke University to describe psychic abilities, clairvoyance, precognition and retrocognition. Rhine was one of the first psychologists to study the unknown ability of ESP through the use of cards. He asked participants to predict which cards were drawn without looking. His research culminated in the publication of a book called “Extra Sensory Perception” which showed data that he believed was supportive enough of ESP.

Rhine paved the road for a field of study that had been missing from science. After his decades of research, other psychologists were encouraged to explore the mind and build the case for scientific psychic ability, including the infamous Daryl Bem of Cornell University. Here are his findings.


The White Queen Test

One of the most famous psychology studies of the psychic mind was dubbed the White Queen. The White Queen test according to Bem determined that we can feel the future.

The test involved giving participants a set of 48 nouns drawn from different categories such as food, animals, and clothes. Each word flashed on the screen for three seconds and after, the participants had to write all the words they could remember. Then, Bem showed the participants half of the original words and told them to type the words into the computer. His results showed that, in the first test, the participants were able to recall words that would be asked of them in the future.

The Curtain Test

In 2011, Bem conducted another test to determine the ability of ESP. He showed participants digital images of two curtains. He told them that behind one of the two curtains was an image, and they had to determine which one it was. However, one group of participants received an erotic image while another group received an image of a non-erotic image if they clicked the right curtain.

His results concluded that the group that was assigned to non-erotic images picked the right curtain 49.8 percent of the time, which is fairly close to the percentage of chance. However, the group with erotic images managed to find the correct curtain 53.1 percent of the time. He believed that this was significant enough to provide evidence for the reality of ESP.

In Conclusion

Bem’s tests provide a small amount of evidence to show that there may be signs of psychic abilities. However, it is not enough to provide a burden of evidence, and other scientists that have replicated his studies have failed to receive the same results.



By Sally Keys





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