Extrasensory Perception

Extrasensory perception or ESP refers to the reception and processing of information not obtained through the physical senses, but are sensed by through an individual's mind.

Coined by renowned psychologist J.B. Rhine, the term was used to refer to psychic abilities and temporal operations.ESP is commonly called sixth sense, a fairly popularized topic in media and related industries.

The four types of extrasensory perception include clairvoyance, psychokinesis, telepathy and precognition.

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Clairvoyance is the capability to acquire information about a particular object, scenario, physical event or location using extrasensory means. The term is a combination of two French words "clair" which means "clear" and "voyant" which means "seeing". Clairvoyants are people who allegedly have this ability.

For over 130 years, researchers had tried to conduct scientific studies on clairvoyance. One study revealed a 32% success rate versus the 25% chance rate of self-proclaimed clairvoyants being able to transmit one of four given images to "receivers" who were placed in another room, deprived of any related sensation. However, succeeding studies failed to replicate this finding, which shows that the hypothesis has poor validity. Several self-proclaimed clairvoyants include Sylvia Browne, John Edwards, and Rudolf Steiner.


Publisher Henry Holt created the term "psychokinesis" to describe the direct effect of the mind on a physical object or scene without the application of any physical energy. The term comes from the two Greek words "psyche" (breath, or mind, soul, or heart), and "kinesis" (movement or motion). A related purported ability is telekinesis, which literally means "distant movement". Many references use the terms psychokinesis and telekinesis interchangeably.


Another form of ESP, precognition refers to the ability to achieve and perceive information about locations, scenarios, and events before they actually occur. The term comes from the two Latin words "pre" (prior to) and "cognitio" (getting to know). Scientific research on precognition revealed non-existence of this phenomenon.


Telepathy is the purported ability to perform direct communication between two or more minds without the use of speech, body language, writings, or any other extrapersonal means. Out of the four types of extrasensory perception, telepathy is the most researched and popularized by the media and related industries.

John Arthur Hill, a physical researcher, summarized the current research on telepathy by writing," No physical theory of telepathy has been worked out — there are no "brain-waves" known, and no receiving stations yet discovered inside our skulls." Popular self-professed telepaths include Alice Bailey and Vinko Rajic.

Full reference: 

(Sep 10, 2013). Extrasensory Perception. Retrieved Jun 13, 2024 from Explorable.com: https://explorable.com/extrasensory-perception

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