Extrasensory perception and telepathy

According to Wikipedia, extrasensory perception and telepathy should be considered as pseudoscience. However, some claim, that the accumulated body of research points to statistically appealing outcomes. Anyway, extraordinary claims from these fields always require extraordinary evidence. Thus, research in this area may continue until the quality of the experiments together with their outcomes are acceptable to the wider scientific community, regardless of whether the results would be negative or positive.

After reviewing the previous research we lent design of the experiment from approach of Rupert Sheldrake and performed a small replication study of his telephone telepathy experiment. I supervised a student project at cognitive science university study program. Outcome in a form of poster was presented at the international Mei:CogSci Conference in Vienna. Because the study was small and the results were at the edge of statistical significancy, no firm conclusions could be drawn. Interestingly, the best above average performance was achived by a student who was trained in spiritual practices including shamanism. After this initial study, in the next step we plan to collect larger data set from a higher number of experimental trials.

Hypothetically, if there was a sufficient evidence, then a practical question would arise: By which techniques can one enhance these abilities in the best way? Spiritual, energetic, or by meditation? Spiritual literature is full of information, but they have to be taken with caution. My personal conviction is that if anything, mindfulness meditation and practices that can keep our mind calm may support the onset of the right conditions. Moreover, psychophysiological monitoring of stress and level of relaxation during practice might also be benefitial.

For a nice overview of the subject we suggest presentation of Dean Radin at Google TechTalks (balanced with Radin’s criticism).

Temporal verdict: An open issue, with potential for paradigm change in natural sciences.

This topic is open for student projects or other form of collaboration in order to accumulate higher number of trials in the phone telepathy experiment.