Extrasensory Perception

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We have all watched those corny movies with aliens or humans possessing the power of ESP. Does it exist? That's for you to decide. I came across an interesting article on Discovery Health and decided to read on. Is it possible for twins to feel each others pain? People who believe in this paranormal activity would call this scenario extrasensory perception (ESP), or perception beyond the five senses. Is there evidence of ESP locked away in our brain? "ESP" was first coined by parapsychologist, Joseph Banks Rhine. It is composed of three major manifestations: the ability to read minds, ability to predict the future, and knowledge or a remote person or object. Rhine conducted studies at Duke University where students were able to predict symbols on cards they couldn't see with accuracy. He was convinced that this proved ESP's existence. However, many scientists and skeptics have had a hard time replicating the same results in their experiments which leads to the idea of experimental design flaws in Rhine's work. Trying to convince the scientific community is difficult but 3 out of 4 Americans believe in at least one paranormal belief. Princeton University's Engineering Anomalies Research (PEAR) conducted experiments in which subjects tried to use their minds to influence machines. Over 27 years of conducting these experiments, the observed effects were very small. They claim that mind power can influence technology, but only very slightly.
If there is a part of the brain associated with ESP, what part would it be? Parapsychologists believe that the right hemisphere is the area most associated with psychic abilities. This may be due to the fact that most tests are visual, and the right hemisphere stores nonverbal information. In 2008 a group of Harvard graduates students tested for the existence of ESP while monitoring brain activity. In the test each participant was placed in a MRI scanner and shown two photographs, while at the same time the participant's friend or family member were shown one of the photos in another room and asked to "send" that image to the participant. The participant had to choose which of the 2 photos were "sent" to them. Results published in the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience explained that the participant's brain would have responded differently to ESP and non-EPS stimuli. Participants didn't act differently, which resulted in no evidence of ESP existing among the participants. Still believe in ESP? If so, what am I thinking of right now? ;)

2 Comments

I'm thinking that your post would be a lot easier to read if you were to break it up into several paragraphs.

I think you are misconceiving ESP. It is my contention that people can predict the future because the brain is more aware of patterns than it lets your conscious know about. Thus the brain can observe convergent patterns in the environment and logically conclude the probable outcome which it can then divulge in a dream or other fashion.

For example, a farmer plowing on a slope might daily observe a train in the distance disappear behind the top of the slope and then reappear later on the other side. The farmer would not normally register this consciously. But one day he could observe subliminally on both sides of the slope traveling towards each other. Subliminally the brain likely can conclude the probability of a collision without the farmer consciously being aware of it. Thus the farmer could have a "primonition" of a tragedy.

I have had several examples of predicting the future, sometimes fairly accurately and other times somewhat vaguely, but after considering the circumstances I realized I may have been tipped off by the behavior of other people that my brain was able to interpret accurately but I was not aware of. I was only aware of a very vivid dream that predicted the future.

What I'm saying is that there can be very simple explanations for so-called ESP events. The famous horse Hans was able to subtly interpret his owner's behavior to predict answers to questions. So rather than attempt to resolve something for which there are no reproducible observations, why not interpret the existing evidence to explain a phenomenon without resorting to ESP. Simply define ESP as subliminal awareness. In the process you will encounter a lot of neuroscience that makes it possible to better understand how the brain functions.

IMHO

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This page contains a single entry by chunk002 published on October 26, 2011 11:20 AM.

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