Most people have heard of ESP, but I've found that very few actually know what the acronym represents. It stands for extra-sensory perception. The five basic senses are sight, smell, hearing, taste, and touch; ESP is often referred to as the sixth sense. Some people think everyone has it, others claim it's something possessed by a select few, and others still believe it doesn't exist.
In the early 1930,s Dr. Joseph Rhine was given funding to research this new field at Duke University. The area of study was termed Parapsychology, and they broke it down into four subcategories: telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition, and psychokinesis.
Telepathy is the ability to "see" what another person is thinking.
Clairvoyance is the ability to sense an inanimate object without seeing it with your eyes. This might mean seeing something in another room or behind a screen, for example.
Precognition is the ability to know things before they happen.
Psychokinesis is the ability to physically move or bend things with your mind.
In Dr. Rhine's studies, some subjects tested with accuracy clearly above what would be considered chance. In 1934, Rhine published the first edition of a book titled Extra-Sensory Perception, which was widely read over the ensuing decades.
However, Rhine's results have never been duplicated by the scientific community. A number of psychology departments have attempted to repeat Rhine's experiments with failure. W. S. Cox from Princeton University produced 25,064 attempts with 132 subjects and concluded, "There is no evidence of extrasensory perception." It appears Dr. Rhine's methods were not stringent enough to be considered scientifically controlled.
The evidence since Rhine's original study clearly suggests that ESP may not exist. However, scientists universally agree that nonverbal communication, observation, and influence are all very real. There's little doubt some of these techniques were used by the subjects who scored so highly in Dr. Rhine's original tests at Duke.
What I do in my mind reading shows is a combination of psychology, observation, influence, and illusion, but it is definitely not ESP.
By Don Townsend
Don Townsend is an Orlando entertainer that provides jaw dropping laugh out loud corporate entertainment with his astounding mentalist act.
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