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Telepathy is the act of communicating mentally with another person1.
Zener cards are one of the most commonly used tools in psychic research. While most often used to test telepathy, they have also been used in clairvoyance and precognition experiments. When they are used to test telepathy, both a 'sender' and a 'receiver' are involved.
Clairvoyance is the act of seeing things, places, or people using an 'inner sight' rather than the eyes.
Precognition is the act of foreseeing an event before it occurs. When people hear the word 'psychic', one of the first things they think of is a fortune teller, her crystal ball, and the uncanny act of precognition.
Telekinesis, also known as psychokinesis, is the act of moving an object using mental power alone.
It's important view the results of any of these experiments with a little healthy skepticism. There are many factors that can 'skew' our interpretations of the results of experiments like these. Some such factors are:
- For almost all of these experiments, the laws of probability dictate that you will 'succeed' at least some of the time. However, people are more likely to remember the trials where they succeed than those where they fail - this can very quickly add up to a biased perception of the success rate2.
- Some 'psychic experiments' require subjective decisions as to the success or failure of the trial. In such cases, a person wanting to believe in psychic phenomena will be more likely to perceive the event as a success. This is one of the main reasons why experiments with objectively judged results are considered more valid by scientific researchers.
It's also worth noting that some areas of psychic phenomena are associated with somewhat stronger 'plausibility' - for example, more people believe in telepathy than do in clairvoyance or telekinesis.
Institutes and Organizations for Psychic Research
There are several research institutes aimed at the scientific exploration of psychic phenomena, some of which are located within well-known universities.
- Koestler Parapsychology Unit
- The Rhine Research Center and the Institute for Parapsychology
- Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research
- Conciousness Research Laboratory
- Cognitive Sciences Laboratory
There are also several organizations aimed at fostering networking among parapsychology research professionals (and in some cases, enthusiasts).
- The Parapsychological Association
- The American Society for Psychical Research
- Society for Psychical Research
Several of these research institutes and organizations publish professional journals, allowing members to stay abreast of recent developments in the field.