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Extrasensory Perception Definition


Extrasensory perception pertains to an experience associated with awareness of either messages or beings without the employment of any of the five senses of the human body. There are four major types of extrasensory perceptions that have been popularly described for decades. Mental telepathy is a form of extrasensory perception that involves reading another individuals mind. Forecasting, on the other hand, is another type of extrasensory perception that allows an individual to foresee the future and describe such events in detail. Clairvoyance pertains to the ability to know information regarding a particular event that no other individual may have known. Another form of extrasensory perception is psychokinesis, which involves the movement of things simply through the use of one’s mind. The term extrasensory was specifically used for this type of perception because it does not involve any of the basic senses of a human being. Society commonly considers that an individual who carries the ability for extrasensory perception is psychic.

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The history of extrasensory perception dates back to 1927, when Joseph B. Rhine commenced investigations on this unique type of awareness (Rhine, 1934). For the next decades, the reports on cases and incidents linked to extrasensory perception were anecdotal and most of the time these were immediately rejected or ignored for several reasons. One of the outright causes of rejection was that the reports on extrasensory perception were fraudulent and the trickery employed by the so-called psychics was easily proven by analysts. In addition, there were then no available and credible means of validating any extrasensory capabilities in an individual, hence the poor discriminatory methodology for collecting solid evidence that would support the concept of extrasensory perception further weakened. Moreover, any convincing extrasensory phenomenon would generally be described as an unexplainable incident and the lack of physical and psychological explanation to either strengthen or dismiss a report was thus shelved for decades.

Innovations in neuroimaging and sensory monitoring of the brain have improved methods in investigating the phenomenon of extrasensory perception. There are a number of research reports that have attempted to explain the mechanisms that influence such unique type of awareness in order to provide light on whether this phenomenon is real or simply an unexplored natural human process. According to Persinger (2001), human perception and its associated mental abilities are caused by the dynamic action of substances and electric fields that are normally produced by the brain. It is thus plausible that the perception of paranormal occurrences is simply another sensation process of the brain, including sensing a presence in a particular place or knowing some piece of information that has never been personally delivered to the individual. Moreover, these paranormal occurrences were described by Persinger (2001) as brain activity that is strongly correlated with the individual’s ability to enter a time warp. An example to this case is that an individual may sense the death of another individual most commonly between the early morning hours of 2 and 4 o’clock. The same time is also the observed optimal period in investigating the presence of paranormal entities. It has actually been reported earlier that such descriptions of extrasensory perception are simply side-effects of seizures occurring in the temporal region of the brain which naturally happen at those particular hours due to the established circadian rhythm of the human body (Persinger, 1989). The description of heightened frequency of brain seizures can thus be comparable to patients who have been positively diagnosed with a mental disorder such as epilepsy (Roberts et al., 1992).

In order to validate this description, direct innervation of the temporal lobe was experimentally performed and the same perception was observed by the subjects, wherein an enhancement of the sensitivity of the study participants led capability for experiences that are equivalent to what has been described as extrasensory perception (Horowitz and Adams, 1970).

Another study that may explain the biological mechanism behind extrasensory perception is that the chemical and electric fields that are features of the brain are linked to the geomagnetic field of the entire world (Persinger, 1988). This linkage is usually observed when the death of a loved one is sensed by an individual who is situated in another place across the globe. This perception is commonly experienced by an individual within the first days of the death of a loved one and the scientific mechanism behind this occurrence is the disruption and the intensified activity of the brain, generating several proteins such as cortisol, adrenaline and corticotrophin. Geophysical examination has revealed that the magnetic intensity of the earth’s surface is approximately 50,000 nanotesla and significant surges in the electromagnetic field range in intensity from 40 to 50 nanotesla. Experimental observations of epileptic patients were then recorded and the quantification of electromagnetic surges in the brain of a patient was at least 30 nanotesla in intensity (Long et al., 1996).

The sensation of the presence of a being within a particular location can also be explained by electromagnetic stimulation of the temporal lobe of the brain. Quantification of brain activity for any movement that may be conceived in the brain amounts to approximately 5 microtesla and duplication of this condition in a blind experimental setup showed that the study participant felt that another being suddenly appeared at the experimental site. The stimulation was also described as having both lobes of the brain being stimulated, instead of having only one lobe innervated at a time, thus resulting in the sensation of another being, which can be neurologically explained as a mirror image of the study participant himself (Persinger, 1993). However, the study participant would think that the presence he feels is a paranormal entity, instead of a malfunction of his brain that generated a double entity of himself. This investigation has thus proven that what has been described as an extrasensory perception experience can be experimentally established in the laboratory through the use of electromagnetic stimulation at specific intensities.

One significant research investigation showed that the perception of apparitions or hauntings is generally caused by seizures of the brain. In a specific clinical case, the frequent apparitions experienced by a subject were attributed to a childhood injury that the patient experienced but did not mention during the first consultations with the psychiatrist (Persinger and Koren, 2001). Further screening of the brain activity of the patient showed that significant stimulation of the temporal lobe of the brain occurred during the early morning hours of 2 and 4 AM and this could easily be explained by the circadian rhythm of the patient based on the local time of her residence. However, the strongest influence of her perception of a haunting was actually based on the positioning of her electronic alarm clock as she slept, wherein the gadget was placed a few inches from her head as she slept. Investigation showed that the electronic gadget emitted electric waves that stimulated her injured brain to secrete melatonin, which is a hormone that causes that brain to undergo seizures when secreted at high amounts in the brain. The presence of the electronic alarm clock every night during bedtime and the stimulation of her brain thus resulted in frequent “hauntings” that affected her understanding and perception of paranormal activity. When the electronic alarm clock was relocated to a site that was significantly farther from her head during sleep, the patient had ceased feeling any presence in her bedroom at night.

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Further testing on the concept of extrasensory perception showed that most patients that suffered from injuries of the brain feel that they are encountering paranormal activities after such incidents. There is experimental evidence that the right hemisphere of the brain has been affected by the brain injury, resulting in the sensation of the presence of other entities in their surroundings. The enhanced capability of sensing other beings is generally intense that these patients are concerned that they are turning insane and even choose not to mention these sensations to their loved one. Neuropsychological assessment of such cases thus reveals that what these patients are experiencing can be reconstructed by stimulation of particular brain regions, with the control study participants feeling the same sensation as those of the patients. In addition, there are other physical actions that may further support the concept that extrasensory perception is a component activity of the brain. Experimental stimulation of the brain also resulted in rapid eye movements, indicating that the entire brain activity may be studied and only one aspect of brain activity is observed and is equivalent to what has been conceptualized as extrasensory perception.


Based on my research on extrasensory perception, there may be experimental conditions that may be simulate the perception of other beings in the environment, as well as knowing information regarding events that are beyond an individual capability of sensing. The explanation of electromagnetic fields and the stimulation of the brain are acceptable medical explanations that may be applied to the concept of extrasensory perception. However, there is still more research that is needed to be performed in order to determine what causes the epileptic seizures. In the case of medical conditions, an imbalance in the chemicals in the brain may trigger physical seizures, yet there is a need to fully explain what differentiates extrasensory perception from epilepsy and other brain disorders. A simple view now is that modifications in the wiring of the brain can result in a new capability of an individual in sensing entities that are beyond the sensitivity of a normal healthy individual.


  1. Horowitz MJ and Adams JE (1970): Hallucinations on brain stimulation: Evidence for revision of the Penfield hypothesis. In: Keup, W., Origin and Mechanisms of Hallucinations. New York, Plenum, pp 13–20.
  2. Long T, O’Donovan C and Cabe C (1996): Relationship of daily geomagnetic activity to the occurrence of temporal lobe seizures in an epilepsy monitoring unit (abstract). Epilepsia 36:94.
  3. Persinger MA (1988): Increased geomagnetic activity and the occurrence o bereavement hallucinations: Evidence for melatonin mediated microseizuring in the temporal lobe? Neurosci. Lett. 88:271–274.
  4. Persinger MA (1989): Psi phenomena and temporal lobe activity: The geomagnetic factor, in Research in Parapsychology 1988. New Jersey: The Scarecrow Press.
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  7. Persinger MA and Koren SA (2001): Experiences of spiritual visitation and impregnation: potential induction by frequency-modulated transients from an adjacent clock. Percept. Mot. Skills 92:35–36.
  8. Rhine JB (1934): Extra-sensory perception. Boston: Boston Society for Psychic Research.
  9. Roberts RJ, Gorman LL and Lee GP (1992): The phenomenology of multiple partial seizure-like symptoms without stereotyped spells: An epileptic spectrum disorder? Epilepsy Res. 13:167–177

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