Citation: Kelly, T.M. (2014). Classification & Statistical Manual of Extrasensory Experiences. Copyright © 2014 Theresa M. Kelly, MsD. Interested professionals are welcome to Download a Complimentary Copy of the CSM-EE. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
The extrasensory experiences in this section include Generalized Empathy, Empathic Cognition, Empathic Interaction, and Empathic Simulation. These experiences have been grouped together to facilitate differential classification of experiences that include Empathy as a prominent aspect of the experience.
The term empathy in the parapsychological context is defined as the psychical influence of emotion via experient influence over the emotional basis of consciousness and the mental and physiological processes associated with a wide variety of emotional experiences. Emotions are defined as an episode, which suggests the concept of a dynamic process, of interrelated, synchronized changes in the states of all or most of the correlated organismic subsystems (e.g. central, neuroendocrine, and somatic nervous systems) in response to the evaluation of an external or internal stimulus event as relevant to major concerns of the organ-ism.
The function of emotion is speculated to include the evaluation of objects and events, system regulation, preparation and direction of action, communication of reaction and behavioral intention, and the monitoring of internal state and organism-environment interaction. Current thought leaders in regards to the psychology of emotions support a component process model of emotion involving cognitive, neurophysiological, motivational, motor expression, and subjective feeling components. In addition, empathy can involve the influence of affective phenomena such as moods. However, this appears to apply only when an element of telepathy or clairvoyance is involved, as affective phenomena such as moods involve more than just emotional content. It is an experient of empathic experience’s natural endowment in which enables their influence over emotion whether the experience is the result of conscious or subconscious performance (Kelly, 2011c).
These specifiers should only be used when all criteria for the type of a subtype are currently met. In deciding whether reported experiences should be described as stable/functional, mild, moderate or severe, the clinician should take into account the number and intensity of the experiences and any resulting impairment in occupational or social functioning.
A. Stable/Functional. Intentional experiences of which fit all criteria with few, if any, spontaneous experiences and of which result in no impairment in social or occupational functioning and may or may not increase normal functioning.
B. Mild. Few experiences of which fit all criteria and experiences result in no more than minor impairment in social or occupational functioning.
C. Moderate. Experiences and functional impairment between “mild” and “severe” are present.
D. Severe. Many experiences of which fit all criteria, either episodic or continuous, of which result in marked impairment in social or occupational functioning.
Associated Research and Laboratory Findings
No laboratory findings have been identified that are diagnostic of empathy in a parapsychological context. However, a variety of measures from neuroimaging, neuropsychological, and neurophysiological studies have shown differences between groups of individuals with empathy and appropriately matched control subjects. In a study by Radin & Schlitz (2005), investigating whether the emotions of one individual, measured with an electrogastrogram (EGG), respond to the emotions of a distant individual; EGG maximums were significantly larger when the distant individual was experiencing positive emotions, larger when experiencing negative emotions, and smaller when experiencing calm emotions as opposed to neutral emotions. When focusing on negative emotions, EGG maximums for sadness rather than anger was found to be significantly larger than neutral.
Specific Culture, Age, and Gender Features
Clinicians assessing beliefs and claims in socioeconomic or cultural situations that are dissimilar from their own must take cultural dissimilarities into account. Ideas that may appear to be questionable or even delusional in one culture or subculture (e.g. Buddhists, New Agers, Wiccan Practitioners, and those who engage in regular meditative practices) may be commonly believed in another. In some cultures, empathic impressions or intuitions with a spiritual or religious content may be a normal part of spiritual or religious experience (e.g. the sensing of a loved one in distress, mothers intuition; suggestive of a empathic or telepathic connection between mother and child often seen in a spiritual context). These varying beliefs may have subtle to blatant differences in terminology and descriptions leaving the clinician with the difficult task of properly categorizing experiences into parapsychological types and subtypes.
In regard to physical location, in a study conducted by Haraldsson & Houtkooper (1991), individuals in multiple countries reported telepathy and clairvoyance experiences. While this study does not focus on reports of purely emotional extrasensory experiences, its percentages may be used in conjunction with typical distributions of purely intuitive extrasensory experiences. According to Irwin (2007), “intuitive impressions may include some appreciation of the identity of the person whom, or the situation to which, the felt emotion relates.” However, Irwin also states that “in occasional instances the information element is minimal and the experience comprises little else than a strong, unexpected, emotion.” According to Rhine (1951), intuitive impressions account for 26% of extrasensory experience, with 9% hallucinatory, 44% realistic dreams, and 21% unrealistic dreams. Taking all of the above into consideration, similar to intuitive impressions, which in some cases are defined synonymously with empathic experiences, purely empathic extrasensory experiences are reported more often than telepathic or clairvoyant hallucinatory experiences, but less often than intuitive impressions involving more information than emotional content and basic association.
Initial experiences (onset) of empathic experiences typically occur within the first several years after birth and/or during puberty. Early onset may involve many spontaneous experiences of which may or may not affect the child psychologically, emotionally, or socially. Experiences in which have an early onset and continue throughout life without extended pause (e.g. 1 year or more without an experience) typically remain stable/functional in the long term. In some generalized ESP experiments, children tend to score higher than adolescents and adults. However, many similar studies have been unsuccessful in in demonstrating age dependent differences in scoring (Palmer, 1978). According to Blackmore (1980), “Although many studies show high scoring in children there is little systematic evidence of a relationship between ESP and age and there are many contradictory findings.”
The onset of empathic experiences during puberty, most common between the ages of 13-16, is typically induced to compensate for an inability to effectively communicate their wants, needs, thoughts, and/or emotions verbally to other individuals, or lack individuals in their life that could properly meet their needs. Experients may feel they have had a recent decline in quality of life, academic performance, and/or social relationships. During this time experiences are typically spontaneous, and can range from mild to severe depending on the severity of needs the experient feels they are unable to communicate and obtain. Experiences in which are moderate to severe have a high probability of continuing in severity unless the want or needs of the adolescent are met. Onset during this age rage may also be induced by another individual unwilling to meet the experients wants or needs, or the adolescent’s general environment may be unaccommodating in some manner.
In other words, the experient is communicating effectively, but (1) the recipient does not understand effectively (e.g. a parent that lacks emotional intelligence i.e. cannot effectively understand and responded to a child in emotional distress, or where the parent is the source of emotional distress and does not understand the part they play in the child’s emotional instability), or (2) simply refuses to meet the experients needs (e.g. a bully at school, or an emotionally abusive or neglectful parental figure), or (3) the experient is able to communicate effectively, but the resources required are not being made available (e.g. emotional support from family and friends, education in emotion-focused coping/regulation skills, etc.)
Adult onset may occur at any age and is typically precipitated by and inability to verbally communicate wants, needs, thoughts, or emotions, physically acquirer wants or needs, or deepen an emotional connection with another individual (e.g. an individual in the experients life or a type of individual the experient wants in their life). Adult onset is typically stable/functional to mild unless precipitated by experiences that amount to trauma, illness, or any other type of sudden uncomplimentary experience, acute or chronic, that results in a major disturbance in the experient’s life. In the case of the latter, moderate to severe experiences are typically common. Spontaneous experiences are common regardless of the severity. However, stable/functional to mild experiences are more likely to be the product of intention, while moderate to severe experiences are mainly spontaneous.
Gender differences have been the focus of some studies. Over-all, there appears to be no clear trend for differential scoring be-tween males and females (Palmer, 1978), and if gender differences are found, they tend to be slight with women reporting empathic experiences more than men, men reporting empathic experiences more than women, or no difference between gender reporting was found. In addition, there has been evidence supporting that mixed-gender pairings (empathist and subject/participant) are more suc-cessful than same-gender pairings (Dalton & Utts, 1995).
Occasionally one biological parent or grandparent of an experient of empathic experiences reports a history of empathic-like experiences. Familial patterns most common are empathic experiences between mother and child, spouses/lovers, identical twins, and occasionally between fraternal twins, siblings, and meditation partners. In regard to marital status in Europe and the U.S., relatively fewer single and married individuals report telepathy, clairvoyance, and contact with the dead then the “combined broken relationship group” (i.e. living as married, separated, or divorced) (Haraldsson & Houtkooper, 1991). As aforementioned, while this study does not focus on reports of purely emotional extrasensory experiences, its percentages may be used in conjunction with typical distributions of purely intuitive extrasensory experiences.
Emotional content. Experients of empathy in which sense only emotional content may use the following terminology: clair-empathic ● clair-empathy ● em-path ● empathic ● empathist ● empathy ● gut feeling ● intuition ● intuitionism ● intuitive ● intuitvism ● keen intuition ● presentiment ● mothers intuition ● sensitive ● tele-empathy ● tele-empathic.
Additional terminology. Used in a context involving the experient and at least one other individual, or social group, or the environment, including both telepathy and telepathy-like terminology: anomalous emotion communication ● emotion reading ● emotion reception ● emotion transference ● emotion or mood transmission ● emotion withdrawal ● emotional compulsion ● emotional control ● emotional influence ● emotional suggestions ● insight ● psychic communication ● psychic knowledge ● six sense ● twin empathy.
Criteria for Empathic Experiences
A. Characteristic phenomenology: all of the following are required criteria for empathic experiences.
1) Mind-to-Mind, or mind-to-environment, emotional communication.
2) Involves one or more individuals, or involves one or more environments and indirect emotional information pertaining to one or more groups of individuals.
3) The subject or participant is a living organism (e.g. human, animal), or the target group is comprised of living organisms (e.g. human, animal) and the information obtained about them is in reference to the emotional state of the target group (e.g. emotions towards community or national health, politics, current events, etc.).
B. Social/occupational need: A subconscious need has been identified as the catalyst for the initiation of empathic processes (i.e. (1) identified an inability to communicate wants, needs, or emotions to an individual(s) in an interpersonal, academic, or occupational context, (2) inability to acquire physical necessities, (4) need for emotional information not readily accessible though natural means, etc.).
C. Validation: The experience has been validated by an individual other than the experient (e.g. the subject(s) confirmed the accuracy of the emotional information received by the experient, or a reputable news source confirmed the accuracy of the information received by the experient (e.g. confirms a tragic accident affecting a particular group of individuals after the experient reported an in-tense sadness originating from that particular group, or at least identified the sadness as not originating from the empathist), and the clinician determines the experience was more than a co-incidence/chance occurrence based on the quality of the emotional information received and reported, and all other possible explanations for obtaining the emotional information is excluded. If validation does not apply, yet empathic processes are still plausible, the experience should be assigned as “Possible Empathy” (PE).
D. Clairvoyance and Telepathy Exclusion: Clairvoyance and telepathy have been ruled out because no more than emotional content has been identified as the basis of the experience(s) other than a sense of where the emotional content originated.
The subtypes of Empathy are defined by the predominant phenomenology of reports. The determination of a particular subtype is based on the clinical picture that occasioned the most recent experiences, and may therefore change over time. Not infrequently, the description of experiences may include phenomena that are characteristic of more than one subtype. The choice among subtypes depends on the following algorithm: Empathic Cognition (EC) is as-signed whenever emotional information is clairvoyantly acquired by the empathist originating from an environment/situation pertaining to a group of individuals; Empathic Interaction (EI) is assigned when-ever emotional information is empathically acquired by a subject originating from the empathist; Empathic Simulation (ES) is assigned whenever information is shared between the empathist and a partic-ipant; If two or three subtypes are assigned, all should be listed; Generalized Empathy (GE) is assigned when all subtypes appear to apply (optional), or a clear choice is unable to be made, but appears to only suggest an empathic experience. In addition, when a clear choice cannot be made, the clinician should consider a dimensional approach to classifying the experiences.
The following are links to more information on phenomenological subgroups exclusive to empathy.