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 Telepathy, Telepathic Cognition, Telepathic Interaction, and Telepathic Simulation. These phenomena have been grouped together to facilitate differential classification of phenomena that include Telepathy as a prominent aspect of the experience. The term telepathy was introduced to describe “the communication of impressions of any kind from one mind to another, independently of the recognized channels of sense” (Myers, 1903).
In this manual, telepathy is defined as the psychical influence of thought via experient influence over the biological basis of consciousness and the mental process by which we perceive, act, learn, and remember; Including mental forms and processes such as the nervous system in which processes and transmits information by electrochemical signaling. Characteristically, people are dynamic information-processing systems whose mental operations can limitedly be described in computational terms as the mind has demonstrated its capacity to store and process visual, auditory, and basic arbitrary packets of information. Experients of telepathic phenomena express influence in regard to the creation, transference, modification, and deletion of single and multiple information packages (Kelly, 2011a).
The following subtypes are phenomenological subgroups exclusive to telepathy only.
These specifiers should only be used when all criteria for the type or 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 telepathy. However, a variety of measures from neuroimaging, neuropsychological, and neurophysiological studies have shown differences between groups of individuals with telepathy and appropriately matched control subjects. According to Williams & Roll (2008), in a study examining the correlation between telepathic scoring and alpha abundance, positive correlations have been found. In studies examining the correlation between telepathic scoring and cognitive abilities associated with a particular hemisphere of the brain, mixed results have been found consisting of weak and insignificant evidence. However, EEG studies on two notable psychics suggest right hemisphere processing, but additional brain wave measurement and imaging studies need to be conducted with other notable psychics to make any further determinations.
Numerous studies have implicated the temporal lobe as the region that shapes extrasensory experience. One study has found that individuals with temporal lobe dysfunction reported more extrasensory experiences (psi experiences in general) than other patients. Three studies involving mediums and psychics found elevated temporal lobe signs. Predictions have been made that the hippocampus and amygdala are activated during extrasensory experiences. Further brain regions that may be associated with extrasensory experience are the occipital lobe and the parietal lobe. According to Williams & Roll (2008), predictions have been made that the hippocampus and amygdala are activated during extrasensory experiences because: (1) numerous studies have indicated that extrasensory response consists of implicit emotional memories in which correspond to a perceived object, (2) memory and emotion are processed by these regions.
According to Radin (2006), in two experiments investigating EEG correlations in separated pairs of individuals utilizing a protocol of photic stimulation and EEG measurements, one of which involved two identical twins, followed by 10 replications, 8 of the studies were reported positive. Many replications followed over the years, with one team concluding that the phenomenon could not be easily dismissed and no biophysical mechanism known could account for the correlations. A further replication, where the subject was placed in an fMRI scanner and the agent in a distant room, they found a highly significant increase in brain activity in the subject’s visual cortex while the agent was viewing a flickering light. However, while the experiment’s design is intended to be telepathic, a pre-stimulus or “presponse” (i.e. physiological activity before the stimulus) has been found in the subject during experiments suggesting a Telepathy/Presentiment design.
A similar study by Radin (2004), involving the agent viewing a live video image of the subject rather than a flickering light, results overall were somewhat conservative, though 3 out of the 13 pairs of participants independently achieved significant correlations, 5 subjects showed significant EEG peaks, and 10 subjects showed positive EEG peaks. These results “appear to reflect a generalized” subject-agent “relationship.” In a series of telephone telepathy experiments by Sheldrake & Smart (2003), (i.e. determining who was calling another after the call was made, but before the caller spoke), resulted in a highly significant effect. A “striking” difference was found when comparing success rates between familiar and unfamiliar callers, where familiar results where significant and unfamiliar were at chance expectation.
According to Radin (1997), involving journal articles published between 1966-1973, a total of 450 dream telepathy sessions were reported. These studies range in design, but considering the results of all experiments combined (i.e. meta-analysis), the overall hit rate was above chance expectation.
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, Spiritualists, Wiccan Practitioners, and those who engage in regular meditative practices) may be commonly believed in another. In some cultures, telepathic hallucinations with spiritual or religious content may be a normal part of spiritual or religious experience (e.g. abhijna; Buddhist “mind-penetrating” knowledge, 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 the U.S. reported telepathic experiences 54%, which far exceeded any of the European nations surveyed, including Italy with 41%, Finland with 40%, West Germany with 39%, Great Brittan with 36%, France and Iceland with 34%, Holland with 29%, Sweden with 24%, Spain and Belgium with 21%, Ireland with 19%, Norway with 17%, and Denmark with 15%. The total percentage for all European countries was 34%. Only one Asian country was included in this study, which was South Korea with 48%. This study included reports for clairvoyance and contact with the dead, where telepathy was reported more frequently than the other two types of experiences. The study suggests that “weighing the figures by national population sizes, it can be estimated that 32% of Europeans from these countries have experienced telepathy” along with 54% of Americans.
Initial experiences (onset) of telepathic phenomena typically occur within the first several years after birth and/or during puberty. Early onset may involve several 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).
The onset of telepathic phenomena during puberty, most common between the ages of 13-16, is typically induced to compensate for an inability to effectively communicate their wants, needs, and/or thoughts verbally. 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. In other words, the experient is communicating effectively, but the recipient does not understand effectively (e.g. a parent that does not understand a child’s limitations due to developmental or behavioral issues), or simply refuses to meet the experients needs (e.g. a bully at school, or an abusive or neglectful parental figure).
Adult onset may occur at any age and is typically precipitated by and inability to verbally communicate wants, needs, or thoughts, or a desire to deepen a mental and emotional connection with another individual(s) (e.g. spouse, children). 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. Overall, there appears to be no clear trend for differential scoring between males and females (Palmer, 1978). However, in an online survey conducted by Parra (2011), that related to gender and age found that women tended to report relatively higher numbers of telepathic experiences compared to men, that men tended to show more negative emotional impact compared to women, and that for birth order, it was found that those who were ‘only’ children tend to experience a greater number of paranormal experiences in general than compared with those who have siblings. In Europe, 38% of women surveyed reported telepathic experiences with men surveyed reporting only 30%, and there was a comparable result in the U.S. where 59% of women surveyed reported telepathic experiences with men surveyed reporting only 47% (Haraldsson & Houtkooper, 1991). In addition, there has been evidence supporting that mixed-gender pairings (agent and subject) are more successful than same-gender pairings (Dalton & Utts, 1995).
Occasionally one biological parent or grandparent of an experient of telepathic phenomena reports a history of telepathic-like experiences. Familial patterns most common are telepathic 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, telepathic experience reports are 31% married couples, 36% individuals (single), 44% living as married (but not legally married), 53% separated, and 47% divorced. A similar trend was found in the U.S. where telepathic experiences are reported 51% by married couples, 53% by individuals (single), 65% by those living as married (but not legally married), 66% separated, and 64% divorced. Overall, comparatively fewer single and married individuals report telepathic experiences than the “combined broken-relationship group” (i.e. living as married, separated, or divorced) (Haraldsson & Houtkooper, 1991).
Emotional content. Experients of telepathy in which primarily sense emotional content, but still receive more than emotional content on occasion, may use the following terminology: empath ● empathic ● empathist ● empathy ● gut feeling ● intuition ● intuitionism ● intuitive ● intuitvism ● keen intuition ● mothers intuition ● sensitive ● tele-empathic ● tele-empathy.
Visual content. Experients of telepathy in which primarily sense visual content may use the following terminology: psipath ● psipathic ● telepathic ● telepathist ● telepathy.
Additional terminology. Used in a context involving the experient and at least one other individual, including both telepathy and telepathy-like terminology: anomalous communication ● audible thoughts ● insight ● mental compulsion ● mental suggestion ● mind control ● mind influence ● mind/mental rape ● mind reader/reading ● psychic communication ● psychic knowledge ● second sight ● six sense ● thought broadcasting ● thought insertion ● thought reception ● thought transference ● thought transmission ● thought withdrawal ● twin telepathy ● second sight ● six sense.
Criteria for Telepathic Experiences
A. Characteristic phenomenology: all of the following are required criteria for telepathy.
1) Mind-to-mind communication.
2) Involves two or more individuals.
3) The agent and subject, percipient, or all participants, are living organisms.
B. Social/occupational need: A subconscious need has been identified as the catalyst for the initiation of telepathic processes (i.e. identified an inability to communicate wants, needs, or thoughts to an individual(s) in an interpersonal, academic, or occupational context).
C. Validation: The experience has been validated by an individual other than the experient (e.g. the subject(s) confirmed the accuracy of the information received by the experient), and/or the clinician determines the experience was more than a coincidence/chance occurrence based on the quality of the information received and reported, and all other possible explanations for obtaining the information is excluded. If validation does not apply, yet telepathic processes are still plausible, the experience should be classified as “Possible Telepathy” (PT).
D. Empathy Exclusion: Psychical Empathy has been ruled out because more than emotional content is involved in the experience(s).
E. Clairvoyance Exclusion: Clairvoyance has been ruled out because mind-to-mind communication has been identified as the basis of the experience(s).
The subtypes of Telepathy 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: Telepathic Cognition (TC) is assigned whenever information is telepathically acquired by the telepathist originating from a subject; Telepathic Interaction (TI) is assigned whenever information is telepathically acquired by a subject originating from the telepathist; Telepathic Simulation (TS) is assigned whenever information is shared between the telepathist and a participant; If two or three subtypes are assigned, all should be listed; Generalized Telepathy (GT) is assigned when all subtypes appear to apply (optional), or a clear choice is unable to be made, but appears to suggest only telepathic phenomena. In addition, when a clear choice cannot be made, the clinician should consider a dimensional approach to classifying the experiences.
The following subtypes are phenomenological subgroups exclusive to telepathy only.