Extrasensory perception or ESP includes reception of information not gained through the recognized physical senses but sensed with the mind.

Parapsychology is the study of paranormal psychic phenomena, including ESP. See also: Tag proposal for "parapsychology".

From World War II until the 1970s the U.S. government occasionally funded ESP research. When the US intelligence community learned that the USSR and China were conducting ESP research, it became receptive to the idea of having its own competing psi research program. (Schnabel 1997)

The problem of extra-sensory perception (ESP) is engaging increasing interest in scientific circles, both in America and the Soviet Union, as well as Western Europe. The experiments carried out over the last decades have accumulated a formidable array of evidence that ESP actually takes palce. Since these phenomena are at first sight inexplicable in the context of contemporary science this gives rise to the problem. How are we to account for them? A few die-hard Newtonian mechanists claim that the scientists concerned have all been guilty of deliberate fraud. Other scientists are convinced by the evidence and claim that ESP has already been established. [...] What is apparent is that fewer and fewer scientists are merely uninterested.

Source: Science and ESP edited by J R Smythies

ESP and the Brain: Current Status by Edwin C. May

ABSTRACT: Serious research into extrasensory perception (ESP) has been conducted since the 1930's, and a number of different protocols have been established to elicit the phenomenon. The large database to date has been analyzed by critics and statisticians alike, and the consensus is that the result meets generally accepted criteria for evidence of a statistically based, information transfer anomaly. We provide a brief overview of three of the most common procedures and their results as the basis for the justification to engage in a search for a central nervous system (CNS) correlate to ESP. Read more.

The American Institutes for Research Review of the Department of Defense's STARGAT Program: A Commentary by Edwin C. May

ABSTRACT: As a result of a Congressionally Directed Activity, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) conducted an evaluation of a 24-year, government-sponsored program to investigate ESP and its potential use within die intelligence community. The American Institutes for Research (AIR) was contracted to conduct the review of both research and operations. Read more.

Quotes by Edgar Mitchell, American pilot, retired Captain in the United States Navy and NASA astronaut:

“The subject of the societies’ concern can be broadly classified as Extrasensory Perception (ESP, psychokinesis (PK), and survival phenomena (theta). Collectively, they are referred to as psi, the twenty-third letter of the Greek alphabet and the first letter in the Greek word for “psyche”, meaning “mind” or “soul.” - Mitchell

“Telepathy, for example, had been extensively studied and documented for a century. The work of J.B. Rhine, Rene Warcollier, S.G. Soal, and many others, including the astounding experiment between Harold Sherman and Sir Hubert Wilkins in the Arctic, could leave no doubt about its existence.” - Mitchell

“ESP is a psychic event in which information is transmitted through channels outside the known sensory channels, either in waking consciousness, trance, or dreams.” - Mitchell

H.J. Eysenck, head of the Department of Psychology at Maudsley Hosptial in London:

“Unless there is a gigantic conspiracy involving 30 University departments all over the world, and several hundred highly respected scientists in various fields, many of them originally hostile to the claims of the psychic researchers, the only conclusion the unbiased observer can come to must be that there are people who obtain knowledge existing either in other people’s minds, or in the outer world, by means yet unknown to science.”

Suggested questions which can be tagged with ESP:

  • 5
    ESP is not a good tag for either of those questions you suggest. At most the tag would legitimize answers that mention ESP as a way of addressing the questions, which are not about ESP. Given the lack of scientific basis for ESP, this would be misleading. Jun 17, 2014 at 18:35
  • -1 ESP is pseudoscience, and this is a science forum; we do not want to encourage such questions here.
    – Arnon Weinberg Mod
    Jan 7, 2017 at 17:36

2 Answers 2


ESP research was brought into the spotlight by Daryl Bem's 2011 Feeling the Future paper.

Replication attempts [1], [2] of the findings have failed to find support for the claims of Psi phenomena reported in (Bem 2011).

As far as I know, there is no known replicable result that gives positive evidence for ESP-related phenomena.

It's clearly still something that is discussed within not only the larger community, but specifically in literature relevant to cognitive science. However, this probably warrants a larger discussion on how to handle topics that have no solid scientific basis.

  • Good answer. Also a good citation here drsmorey.org/bibtex/upload/Rouder:Morey:2011a.pdf May 13, 2015 at 13:32
  • question: how would you feel about the tags "phrenology" or "free will". phrenology has no solid scientific basis, while the concept of free will, well, one wonders how a study into that could be replicable.
    – faustus
    Apr 11, 2017 at 11:18

A tag "parapsychology" seems better to me, as it is broader, and that kind of questions are not so common (but they do exist and they are not off-topic regarding how they were answered on this site).

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