Carlos S. Alvarado, PhD, Research Fellow, Parapsychology Foundation

Over the years there have been many efforts to study the psychological correlates of ESP performance in laboratory tests. The article summarized here is one of the most recent contributions to the subject. Authored by Alejandro Parra, and Juan Carlos Argibay, it is entitled “Individual, perceptual and psychological differences between psi-tested self-claimed psychics and non-psychics” (Australian Journal of Parapsychology, 2016, 16,  63-84).


Dr. Alejandro Parra

Juan Carlos Argibay 2

Dr. Juan Carlos Argibay

Here is the abstract:

“The specific aim of the present study was to find psychological differences between psychic and non-psychics. Specifically, we hypothesized that the self-claimed psychics score higher than non-psychics on the following four dimensions: (1) Individual Differences (i.e., neuroticism, extroversion, psychoticism, cognitive and emotional empathy, and defense style); (2) Psychopathology (i.e., healthy and negative schizotypy, dissociation, hallucinations and abnormal perceptions, magical ideation and perceptual aberration); (3) Boundaries (i.e., transliminality and boundary ‘thinness’); and (4) Perception (i.e., perceptual cognition and imagery, and sensationseeking). The database used in this paper was originally collected as part of a project that investigated the so-called token-object effect (Parra & Argibay, 2013a, 2013b). Two categorization procedures were performed in order to split the sample into (1) Psychic/high-psi-scorers (n = 48) and (2) Non-psychic/low-psi-scorers (n = 44). Psychic/high-psi scorers scored higher than non-psychic/low-psi-scorers on Extroversion, and they scored lower on Neuroticism and Psychoticism, which confirm previous findings. Other results showed that psychic/high-psi-scorers tended to have ‘thinner’ boundaries, and they reported more unusual/psychic experiences, than non-psychic/low-psi scorers. The two groups, however, did not differ on schizotypy or dissociation. Generally speaking, the typical psychic in our study (similar to the one described by Eysenck) is ‘sanguine’, tends to be lively, sociable, carefree, talkative, pleasure-seeking, optimistic, and leadership-oriented.”