Studying Individual Psi Experiences
Gertrude R. Schmeidler
City University of New York
To understand psi, we must study it at multiple levels of analysis. We need a sociology of psi, examining its patterns in different cultures and social groups; life history data so that we can find causes for changes in an individual’s psi ability; research on the conditions which affect ESP and PK in short periods like a single experimental session; and we also need careful examination of the individual psi experience. The latter is particularly difficult for several reasons: (1) The duration of
the individual experience is unknown (a review of spontaneous cases suggests it may last for the briefest reportable flash, perhaps a tenth or hundredth of a second, or may continue for several minutes); (2) any one hit in an ESP experiment may be due to chance, not to psi; (3) psi often gives imperfect information (only partially correct or systematically misdirected); and (4) psi is not ordinarily under conscious control.
Suggestions for coping with these difficulties are examined. An ongoing experiment is described which investigates EEG changes related to the individual psi experience and, at the same time, attempts to teach subjects to identify and control psi success.