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October 31, 1966

ESP: A Scientific Evaluation

JAMA. 1966;198(5):567-568. doi:10.1001/jama.1966.03110180111050

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


Over the last years, extrasensory perception has been increasingly accepted by the scientific community. Its special interest to physicians probably centers around communication, since ESP implies that unspoken feelings or ideas can directly influence others. An evaluative review of ESP, with emphasis on its probable limitations and potentialities, would be welcome.

This book serves a different purpose. It is essentially a debater's clever argument for the negative; interesting and important to the ESP specialist but too slanted for an introductory survey.

The core of the book is a detailed procedural examination of three classic ESP experiments. For each, the author demonstrates how the participants could have cheated if they chose. Suggested methods of cheating seem far-fetched: they demand the collusion of three investigators of unblemished reputation, or feats of memory, or a hypothetical, invisible accomplice. The book gives no evidence for fraud in two experiments and debatable evidence in the