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A Introduction History of problem Any act is conditional on underlying processes Visual identification of an object requires both the use of the eyes and that light is reflected from the object Parapsychologists claim that some people have the ability to perform such acts as identifying objects when the conditions normally assumed to be necessary for their execution are absent Such behavior they call extrasensory perception or ESP Kurtz 1985 The ESP debate is about whether or not different forms of extra sensory perception exist and whether or not ESP should occupy a place in mainstream psychological thinking Extrasensory perception is part of a larger area of interest known as parapsychology the study of psychic phenomena laube book If people can act in this way new processes have to be admitted as underlying brain activity and the manner in which organisms interact with the environment The existence of ESP would thus be profound significance not only to the understanding of human behavior but also to science in general It would signify that there are underlying processes in nature so far undiscovered that permit ESP to occur ESP is possible or impossible depending on whether or not such processes exist Parapsychologists started their inquiries by investigating unusual phenomena reported in everyday life and in the sance room The general public often confuses parapsychology with spiritualism ufology astrological palm- and tarot-card readings hypnotic regression to past lives and a host of other occult practices Rao 1984 In contradistinction to these practices however parapsychology is concerned with psychic abilities that can be studied empirically that is to say it is concerned with those abilities that can be studied by observation and experimentation under controlled conditions Parapsychology then is the systematic and scientific study of psi The abilities that lend themselves to this scrutiny are broadly referred to as psi Basically two forms of psi are distinguished extrasensory perception ESP and psychokinesis PK ESP is the
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