A psychic is a person who claims to use ESP or extrasensory perception to identify information hidden from the normal senses, particularly involving telepathy or clairvoyance. Psychic also performs acts that are apparently inexplicable by natural laws. Although many people believe in psychic abilities, the scientific consensus is that there is no proof of the existence of such powers, and describes the practice as pseudoscience.
You might be inclined to believe that psychics tell the truth. First, they often seem to know uncanny and accurate information about the people in their audiences, for example, that someone has a spouse who died of heart disease. Second, the people who get information from psychics seem to feel better as a result, for example, when they are told that a missing child is still alive. Third, the psychics appear on national television with famous hosts who have some credibility.
Psychics use 2 methods to appear to be accurate and informative about people’s problems. The most common is cold calling, which is throwing up big questions designed to elicit information, for example, by asking whether anyone in a large audience has a husband named John who had a heart attack. People are eager to be informed about their loved ones and find solace, so they quickly pick up on tiny pieces of information achieved only by fake questions and statements. The second method used by psychics is hot calling, which means getting info in advance about people they know they will meet, through sources from internet, faceook, etc. Deceptions through cold and hot calling explain why psychics seem to be accurate and insightful.
When people are thrilled to get information about their loved ones from psychics, they are often succumbing to the kind of mental error that psychologists call motivated reasoning. We are inclined to accept beliefs on the basis of personal goals, what they want to believe, rather than on reliable evidence.
Motivated reasoning is not just wishful thinking; it involves a more subtle process of recruiting information from memory and other sources that support what people wants to hear. Grief from the loss of a loved one is a horrible experience, so is not surprising that people will be highly motivated to get information that will make them feel better.
So the fact that people think that psychics make them feel better is no evidence concerning the truth of what the psychics say, because it reflects motivated inference rather than more reliable reasoning.
Psychics: Impossible to Confirm
Many psychic claims have also proved impossible to confirm. A classic illustration is Uri Geller’s contention that he “willed” the football to move during a penalty kick at Euro 96. The ball movement occurred spontaneously in an uncontrolled environment and Geller made the claim retrospectively.
When professed abilities are subject to scientific scrutiny researchers generally discredit them. This was true of Derek Ogilvie in the 2007 TV documentary The Million Dollar Mind Reader. Investigation concluded Ogilvie genuinely believed he possessed powers, but was not actually able to read babies’ minds.
When scientists have endorsed psychic claims, criticism has typically followed. This occurred in the 1970s when physicists Harold Puthoff and Russell Targ published a paper in the prestigious journal Nature, which supported the notion that Uri Geller possessed genuine psychic ability. Psychologists, such as Ray Hyman refuted this, highlighting major methodological flaws. These included a hole in the laboratory wall that afforded views of drawings that Geller “psychically” reproduced.
A stunning blessing
Sally Morgan, depicted as ‘England’s best-adored clairvoyant’ and ‘the every day friend of Princess Diana’, has been an interesting issue in the news generally, in the midst of allegations that she ‘duped’ her mystic capacities in front of an audience.
A crowd of people part battles that she heard ‘a man’s voice transferring data’ to the mystic hotshot in front of an audience who, after 10 seconds, professed to talk the soul of David’. This, the group of onlookers part guarantees, demonstrates that Morgan was misdirecting the crowd and does not really hold the mystic capacities she professes to have.
On her web, Sally herself says that her ‘clairvoyant life’ started ‘before she could walk’, and considers her powers an ‘astounding blessing’ that, while here and there being troublesome and enthusiastic, have ‘helped such huge numbers of’.
She clarifies how she has needed to function for a long time before ‘assuming responsibility for the riddles of the soul world’, and says that living in ‘a negative world’ implies that she needs to substantiate herself ‘over and over’. She has discredited the allegations leveled at her as ‘ridiculous’, saying that the earpiece she had in was basically part of her amplifier, and was not associated with anybody behind the stage.
Cheerful to be beguiled
In any case, pundit Paul Zenon, a phase mystical performer, told the Daily Mail that arrange clairvoyants and mediums have engendered the legend of reaching the dead for quite a long time.
This Psychics says that clairvoyants utilize a few techniques including Internet investigator programming preceding shows, ‘to beat our regular incredulity in their supposed forces’.
Paul said that the contrast between his ‘enchantment’ and the guaranteed ‘mystic’ forces of entertainers, is that ‘when individuals come to see a psychics performer… they’re glad to be hoodwinked in light of the fact that it’s skilful, engaging and fun – dissimilar to at shows, for example, Sally Morgan’s, the point at which the gathering of people [are tricked into] really trusting that they are communing with the dead.’