ESP and cognition

H. Kreitler, S. Kreitler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


An attempts is made to develop hypotheses about the life supporting function of ESP. Examining theories about the phylogenesis of ESP shows that 2 of them, the theory of ESP decrease due to bombardment by sensory inputs and the theory of ESP increase due to progressive mental development, lack biological cogency and/or factual support. The third theory claims that in spite of its potential survival values, ESP as a means of communication was as rare and weak in the past as it is in the present. This theory leads to the conclusion that the information transmitting aspects of ESP are only secondary manifestations of a capability employed primarily for performing another and even more vital task. It is hypothesized that this primary task consists in promoting memory retrieval, productive thinking, and other cognitive functions by finding and connecting meaning related and meaning complementing cognitive contents. The internal ESP function is probably antagonistic to the external use of ESP for information transmission. This implies that phylogenetically the communicative function of ESP had to be renounced in favor of thinking and in order to prevent leakage of decisions and plans. Different implications of this hypothesis for psi research and theory are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)267-285
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Parapsychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1974
Externally publishedYes


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