Extrasensory Perception Experiences and Childhood Trauma
Scimeca et al. (2015) investigated the association between recurrent extrasensory perception (ESP) experiences (telepathy, clairvoyance, and precognition) and traumatic experiences and/or intrusions in 31 participants with recurrent ESP experiences and the same number of control individuals without having ESP experiences. The authors concluded that the ESP group reported higher levels of emotional abuse, sexual abuse, emotional neglect, physical neglect, and traumatic intrusions. In addition, the significant association between ESP experiences and trauma was partly mediated by the dissociation and emotional distress. I have some concerns on their study.
First, Sar et al. (2014) reported a preliminary study on the prevalence of experiences of possession and paranormal phenomena (PNP) in 628 women and the relationship with traumatic stress and dissociation. The frequency (prevalence) of at least one type of PNP and possession was 127 (20.2%) and 13 (2.1%), respectively. Women with a dissociative disorder reported all types of possession and PNP (except telepathy) more frequently than those without. In addition, PNP was only associated with childhood trauma. Although causal association between PNP and childhood trauma cannot be confirmed, a significant association was observed in women. About 80% of participants were women in study by Scimeca et al., and sex difference should be explored by further study.
Second, Bergson (1920) described the difference between personal experience and scientific fact from the population analysis. Namely, summing up data of personal experience does not lead to scientific evidence. I cannot deny the causal mechanism underlying the effect of childhood trauma on subsequent ESP or PNP; caution should be paid to the variety of the contents of individual ESP or PNP.
Finally, Bierman et al. (2016) reported a method of quantifying the effect of questionable research practices (QRPs) on the results of meta-analyses with special reference to controversial telepathy protocol. The authors concluded that there is a possibility of accepting quantitative simulations of QRPs such as telepathy and parapsychology. However, I want to make caution that personal experience such as ESP or PNP does not solely spring from biological materials such as brain and human body. In addition, I think that statistical approach to confirm the relationship between ESP experiences and trauma is not an established and sole method.