Parapsychology Journalism: The People, The Theory, The Science, The Skeptics
Psychic people generally notice that they’re different from other people in ways that they can’t quite define, but it seems to be more than just psychic ability. While it’s been shown that most of the world has some level of psychic ability, the distribution is not even. Some people are far more psychic than others. The reasons for this are many and they trace back to a biological predisposition towards psychic ability. People who are very psychic were born that way.
Psychic ability itself is a byproduct of a much larger process that is basically a biological predisposition towards sensitivities of all sorts, including environmental and emotional. For that reason, David Ritchey, in his book The HISS of the ASP refers instead to Anomalously Sensitive Person, or ASP instead of the more culturally loaded term, “psychic.” According to Ritchey:
An anomalously high scorer on the HISS Biological (BIO) predispositions scale1 is likely to be a Non-Right-Handed, hypopigmented female who has an other-than-conventional sexual orientation and was born as one of a multiple birth. S/he would also be likely to report developmental learning disorders, developmental speech disorders, low body temperature, low blood pressure, chronic sinusitis and chronic body pain.
Research by Geschwind and Galaburda discovered a relationship between left handedness and various developmental, immunological and learning disorders. This was eventually traced to an anomaly in neurophysiological structuring they called “anomalous cerebral dominance” which underlaid the connections.2
Anomalous cerebral dominance is important to psychic ability because this implies a more developed right side of the brain, which is where psychic ability appears to arise from. Specifically, in telepathy studies, the greatest activation occurred in the right parahippocampal gyrus3. (left side shown) In addition, the corpus callosum, (the connection between the two sides of the brain) are enlarged in right brained people.
The congruence of the region of activation during “telepathy” by Sean Harribance and Gerard Senehi, especially when the specific electromagnetic and cellular characteristics are considered, suggests the parahippocampal region may be a focus for exploration of the mechanisms by which these phenomena might occur.
Female brains are naturally less strongly lateralized (more equal, less one sided) than male brains, and not coincidentally, about two thirds of psychic people are female.
The brain controls the body contralaterally, so the right side of the brain controls the left side of the body and the left brain controls the right. For that reason, right handedness is more prevalent than left handedness. (Because most people are left brain dominant.) Psychic people tend to be either left handed or ambidextrous, but not always.
A dominant right brain naturally produces different thought patterns; specifically, those who are possessed of this feature tend towards more holistic, creative thinking than is ordinary. Right brain dominance is a matter of degrees and it follows that those who are outliers in this area will have substantially different modes of thinking than is ordinary. In other words, there are physiological reasons for psychic people to experience strong feelings of being different. (Because this is physically true.)
Psychic people are referred to here as anomalously sensitive people (ASP’s) because the sensitivities go far beyond psychic ability. Physiological sensitivities include an over active immune system, psychogenic sensitivities, substance sensitivities and electro-magnetic radiation sensitivities. In addition there are aesthetic and overload sensitivities. As a group, psychic people are more vulnerable to allergies and autoimmune diseases and those who are left handed are more prone to accidents than the general population. However, ASP’s also possess the best neurology for self healing and have a better ability to reduce key stressors and their negative effects through intention. (ASP’s can make real the placebo effect, as opposed to pretend to be real. They can convince the body and the benefits become real.)
The anomalous sensitivity extends to emotions with psychic people being strongly associated with a high emotional sensitivity. In the Meyer Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) most psychic people fall into the INFJ and INFP categories. Introverted, intuitive and feeling are characteristics of people whose emotions are finely tuned. Introverted, because they are easily overwhelmed by the emotions of people around them, intuitive because they respond to information in a feeling way and use feeling for making judgements.
Trauma, both from ordinary accidents and injury as well as abuse, including sexual, plays a part in psychic ability as well. Disassociation, which is a common psychological protective measure the mind institutes in the presence of intense pain, both mental and physical, is an altered state of consciousness. Altered states of consciousness are a key factor in psychic experiences. This is a correlation though, not a cause and effect. It can be that highly sensitive people, (and children) are magnets for abuse, or maybe not. Only about 25% of the general population has an inborn capacity to disassociate. This is roughly the same percentage as those who are born with less lateralized brains, (i.e. right brained) The correlation is backed up by a study by Kunzendorf and Marsden that linked dissociative experiences and ambidexterity.4
Disassociation is not necessarily a bad thing. It shields us from experiences of trauma and allows us to cope with everyday life until we heal enough to deal with the pain. It only becomes a problem when it becomes a habit and leads to an overall lack of ability to feel. However, this term can also be used in psychology to refer to any altered state experience. It’s a way that some psychologists shield themselves from having to deal with the reality of psychic ability.
The thing to take away from this information is that psychic ability is strongly related to specific physiological characteristics. In other words, it is a genetic predisposition that we can no more alter than our sexual orientation. We feel and act differently because we are wired that way. We simply can’t help being who we are. It’s not a mental disease, it’s a bona fide personality type. I personally think that the huge array of mental issues that surround psychic ability have more to do with the social isolation and low self esteem, combined with a criminal lack of unbiased information that comes from being a repressed minority than from the physiological differences themselves.
1 This is a questionnaire for psychic people. Details about this survey can be found here: (A Survey for Psychic People)
2 The HISS of the ASP, page 65
3 International Journal of Yoga, 2012, vol. 5, issue 2, pg. 140-145
4 The HISS of the ASP, page 85