Any person who is claimed to have such ability is said accordingly to be a clairvoyant () Claims for the existence of paranormal and psychic abilities such as clairvoyance have not been supported by scientific evidence published in high impact factor peer reviewed journals. Parapsychology, including the study of clairvoyance, is an example of pseudoscience.
Pertaining to the ability of clear-sightedness, clairvoyance refers to the paranormal ability to see persons and events that are distant in time or space. It can be divided into roughly three classes: precognition, the ability to perceive or predict future events, retrocognition, the ability to see past events, and remote viewing, the perception of contemporary events happening outside of the range of normal perception.
Jesus Christ in the Gospels is also recorded as being able to know things that were far removed from his immediate human perception. Prophecy often involved some degree of clairvoyance, especially when future events were predicted. In Jainism, clairvoyance is regarded as one of the five kinds of knowledge. Clairvoyance was a reported ability of some mediums during the spiritualist period of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and psychics of many descriptions have claimed clairvoyant ability up to the present day.
Early researchers of clairvoyance included William Gregory, Gustav Pagenstecher, and Rudolf Tischner. Clairvoyance experiments were reported in 1884 by Charles Richet. J. M. Peirce and E. C. Pickering reported a similar experiment in which they tested 36 subjects over 23,384 trials which did not obtain above chance scores. The spiritualist Arthur Conan Doyle attended the séance and declared the clairvoyance manifestations to be genuine. A significant development in clairvoyance research came when J. B. Rhine, a parapsychologist at Duke University, introduced a standard methodology, with a standard statistical approach to analyzing data, as part of his research into extrasensory perception. A number of psychological departments attempted to repeat Rhine's experiments with failure. W. S. Cox (1936) from Princeton University with 132 subjects produced 25,064 trials in a playing card ESP experiment. Four other psychological departments failed to replicate Rhine's results. It was revealed that Rhine's experiments contained methodological flaws and procedural errors. Eileen Garrett was tested by Rhine at Duke University in 1933 with Zener cards. She performed poorly and later criticized the tests by claiming the cards lacked a psychic energy called "energy stimulus" and that she could not perform clairvoyance to order. A total of over 12,000 guesses were recorded but Garrett failed to produce above chance level. In his report Soal wrote "In the case of Mrs. Eileen Garrett we fail to find the slightest confirmation of Dr. J. B. Rhine's remarkable claims relating to her alleged powers of extra-sensory perception. "
Remote viewing, also known as remote sensing, remote perception, telesthesia and travelling clairvoyance is the alleged paranormal ability to perceive a remote or hidden target without support of the senses. A well known study of remote viewing in recent times has been the US government-funded project at the Stanford Research Institute during the 1970s through the mid-1990s. In 1972, Harold Puthoff and Russell Targ initiated a series of human subject studies to determine whether participants (the viewers or percipients) could reliably identify and accurately describe salient features of remote locations or targets. In the early studies, a human sender was typically present at the remote location, as part of the experiment protocol. Secondly, in the viewing step, participants were asked to verbally express or sketch their impressions of the remote scene. The term remote viewing was coined to describe this overall process. The first paper by Puthoff and Targ on remote viewing was published in Nature in March 1974; in it, the team reported some degree of remote viewing success. The psychologists David Marks and Richard Kammann attempted to replicate Targ and Puthoff's remote viewing experiments that were carried out in the 1970s at the Stanford Research Institute. In a series of 35 studies, they were unable to replicate the results so investigated the procedure of the original experiments. They concluded that these clues were the reason for the experiment's high hit rates. James Randi has written controlled tests by several other researchers, eliminating several sources of cuing and extraneous evidence present in the original tests, produced negative results. In 1980, Charles Tart claimed that a rejudging of the transcripts from one of Targ and Puthoff's experiments revealed an above-chance result. As previously concluded, remote viewing has not been demonstrated in the experiments conducted by Puthoff and Targ, only the repeated failure of the investigators to remove sensory cues.His paper included numerous references to remote viewing studies at the time. According to scientific research, clairvoyance is generally explained as the result of confirmation bias, expectancy bias, fraud, hallucination, self-delusion, sensory leakage, subjective validation, wishful thinking or failures to appreciate the base rate of chance occurrences and not as a paranormal power. Skeptics say that if clairvoyance were a reality it would have become abundantly clear. According to David G. Myers (Psychology, 8th ed.):
The search for a valid and reliable test of clairvoyance has resulted in thousands of experiments. The result? A reported 32 percent accurate response rate, surpassing the chance rate of 25 percent. Clairvoyance is considered hallucination by mainstream psychiatry.
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