Psionics: Arguments For and Against

Written by: Zane Robinson
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As with anything in life (gravity is no exception), there are both those who say "Yea!" and those who say "Nay!" Because of this, I am going to list what we can find of those who say "Nay!" and give you my argument against them.

(Note: For those of you who are concerned with me biasing my results or being overdependent on what I find, rest assured that this is not the case, and, in fact, I invite the competition. Go ahead, find anything and everything you can to unseat me; I'll probably use what you find in here too to further support the opposition, making it more fair – although rest assured, I will give a counter-argument.)

The Ideomotor Effect

The Ideomotor Effect is most notably used in the debunking of Ouija Boards, and, although I haven't seen anybody use this against Psionics, I see where it may be applicable so I'm going to go ahead and address it.

Breaking it down: "ideo-" means "idea."
                                   "motor" means "motion."

The Ideomotor Effect (an "idea" that affects "motion") is when a person believes something is going to happen, and thus unconsciously causes that effect to happen. As stated above, this is commonly referenced when presenting Ouija Boards as a fallacy, so I'm going to use Ouija Boards as my example scenario.

  1. Person A and Person B sit down to use a Ouija Board. They set everything up, get comfortable, and do whatever it is that they typically do when engaging in this activity (light candles, pray, or nothing at all).
  2. Person A is the one using the Board, while Person B is the one watching.
  3. Person A places their hand(s) on the marker and calls upon whatever Spirit that's around to come and tell them stuff.
  4. Person A believes that they have contacted a Spirit, and that the Spirit is now in control of their hand, navigating it from symbol to symbol, trying to convey a message to them.

Now let's look at this scenario again through the eyes of the Ideomotor Effect.

  1. Person A and Person B sit down to use a Ouija Board. They set everything up, get comfortable, and get themselves in the mind-set where they can convince themselves that their body is about to be taken over by some unseen entity (mind-over-matter).
  2. Person A is in control of the situation, while Person B is in a mentality where whatever Person A says or does is going to be a Spirit's actions rather than Person A's (in other words, highly-impressionable).
  3. Person A places their hand(s) on the marker, and convinces themselves and Person B that their actions will not be their own (similar to the drunkard's, "It was the beer, not me!").
  4. Person A deludes themself into thinking that something has possessed them, and begins to move their hands however they think that something would want them to. (This is why so many "beginners" can't use the Ouija Board until they've properly familiarized themselves with it – they haven't memorized where the symbols are.)

A way that this could be applied to Psionics is in tregards to Psi-Feeding. A bystander could simply say, "Well, if your friend knows (thinks) you're Draining them, then they will consequently feel weaker."

My response: "Gee, that's great, but did it ever occur to you that the same thing happens to every person we do this to whether they know it's happening or not, and whether they even realize who we are or even if we're there or not? And before you start saying it has something to do with chemicals, hormones, etc. released from our bodies when we do this, how do you explain the fact that this happens to people who are hundreds of miles away as well?"

I rest my case.


Regretfully, overdependency isn't yet classified as its own, singular class of bias, and isn't even officially considered a word, but it is, nonetheless, a major problem. (If you want to search for more information, try using keywords, as whole phrases did not yield many results. I used, "Overdependence bias scientific studies," which is obviously not a complete phrase. Best of luck, and if you find any good, definitive links, pass them my way if you don't mind.)

An example of overdependency would be when a scientist is gathering data for an experiment and decides that they are going to exclude results that don't work in their favor, or that they are going to input false results that do work in their favor because if the experiment works (or fails), they get a massive influx of funding.

Overdependency in Psionics would be when Person 1 is going to try to Psi-Feed from Person 2, and they are agitated that they "can't quite seem to do it right." What happens is Person 1 (for the sake of example) fails but watches Person 2 for the next few minutes, and accepts all actions that could be characterized as feeling "drained," yet ignores all actions that could mean they are feeling "energized."

  • Person 1:"Ooo! He just rested his head in his hands! He's feeling Drained!"
  • Unrelated Bystander:"Umm... You do realize that he's jogging now, right?"
  • Person 1:"But he was acting tired five seconds ago! I win!"

The reason why this doesn't generally apply is because most people who are practicing Psionics are naturally very skeptical people, and don't believe they can actually do something until they have proven it to themselves multiple times under multiple, varying conditions. While I accept the fact that there will undoubtedly be a lot of people foolishly convincing themselves (I've had to talk more than a few out of these delusions), the majority are typically very careful to test, re-test, and re-test dozens of additional times beyond that (which has the unintended positive effect of giving the individual practice – after all, "practice makes perfect").