Exploring the Correlates and Nature of Psychometry | Christine Simmonds-Moore‌

Introduction: Psychometry is “a type of anomalous cognition (or ESP) which permits a psychic or ‘sensitive’ to receive impressions using a physical object as an inductor or instrument for information”. Early studies explored claims of self claimed sensitives or mediums, including Eileen Garrett. Recent research has explored performance at psychometry tasks among members of the general population. For example, Baker et al. found better performance in a group with no claims of psychic abilities compared to a group who claimed to be psychic. To date, little research has explored correlational factors associated with psychometry performance in the general population.

The current project explores the relationship between Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR) and its rarer cousin synesthesia in relation to psychometry. ASMR is “the experience of tingling sensations in the crown of the head, in response to a range of audio-visual triggers such as whispering, tapping, and hand movements”. Synesthesia occurs when there is an additional response to an inducing stimulus and has previously been linked to enhanced reporting of a range of anomalous and paranormal experiences. ASMR has yet to be explored in relation to paranormal experiences, but seems to be promising as an anomaly-prone variable, given its association with traits that are associated with increased connectivity and tendencies to report exceptional experiences including openness to experience, increased scoring on transliminality, body consciousness, and unusual experiences and higher scores on empathic concern. ASMR tendencies are also associated with enhanced prevalence rates of synesthesia and may reflect a form of synesthesia itself.

The survey included a demographic section, a question about synesthesia, a measure for ASMR, a measure for exceptional experiences, a question about whether people had experienced psychometry, and an open ended question about psychometry.

The quantitative analysis found that there was a significant difference between those who reported psychometry and those who did not on ASMR scores. There was also a significant and positive correlation between synesthesia and psychometry. Synesthetes also scored higher than non-synesthetes on ASMR. ASMR tendencies correlated positively and significantly with proneness to having exceptional experiences (regardless of attribution) and to a slightly lesser extent to exceptional experiences given a paranormal attribution. Experience proneness and paranormal experiences correlated positively and significantly with one another. An inductive thematic analysis was undertaken on the responses to an open ended question on the survey. The final list of themes included context, flash of imagery, lived feelings and intense emotions, noesis, and perspective taking/empathy.

Results indicate that ASMR experiences play a role in psychometry and other exceptional experiences. Qualitative results indicate that psychometry experiences range in terms of their context and how the experiences manifest. The themes indicate that psychometry experiences occur in a variety of contexts that include intentional and unintentional psychometric practices. These experiences reflect a sense that there is a direct perceptual knowing or flash of information that is felt to come from an external source.

Christine Simmonds-Moore is a UK native with a PhD from the University of Northampton. She is a Professor of Psychology at the University of West Georgia where she teaches courses on parapsychology and other topics pertinent to consciousness studies. She has research interests in psychological boundaries, synesthesia, paranormal beliefs and disbeliefs, mental health correlates of exceptional experiences, altered states of consciousness, healing and placebo effects and exploring psi hypotheses.

Program chaired by John G. Kruth. Download the Abstracts https://parapsych.org/articles/23/605/ssepa_breakthrough_2022_abstracts.aspx

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Published on April 26, 2024