Protocol for Finding TalentwithAccurate Intuitive Abilities | Arnaud Delorme

Arnaud Delorme, PhD, is a faculty at both the university of Toulouse, France, and the University of California, San Diego and a research scientist at the Institute of Noetic Sciences. Arnaud is a long-term meditator who is interested in testing the scientific hypothesis that consciousness is primary to matter and not the other way around. In collaboration with other researchers at IONS, he is developing a research program to test this hypothesis.


Introduction: Surveys indicate broad popular belief in exceptional intuitive abilities, including so-called psychic (psi) abilities such as telepathy, but this type of research topic is rarely taken seriously by the scientific community. A key practical challenge faced by scientific research on psi phenomena includes the lack of easy reproducibility of claimed effects. “Star Gate,” the code name of the US government’s now mostly declassified research and operations program of psychic espionage, which ran from 1972 to 1995, relied on a small group of individuals with purported psi talent (May and Marwaha, 2018). They claimed to produce results that were useful for practical purposes. Therefore, identifying psi talent might be required to produce reliably significant results in controlled experiments.

Methods: In this study protocol, we propose testing if a small percentage of psi talents exist in a large corpus of volunteers through five specific aims: 1) develop and integrate various psi tasks into a single online platform; 2) develop ways of analyzing the data to identify talents in a large sample of volunteers; 3) Select 50 of the top-performing individuals; 4) assess test-retest scores of these people to test if above-chance performance is consistent; and  5) evaluate potential predictors of high performance. We intend to recruit between 500 and 2,000 volunteers to perform psi tasks over an 8-month period. The 50 participants with the highest scores will be identified after 8 months or after data from 2,000 participants have been collected (whichever comes first). If data from fewer than 500 individuals have not been collected by 8 months, the experiment will be extended until a minimum of 500 participants are reached. The 50 selected potentially talented people will be compensated $20 each to perform the test again. Among those 50 selected individuals, if some do not respond or decline to participate, the next top performers will be considered for inclusion until 50 participants who have completed all the tasks are included in a second round of tests. Selected talents who do not complete all the tasks will nevertheless be included in the global performance analysis across participants to avoid statistical bias due to optional stopping (see below). This study has been approved by the IONS Institutional Review Board (reference WAHH_2018_01).

Discussion: Upon completion of the experimental protocol described in this registered report, results will be presented in an accompanying journal article. We believe this study will help assess if psi can lead to reliably significant results in controlled experiments. No data has been collected at this point. The goal of this study is to present our protocol to the community.


The Parapsychological Association is an international professional organization of scientists and scholars engaged in the study of psi (or ‘psychic’) experiences, such as telepathy, clairvoyance, psychokinesis, psychic healing, and precognition. The primary objective of the PA is to achieve a scientific understanding of these experiences.

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Published on September 7, 2023