Throw a virtual rock at the internet and you’re apt to have it hit dozens if not hundreds of websites that offer an online psychic test, or several. Many of these tests are offered for free.
But can you really test your psychic abilities by answering a few questions, viewing a few pictures/photos or guessing what color or symbol comes next in a series?
This is an excellent question and one we will explore.
Traditionally, the most widely accepted test of psychic ability is Zener cards. You’ve probably seen these on television programs, documentaries and movies. These cards, invented by Karl Zener (a perceptional psychologist) in the 1930s were first developed as a means to test clairvoyance among subjects.
Zener cards bear one symbol per card, either a five pointed star, a box, a circle (all of which are hollow); a Greek cross (two intersecting straight lines, of equal length, like a plus sign) and 3 vertical wavy lines. Each deck of the Zener cards is comprised of 25 cards, five cards of each design.
Test subjects are asked to predict which symbol will appear next in a random series of visual exposures; correct guesses called “hits” are indicators of possible ESP if the ratio of hits exceeds the statistical probability of being correct by chance. A one hit in five trials (or 20%) ratio is calculated as attributed to chance, any hit rate exceeding that percentage is considered evidence that something more than chance is at work, when the null hypothesis (no psychic ability) is assumed.
Prior to Zener’s invention, regular playing card decks were used to test clairvoyant ability. The inherent problem with playing cards is that they contain too many variables to test effectively. Individual cards vary in color, suit (ace, heart, diamond and spade) and number assigned making testing a pattern far too complicated to be effective. The Zener cards, having one bold symbol on each group of five cards provides a more focused target and presumably a much clearer means to test your inner psychic.
In the early days of their use, Zener cards were actual physical cards flashed at a subject by a proctor as a third individual observed to insure no fraud occurred between tester and test taker. Later, projections of the cards, video images and now in the 21st Century digital versions of the cards are used in testing. Online versions of the cards abound in online psychic testing sites and mobile “apps” now also feature them.
As inquiry into psychic ability has grown over the decades, other means of testing for paranormal abilities have come about, hence the aforementioned, color, question and answer, picture/photo psychic tests, but most are still nothing more than a variation on Zener.
The more computerized the Zener card (or any other form of psychic test) becomes however, the more chance there is for manipulation to occur. If a Zener card test online is presented in order to sell a book, or sell a “develop your inner psychic” course, it is possible for the presenter of the test to program a greater number of hits than are actually earned in order to encourage sales of their product.
The effectiveness of these tests should rightly be questioned. If used as a marketing hook to lure a potential customer into buying books or psychic development training courses; approach with caution. If a test is available on an information-only site, or a reputable psychology-centric web site for example, it may be presumed there is less likelihood of manipulation of results; but this is something to always be wary of. Consider and investigate the source.
It must also be noted that tests like those using Zener cards are designed only to test precognition. There are a number of other types of psychic ability including empathy (feeling and experiencing the emotions of others), the ability to channel and mediumship.
So, are you psychic? Am I psychic? Is there any one test to answer the question definitely? As with other abilities connected to spirituality and the ethereal, probably not. Spirituality, both religious and non-religious is still a matter of belief and faith.