From ArticleWorld

Precognition can best be described as an extra – sensory perception by which the “percipient” senses future occurrences before they actually happen. This is different from divination or predictions made based on current knowledge and deductive reasoning. The term ‘presentiment’ is related to this and implies perceiving the future events which may not be present itself in a conscious form, instead by feelings or gut – level instincts. Both these terms are regarded as a subset of the more general term ‘clairvoyance’. It comes under the category of psi phenomena. Precognition is a debatable topic (its very existence and precognition related experiments) even under parapsychology.


Through the Ages, people have claimed to perceive the future by precognitive abilities and the “gift of prophecy” is prevalent in mostly all religions. The French term déjà vu which means “already seen” was first used by Emile Boirac, a French psychic to describe the often peculiar sensation. There is no scientific proof of precognition but anecdotal accounts are the basis for continued research.

J.B. Rhine began the first experimental research on precognition as a variation of his popular card – guessing experiments. Such experiments have been conducted in numerous formats by many parapsychologists.

Parapsychologist Dean Radin conducted automated experiments for presentiment in 1997. The subjects were observed for biophysical parameters like blood volume at the extremities, galvanic skin response etc. and then shown photographs with an “emotional” content (violent or erotic scences) or “calm” content (still life, landscapes). The experiment had positive results within the predicted parameters with reference to the correlation between the picture content (emotional vs. calm) and the subject’s measurements in the seconds prior to the presentation of the photograph. The system is an automated one and double – blind rendering the design of the experiment as quite secure. But all such experiments face criticism and an ongoing debate with inconclusive results as to the definite possibility of precognitions.

In Fiction

  • A precog is short for a fictional precognitive, who has the ability to predict future events, or it may bear reference to the precognitive vision itself. The movie ‘Minority Report’ revolves around this.
  • Destiny of the X-Men comics series has a precognitive sense.
  • Spider-Man's "spider-sense" is a limited precognitive sense.
  • Johnny Smith in ‘The Dead Zone’ has been gifted (or cursed) with precognition.
  • Stephen King, uses precognition in some of his novels, the most notable being ‘The Shining’