Gardner Murphy's (1966) article forecasting the importance of shifts in consciousness proved to be a seminal contribution to parapsychology. Another article that opened up new research vistas was one written by Rhea White (1964). After analyzing introspective reports from a number of subject considered to be gifted in performing psi tasks, White concluded that relaxation, both physical and mental, was a common factor in their success. She even observed that Duke University high-scorers used such words as detachment and relaxation to describe their experiences.
Gertrude Schmeidler (1952) conducted the first systematic experimental investigation of relaxation in psi performance. In a clairvoyance task, significantly superior psi performance was obtained from hospitalized concussion patients compared to patients with other afflictions. A follow-up study with maternity patients produced similar data. Schmeidler also conducted the first study of psi and meditation. Six psychology students completed an ESP guessing task before and after instructions in yogic meditation and breathing. Pre-meditation scores were at chance levels, but post-meditation scores were statistically significant.
Honorton (1977) reviewed 13 experimental studies of psi tasks performed during induced relaxation, finding that 10 were significant. Of 16 experimental studies involving meditation, 9 were significant. He concluded that induced relaxation procedures appear to enhance psi receptivity and that meditation is an effective means of producing controlled psi interactions. Both meditation and relaxation are here and now experiences that foster the detachment from one's usual concerns discussed by White in her seminal article; meditation involves a greater self- regulation of attentional processes than does relaxation, but both appear to be psi-conducive, at least to some extent.