Follow-up on the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency's (CIA) remote viewing experiments

Álex Escolà-Gascón, James Houran, Neil Dagnall, Kenneth Drinkwater, Andrew Denovan

Research output: Indexed journal article Articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Objectives: Since 1972, the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) commissioned several research programs on remote viewing (RV) that were progressively declassified from 1995 to 2003. The main objectives of this research were to statistically replicate the original findings and address the question: What are the underlying cognitive mechanisms involved in RV? The research focused on emotional intelligence (EI) theory and intuitive information processing as possible hypothetical mechanisms. Methods: We used a quasi-experimental design with new statistical control techniques based on structural equation modeling, analysis of invariance, and forced-choice experiments to accurately objectify results. We measured emotional intelligence with the Mayer—Salovey–Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test. A total of 347 participants who were nonbelievers in psychic experiences completed an RV experiment using targets based on location coordinates. A total of 287 participants reported beliefs in psychic experiences and completed another RV experiment using targets based on images of places. Moreover, we divided the total sample into further subsamples for the purpose of replicating the findings and also used different thresholds on standard deviations to test for variation in effect sizes. The hit rates on the psi-RV task were contrasted with the estimated chance. Results: The results of our first group analysis were nonsignificant, but the analysis applied to the second group produced significant RV-related effects corresponding to the positive influence of EI (i.e., hits in the RV experiments were 19.5% predicted from EI) with small to moderate effect sizes (between 0. 457 and 0.853). Conclusions: These findings have profound implications for a new hypothesis of anomalous cognitions relative to RV protocols. Emotions perceived during RV sessions may play an important role in the production of anomalous cognitions. We propose the Production-Identification-Comprehension (PIC) emotional model as a function of behavior that could enhance VR test success.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere3026
Number of pages20
JournalBrain and Behavior
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023


  • anomalous cognitions
  • central intelligence agency
  • emotional intelligence
  • psi
  • remote viewing


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