Frequently Asked Questions

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What is this FAQ about?

Last Updated: Sunday, May 15, 2011
This FAQ was first compiled in 1995 by an ad-hoc group of scientists and scholars interested in parapsychology, the study of what is popularly called "psychic" phenomena. Since then this document has been translated into German, Portuguese, ... More

Who is the intended audience?

This FAQ was written as a general introduction to parapsychology for individuals ranging from advanced high-school students to professionals with little or no background in parapsychology. Writing for such a broad audience is a challenge, because gaining ... More

Technical Note: The Audience

The content and style of this FAQ sparked a debate among the authors. At least six potential audiences were identified: physical scientists, social and behavioral scientists, hardened skeptics, New-Age enthusiasts, those interested in ghost and haunting ... More

What is parapsychology?

Parapsychology is the scientific and scholarly study of three kinds of unusual events (ESP, mind-matter interaction, and survival), which are associated with human experience. The existence of these phenomena suggest that the strict subjective/objective ... More

What is not parapsychology?

Last Updated: Monday, February 20, 2012
In spite of what the media often imply, parapsychology is not the study of "anything paranormal" or bizarre. Nor is parapsychology concerned with astrology, UFOs, searching for Bigfoot, the Loch Ness monster, paganism, Satanism, vampires, ... More

What is a paradigm?

Last Updated: Monday, May 14, 2012
When one speaks about a topic which is controversial to many, such as parapsychology, it is crucial to understand the concept of a paradigm. A paradigm is an underlying worldview. It can be thought of as a framework of beliefs which are so taken for ... More

What do parapsychologists study?

Many feel that the strangest, and most interesting, aspect of parapsychological phenomena is that they do not appear to be limited by the known boundaries of space or time. In addition, they blur the sharp distinction usually made between mind and matter. ... More

Technical Note: Terms

The above terms are representative of common usage, but parapsychologists usually define psi phenomena in more neutral or operational terms. This is because labels often carry strong but unstated connotations that can lead to misinterpretations. For ... More

Why is parapsychology interesting?

Parapsychology is interesting mainly because of the implications. To list a few examples, psi phenomena suggest (a) that what science knows about the nature of universe is incomplete; (b) that the presumed capabilities and limitations of human potential ... More

Technical Note: Some Implications of Parapsychology

Physicists tend to be interested in parapsychology because of the implication that we have a gross misunderstanding about space and time and the transmission of energy and information. Biologists are interested because psi implies the existence of ... More

Practical applications of psi

Studies of direct mental interaction with living systems suggest that traditional mental healing techniques, such as prayer, may be based on genuine psi-mediated effects. In the future it may be possible to develop enhanced methods of healing based on ... More

What are the major research approaches?

As in any multidisciplinary domain, there are many ways of conducting research. The five main methods used in parapsychology are: Scholarly research, including discussion of philosophical issues and historical surveys. Analytical research, including ... More

What are the major psi experiments today?

Through popular books and portrayals of parapsychology in movies like Ghostbusters, many people assume that psi experimenters today primarily use the well-known ESP cards. This is a deck of 25 cards, with five repetitions of five cards showing symbols of ... More

(1) PK on random number generators

The advent of electronic and computer technologies has allowed researchers to develop highly automated experiments studying the interaction between mind and matter. In one such experiment, a Random Number Generator (RNG) based on electronic or ... More

(2) PK on living systems

This has also been called biological system mind-matter interaction or bio-PK, and more recently some researchers refer to it as Direct Mental Interactions with Living Systems (DMILS). The ability to monitor internal functions of the body, including ... More
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