Parapsychology

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Parapsychology is the study, typically using scientific methods, of unusual mental powers or the presence of spirits, which phenomena are so far unexplained and the reality of which are doubted by most scientists and others. Typical subjects in parapsychology include extra-sensory perception (including telepathy, clairvoyance, and precognition), near-death experiences, and telekinesis, usually grouped into two broad categories of Anomalous Cognition and Anomalous Operation.

These phenomena have no clear explanation within the parameters of (established) science. Most scientists believe proof of actual occurrences would require revising existing physical and psychological models. Therefore, part of the mission of parapsychology is to establish scientifically, using repeatable, well-controlled experiments, whether or not the various parapsychological phenomena are real--or whether, on the other hand, reports of them might be explained by coincidence, fraud, imagination, or auto-suggestion.

Parapsychology is sometimes considered a sub-branch of psychology. There is a well-known professorship and program at the University of Edinburgh in parapsychology and a handful of other programs around the world, including at Duke University and University of Utrecht. Historically organisations such as the Society for Psychical Research have represented parapsychology.

Parapsychology is not taken seriously by most mainstream psychologists and other scientists, who say that, despite a great deal of laboratory work, no carefully controlled and conducted experiments have ever given any evidence that any of the anomalous phenomena they investigate are actually real. Parapsychology is usually considered pseudoscience by those who deny the existence of paranormal phenomena.

The Parapsychological Association ( http://www.parapsych.org/ ) is the professional association of parapsychologists and is affiliated with the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).


What are our priorities for writing in this area? To help develop a list of the most basic topics in Parapsychology, please see Parapsychology basic topics.

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