Many things in our universe remain a mystery to the scientific world: ESP,
telepathy and clairvoyance are just a few of these puzzles. Studying and trying
to explain these phenomena is all in a day's work for parapsychologists.
There's a big difference between a professionally trained parapsychologist
with a degree and background in the sciences, and so-called mainstream psychics
who simply call themselves parapsychologists. Parapsychology is the experimental
and quantitative study of paranormal phenomena, using the same research methods
used in other sciences.
However, some parapsychological research is mixed up with personal beliefs,
sloppy science and sometimes just plain fraud.
There's no legal restriction on who can call themselves parapsychologists.
As a result, the few practitioners who do quality scientific research in the
field are often rejected by mainstream science.
Charles Tart is a parapsychologist. "It's scientific research carried out
by people trained in some recognized scientific discipline focused on understanding
the nature of phenomena like telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition, psychokinesis
(PK) and psychic healing," he says.
"The emphasis here is on high-quality controlled experiments up to or exceeding
the standards in other recognized fields of scientific inquiry."
Parapsychology isn't limited by the known boundaries of space or time.
And it blurs the sharp distinction usually made between mind and matter.
Cheryl Alexander works with the Rhine Research Center. "Scientific parapsychology
explores the unusual types of experiences that suggest capabilities as yet
unrecognized in the domain of human personality. We investigate those capabilities
thoroughly by exact scientific methods."
Basic parapsychological phenomena fall into these categories:
Besides a fascination with these phenomena, those entering the field need
persistence. They must have a willingness to accept negative results, because
psychic functioning isn't often evident in everyday life.
Scientific parapsychology is a tiny field. Only a few dozen people in North
America work in it part time.
The study of paranormal phenomena
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Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists
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