Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Videos from Ex TEDxWestHollywood

Perhaps you remember last April 2013 when TED pulled the plug on the TEDxHollywood event "Brother, Can You Spare A Paradigm" featuring Russell Targ, Larry Dossey, and many others?

The event organizers decided to continue the event, even without TED's backing, and the resulting videos are available at YouTube.

This is old news, but certainly worth revisiting.  See the 4 minute sizzle reel below:


Monday, October 20, 2014

Online Parapsychology Conference

On November 1st and 2nd, academics, scientists and professors from the Instituto de Psicología Paranormal in Argentina, the University of São Paulo in Brazil, the University of Northampton in England, the University of Strasbourg in France, the Institut für Grenzegebiete der Psychologie und Psychohygiene in Germany, the University of Padova in Italy, and the University of West Georgia in the United States, among other locations, will be gathering for online conference on the interface between parapsychology and psychology.

Registration ranges from $30 to $50 and scholarships are available.

Visit the Parapsychology Online website for more information.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Survey at CSAPP

Researchers from the Centre for the Study of Anomalous Psychological Processes (CSAPP) based in the Psychology Division of the University of Northampton are interested in whether people seek support following an anomalous experience. They acknowledge that anomalous experiences can be both distressing and positive and would like to know where people go if they want to discuss the meaning of the experience or seek support:

https://survey.northampton.ac.uk/care

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Crowd Funding Campaign for PhD Research on Communicating with the Deceased

Harriet Stubbes, a PhD student at the University of York, UK, is starting the second year of her research project looking at how people use social networking to communicate with and about the deceased. However, since winning a Parapsychological Association Research Endowment grant in 2013, her funding has run out and she is in need of tuition assistance for her second year of study.

It can be very difficult for those with unorthodox research interests to find the support from traditional funding sources for their graduate studies. Please visit her campaign page at StudentFunder to learn more about her research and find out how you can help.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

OBE Research Study at Nottingham Trent University

Have you had one or more Out-of-Body Experiences (OBEs) in which it seems as if your sense of self or consciousness has become separated from your physical body? These experiences can occur under a variety of conditions. If you have experienced one or more OBEs researchers at Nottingham Trent University  are interested in hearing from you.

The aim of their research is to develop an OBE ‘screening’ scale which will be able to more precisely identify whether someone has had an OBE. At present no such tool exists for OBEs. Their research is not testing your experience in relation to psychological variables as is commonly done in OBE research, but instead explores the content of the experience itself to better understand it and differentiate it from other experiences.

To do this they would like your help by asking you if you would fill in an online questionnaire anonymously about the individual aspects of one of your OBEs. Your inclusion of this experience is important as it will contribute to the development of the scale. You can access the questionnaire by clicking on the link below.

The questionnaire includes full information on the study to enable you to decide whether or not to participate and offers a general definition of the OBE.

The inclusion criteria for this study (aside from your experience fitting our definition) are:

You have no known organic condition which causes you to be prone to visual hallucinations
You are able to provide informed consent
You are over 18 years old
You are able to provide a short written account of your OBE in English
You are able to recall all of the OBE you wish to tell us about (i.e. not just give a partial account of it)

You won’t need to note these down but please only participate if you can agree with these criteria.

The survey can be completed by clicking the link below:

https://www.survey.bris.ac.uk/ntupsychology/obequestionnaire

Closing date of the survey is: 31st July 2014

If you wish to find out more about the survey, or wish to take part and have any queries, please contact Andrew Hodrien at: andrew.hodrien@ntu.ac.uk.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Exceptional Experiences Survey

Dr. Christine Simmonds-Moore (Assistant Professor of psychology in the psychology department, University of West Georgia)  is currently undertaking a survey investigation into exceptional experiences. The survey is looking to understand more about factors influencing when people have and do not have exceptional experiences. She would love to hear from you whether you have had any exceptional experiences or not: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/UWGexperiences

Sunday, June 08, 2014

Historical Research at the University of British Columbia

Have you experienced objects that repeatedly moved on their own with no apparent explanation? If so, Christopher Laursen, a Ph.D student at the University of British Columbia, would like to hear from you - particularly if you had such experiences prior to 1990.

Visit his Extraordinarium website for more details.

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Call for Participants: University of Central Lancashire

Ann Winsper, a PhD student at the University of Central Lancashire, is currently carrying out research investigating what people report hearing when listening to sound clips where it is unclear what is being heard. She is looking at connections between a number of different personality measures and characteristics and seeing if these affect what people report hearing.

Participants must be over 18 years of age.

She is currently recruiting for the first part of this study, which requires filling out a questionnaire pack that she can email or post to you. The questionnaires should take no longer than 15 minutes to complete. The questionnaires in the pack do cover a broad range of topics which include attitudes and belief in the paranormal and life after death, and other possibly sensitive subjects. While the study covers paranormal themes, participants are invited from a wide range of beliefs and experiences (including skeptics).

Once you have completed the questionnaire, you will be able to take part in further elements of the study, if you so wish.

Please contact arwinsper@uclan.ac.uk if you wish to take part in this study, or if you require more information.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Support for Parapsychological Research in Frontiers of Human Neuroscience

Last week, Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, an open-access academic publisher and research network, published an opinion article titled "A call for an open, informed study of all aspects of consciousness", which calls attention to research on parapsychological topics, such as telepathy and precognition. Organized by Dr. Etzel Cardeña, a professor of psychology at Lund University, the article stresses the following:

  • Research on parapsychological phenomena is being carried out by academics trained in the scientific method, and has been for some time.
  • Positive results from parapsychological studies have been published in an array of peer-reviewed academic journals.
  • Significant support for the existence of psi phenomena has not disappeared under increased experimental controls.
  • Research practices in the field of parapsychology (i.e. meta-analyses, trial registries, and null results reporting) further discourage the idea that these results are due to chance.
  • Like other studies of complex human behavior in psychology and medicine, the effect sizes are typically small and cannot be reproduced on demand.
  • Developing theories of psi phenomena do not necessarily violate the known laws of nature, especially giving consideration to modern theories in physics, and "growing evidence for quantum effects in biological systems".
The article is then signed by 100 university professors from over 20 different countries.

Other commentaries on the internet have characterized this announcement as "legitimizing" parapsychology and psychical research as a science (here and here).  However, I feel that this characterization falls short. 

Members of the Parapsychological Association (PA) were welcomed into the workshop of science almost fifty years ago when the American Association for the Advancement of Science accepted the PA as an affiliate organization. In recent years, around eighty Ph.D.'s have been awarded for research on psi-related topics in the U.K. alone. And as the article points out, over twenty Nobel prizewinners have supported psi research in some form over the years.  

Despite the negative impression given by some critics, the legitimacy of parapsychology as a science has been established for some time.  This is covered in the article's first point.  The next five points are about research results, and that is what makes the publication of this article a bold, and important moment in parapsychological history.

I encourage you to read the more nuanced version of these tenets, as 100 university professors don't simply come together over a few bullet points - but they do come together.  The article is brief, written in plain language, and access is free:

Cardeña E (2014) A call for an open, informed study of all aspects of consciousness. Front. Hum. Neurosci. 8:17. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2014.00017

(cross-posted to Reality Sandwich at: http://realitysandwich.com/216628/unified-support-for-parapsychological-research/)

Thursday, January 31, 2013

A Few PA News Items


The Parapsychological Association (PA) has recently reorganized its membership categories, opening up a new category of "Supporting Membership" for those who want to support the field and enjoy access to the PA's publications and convention videos.  The announcement can be found here, or you can just get right to it and join the PA today.

The PA has also established an email subscription list for those who are not members, but want to be informed of general news and updates.  Sign up here.

Finally, the annual convention of the Parapsychological Association will be happening in Viterbo, Italy this August.  More information is available at their website.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Review of Perspectives of Clinical Parapsychology: An Introductory Reader


In 2007, twenty professionals from eight different countries gathered in Naarden, Netherlands to exchange their experiences and scientific knowledge in the field of clinical parapsychology. Perspectives of Clinical Parapsychology: An Introductory Reader, edited by Wim H. Kramer, Eberhard Bauer, and Gerd H. Hovelmann was the result of this conference. Containing thirteen contributed articles and an 126 page working bibliography, the book can be considered an up-to-date introduction to this developing field. It can serve as a guide for psychotherapists, psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, and family doctors who find themselves confronted with clients who report apparently “paranormal” emotional experiences, but do not exhibit the traditional signs of psychopathology.

There are a small number of professionally-staffed outpatient clinics in Europe and South America that serve people experiencing paranormal emergencies. However, resources for those suffering in North America and other parts of the world are limited. Fortunately, several chapters in the book give staff members of these clinics an opportunity to share their methods. In the chapter Experiences with Psi Counseling in Holland, Wim H. Kramer summarizes the types of complaints that are common at his counseling practice and outlines two kinds of therapeutic techniques. Clinical psychologist Ian R. Tierney of the University of Edinburgh offers the Lessons from a Case Study, where he outlines the successes and failures of his therapeutic approach to a particular counseling case in which a woman was distressed by apparent psychokinetic events happening around her. In the Group Therapy Approach to Exceptional Human Experiences, Alejandro Parra presents the techniques applied by the staffed professionals at his Argentinian institute. And the overview of Counseling at the IGPP (Institute for Border Areas of Psychology and Mental Hygiene at Freiburg University, Germany) should be considered required reading for anyone interested in establishing their own counseling practice to serve those distressed by anomalous experiences.

The bulk of Perspectives of Clinical Parapsychology contains 2,400 entries of Gerd H. Hovelmann's working bibliography Clinical Aspects of Exceptional Human Experiences. The quality of the material, which spans many different languages and an array of mainstream scientific journals, demonstrates that counseling paranormal experiencers has been more than just a fringe interest for some time. In fact, the sheer volume of research presented in this final chapter seems to run counter to the idea that the worldwide availability of competent clinical services is unsatisfactory. However, as noted by Hovelmann, “up to quite recently there have been only a few systematic, coordinated attempts...to actually provide adequate counseling and treatment models for those who have (or claim to have) such non-ordinary experiences. Much less has there been any concerted effort...to transform empirical research findings, theory building and related treatment models into practical counseling approaches” (p.190). This book may be considered one such attempt.

Whether or not a variety paranormal experiences can be seen as scientifically proven phenomena is still a matter of debate. But reports of distress resulting from paranormal experiences in otherwise psychologically healthy people are widespread. The knowledge and methods shared in Perspectives of Clinical Parapsychology can assist professionals who are evaluating these kinds of reports in clinical, counseling, and social welfare settings, and may help them ease the suffering of those who are having a paranormal emergency.

Kramer, W., Bauer, E., & Hövelmann, G. (2012). Perspectives of Clinical Parapsychology : An Introductory Reader. Bunnik : Stichting HJBF, 320 p.

To order the book, email hoevelmann.communication@kmpx.de

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Human Experiences Survey

Researchers Dr. Carlos S. Alvarado and Dr. Christine Simmonds-Moore are interested in learning more about a variety of human experiences, some of which are unusual, but are by no means uncommon in the general population. They are undertaking an online survey to explore individual differences, synesthesia (the tendency for some people to experience two senses together, e.g., colored words or numbers; tasting shapes; spatially organized calendars, etc.), and a variety of anomalous experiences (for example, extrasensory perception).

They would very much appreciate it if you would take the time to complete this online questionnaire, even if you have never experienced the things described on the questionnaire.

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/HumanExperiencesSurvey

Please email Dr. Christine Simmonds-Moore if you have any questions about the survey.
Christine Simmonds-Moore, Ph.D.
University of West Georgia, csimmond@westga.edu

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Clinical Approaches to Exceptional Experiences

A conference co-sponsored by the Rhine Research Center and University of West Georgia Psychology department

This event will take place in Durham, North Carolina Friday 9th and Saturday 10th March, 2012.
The conference includes a Welcome Reception on the evening of Friday 9th March (from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m.)and a day long conference on Saturday 10th March. Registration will open from 7.30 a.m. (with coffee available) and presentations running from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m.

The conference is of particular relevance to those who have an interest in exceptional experiences, those who are working with (or planning to work with) people who have experienced distressing exceptional experiences those who are currently working as clinicians, social workers and nurses (etc.) researchers into exceptional experiences, and those who may want to further understand their own exceptional experiences. CEU credits will be available (those wanting CEU credits will be required to attend the Friday night reception and the conference presentations). 

Topics will include: discussing the types of experiences that people have, normal explanations for distressing experiences (e.g., those which are sleep related), the history of clinical approaches to exceptional experiences, various clinical approaches toward distressing exceptional experiences, insights from practicing clinicians and those who have had exceptional experiences. 

If you are interested in this conference, please register here to join our conference mailing list. We will then be able to send out additional information

Early bird registration will end January 31, 2012.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Poltergeist Phenomena Primer

Bryan Williams and Annalisa Ventola are pleased to present the 4th installment of our Public Parapsychology primer series.  This edition summarizes the current state of parapsychological research and perspectives on poltergeist phenomena. Topics such as case studies, experimental approaches to poltergeist phenomena, theoretical aspects, and the similarities between poltergeist and haunt cases are discussed and illustrated with examples from previously published case literature.

We hope that this crash course will help clarify misconceptions about what may be fact and what may be fiction when it comes to apparent poltergeist phenomena, and assist paranormal enthusiasts in their approaches to cases that they might come across and investigate.

Download: Poltergeist Phenomena: A Primer on Parapsychological Research and Perspectives