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Parapsychology: The Controversial Science Paperback – 12 Mar 1992


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Paperback, 12 Mar 1992
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Product details

  • Paperback: 440 pages
  • Publisher: Rider & Co (12 Mar. 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0712653740
  • ISBN-13: 978-0712653749
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 15.5 x 3.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 581,532 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 16 Jun. 1998
Format: Paperback
It was the first book I ever read about parapsychology and I read it through and learned many things that I never would have bothered reading about had it not been written so comprehensively. I enjoyed the references to the relativity theory in relation to psi phenomena, the history of parapsychology,the names of prominent people in parapsychology,the different experimental methods used through the history of parapsychology,and that the book was so contemporary. The thing I disagreed with about the book is the fact that it talked of telepathic experiances as ocurring as non-continuous, as in, being isolated experiances, whereas I know that tele-pathic experiances can occur moment-by-moment,day-by-day, week-by-week,month-by-month,i.e. continuously. Thank-you
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 21 Dec. 1997
Format: Paperback
My general impression for the book as a psychology graduate student is that it provides the reader with a scientificly oriented, but easy-to-understand general knowledge about the field. There is only one point that seems irrelevant to me which is the application topic. As a controversial science, parapsychology should seek and maintain a more pure-scientific orientation. My idea is that by being so, parapsychology may lead the scientific endeavor of discovering human nature more deeply and in a more multi-facet fashion.
Kürsad Demirutku, Middle East Technical University
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A little old but excellent
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 16 reviews
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Well done! 7 Dec. 1999
By KK - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I think Broughton's book is a wonderfully interesting and crafted introduction to this science. He provides fascinating examples of case studies and clearly explains the scientific approach paraspychologists take in studying anomalies. It has changed my viewpoints about many areas I had previously shunned, before being educated by Broughton. Bravo!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Solid introduction 30 Jun. 2013
By Harrison Koehli - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Broughton's book (****) is a solid introduction to the field of parapsychology. He starts with a brief overview of the type of paranormal experiences that inspire the research - the everyday experiences of things like telepathy, crisis or deathbed apparitions, poltergeist phenomena, psychic dreams, intuitions, premonitions, shamanistic phenomena, psychic healing, psychic injury. He gives the basic classification scheme used by parapsychologists: ESP and PK (extra-sensory perception and psychokinesis), as well as the other phenomena like OBEs and NDEs (out-of-body and near-death experiences). He traces the history of the science from the study of saints and mesmerism (hypnosis), to spiritualism, which led to the formation of the Society of Psychical Research, then J.B. Rhine's lab tests up to the present (1991). He discusses the scientific controversy surrounding the science and responds to critics (e.g., 'it's all fraud,' 'it's impossible').

Part 2 is a systematic survey of the types of experiments conducted over the years and currently: ESP cards, dice PK,dream telepathy, ganzfeld studies, remote viewing, random number generators. It also summaries the positive results achieved at the time. Part 3 deals with the future of psi, including new research techniques like meta-analysis, possible applications, and implications. Overall it's very well written, clear, interesting, and even thought it's over 20 years old, still relevant I think (as long as it's supplemented with the latest research, like that summarized in Dean Radin's books).

Some interesting factoids that stood out for me: In Louisa Rhine's analysis of self-reported psi experiences, 60% were dream-related, 30% were waking impressions, and 10% were hallucinatory (i.e., visions). Psychic dreams are rarely realistic, usually symbolic in nature. But intuitions rarely involve imagery. Hallucinations are usually auditory in nature. Often, the information conveyed is trivial. PK, unlike ESP, hardly ever happens spontaneously (aside from poltergeist phenomena). Psi appears more strongly in dreams and states of mild sensory deprivation, perhaps suggesting the sensory experience dampens a subliminal process. Also, in a relaxed state (vagal stimulation, perhaps).

Factors facilitating psi: belief in psi (those who do not believe often to worse than chance), extraversion, practice of a mental discipline (like meditation), ENFPs (using Myers-Briggs). Combine all those together, and some subjects can have extremely high success rates (100% in some cases). Psi is often tied to emotions (bonded couples are better, spontaneous cases often involve close relationships, etc.). Also, psychologist Kenneth Batcheldor thought that the expectation of an 'imminent miracle' helped the phenomena. Possible hindrances: witness inhibition (the shock experienced after witnessing an event) and ownership resistance (fear that it is you causing the phenomenon). These ideas inspired the people who 'conjured Philip', an imaginary ghost during table tilting sessions in Toronto. As Broughton summarizes, "Believing that the phenomena are possible, expecting that something might happen right now, and not worrying about who is 'causing' it all, seem to be part of the recipe" (p. 155). (Perhaps this is why phenomena were so striking in the spiritualistic period - they believed the phenomena were all caused by spirits, not themselves.)

Russian PK star Nina Kulagina often lost up to 3 pounds per session, her blood sugar would be elevated, and her heart rate went up to 240 bpm. In a Chinese case of PK, allegedly there's a video (400 frames per second) of the teleportation of a pill passing through a sealed class. In one frame, it's seen passing through the glass. In other words, it took about 1/200 of a second to go from place to place, giving it the immediate appearance of just changing places. Micro-PK appears to have to do with changing the probabilities of events (i.e., information transfer). As Broughton asks, "Can one levitate tables with information?" Maybe. Strange forms of poltergeist activity: fires, water (in areas with no plumbing), rains of stones, excrement. Luck may be a form of everyday psi. In precognition studies, the effect drops off as the predicted event gets further in the future. (Perhaps the immediate future is more certain, the distant more open.) In sum, highly recommended.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Comprehensive!! 3 Aug. 2007
By Angel - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a good comprehensive and easy-to-read book on Parapsychology. This book covers key areas to understanding the field of parapsychology such as the important historical areas of Parapsychology, the methods of parapsychologists in history up to the present, various psi or paranormal topics such as ESP, PK, OBEs, NDEs, apparitions, etc. It also covers ideas and theories regarding some of these psi phenomena (i.e ESP, PK, etc.), and even points that skeptics bring up and most of these objections/points were answered for definitively. I must say though this book is not up-to-date as far as current results from research goes. There have been many experiments like the Ganzfeld experiments which have been done between the release of this book ca. 1991 up to now 2007 with new results and views; other than that the other information is still relevant to parapsychology today. And this is still the best comprehensive introduction to parapsychology I've read thus far. Now this book does not conclusively or strongly prove psi phenomena such as ESP and PK, but only to a small degree at most. This book does prove that parapsychologists are improving their experiments and understanding of psi and are trying new things that would work to prove psi. Based upon reading this book I'm convinced that the future of psi research looks good and reasonable.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Great Book!!!! 8 Aug. 2006
By Reader - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an excellent book that never seems to go out of date. The information is just as current and pertinent to learning about the field of parapsychology as it was when first published. It is a great book for an over-all foundation in parapsychology.
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
A comprehensive, yet brief summary of the psi research. 21 Dec. 1997
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
My general impression for the book as a psychology graduate student is that it provides the reader with a scientificly oriented, but easy-to-understand general knowledge about the field. There is only one point that seems irrelevant to me which is the application topic. As a controversial science, parapsychology should seek and maintain a more pure-scientific orientation. My idea is that by being so, parapsychology may lead the scientific endeavor of discovering human nature more deeply and in a more multi-facet fashion.
Kürsad Demirutku, Middle East Technical University
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