Parapsychology

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Parapsychology is a discipline that seeks to investigate the existence and causes and conditions of psychic abilities, near-death experiences, out-of-the-body experiences, crisis apparitions, retro-cognitions, reincarnation memories, regression memories, prophecy, astrology, ghosts and life after death.[1] Parapsychological experiments have included the use of random number generators to test for evidence of precognition and psychokinesis with both human and animal (e.g. cat) subjects[2][3][4] and Ganzfeld experiments to test for extrasensory perception.[5]

Parapsychological laboratory and field research is conducted through private institutions and several universities.[6] Privately-funded units in psychology departments at universities in the United Kingdom are among the most active today.[7] In the United States, interest in research peaked in the 1970s and university-based research has declined since then, although private institutions still receive considerable funding from donations.[8] While parapsychological research has occasionally appeared in mainstream academic journals,[9][10][11][12] most of the recent research is published in a small number of niche journals.[13] Journals dealing with parapsychology include the Journal of Parapsychology, Journal of Near-Death Studies, Journal of Consciousness Studies, Journal of the Society for Psychical Research and Journal of Scientific Exploration.

Parapsychologists describe parapsychology as an emerging science,[14][15][16] however the status of parapsychology as a science is disputed.[17] While the results of parapsychologists' experiments are regarded by the Parapsychological Association as having demonstrated the existence of some forms of psychic abilities,[18] critics argue that methodological flaws can explain the apparent experimental successes.[19] External scientists and skeptics have criticized the discipline as being a pseudoscience because, as they see it, parapsychologists continue investigation despite not having demonstrated conclusive evidence of psychic abilities in more than a century of research,[20][21][22] nor have the parapsychologists ever produced over one or two centuries a single theory that might explain to magician's or laymen's satisfaction what they are experimenting about.[23]

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