Étude des phénomènes paranormaux supposés d'origine psychique.
Study of unexplained mental phenomena
Study of psychic phenomena.
Study of paranormal phenomena, which are generally subdivided into two types: extrasensory perception (ESP), or the paracognitive; and psychokinesis (PK), telekinesis, or the paraphysical—movement of an object without use of physical force or energy.
Most research into parapsychology has been experimental. The first Society for Psychical Research was established in London 1882 by scientists, philosophers, classical scholars, and spiritualists. Despite continued skepticism within the scientific establishment, a chair of parapsychology was established 1984 at Edinburgh University, endowed by the Hungarian author Arthur Koestler.
In a typical ESP experiment, subjects are divided into two groups: senders and receivers. Randomly ordered symbols on cards, drawings, or other images are presented one at a time to a sender, and a receiver tries to guess them.
In a PK experiment, the subject tries to cause or influence a physical event, such as the fall of a mechanically released die (making it come up six, for example) or a particular movement of a light appearing in a ring of lamps in a random-event generator (apparatus in which lamps are lit at random by, for example, the emission of electrons from a radioactive source).
Many ingeniously devised experiments have been carried out to demonstrate the existence of psi, the faculty allegedly responsible for such phenomena, but the data are disputable and the evidence, therefore, remains inconclusive. There have also been investigations of recurrent paranormal phenomena such as alleged hauntings, poltergeist manifestations, and mental and physical mediumship.