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Parapsychology in General
Record Type: Review   ID: 1232

An Introduction to Parapsychology

Irwin, H.J.

 Australian psychologist Irwin has prepared a textbook of parapsychology that provides a somewhat different approach to ESP the subject—one that should be acceptable to many of parapsychology’s critics because of his definitions and one that should also be instructive to parapsychologists and especially to psychologists because it is systematic and places emphasis on the psychology of parapsychology. In his presentation of parapsychology, Irwin is not so much concerned with proving that psi is paranormal as with process-oriented studies. More than most other parapsychologists, he emphasizes the phenomenology of seeming psi experiences. Irwin’s position is that as far as the definition of parapsychological experiences is concerned, it is the study of experiences that appear to be paranormal, but not until this can be established will he assume that the underlying processes are necessarily paranormal. Because of his emphasis on experiences, Irwin devotes more space to spontaneous occurrences and to surveys and attitudes toward these experiences and less space to psi experiments than is the case with other textbooks reviewed here. An initial chapter in which he defines parapsychology and seeming types of parapsychological phenomena is followed by chapters on the origins of parapsychological research, the phenomenology of ESP, ESP experiments, ESP and time, psychokinesis, special PK topics (macro PK, experimenter PK, metal-bending, EVP), theories of psi, the survival hypothesis, poltergeist experiences, NDEs, OBEs, apparitional experiences, reincarnation experiences, a chapter entitled "Matters of (on clinical psi and some suggested practical applications of the findings of parapsychological research), and a final chapter entitled "The Evaluation of Parapsychology as a Scientific Enterprise." Each chapter closes with a list of key terms and study questions concerning the content of that chapter.
Publisher Information:Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 1989. Bibliography: 281-309; 16 illustrations; Name Index: 311-315; Subject index: 316-321.
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