Searching for the impossible: Parapsychology's elusive quest.

  title={Searching for the impossible: Parapsychology's elusive quest.},
  author={Arthur S. Reber and James E. Alcock},
  journal={The American psychologist},
Recently, American Psychologist published a review of the evidence for parapsychology that supported the general claims of psi (the umbrella term often used for anomalous or paranormal phenomena). We present an opposing perspective and a broad-based critique of the entire parapsychology enterprise. Our position is straightforward. Claims made by parapsychologists cannot be true. The effects reported can have no ontological status; the data have no existential value. We examine a variety of… 

Thought-Forms Gone Rogue: A Theory for Psi-Critics and Parapsychologists

It is argued that psi-critics Reber and Alcock have lifted the debate from the impasse concerning the evidence for the existence of psi phenomena, toward focusing on understanding the nature of the

Blind Watchers of PSI: A Rebuttal of Reber and Alcock (2019)

Parapsychology will only be accepted as part of mainstream science if physics can be extended to accommodate at least some so-called psychic phenomena. This paper disagrees with the argument of Reber

I Do Not Think That Word Means What You Think It Means: A Response to Reber and Alcock’s “Searching for the Impossible: Parapsychology’s Elusive Quest”

  • Andrew Westcombe
  • Education
  • 2019
Reber and Alcock’s recent paper in American Psychologist [1] is in many respects typical of the “skeptical” literature on alleged pseudosciences. The following comments will accordingly focus first

Miracles, Anomalies, Anxiety and Paradigms

Curiosity is a vice that has been stigmatized in turn by Christianity, by philosophy, and even by a certain conception of science. Curiosity, futility. The word, however, pleases me. To me it

Can the Psi Data Help Us Make Progress on the Problem of Consciousness ?

The inherently subjective nature of consciousness severely limits our ability to make progress on the problem of consciousness. The inability to acquire objective, publicly available data on the

Why Most Research Findings About Psi Are False: The Replicability Crisis, the Psi Paradox and the Myth of Sisyphus

It is shown how the debate concerning these experiments could be an opportunity to develop original thinking about psychology and replicability, and how psi results lead to a paradox which questions how appropriate the scientific method is to psi research.

Should We Accept Arguments from Skeptics to Ignore the Psi Data? A Comment on Reber and Alcock’s “Searching for the Impossible”

Reber and Alcock have recently made a sharp attack on the entire psi literature, and in particular a recent overview by Cardena of the meta-analyses across various categories of psi. They claim the

Four Problems of Mind and Body: Celebrating the 80th Birthday of Max Velmans

  • J. Kihlstrom
  • Psychology, Philosophy
    Journal of Consciousness Studies
  • 2023
Inspired by the 'reflexive monism' of Max Velmans, this paper considers four problems of mind and body. (1) The traditional mind–body problem, including the 'easy' problem of identifying the neural

“The Data Are Irrelevant”: Response to Reber and Alcock (2019)

The rebuttal by Reber and Alcock (2019a,b) to an umbrella review of multiple meta-analyses on the evidence for parapsychological (psi) phenomena (Cardena 2018) did not engage deliberately with its



The experimental evidence for parapsychological phenomena: A review.

The domain of psi is clarified, recent theories from physics and psychology that present psi phenomena as at least plausible are summarized, and an overview of recent/updated meta-analyses are provided.

Philosophy in Crisis: The Need for Reconstruction

Is philosophy dead? Some philosophers have declared it to be so, and judging by some of the mental acrobatics now fashionable in postmodernist circles a reasonable person might have to agree. Though

Effects of Consciousness on the Fall of Dice: A Meta-Analysis

This article presents a meta-analysis of experiments testing the hypothesis that consciousness (in particular, mental intention) can cause tossed dice to land with specified targets face up.

Feeling the future: experimental evidence for anomalous retroactive influences on cognition and affect.

  • D. Bem
  • Psychology
    Journal of personality and social psychology
  • 2011
9 experiments are reported, involving more than 1,000 participants, that test for retroactive influence by "time-reversing" well-established psychological effects so that the individual's responses are obtained before the putatively causal stimulus events occur.

Physics, Mathematics, and Minds. (Book Reviews: The Emperor's New Mind. Concerning Computers, Minds, and the Laws of Physics.)

From the Publisher: In The Emporer's New Mind, eminent physicist Roger Penrose argues that there are facets of human thinking, of human imagination, that can never be emulated by a machine.

The Mass Production of Redundant, Misleading, and Conflicted Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses.

The growth of published systematic reviews and meta-analyses is explored and how often they are redundant, misleading, or serving conflicted interests is estimated.

Enhancing Human Performance: Issues, Theories, and Techniques

Abstract : At the requests of the U.S. Army Research Institute, the National Research Council formed a committee to assess the field of techniques that are claimed to enhance human performance. The

The Eudaemonic Pie

The result is a veritable pi ata of a book, which, when smashed by the readers enthusiastic attention, showers upon him everything that is good and bad about the world.