2021 PA Outstanding Contribution Award Invited Address

In this invited address, Gerhard Mayer, winner of the Parapsychological Association’s2021 Outstanding Contribution Award, will offer general reflections on parapsychology as our field of research, drawing also on his own biographical experiences as a researcher. His reflections are inspired by the growing awareness of the need to consider and value diversity in society, which currently dominates many areas of the public sphere.

However, Dr. Maher does not intend a political call for diversity with his talk. The question of political diversity led him to the question of content diversity – or diversity of thinking. To this end, Dr. Mayer takes up a powerful metaphor by the African author Tsitsi Dangaremba, which she used in her speech about thinking styles and their impact on behavior towards the world and other cultures given on the awarding of the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade: the metaphor of Jonah in the belly of the “whale of our paradigms”.

Dr. Mayer will make a plea to critically examine our own habits and research paradigms to which we are committed, and to allow for new perspectives by playfully engaging with different models of thinking about and understanding the world. This leads us almost inevitably back to promoting diversity in our own discipline.

The Parapsychological Association is an international professional organization of scientists and scholars engaged in the study of psi (or ‘psychic’) experiences, such as telepathy, clairvoyance, psychokinesis, psychic healing, and precognition. The primary objective of the PA is to achieve a scientific understanding of these experiences.

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Published on March 2, 2022