What Do We Want from a Theory in Parapsychology? | Christopher Roe

Chris Roe, PhD, is Professor of psychology at the University of Northampton, UK. He is Director of the Centre for Psychology and Sociology that incorporates a special interest group focusing on exceptional experiences and consciousness studies.

Summary: I will consider the role of theory in organizing observations and directing further research. I will argue that no single theory will be adequate since psi needs to be understood at multiple levels of explanation, including at the level of accounting for the lived experience of ordinary people. I will illustrate the desirable properties of a theory using Honorton’s noise reduction model as an explanation of the privileged status of altered states of consciousness in the spontaneous occurrence of ESP among the general public. and the elucidation of their function in. I briefly trace the influence of NRM upon models of psi and approaches for testing it. I end with a consideration of implications for parapsychological research in general and hypothesis testing in particular.


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.

Find us:

Twitter – https://twitter.com/parapsych

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/parapsychologicalassociation/

Donations to support the mission of the PA, including the funding of research initiatives, can be made by reaching office@parapsych.org or the Paypal Giving Fund: paypal.com/us/fundraiser/charity/153733

Published on July 21, 2023