Academic journal article The Journal of Parapsychology

Evolutionary Theory and Psi: Reviewing and Revising Some Need-Serving Models in Psychic Functioning

Academic journal article The Journal of Parapsychology

Evolutionary Theory and Psi: Reviewing and Revising Some Need-Serving Models in Psychic Functioning

Article excerpt

The majority of this paper was written while on sabbatical leave at the University of California Davis under the gracious hosting of Dr. Jessica Utts. I thank all my proofreaders of this paper.

ABSTRACT: This paper is a response to a call made by Richard Broughton (1988) to ask and try to answer questions on the "why" of psi, rather than (concentrating on) the "what," "when," or "where." A number of parapsychologists have proposed that the function of psi may be to serve the needs of organisms in a way that benefits their survival or effective functioning. Early theories focused on a psychodynamic perspective. A more pragmatic need-serving model called the "Psi Mediated Instrumental Response" or PMIR was proposed by Stanford (1974a, 1974b). Of all the need-serving models, the PMIR model has been the most extensively discussed. While it has the potential for a heavily biologically based emphasis, it does not do so explicitly, and, indeed, later revisions appear to de-emphasize the straight biological need component (Stanford, 1990). This paper argues that the most obvious explication of a need-serving model of psi ought, in the first instance, to be heavily if not entirely based on evolutionary princ iples. …

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