ESP and Personality Patterns

By Gertrude Raffel Schmeidler; R. A. McConnell | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 1
Introduction

TO A RESEARCH WORKER, nothing can be more challenging than an area of science which is almost unknown, which will contribute to basic theory in other better known fields, and which is of deep concern to human beings.

Such an area is psychic research. It is comparatively unexplored, potentially significant, and is closely related to psychology and psychiatry.

Despite a relationship to well established disciplines, psychic research (or "parapsychology," as it is more often called) is at present hampered in its development by the scarcity of trained people who are working in it. This book, which is composed chiefly of an account of our experiments, is being written primarily to enlist more investigators. Our hope is that the description of our findings will serve this purpose in two ways. The first is to demonstrate that the results of experiments tend to fall into meaningful patterns, and thus that productive research in parapsychology is possible. The second is to emphasize that important issues are still undecided, that certain techniques have been found particularly promising, that many problems require further study --and thus that a stimulating task awaits the worker in this new area.

There are several points that the reader might wish to see enlarged or defended before he reads about our experiments. Perhaps the most pressing questions are: Is psychic research actually a field of science? And is it important enough, either for other disciplines or for our personal affairs, to warrant utilizing the research time of trained people? We shall discuss these questions below and in the next chapter, before continuing with the account of our work.

One needs, first, to know when a body of material deserves to be classified as a field--or subfield--of science. The dictionary

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