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Ebon, M. (1969). Experimental Parapsychology. K. Ramakrishna Rao. Springfield, Ill.: Charles C Thomas, 1966. 255 pp.. Psychoanal. Rev., 56A(1):145-147.
(1969). Psychoanalytic Review, 56A(1):145-147
Experimental Parapsychology. K. Ramakrishna Rao. Springfield, Ill.: Charles C Thomas, 1966. 255 pp.
Review by: Martin Ebon
Parapsychology: An Insider's View Of ESP. J. Gaither Pratt. New York: E. P. Dutton & Co., 1966. 300 pp. (Previous publication, New York: Doubleday & Co., 1964.)
Psychic-Dynamics. Berthold Eric Schwarz. New York: Pageant Press, 1965. 161 pp.
Miracles of the Mind. Simeon Edmunds. Springfield, Ill.: Charles C Thomas, 1966. 204 pp.
The scope of parapsychological studies may be judged by the variety of approaches presented in these four volumes. Rao's book summarizes the experimental work of the past twenty-five years; Pratt covers roughly the same period in an autobiographical account; Schwarz presents case material from a psychiatric viewpoint; Edmunds offers glimpses into past and present research efforts. And yet, even taken together, these works invite the serious student of parapsychology to a still greater variety of available writings in this field.
The extent of additional material is documented in Dr. Rao's Experimental Parapsychology, which contains a bibliography of 1,251 items, as well as a glossary, a useful name index and an adequate subject index. The book carefully limits itself, both in time (the past quarter century) and in subject matter (the purely experimental), but it does not fall short of drawing conclusions and analytical observations. Among these is the view that “age, sex, and health, as physiological factors, do not seem to be relevant” to “psi” (the term now increasingly used for parapsychological phenomena), nor do drugs have a consistent effect. Rao states that physiological aspects “influence psi only to the extent that they may generate favorable or unfavorable psychological conditions.”
The author notes that psi phenomena are “unconscious, more capricious and fluctuating than any creative ability studied in psychology,” and takes the view that “the integration of parapsychological findings into psychology then depends, on the one hand, on finding the possible links between psi and familiar psychological processes such as memory and creativity, and, on the other hand, on formulating a cohesive conceptual structure into which general psychological and parapsychological facts can be interwoven.” But he does maintain that the current need in parapsychology is “to get away from easy abstractions to testable working hypotheses.”
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