University Homepage
DRPS Homepage
DRPS Search
DRPS Contact
DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences : Psychology

Undergraduate Course: Parapsychology (PSYL10026)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryThe course assumes that most students have had little or no previous exposure to research in parapsychology. Parapsychology is defined as the scientific investigation of apparent new means of communication or influence between the organism and its environment, known as ┐psi┐. The course does not presume that psi exists, but treats this as a scientifically-testable hypothesis and reviews the findings of laboratory psi research. Moving out of the lab, we also examine people┐s real-life ┐paranormal┐ experiences and beliefs, and the models that have been put forward to understand these. Finally, we consider the wider scientific implications of parapsychology.
Course description Week 1: What is Parapsychology?
Terminology. Different approaches to research in parapsychology, and their advantages and disadvantages. History of parapsychology and psychical research.

Week 2: Experimental Procedures
ESP research methods. Choices in ESP testing. PK research methods. Methodological considerations ┐ eliminating error, leakage, artefact, fraud.

Week 3: ESP and PK Research Findings
Replication and meta-analysis in parapsychology. ESP research findings: The ganzfeld debate. PK-RNG research findings. EDA-DMILS research findings.

Week 4: Understanding Paranormal Experiences
The phenomenology of paranormal experiences. Measuring and categorising belief in the paranormal. Four theories of belief in the paranormal.

Week 5: Theories and Implications of Parapsychology
The major theories of psi (psychological and physical theories). The implications of parapsychology: methodological; experimenter effects; metaphysical.

Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites It is RECOMMENDED that students have passed Research Methods and Statistics 2 (PSYL10126) AND Research Methods & Statistics 3 (PSYL10127)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesDegree major in Psychology and passes in Psychology courses at least to the equivalent of Junior Honours level in Edinburgh. Prior agreement with the 4th Year Honours Course Organiser
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2018/19, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  0
Course Start Block 1 (Sem 1)
Course Start Date 17/09/2018
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 98 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Essay (maximum length 3000 words). A choice of topics to be set by the course organiser.

Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Students will become familiar with: - The main methods used for controlled laboratory testing of claims of anomalous information transfer or influence;
  2. The findings of meta-analytic reviews of ganzfeld-ESP, PK-RNG, and DMILS research.
  3. The phenomenology of spontaneous paranormal experiences and the models that have been proposed to explain why people have these experiences.
  4. The methodological challenges involved in testing claims of anomalous communication or influence.
  5. Factors leading to scientific controversies, and ways to help resolve controversies.
Reading List
An overview of the field of parapsychology can be found in the textbook: Irwin, H.J. & Watt, C. (2007). An Introduction to Parapsychology. Fifth Edition. London: McFarland.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserProf Caroline Watt
Tel: (0131 6)50 3382
Course secretaryMs Stephanie Fong
Tel: (0131 6)51 3733
Help & Information
Search DPTs and Courses
Degree Programmes
Browse DPTs
Humanities and Social Science
Science and Engineering
Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
Other Information
Combined Course Timetable
Important Information