Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Author's Response
K. Ramakrishna Rao and John Palmer (1987). The anomaly called psi: Recent research and criticism. BBS 10:539–551. James E. Alcock (1987). Parapsychology: Science of the anomalous or search for the soul? BBS 10:553–643.

Science, pseudoscience, and anomaly

James E. Alcock a1
a1 Department of Psychology, Glendon College, York University, Toronto, Canada M4N 3M6


My criticisms of parapsychology are neither based on its subject matter per se, nor simply on a charge of sloppy research, but rather on the whole pattern of theory and research in this domain. The lack of a positive definition of psi, the use of ad hoc principles such as psi-missing and the experimenter psi effect to account for failures to confirm hypotheses, and the failure to produce a single phenomenon that can be replicated by neutral investigators are among the major problems that keep parapsychology outside regular science. Glicksohn and I agree that anomalous experiences should be investigated.