WHY IS PSI SO ELUSIVE? A REVIEW ANDPROPOSED MODEL
By J. E. Kennedy
ABSTRACT: Eleven hypotheses that have been proposed to explain why psychic phenomena are so weak, unreliable, and/or rare are reviewed. The hypotheses are (1)alleged psi results are actually due to methodological artifacts and oversights, (2) few people have psi, (3) psi depends on precarious psychological conditions, (4) psi occursfrequently without notice, (5) psi is an efficient goal-oriented process subject to shifting goals,(6)fearofpsisuppressespsi,(7)evolutionhasinhibitedpsi,(8)psiservesecologicalrather than personal purposes, (9) the purpose of psi is personal or spiritual growth, (10) psi effects are influenced by many people in the future, and (11) psi is controlled by nonphysical beings. To integrate available data, a model is presented that proposes 2distinct groups: those with many anomalous experiences and those with few or none.Genetic factors probably have a significant role in these differences. Those with actual psiexperiences are a subgroup of those with many anomalous experiences.
area smaller subgroup who have an ability to reliably guide psi by intention or motivation.Psi-conducive experimenters are psi practitioners who influence their experimentaloutcomes in a goal-oriented manner. Further research is needed on the distribution of psi,the possible genetic aspects of psi experiences, the effects of psi experiences, and severalcharacteristics of psi that can be investigated with meta-analyses.
Oneofthemostimportantandperplexingquestionsinparapsychol-ogyiswhypsiphenomenaaresoweak,unreliable,and/orrare.Theusual working assumptions in parapsychological research appear to be that (a)many people have the ability to demonstrate psi (Pratt, 1978; J. B. Rhine,1966)and(b)psiisguidedbyhumanmotivation(J.B.Rhine,1964;Stan-ford,1993;Weiner&Geller,1984).Theseassumptionsleadtothepredic-tionthatpsieffectswouldbemuchmorewidespreadandconsistentthanthey are. The gap between these assumptions and reality is the centralchallenge of parapsychology.Parapsychology may benefit from adapting the “correspondenceprinciple” from quantum physics. The correspondence principle had animportant role in guiding the development of quantum physics. Severalconcepts from quantum physics already have been incorporated intoparapsychological thought, including “nonlocality” and the possible roleof the “observer.”Thecorrespondenceprinciplestatesthatthepredictionsfromquan-tum physics must agree with classical physics in those areas in which clas-sical physics was developed and works well. Quantum physics did not
The Journal of Parapsychology
, Vol. 65, September 2001 (pp. 219-246)