S. Alvarado Ph.D.
Past president (1995) and President-Elect (2002-2003) of the Parapsychological Association. Conducted research on the psychology and the features of
OBE experiences (and other parapsychological phenomena) in Puerto Rico, Scotland and in the
US. Alvarado is also known for his reviews of the historical literature of the field. He is currently working at the Parapsychology Foundation, where he is the Chairman of Domestic and International Programs, the series editor of the Foundation's Parapsychological Monographs and the Associate Editor of the International Journal of Parapsychology.
article by Carlos Alvarado Ph.D. was originally published in the
Parapsychology, Vol. 67, Fall 2003 (pp. 211-248). It is presented here with
the kind permission of the author, Prof. Alvarado, and
John Palmer, Ph.D.,
editor of Journal of Parapsychology.
version of this article is also available (large file size: 146k).
There are many aspects of being a
parapsychologist. The most satisfying are our contributions to knowledge, which
stand even in the face of controversy. Other issues include types of individuals
in parapsychology, education and training, conceptual approaches, how we
experience working in parapsychology, reasons for being in the field and
legitimation strategies used by parapsychologists. While some are in
parapsychology because of the potential support of non-materialistic aspects of
personality, others believe they may find conventional explanations still not
recognized by science. Parapsychologists harm their cause when they make
excessive claims about their research results, when they do no publish in
refereed journals and when they fail to follow up specific lines of research.
All of these issues are a part of the identity and work of parapsychologists.
ALTHOUGH THERE is an international community devoted to the study of psi
phenomena, there are few discussions about aspects of parapsychology as a
profession and about our experiences as parapsychologists. In what follows I
would like to offer some thoughts about some of these issues. The address is not
meant to be a systematic or exhaustive discussion of the topic. Instead I
present it as thoughts designed to raise issues, many of which may not have a
clear cut answer. My comments will focus on such topics as the accomplishments
of our profession, the variety of parapsychologists, education and training, how
it feels to be in the field, why we are in the field, approaches and strategies
of parapsychologists, and problematic behaviors of parapsychologists.
For some exceptions see McClenon (1982), McConnell and Clark (1980), Milton
(1995), J. B. Rhine (1944), Schmeidler (1971), and Smith (1999). Go to
Next part: 2. The
Parapsychological Community and their Accomplishments