Home Discussion Forum What is the difference between Parapsychology and the Paranomal?

What is the difference between Parapsychology and the Paranomal?

Can you give a description of the differences between the two terms and the two sections on this forum? What types of questions are appropriate in the Parapsychology section, and what types of questions are appropriate for the Paranormal section? Thanks!


  1. Paranormal deals with supernatural phenomena like ghosts, spirits, and werewolves. Parapsychology deals with paranormal psychological phenomena like ESP and telekinesis. It is a subset of all paranormal activities.

  2. Parapsychology is the STUDY of the paranormal.
    Paranormal activities are the events and phenomena that are studied by parapsychologists.

  3. Parapsychology
    is the study of paranormal events including extrasensory perception, psychokinesis, and survival of consciousness after death. Parapsychologists call these processes psi, a term intended to be descriptive without implying a mechanism.
    Parapsychology is a fringe science because it involves research that does not fit within standard theoretical models accepted by mainstream science.
    Parapsychological research involves a variety of methodologies including laboratory research and fieldwork, which is conducted at privately funded laboratories and some universities around the world though there are fewer universities actively sponsoring parapsychological research today than in years past. Such research is published in specialized parapsychological publications, though a smaller number of articles on parapsychological research have also appeared in more mainstream journals.
    While Paranormal…
    Paranormal is an umbrella term used to describe unusual phenomena or experiences that lack an obvious scientific explanation. -> In parapsychology, it is used to describe the ostensibly psychic phenomena of telepathy, extra-sensory perception, psychokinesis, ghosts, and hauntings. The term is also applied to UFOs, some creatures that fall under the scope of cryptozoology, purported phenomena surrounding the Bermuda Triangle, and other non-psychical subjects. Stories relating to paranormal phenomena are widespread in popular culture and folklore, but the United States National Science Foundation has stated that mainstream science does not support paranormal beliefs.

  4. Paranormal,usually denotes anything that can not be explained logically,and sensibly.Para psychology is one who investigates,questions or researches the odd or unusual events some have experienced.

  5. I think there’s a bit of crossover.Parapsychology deals with the non-superstitious aspects of the paranormal.It’s possible a Parapsychologist could be an atheist.The idea of ghosts and demons as silly to them as any skeptic.

  6. Parapsychology is where the parapsychologists with all the great answers to the paranormal hang out. It’s always good to go to them if you can’t get good enough answers on the Paranormal Section. I think the Paranormal Section is more for sharing paranormal experiences. I’ve already posted about all my paranormal experiences..so I thought I’d come over here where maybe the people with the great answers are. I still go to the Paranormal Section too…esp. to try to answer questions.

  7. This greatly depends on the definitions you are using.
    In general Paranormal (link below) is an umbrella term that could include ESP, Big Foot, UFOs, Astrology, etc.
    “Parapsychology is the scientific and scholarly study of three kinds of unusual events (ESP, mind-matter interaction, and survival), which are associated with human experience.”
    (link below)
    Please note the scholarly and scientific part of the definition. Most people (not all) involved in parapsychology research hold doctorate degree in a conventional science (psychology, engineering. medicine, physics). Very few have doctorates in parapsychology.
    While paranormal research and investigations not only steps outside of the narrow definition of parapsychology but the field mostly consist of amateur investigators.
    True there are some very well educated people in some fields like Bruce Maccabee (link below) who does UFO research.
    As far as sections or category questions are concerned there is certainly some cross over. I see the difference as parapsychology being concerned with methods, procedures, and experiments (say for a reportedly haunted location) where the paranormal section would be for people to offer personal opinions and conjecture on what a persons experience (say seeing a ghost) might mean or what are some of the possible explanations for the ghost sighting. Or even offer how their group investigates and what they found and what locations they (groups or people) have visited and if anyone else had such experiences, etc.
    And anything else unexplained that falls outside of parapsychology.
    I actually do wish there was some more academic/science to the public crossover. For example amateur astronomers have made great contributions to the field and professionals often support their efforts and interest.
    On the other hand I very rarely see parapsychologist or those scientist who study parapsychology encourage amateur groups to contribute to the field by replicating experiments or creating their own. Nor do they offer guidelines for investigations so amateur investigaters could contribute to the field by following accepted methods of science and evidence.
    The only two exceptions I know to this are the Rhine Research Center (link below) which offer training to the public and the web site Public Parapsychology (link below) which attempts to bring the findings of parapsychology into the public forum.

  8. Paranormal is a term used to describe a wide variety of phenomena whose only common characteristic is a lack of empirical evidence.
    Parapsychology could be seen as a component of the paranormal. It is the study of paranormal phenomena with a human source–ESP, remote viewing, psychic abilities, etc.


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