Carlos S. Alvarado Ph.D.

Carlos 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.

Reflections on Being a Parapsychologist

 - Carlos S. Alvarado Ph.D. -

This article by Carlos Alvarado Ph.D. was originally published in the Journal of 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. A single-page 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.

1. Introduction

          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.[1] 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.

[1] For some exceptions see McClenon (1982), McConnell and Clark (1980), Milton (1995), J. B. Rhine (1944), Schmeidler (1971), and Smith (1999). Go to References.

Next part: 2. The Parapsychological Community and their Accomplishments


Parts 1-12 of "Reflections on Being a Parapsychologist"


 Abstract and Introduction (current page)
 Parapsychologists and their Accomplishments
 Personnel in Parapsychology
 The Variety of Members in the Parapsychological Community
 Education and Training in Parapsychology
 How Does it Feel to be a Parapsychologist?
 Why are we in Parapsychology?
 Approaches to Parapsychology
 Legitimation Strategies of Parapsychologists
 When Parapsychologists Harm Their Cause
 Concluding Remarks

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