The Parapsychological Association is pleased to announce two awardees of this year's Robert L. Morris Student Travel Fund grant: Jean Michel Abrassart and Ross Friday.

Jean-Michel Abrassart is a Ph.D. candidate in psychology at the Catholic University of Louvain (Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium). His main focus of interest is the study of the UFO phenomena. The working title of his thesis is The psychosocial model for explaining the UFO phenomena: A conceptual framework for looking at the UFO phenomena in the human sciences. He published his first book in 2010 on the topic of the psychology of paranormal belief, La croyance au paranormal: Facteurs prédispositionnels et situationnels (Éditions universitaires européennes, 2010). He is an active member of the French ufological group Comité Nord-Est des Groupes Ufologiques.  

At the upcoming PA-SPR convention, Jean-Michel will be presenting a paper titled UFO phenomena and psychopathology : A case study. After a short presentation of the psychosocial model, he'll adress the question of hallucinations in the UFO phenomena and present a case study.

As a postgraduate researcher, lecturer and writer, Ross Friday's laboratory-based experiments are unique in fusing parapsychological, neuroscientific, anomalistic, and social factors to investigate how beliefs and experiences shape our lives and to what extent they determine our actions and abilities. His work is based at the University of Greenwich where he gained a First Class Psychology degree investigating the psychological variables that may explain Electronic Voice Phenomena. Ross was recently made an accredited member of the British Psychological Society, and is now examining whether individuals can be aware they are under surveillance via extrasensory means, and which subconscious, psychosocial and neurological factors may predict belief in this ability as his current PhD thesis. Together with his mentor PA professional member Dr. David Luke, Ross has published various papers on subjects such as synaesthesia, and whether the use of psychedelics can enhance individuals’ ability to psychically predict outcomes.  

At the PA-SPR convention, Ross will be presenting a paper titled Individual differences in psychosocial and neurological predictors of survelliance detection via extrasensory means. Psychic detection of attention has been restricted to scopaesthesia - a phenomenon in which people respond via non-conventional means to being the subject of another persons’ gaze. However this new research will incorporate the sense of being heard as well as seen, which will be gauged by participants’ reports of being watched and/or listened to, behavioral differences during surveillance, and their physiological reactions.

The Parapsychological Association established the Robert L. Morris Student Travel Fund in 2005 after receiving a generous donation from Joanna Morris in a memorial of her late husband, who held the Koestler Chair of Parapsychology from 1985 to 2004. The PA Board of Directors considered how best to use this donation and believed that Bob Morris would have most liked for the funds to be used to encourage student participation in the PA.

Your continued support will extend the life of this fund. If you would like to make a contribution, please visit our Support Page and note the "Student Travel Fund" when sending your donation.