Friday, July 13, 2018   2:34 AM

Convention Spotlight: Cross-Cultural Research on Anomalous Experiences

The psychosocial and cultural aspects to anomalous experiences (AEs) add to the complexity of the phenomena. Everton Maraldi of the Institute of Psychology, University of São Paulo, Brazil and Stanley Krippner of Saybrook University, California set out to critically review the scientific literature on AEs in light of cross cultural research. They also sought to fill existing gaps in knowledge about the cultural underpinnings of these experiences. The description of AEs as possibly non-ordinary or exceptional in terms of the Western scientific thinking raises questions as to whether this definition can be considered cross-culturally valid since cultures define and determine what is ordinary and what is anomalous. Experiences categorized as anomalous vary across cultures and are influenced by a range of factors such as religion and politics.

Maraldi and Krippner agree that the use of established and cross-culturally adapted quantitative measures is useful to allow for direct comparisons between samples, but they also note how those measures exclude illiterate participants or individuals less accustomed with psychological testing and measurement procedures. The cross-cultural investigation of AEs, especially in more isolated cultures, requires a good dose of creativity and adaptation, since conditions will not always satisfy the prerequisites for systematic data collection. Maraldi and Krippner summarize their review by noting that these conceptual problems can be appended by the sharing and inclusive construction of knowledge. They believe that scientists need to move beyond their laboratories and study AEs in their own context, improve their communication with society, and have the feedback of the experiencers of anomalous phenomena.

Join us at the 61st Annual Convention of the Parapsychological Association to join the discussion. This is expected to be a sold out event, so don't delay - register today.  

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