Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Two Rhine Researchers Receive Bial Grants

By John G. Kruth

Dr. John Palmer and Dr. Christine Simmonds-Moore have received prestigious Bial grants for research projects in 2011. The Bial Foundation is an organization committed to discovering, developing, and providing therapeutic solutions within the area of health and is the world’s largest provider of grants for scientific research in Parapsychology.

Dr. Palmer is Director of Research at the RRC, Editor of the Journal of Parapsychology, has twice been the President of the Parapsychological Association, and has published over 100 research reports, literature reviews, and theoretical papers. He will be performing an experiment to evaluate the connection between the dissociative state and PSI. Psychological dissociation is a disruption of normal conscious awareness in an individual. Many people experience a mild form of dissociation while driving a car and listening to music, and musicians and artists have been known to purposely create a dissociative state in order to improve their creativity. Dr. Palmer presents a hypothesis that dissociative states can be exploited to enable better performance on PSI tasks. Through a motor automatism PSI task, exemplified by the automatic writing of the trance medium Leonore Piper as well as the modern Ouija board, Dr. Palmer will evoke a dissociative state and distract participants’ primary consciousness with a reading exercise while the dissociated consciousness performs the PSI task. The overall hypothesis to be tested in this study is that psychological dissociation improves PSI performance.

Dr. Simmonds-Moore is the Senior Research Fellow at the RRC and has been involved in research on paranormal experiences for over 10 years. She has taught courses in Parapsychology at Liverpool-Hope University and the RRC. She has numerous studies and research collaborations to her credit and has been performing research at the RRC since 2009. Her research project will examine the association between synesthesia and anomalous experiences that may include PSI. Synesthesia occurs when one sense involuntarily activates a different sensory experience. A person who experiences synesthesia may be able to see sounds, taste shapes, or hear colors. Dr. Simmonds-Moore’s study will attempt to identify individuals who experience synesthesia and explore how this relates to PSI and other experiences. Her research also examines the relationship between synesthesia, personality (a measure of positive schizotypy), and a range of anomalous and paranormal experiences. Her work will also develop a new scale to explore the incidence of synesthetic experiences in the general population.

Everyone at the RRC would like to congratulate Dr. Palmer and Dr. Simmonds-Moore on their grants and the opportunity to perform such important research under the Rhine umbrella.