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A tale of two congresses: the psychological study of psychical, occult, and religious phenomena, 1900-1909.
J Hist Behav Sci. 2014 Fall; 50(4):376-99.JH

Abstract

In so far as researchers viewed psychical, occult, and religious phenomena as both objectively verifiable and resistant to extant scientific explanations, their study posed thorny issues for experimental psychologists. Controversies over the study of psychical and occult phenomena at the Fourth Congress of International Psychology (Paris, 1900) and religious phenomena at the Sixth (Geneva, 1909) raise the question of why the latter was accepted as a legitimate object of study, whereas the former was not. Comparison of the Congresses suggests that those interested in the study of religion were willing to forego the quest for objective evidence and focus on experience, whereas those most invested in psychical research were not. The shift in focus did not overcome many of the methodological difficulties. Sub-specialization formalized distinctions between psychical, religious, and pathological phenomena; obscured similarities; and undercut the nascent comparative study of unusual experiences that had emerged at the early Congresses.

Authors

No affiliation info available

Pub Type(s)

Historical Article
Journal Article

Language

eng

PubMed ID

25183376

Citation

Taves, Ann. "A Tale of Two Congresses: the Psychological Study of Psychical, Occult, and Religious Phenomena, 1900-1909." Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences, vol. 50, no. 4, 2014, pp. 376-99.
Taves A. A tale of two congresses: the psychological study of psychical, occult, and religious phenomena, 1900-1909. J Hist Behav Sci. 2014;50(4):376-99.
Taves, A. (2014). A tale of two congresses: the psychological study of psychical, occult, and religious phenomena, 1900-1909. Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences, 50(4), 376-99. https://doi.org/10.1002/jhbs.21691
Taves A. A Tale of Two Congresses: the Psychological Study of Psychical, Occult, and Religious Phenomena, 1900-1909. J Hist Behav Sci. 2014;50(4):376-99. PubMed PMID: 25183376.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - A tale of two congresses: the psychological study of psychical, occult, and religious phenomena, 1900-1909. A1 - Taves,Ann, Y1 - 2014/09/02/ PY - 2014/9/4/entrez PY - 2014/9/4/pubmed PY - 2015/6/25/medline SP - 376 EP - 99 JF - Journal of the history of the behavioral sciences JO - J Hist Behav Sci VL - 50 IS - 4 N2 - In so far as researchers viewed psychical, occult, and religious phenomena as both objectively verifiable and resistant to extant scientific explanations, their study posed thorny issues for experimental psychologists. Controversies over the study of psychical and occult phenomena at the Fourth Congress of International Psychology (Paris, 1900) and religious phenomena at the Sixth (Geneva, 1909) raise the question of why the latter was accepted as a legitimate object of study, whereas the former was not. Comparison of the Congresses suggests that those interested in the study of religion were willing to forego the quest for objective evidence and focus on experience, whereas those most invested in psychical research were not. The shift in focus did not overcome many of the methodological difficulties. Sub-specialization formalized distinctions between psychical, religious, and pathological phenomena; obscured similarities; and undercut the nascent comparative study of unusual experiences that had emerged at the early Congresses. SN - 1520-6696 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/25183376/A_tale_of_two_congresses:_the_psychological_study_of_psychical_occult_and_religious_phenomena_1900_1909_ L2 - https://doi.org/10.1002/jhbs.21691 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -