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Psionics is the study of paranormal phenomena in relation to the application of electronics.[1] The term comes from psi ('psyche') and the -onics from electronics (machine).[1][2] It is closely related to the field of radionics.[1][3] There is no scientific evidence yet that psionic abilities exist.[4]



A notable device in psionics was the Hieronymus machine. The machine was described by scientists as pseudoscientific and an example of quackery.[5][6]

Parapsychologists associated with psionics have included John Hasted and Robert G. Jahn.[1] Their experiments were heavily criticized by the scientific community due to weak controls, methodological flaws and no independent replication.[7][8][9]

Psionic abilities appear frequently in science fiction and provide characters with supernatural abilities.[10] John W. Campbell, an editor of a science fiction magazine, became excited about fringe science,[11] and went on to define psionics as "engineering applied to the mind".[12] His encouragement of psionics led author Murray Leinster and others to write stories such as The Psionic Mousetrap.[11]

Science writer Martin Gardner wrote that the study of psionics is "even funnier than dianetics or Ray Palmer's Shaver stories", and criticized the beliefs of Campbell as anti-scientific nonsense.[5]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d Williams, William F. (2000). Encyclopedia of Pseudoscience: From Alien Abductions to Zone Therapy (Reprinted ed.). Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn. pp. 279–298. ISBN 1579582079. 
  2. ^ "Online Etymology Dictionary". Retrieved 2014-01-29. 
  3. ^ Raso, Jack (1992). Mystical Diets: Paranormal, Spiritual, and Occult Nutrition Practices. Buffalo, New York: Prometheus Books. p. 268. ISBN 0879757612. 
  4. ^ Cordón, Luis A. (2005). Popular Psychology: an Encyclopedia. Wesport (Conn.): Greenwood. p. 182. ISBN 0-313-32457-3. The essential problem is that a large portion of the scientific community, including most research psychologists, regards parapsychology as a pseudoscience, due largely to its failure to move beyond null results in the way science usually does. Ordinarily, when experimental evidence fails repeatedly to support a hypothesis, that hypothesis is abandoned. Within parapsychology, however, more than a century of experimentation has failed to conclusively demonstrate the mere existence of paranormal phenomenon, yet parapsychologists continue to pursue that elusive goal. 
  5. ^ a b Gardner, Martin (1986). Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science (2nd ed.). New York: Dover Publications. ISBN 0486203948. 
  6. ^ Sladek, John (1974). The New Apocrypha: A Guide to Strange Science and Occult Beliefs. New York: Stein and Day. p. 269. ISBN 9780812817126. 
  7. ^ Gardner, Martin (1991). The New Age: Notes of a Fringe-Watcher. Buffalo, New York: Prometheus Books. pp. 28–29. ISBN 0879756446. 
  8. ^ Hansel, C.E.M. (1989). The Search for Psychic Power: ESP and Parapsychology Revisited. Buffalo, New York: Prometheus Books. pp. 187–195. ISBN 0879755164. 
  9. ^ Frazier, Kendrick (1991). The Hundredth Monkey and Other Paradigms of the Paranormal. Buffalo, New York: Prometheus Books. pp. 146–161. ISBN 9780879756550. 
  10. ^ Anderson, Poul (1981). Fantasy (1st ed.). Tom Doherty Associates. p. 270. ISBN 9780523485157. 
  11. ^ a b Westfahl, Gary (2005). The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Science Fiction and Fantasy. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press. p. 167. ISBN 0313329508. 
  12. ^ Bould, Mark (2011). The Routledge Companion to Science Fiction (Paperback ed.). London: Routledge. p. 410. ISBN 0415453798. Retrieved 11 December 2015. 

Further readingEdit