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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][3] It is closely related to the field of radionics.[1][4] There is no scientific evidence that psionic abilities exist.[5]



A notable device in psionics was the Hieronymus machine. The machine was described by scientists as pseudoscientific and an example of quackery.[6][7]

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.[8][9][10]

Psionic abilities appear frequently in science fiction and provide characters with supernatural abilities.[11] John W. Campbell, an editor of a science fiction magazine, became excited about fringe science,[12] and went on to define psionics as "engineering applied to the mind".[13] His encouragement of psionics led author Murray Leinster and others to write stories such as The Psionic Mousetrap.[12]

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.[6]

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. ^ "psionic". Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved 2014-01-29.
  3. ^ Joyce, Judith (2011). The Weiser Field Guide to the Paranormal: Abductions, Apparitions, ESP, Synchronicity, and More Unexplained Phenomena from Other Realms. San Francisco, California: Weiser Books. p. 157. ISBN 1609252985. Psionic is a word invented in the 20th century as an umbrella term to describe human paranormal behavior. It refers to all powers of the mind—from the passive (telepathy or clairvoyance) to the active (telekinesis or pyrokinesis). Psionics is the study of all these powers.
  4. ^ Raso, Jack (1992). Mystical Diets: Paranormal, Spiritual, and Occult Nutrition Practices. Buffalo, New York: Prometheus Books. p. 268. ISBN 0879757612.
  5. ^ Cordón, Luis A. (2005). Popular Psychology: an Encyclopedia. Wesport, Connecticut: Greenwood. p. 182. ISBN 0313324573. 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.
  6. ^ a b Gardner, Martin (1986). Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science (2nd ed.). New York: Dover Publications. ISBN 0486203948.
  7. ^ Sladek, John (1974). The New Apocrypha: A Guide to Strange Science and Occult Beliefs. New York: Stein and Day. p. 269. ISBN 9780812817126.
  8. ^ Gardner, Martin (1991). The New Age: Notes of a Fringe-Watcher. Buffalo, New York: Prometheus Books. pp. 28–29. ISBN 0879756446.
  9. ^ Hansel, C.E.M. (1989). The Search for Psychic Power: ESP and Parapsychology Revisited. Buffalo, New York: Prometheus Books. pp. 187–195. ISBN 0879755164.
  10. ^ Frazier, Kendrick (1991). The Hundredth Monkey and Other Paradigms of the Paranormal. Buffalo, New York: Prometheus Books. pp. 146–161. ISBN 9780879756550.
  11. ^ Anderson, Poul (1981). Fantasy (1st ed.). Tom Doherty Associates. p. 270. ISBN 9780523485157.
  12. ^ a b Westfahl, Gary (2005). The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Science Fiction and Fantasy. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press. p. 167. ISBN 0313329508.
  13. ^ Bould, Mark (2011). The Routledge Companion to Science Fiction (Paperback ed.). London: Routledge. p. 410. ISBN 0415453798. Retrieved 11 December 2015.

Further readingEdit