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Posted on Thursday, July 27 - 2006

Rex G. Stanford, Ph.D., was a high school student in Texas when he came to a conclusion that would shape his professional life: some of the world’s greatest mysteries, however puzzling, can be understood and explained through the principles of science. Today, Professor Stanford, who teaches psychology at St. John’s University, applies the principles of cognitive psychology to the scientific study of ESP, one form of what researchers call psi – currently unexplained interactions with one’s environment. The scientists who research these events usually are referred to as “parapsychologists.”“The purpose of science is to solve mysteries, to understand how to explain a given phenomenon,” says Professor Stanford.“With psi, there are things people – and possibly some other organisms – seem able to do that we currently don’t know how to explain.

One of them involves acquiring information in ways that science does not yet understand.”“Parapsychologists assume,” he adds, “that these phenomena can be investigated scientifically and will ultimately prove to be scientifically understandable.”The author of more than 100 scholarly publications, Professor Stanford continues to win international recognition for his work. This August, at its 49th annual convention in Stockholm, the Parapsychological Association will install him as president. Established in 1957, the association has an international membership of more than 200 scientists and scholars from various disciplines.In Portugal this spring, Professor Stanford was an invited speaker atthe 6th Symposium of the Bial Foundation. Founded in 1994 by Bial Laboratories, a leading European pharmaceutical firm, the foundation supports and showcases international research in health and medicine.“Being invited to speak there was definitely a career highlight,” says Professor Stanford, who teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in cognitive and social psychology at St. John’s. “The Bial Foundation’s invitation to eminent brain researchers and parapsychologists seems to me a tribute to the quality of work that is done in both fields.”

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