Anomalous Cognition Section, University of Amsterdam

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Anomalous Cognition Section, University of Amsterdam

The Anomalous Cognition Section of the faculty of Psychology at the University of Amsterdam is a research structure that emerged in the 1990s primarily as a tool to help sharpen the students' facility with methodology and empirical research. The research in parapsychology was initiated by Dick J. Bierman, a member of both the faculty at Amsterdam and at the University of Utrecht, which has a formal program in parapsychology. Traditionally, as part of their graduate training, students in psychology at Amsterdam had to set up and run a research project. In the 1980s, two students, one in 1982 and one in 1986, carried through on a project involving the Gansfeld random generator, the object being the determination of possible anomalous cognition. Anomalous cognition is another name used by some parapsychologists for what is commonly termed telepathy, clairvoyance, and precognition.

Some members of the faculty were hostile to such research until the publication of a paper on Gansfeld-related research by D. J. Bem and Charles Hororton in 1994 and the subsequent appearance of Bem on a video hook-up before the faculty. A significant shift of opinion among the faculty led to a variety of students choosing to do their project in anomalous cognition or the related field of anomalous perturbation, also known as psychokinesis.

The project has also generated an Internet-based periodical, the electronic Journal for Anomalous Phenomena, designed to give both scientists and the general public access to information about empirical, field, and theoretical research in parapsychology. The peer-reviewed journal gives students a place to initially publish their research, but has also become an experiment in publishing the often very technical data produced in empirical research for what potentially is a lay audience.

Access to the project and the journal is best acquired through the psychology department's Internet site at


Anomalous Cognition Section, University of Amsterdam. February 15, 2000.

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Anomalous Cognition Section, University of Amsterdam

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