Major Concepts Included Under Anomalous - A Primer
The following are relevant non-prejudicial terms in the area of
anomalistic experience developed by Vernon Neppe. All of these terms
have previously been published.
ANOMALOUS: Historically, this term has become the preferred
one in the whole discipline. This term was first used by Neppe
- in research and lectures in the mid 1970s in his temporal lobe work (1)
- in print first in 1984 in a book section (2) but in book chapter titles in 1992 and 1993 (3, 4)
- in a classification in 1985 (5)
- in a subjective incidence study in 1986 (6)
"Anomalous" has become a popular non-prejudicial way of describing
unusual or strange of kinds of experience or unexplained meaningful
coincidences or experiences of Delta kind.
"Delta" technically is even less prejudicial because "anomalous" is a
self-excluding definition. As phenomena become understood, even if it
were in the most complex quantum way, it could be argued they are no
longer anomalous. Delta still would include
the no longer anomalous terminology.
Anomalous Experience: synonymous with Anomalous Mental Phenomena (AMP)
(see below. AMP unfortunately uses the term "mental" and a mental
component is not proven for anomalous experience. A general term that
includes AC and AP. This is also known as Psi.
DELTA: (7) Any kind of anomalous experience.
A term suggested so as to avoid the prejudicial interpretations of
terminology such as extrasensory and psychokinesis.
AFFERENT DELTA (7) refers to events that are on the receiving or afferent
limb of the experience. The most common form of this is commonly called
ESP - Extrasensory Perception.
EFFERENT DELTA (7) refers to events that are on the outgoing or efferent
limb of the experience. The most common form of this is commonly called
PK - Psychokinesis
SUBJECTIVE PARANORMAL EXPERIENCE (SPE) also called SUBJECTIVE PSI
EXPERIENCE: (1) This is a non-prejudicial method of portraying the
subject's impression that they have had experiences of such a peculiar
or meaningful kind that they would perceive them as psychic or
paranormal or of psi kind. These could be on either the afferent or
efferent limbs or with combinations and involve the areas below listed
under commonly used terms on anomalous experiences.
SUBJECTIVE PARANORMAL EXPERIENTS (SPE-ents) (1) Subjects who have
Generally this refers to an experimental research group who have
acknowledged having had large numbers of different kinds of SPEs using
the low score subjective verifying criteria listed under
Criteria For Low-Score Subjective
SUBJECTIVE PARANORMAL NON-EXPERIENTS (NSPE-ents) (1) Subjects
who have not experienced SPEs. Generally this refers to an
experimental or control group who have never acknowledged having
By using these two terms, SPE-ents and NSPE-ents this allows research
study of two comparable subjective groups, not proving they are really
"psychic" but looking at qualities of experiences just as one would
COGNITIVE SCIENCES LABORATORY TERMINOLOGY
Over the years, terminology for anomalous phenomena
has evolved, even more. We recommend the use of terms like Anomalous
Cognition, Anomalous Perturbation but as indicated we prefer the term
Anomalous Experience to Anomalous Mental Phenomena. We recognize the
The Cognitive Sciences Laboratory who have used the following as
Anomalous Cognition (AC) -- A form of information transfer in which all
known sensorial stimuli are absent. In this process some individuals are
able to gain access to information from events outside the range of
their senses by a currently not understood mechanism. Several
synonyms for this phenomenon are in use: Remote Viewing (RV),
Clairvoyance, and ESP.
Anomalous Perturbation (AP) -- A form of interaction with matter in
which all known physical mechanisms are absent. In other words, some
individuals are alleged to be able to influence matter by an as yet
unknown process. This phenomenon is also known Psychokinesis
Anomalous Mental Phenomena (AMP) implies a mental component so it is
not used here -- A general term that includes AC and AP. This is also
known as Psi.
COMMONLY USED TERMS FOR ANOMALOUS EXPERIENCES:
Subjective Anomalous Experience (6): This term is synonymous with the
more commonly used Subjective Paranormal Experience (1) except
broader without even implying the subjective paranormality just the
The areas encompassing PK and ESP imply the term Psi. This is largely
synonymous with Paranormality and in the lay-person sense Psychic
A dream which coincides with an unexpected,
unknown, past, present or future reality.
A dream which coincides in many details with a dream
that another person has had.
Extrasensory Perception (ESP):
Experience of, or response to, a target object, state event or influence
without sensory contact (Ebon, 1978).
General Extrasensory Perception (GESP):
ESP of any kind. This includes telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition and
retrocognition. GESP involves a percipient (receiver) who endeavors to obtain
information and sometimes a transmitter called an agent.
The "sender" in telepathy, whose mental states are apprehended by the
percipient (Ebon, 1978).
Based on agent and percipient
- Precognition: foreknowledge
- Contemporaneous ESP: current ESP
- Retrocognition: knowledge of the past
Special kinds of experimental GESP
- Clairvoyance: no agent necessary to transmit information
- Telepathy: agent involved in transmission of information
- Psychometry: Divination of information from objects by the percipient
- Remote viewing: atttempts to obtain information about a target from afar
- Ganzfeld: a certain specific kind of limiting auditory and visual environment
- Forced choice: predictions based on specific limited targets e.g. dice face, set of Zener cards.
A state of consciousness involving mental dissociation with post-trance amnesia
induced by a medium, who claims to be controlled by a spirit (Chaplin, 1976).
The impression that one is outside one's physical body.
An extrasensory awareness of someone (dead or alive) who is felt to be present.
The extramotor manipulation of objects or events.
Common subgroups of PK:
recurrent spontaneous psychokinesis The more technical term for
what is sometimes (prejudicially) referred to as Poltergeist phenomena.
Spontaneous events producing changes such as movements of objects or
changes in electrical or computerized phenomena.
psychokinetic metal building Ostensible metal bending by
The influence of information or objects under experimental conditions.
An emanation surrounding a living being (Chaplin, 1976) (as opposed to
the focal aura that precedes a secondary generalization of a seizure).
The act of curing by paranormal means.
The communication of strange or foreign terms allegedly unknown to the experient.
The production of a special visible physical substance by a medium.
The doctrine of previous lives occurring in a single individual.
The production of verbal or graphic material without conscious control (Chaplin, 1976).
Near Death Experience (NDE):
An experience that occurs at a time close
to death that is of such a kind that the person perceives it as
meaningful, spiritual, mystical and psychic.
The term has, at times, been extended to this kind of experience but
without the closeness to death.
Because of its subjectivity, some would not classify this as paranormal.
Any inappropriate impression of familiarity of
the present experience with the remote past. Like Near Death Experience
(NDEs), because déjà vu is subjective and has been demonstrated to have
several different subtypes, I do not classify this as within the domain
of psi experience. However, I called a subgroup of such experience,
Subjective Paranormal Déjà Vu.
There are twenty different kinds of
Neppe VM. An investigation of the relationship between temporal lobe
symptomatology and subjective paranormal experience. MMed Psych thesis.
Johannesburg, University of the Witwatersrand, 1979; 1-1-178 &i-xv.
Neppe VM: The relevance of the temporal lobe to anomalous subjective
experience, In: White RA, Broughton, RS, eds. Research in Parapsychology
1983. Metuchen, NJ.:Scarecrow Press; 1984: 7-10.
Neppe VM: Clinical psychiatry , psychopharmacology and anomalous
experience, In: Coly L, McMahon, JDS, eds. Psi and Clinical Practice.
New York: Parapsy Found; 1993: 145-162.
Neppe VM: Anomalous experience and psychopathology, In: Shapin B,
Coly, L, eds. Spontaneous Psi, Depth Psychology and Parapsychology. New
York: Parapsy Found; 1992: 163-180.
Neppe VM. A multiaxial classificatory system for anomalous
experience. Ppsych J of South Africa. 1985; 6 (1): 57-72.
Swiel DJ, Neppe, VM. The incidence of subjective anomalous
experience in naive subjects. PJSA. 1986; 7 (1): 34-53.
Neppe VM. Extrasensory perception--an anachronism and anathema.
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