Dr. J. B. Rhine and his wife, Dr. Louisa E. Rhine, came to Duke University in 1927 to pursue studies of psychic phenomena with Professor William McDougall, chairman of the new Psychology Department.
Within a few years, Dr. Rhine was conducting the groundbreaking research that demonstrated under rigorous, scientific conditions that certain persons could acquire information without the use of the known senses. He introduced the term extrasensory perception (ESP) to describe this ability and adopted the word parapsychology to distinguish his experimental approach from earlier methods of psychical research.
As work continued at Duke, Rhine and his team found experimental evidence for psychokinesis (PK), the direct action of mind on matter. They devised procedures for closer examination of both ESP and PK, trained many leading parapsychologists, and established channels of communication that enabled standardization of basic research methods for the emerging discipline.
In 1962, as Dr. Rhine's career at Duke drew to a close, he saw the need to secure for the still controversial science an independence of the pressures of academic politics and a freedom to follow the scientific quest wherever it led. Thus, with the support of old benefactors who had assisted the Duke efforts and new benefactors who believed in the need for an independently functioning organization, Rhine founded the Foundation for Research on the Nature of Man.
Rhine envisioned FRNM as a parent organization to a variety of research institutes and publishing and educational activities, and for 30 years it consisted of a major research and educational institute, the Institute for Parapsychology, and a publishing branch, the Parapsychology Press.
In 1995, the centenary of J. B. Rhine's birth, the FRNM was renamed the Rhine Research Center to honor the Rhines and their unique contributions to this field of science.
Further information on the history of parapsychology, the Duke University Parapsychology Lab, as well as contemporary research, is available in many of the books (old-fashioned paper type) sold by the Rhine Center book store. For a free catalog and other information send a brief message with your postal address to [email protected]
Today's psi research has progressed from efforts to prove that psychic abilities exist to coordinated programs aimed at understanding the fundamental processes that underlie these abilities and how they are integrated into human consciousness.
The main thrusts of the Institute for Parapsychology's research programs are in the areas of ESP and PK.
In ESP research, by using techniques to simulate natural states that seem to promote the occurrence of ESP, we are investigating the role of personality, psychodynamics, personal relationships, and even the content of the ESP "message", and are thus trying to untangle the web of factors that contribute to this unusual form of communication.
Contemporary PK research is revealing that human consciousness alone seems to play a role in determining the outcome of physical processes. This work brings parapsychology face to face with issues at the forefront of physics. While collaborating with other scientists in an effort to understand the basic processes involved, Institute researchers are examining how we use this "ability" and what conditions favor its successful deployment.
At the root of parapsychology are those puzzling experiences in our daily lives that we label "psychic," and the Institute for Parapsychology continues to study these experiences and the effect they have on people.
Many of the most productive and influential researchers today, and in past decades, received their parapsychological training here.
Our 8-week Summer Study Program (SSP), held annually since 1974, offers an unparalleled opportunity for obtaining a basic grounding in parapsychological research. Designed for students and professionals in both the sciences and the humanities, the SSP provides a quick but comprehensive introduction to the research objectives, methods, and findings across the spectrum of psi research.
Each program features numerous lectures and workshops by Institute scientists and other experts, as well as opportunities to participate in ongoing research projects. The SSP has earned high praise from alumni and senior parapsychologists and is the only program of its kind.
Public Information Services:
Underlying our educational activities is an excellent reference library, housing an extensive collection of English-language books on parapsychology and related topics. We also keep complete collections of related professional and popular periodicals, along with separate collections of dissertations, unpublished manuscripts, and foreign language books and periodicals.
These materials do not circulate, but are available for use by visitors. The Institute's book store sells several dozen of the best available and hard-to-find books on parapsychological research, as well as ESP cards and testing instructions.
To request a current catalog send a short message with your postal address to [email protected]
Our staff responds to a steady flow of letters and telephone calls on topics ranging from school projects to understanding personal psychic experiences. In addition to providing credible information on parapsychological research, the Institute plays a vital role in countering unreliable and often exploitative commercial presentations of parapsychology.
Institute researchers are frequently consulted on television documentaries and other journalistic productions.