Adrian Parker

Professor Emeritus

Department of
Visiting address
Haraldsgatan 1
41314 Göteborg
Postal address
Box 500
40530 Göteborg

About Adrian Parker


  • Professor in Psychology (with research areas as psychical research and altered states) University of Gothenburg: 2007 - Visiting research scientist, Kings College, University of London.
  • State license in Clinical Psychology and in Psychotherapy
  • Specialist Competence in Clinical Psychology (Swedish Psychological Society).
  • M.A. Honours in Psychology, University of Edinburgh
  • Professional Qualification in Clinical Psychology, Tavistock Clinic, London:1974
  • Perrott-Warrick Studentship in Psychical Research, University of Cambridge:1972-76
  • Ph. D in Psychology, University of Edinburgh: 1977
  • Coordinating Clinical Psychologist, Child Psychiatry Clinic, Gothenburg, 1983
  • Docent in Psychology, University of Gothenburg: 1992


Course leader for:

  • International Course on Consciousness Studies and Psychical Research
  • Basic Course in Psychology: Biological and Cognitive Psychology

Supervision of students at Master and Doctoral Levels

Research interests

My professorship is one of the few in the world that has been officially approved by a major university to be deal paranormal experiences and altered states of consciousness.

I have a broad interest in the various aspects of consciousness research such as dissociated states, cognitive errors, witness psychology, psychotic-like experiences, hypnosis, dream states, subliminal perception - as well as psychic experiences and claims. My research spans many fascinating areas of consciousness studies including of psychical research and I was the first in Great Britain to gain a Ph.D on this topic.

Current research

The research approved for my professorship means it is one of the few in the world promoting the scientific study of paranormal experiences and altered states of consciousness.

I have a broad interest in the various aspects of consciousness research such as hypnosis, dissociated states, psychotic-like experiences, and dream states as well as psychic experiences.

My doctoral work at Edinburgh University lead to me being one of the joint originators of what is now the standard methodology (called the ganzfeld technique,) for reproducing a type of altered state and experiences neutrally called psi (rather than psychic) in the laboratory. This enables us to study psi under controlled conditions At Gothenburg with the support of the Bank of Sweden’s Tercentenary Foundation, we have further improved the methodology making it digital and incorporating further safeguards against fraud and error. Our approach to this area is that of open-minded scepticism. To maintain this position is important in the contemporary period when polarised norms of naive scepticism and over-belief mean there is a lack of scientifically founded debate on these topics. Our work is quoted in a major textbook of psychology (Passer and Smith, 2012).

We have a current research project with the Department of Twin Research at Kings College, University of London. This concerns exceptional and attachment experiences amongst twins. Another project, supported by the BIAL foundation for brain research, concerns lucid dreams.

The work on altered states and paranormal experiences has it roots in the writings and work of William James who arguably the foremost psychologist in recent history. In Sweden, Martin Johnson, who was professor in parapsychology, has also served as a source of inspiration. However the most well known Swede in this area is of course Ingmar Bergman who documented his own experiences in these areas. Some of the conditions he describes for their occurrence are incorporated in the laboratory in what we call the ganzfeld technique.

Selected publications

Parker, A. (1999) Imaginal experiences and perceptual defence. British Journal of Medical Psychology, 72, 447-8.

Parker, A. (2000) A review of the Ganzfeld work at Gothenburg University. Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, 1-15.

Parker, A., Persson, A., & Haller, A. (2000) Using qualitative Ganzfeld research for theory development: top down processes in psi-mediation. Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, 64, 65-81

Parker, A. (2001) What can psychology and parapsychology tell us about near-death experiences? Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, 225-240.

Parker, A. (2003a) Psi and altered states. Chapter 10 in Parapsychology in the 21st Century Edit.s Lance Storm and Michael Thalbourne. Jefferson, NC: McFarland.

Parker, A. (2003b) We ask does psi exist? But is this the right question and do we really want an answer anyway. Chapter 7 in Psi Wars. Edit.s J. Alcock, J. Burns., & A. Freeman. Exeter, UK: Imprint Academic. Special issue of the Journal of Consciousness Studies.

Parker, A. & Brusewitz, G. (2003) A compendium of evidence for psi. European Journal of prapsychology, 18, 33-52.

Paulsson, T. & Parker, A. (2006) The Effects of a two week reflection-Intention training program on lucid dream Recall. Dreaming: the Journal of the Association for the Study of Dreams. 16 (1), 22-35.

Parker, A. (2010) Mysterious minds: The Neurobiology of psychics, mediums, and other extraordinary people- Ed.s S. Krippner & H. L. Friedman Sana Barbara: Praeger.

Jensen, C. & Parker, A. (2012) Entangled In The Womb? – A Pilot Study on the Possible Physiological Connectedness Between Identical Twins with Different Embryonic Backgrounds. Accepted for publication in Explore (Elsevier journals).

Parker, A. & Jensen (2012) Further Possible Physiological Connectedness Between Identical Twins: The London Study, Accepted for publication in Explore (Elsevier journals).