PY0534 - Parapsychology

What will I learn on this module?

On this module you will explore the scientific study of paranormal experiences. You will learn about the historical context for parapsychological enquiry and analyse the various theories providing explanations for paranormal belief. The focus of the module will be on the application of psychological research and theory to the context of anomalous experiences and beliefs.

How will I learn on this module?

On this module you will learn through a combination of lectures, in-class activities and tutorials, guest speakers, external practical sessions, along with independent study.

You will attend a series of two-hour interactive lectures to learn about the main topics in parapsychology. These lectures will provide the basic framework for syllabus topics. The interactive elements will involve discussion of the application of particular topic areas introduced in the taught sessions and practical demonstrations of parapsychological processes. The aim of the interactive lectures is to consolidate information learnt through independent reading and to encourage you to apply your knowledge in a problem-based learning situation. You will have the opportunity for group discussion, enabling you to communicate your ideas and findings in a group setting, showing sensitivity to the perspectives of others. Effective oral and visual communication skills will be developed through such activities. Where relevant, external experts will provide input into the teaching of the module, through one-hour ‘insight’ talks.

In addition there are two external sessions (a ghost walk of Newcastle, and a visit to the Castle keep) designed to enhance class-based learning experiences, critical understanding, and practical awareness of key issues in parapsychology.

Directed study will be encouraged through the provision of reading lists, which will serve as a basis for further, independent study. This will be further encouraged through the provision of study questions and topics. Independent learning skills and reflection on the role and value of those skills will prepare you for career development learning.

Together, the learning strategies of lectures, workshops, practical sessions, directed and independent study aim to develop conceptual knowledge of the topic area and illustrate the range of paradigms and methods that can be used to investigate it. Tutorials will provide an opportunity for you to discuss issues related to the module with a member of staff.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

The module tutor will support you by making a variety of resources linked to the taught elements and assessments available on the e-learning portal (e.g. PowerPoint slides, handouts, reading lists, directed assessment related-activities) along with links to websites to encourage further exploration of parapsychology. A discussion board on the e-learning portal will be available for students to pose and respond to questions among peers and to module tutors. This enhances collegiality and also means that support is available to all students.
Tutorials can provide an opportunity for students to discuss issues related to the module with a member of staff. Technology enabled learning will be incorporated through the use of electronic submission of assessments

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at:
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team –

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
• MK1: You will be able to demonstrate conceptual knowledge of Parapsychology by critically discussing relevant theory, recent research and methodological issues

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
• MIP1: You will develop key skills associated with psychology, including time management and effective communication skills and strategies
• MIP2: You will take charge of your own career development learning, through critical self-evaluation and reflection on the relevance of the module for career enhancement and future learning.

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
• MPV1: You will demonstrate the characteristics of a Northumbria psychology graduate, through effective written, oral, and visual communication skills, with the ability to adapt style to suit a range of audiences

How will I be assessed?

Formative Assessment
Formative assessments will consist of group discussion of methodological/theoretical issues, and feedback on the practical elements within the interactive lectures and external practical session. (MK1; MIP1; MPV1)

Summative Assessment
The main assessment consists of one piece of individual written work (3000) worth 90% of the module mark. Students will write a letter to a newspaper editor or TV producer in response to a parapsychological claim, presenting psychological research and theory in support of their approach. (MK1; MIP1; MPV1)

The second assessment is a self-reflective account in which you will be asked to consider how this module has impacted on your employability and future career (MIP2). This will be worth 10% of the module mark (500 words)

Formative assessments, the module tutor will provide immediate verbal feedback on top of peer feedback provided through discussion in group activities.

For the summative report, feedback will be provided on the electronic submission in the form of a level-specific rubric. Additional written comments will be provided that identify a minimum of one strength, one weakness and one area for improvement.

You will be required to arrange a tutorial with your personal guidance tutor for formal feedback on your reflection.





Module abstract

Though lectures, interactive/practical activities, guest speakers, and external visits, the module examines explanations for paranormal beliefs and experiences. It specifically aims to investigate how the core areas of psychology can be applied in this context. It will draw on areas such as; cognitive psychology (e.g. distortions of memory and attention); Social Psychology (e.g. the role of culture, group behaviour, cognitive bias); Developmental Psychology (e.g. childhood experience and anomalous beliefs); Abnormal psychology (e.g. role of schizotypy in paranormal and conspiracy belief) and Individual Differences (e.g. sex differences, emotion, attitudes, motivations in paranormal belief and experience). Additional lectures will be provided by experts from other disciplines (e.g. paranormal investigator, hypnotherapist). External visits will comprise a ghost walk, and conducting an environmental survey in relation to perceived haunting phenomena at Newcastle Castle Keep

Course info

UCAS Code C800

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years Full Time or 4 years with optional study abroad year

Department Psychology

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024 or September 2025

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

Full time Courses are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but could include elements of online learning. Most courses run as planned and as promoted on our website and via our marketing materials, but if there are any substantial changes (as determined by the Competition and Markets Authority) to a course or there is the potential that course may be withdrawn, we will notify all affected applicants as soon as possible with advice and guidance regarding their options. It is also important to be aware that optional modules listed on course pages may be subject to change depending on uptake numbers each year.  

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with possible restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors if this is deemed necessary in future.


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