Carlos S. Alvarado, PhD, Research Fellow, Parapsychology Foundation

Here is a new article discussing phenomena believed to present evidence against materialism: Toward a Postmaterialist Psychology: Theory, Research, and Applications,” by Mario Beauregard, Natalie L. Trent, and Gary E. Schwartz (New Ideas in Psychology, 2018, 50, 21–33; for a PDF of the article click here).

Mario Beauregard

Mario Beauregard

Natalie L. Trent

Natalie L. Trent

Natalie L. TrentNatalie L. Trent 2

Gary Schwartz


“The majority of mainstream psychologists still adopt a materialist stance toward nature. They believe that science is synonymous with materialism; further, they are convinced that the view that mind and consciousness are simply by-products of brain activity is an incontrovertible fact that has been demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt. This is an incomplete view of what humans are. In this article, we review two categories of empirical evidence that support a shift toward a postmaterialist psychology. The first category of evidence includes mental events that seem to occur outside the spatial confines of the brain, whereas the second category includes mental events that seem to occur when the brain has ceased to function. Taken together, the two bodies of empirical evidence examined here indicate that the idea that the brain creates mind and consciousness is both incomplete and flawed. In the Discussion section, we argue that the transmission hypothesis of the mind-brain relationship can account for all the evidence presented in this article. We also discuss the emerging postmaterialist paradigm and its potential implications for the evolution of psychology.”

The authors argue that “the scientific materialist framework is completely at loss to explain a wide array of empirical phenomena that are thoroughly examined in this article.” They discuss ESP and near-death experiences, and other phenomena such as distant mental influence and reincarnation cases.

It is stated that psychology will be affected in different ways if a materialistic paradigm is rejected:

“Allowing for research from a postmaterialist perspective would impact many subfields within psychology. Not only would a postmaterialist paradigm allow for research to extend further into the potential of the mind, it would do so with an understanding of our interconnection, thereby moving forward in an ethical, holistic way . . . With respect to abnormal psychology, the belief in psi phenomena is currently classified as a symptom of a mental disorder, such as schizotypal personality disorder. A postmaterialist paradigm would recognize that many people do experience psi phenomena, and that these phenomena are not necessarily the products of delusions or pathological belief systems. Furthermore, a postmaterialist paradigm would take into account the enormous power of spirituality and mystical experiences to fundamentally transform one’s life in a positive way . . . As regards social psychology, adopting a postmaterialist paradigm would allow for deeper research into our interconnection and social bonds that may transcend the physical boundaries assumed by scientific materialism . . . The implications of postmaterialist paradigm also extend to crosscultural psychology, whereby other cultural belief systems often correspond to a non-materialist perspective . . . A postmaterialist paradigm can also create a bridge between modern medicine and traditional forms of medicine . . .”

It concluded that:

“Scientific materialism still continues to exert substantial influence in the academic world. QM and the numerous lines of converging empirical evidence discussed here, however, strongly suggest that this ideology is incomplete, erroneous and obsolete: the time is indeed ripe to embrace a broader and more inclusive postmaterialist conception of the world.”

“The history of science has been marked by a few special moments that were characterized by major conceptual breakthroughs that have been called paradigm shifts or changes . . . It appears that we are now approaching another crucial paradigm shift, namely the transition from materialist science to postmaterialist science. We may be witnessing the end of materialism . . . , at least as originally conceived. Holding great promise for science, this transition may be of vital importance to the evolution of the human civilization. Toward this end, a group of postmaterialist scientists . . . have founded a global Academy for the Advancement of Postmaterialist Sciences to foster theory, research, and applications in all branches of science.”