Psy 2100 - Altered States of Consciousness and Parapsychological Events

Miguel Roig, Ph.D.

Homepage:  Phone: 718-390-4513




OFFICE HOURS: My office is in DaSilva Hall, Room 338. I am in school on Tuesdays and Fridays and my official office hours are between 7:00 and 9:00 AM on those two days. I am often available on Fridays from 12:00-1:00 PM.


REQUIRED TEXT: The first part of the course (about a fifth to a quarter of the course) will be on the problem of consciousness and the reading assignments will be based on on-line material or articles that will either be disseminated or that you may need to locate in the library. For the second part of the course, we will use the following textbook: Irwin, H. J. and Watt, C. A. (2007). An Introduction to Parapsychology 5th edition. Jefferson, NC: Material from several on-line resources will also be used.


COURSE OBJECTIVES: In this course we will selectively examine research and theory concerning altered states (such as meditative and drug-induced states, dreaming, hypnosis, various kinds of “trances” and “peak experiences”), extrasensory perception, psychokinesis and possible interrelationships of these areas.


CLASS EXAMINATIONS (80% of the final grade): There will be 5 examinations and each exam will include short and long essay questions and possibly some multiple choice questions.  All exams will be based on assigned readings and course lectures.  If you miss an exam for whatever reason, you may make it up during the week of finals, but you may only make up 2 exams. Please note that if, for whatever reason, you fail to take one of the exams at the end of the semester that exam will be counted as a 0 in the computation of your final grade and you will likely fail the class.  I do not drop the lowest grade, thus you must take all 5 examinations. 


TERM PAPER (20% of the final grade): The paper must be of a minimum of 5 complete, double-spaced pages (excluding title and references) with 1-inch margins throughout and an Arial or New Times 12 point font. For the topic of the paper, you must select two empirical papers, roughly on the same topic on some issue related to the course and summarize them. The summary must address the following: 1) The nature of the problem being investigated; 2) The type of methodology (e.g., experiment, field experiment, quasi-experiment, correlational approach, case study method, archival research) used to address the problem; 3) Identify each study’s a) hypothesis; b) main independent and dependent variables; c) theoretical framework from which the studies are derived; 4) summarize each study’s general findings. The paper is due in class on April 15 and it must also be submitted to Turnitin by midnight on the 15th. The enrollment password for Turnitin for all of my courses is roigm, the class name is Psy 2100-Spring 2016 and the class ID is 11454725. 

DISSEMINATION OF GRADES: I will retain all exam papers and answer sheets.  As soon as the exams are graded, grades will be posted at Your grade will be listed according to your student number. Please keep in mind that my policy is NOT to give grades over the phone or via e-mail under any circumstances.

EXAM REVIEW PROCEDURE: If you wish to review the exam you are to make an appointment with me and I will give you access to the exam for as long as it is necessary. If you want to double check an answer, or find the correct answer to a question that was marked wrong, bring your textbook to the office and look up the answer there.  I will be happy to explain a particular answer if you are not clear about it, but only after you have searched for the answer in the textbook.


E-MAIL:  Because potentially important information about the course will be distributed via e-mail, you are required to check your St. John’s e-mail on a daily basis. For ALL e-mail correspondence with your professors, you must indicate your full name, course number (e.g., Psy 1000) and section (e.g., 10:10am to 11:15am) in the subject heading or signature line. Also, please avoid using IM lingo (e.g., “dat’s for u 2 know”). I do not acknowledge nor respond to messages using such language or messages without an identifying signature. Use proper English and follow correct grammatical practices and spelling. For additional tips on sending e-mail see the following:

ATTENDANCE: While class attendance and punctuality are expected, you are free to decide whether to come to class or not. With that freedom, however, comes responsibility. You are responsible for controlling your own behavior and with managing its consequences. I will hold you accountable for all material covered in class as sometimes we will cover material that is not emphasized in the textbook or that needs elaboration. I do not repeat lectures and I do not answer questions like “Did we cover anything important?” Although class participation is not going to be formally graded, it is strongly encouraged, particularly in a course such as this one. Please note, however, that class participation constitutes asking a question or making an informed comment when you raise your hand and I call on you. No other interaction between students will be tolerated.  Keep in mind that I will exercise my right to dismiss from class any student who talks to other classmates while I am lecturing or who, in my opinion, is otherwise disruptive. If you want to ask a question or make a comment in class, raise your hand before speaking.  Also, please note that during class participation, the words "prove", "proven", "sort of", "like a" and "society" (the latter should not be used as an explanatory psychological construct) should be avoided.

GRADING SYSTEM AND FINAL GRADE RANGE: The average of all exams and paper will constitute your final grade.  It is strongly recommended that students monitor their grades during the semester.  The following may be used as a guideline in computing the final grade.

00.00 - 56.99 ----- F                57.00 - 65.99 ------ D             66.00 -  69.99 ------ D+
70.00 - 72.99 ----- C-              73.00 - 76.99 ------ C              77.00 -  79.99 ------ C+                     
80.00 - 82.99 ----- B-              83.00 - 86.99 ------ B              87.00 -  89.99 ------ B+                       

Tentative schedule of readings and exams. Readings on consciousness to be announced.


WEEK            Coverage                    Exam dates    

01- 20-23    - Readings on Consciousness 

01- 24-30    - Readings on Consciousness 


01/31-02/06- Readings on Consciousness 

02- 07-13    - Readings on Consciousness   -- EXAM 1 on 02/12  

02- 14-20    - Irwin’s chapts. 1 & 2

02- 21-27    - SPRING BREAK

02/28-03/05 - Irwin’s chapts. 2 & 3

03- 06-12    - Irwin’s chapts. 3 & 4 -- EXAM 2 on 03/11 - covers Irwin’s chapts. 1-4.
03- 13-19    - Irwin’s chapts. 5 & 6 
03- 20-26    - Irwin’s chapts. 6 & 7 – EASTER BREAK: March 24-28

03/27-04/02- Irwin’s chapt. 8 -- EXAM 3 on 04/01 - covers Irwin’s chapts. 5-8.                                                                              

04- 03-09    - Irwin’s chapts. 9 & 10
04- 10-16    - Irwin’s chapts. 10 & 11
04- 17-23    - Irwin’s chapt. 12 - EXAM 4 on 04/19 - covers Irwin’s chapts. 9-12.
04- 24-30    - Irwin’s chapt. 13 & 14

05- 01-05     - Irwin’s chapt. 15-17
05- 06-11     - EXAM 5 (to be announced - 05/06 – 05/11) covers Irwin’s chapts. 13-17.


CLASSROOM BEHAVIOR: I expect that you will conduct yourselves as respectful adults in accordance with university tradition: to remain silent and attentive while I am lecturing or while a fellow student is asking a question; to clean up your area if you have littered it, etc. No smoking, food, or beverages are allowed in class. I am particularly sensitive about class disruptions, such as students talking to each other while I am lecturing or engaging in other academic work or activity not related to the class. Such behavior will not be tolerated as I consider it to be rude and disrespectful not only to me but also to your classmates. I also consider any use of cell phones during class to be highly disrespectful and distracting. Thus, the use of cell phones is not permitted during class time for any purpose and they are to be kept turned off and out of view inside pocketbooks, knapsacks, etc. Only 2 students designated by the instructor will be allowed to have their phones on and only in vibrate mode to be alert for any campus emergency. Any other student whose phone rings, even if on vibrate mode, during class is hereby asked to leave the class (no need to wait for me to ask you to leave). For the second offense, the matter will be forwarded to the Dean of Students for disciplinary action. Laptops are not to be used during class time and should be turned off. 


ACADEMIC DISHONESTY: Your written work is expected to be original. If PLAGIARISM or any other type of academic dishonesty is detected, it will result in an automatic F for that assignment. Please note that for each sentence plagiarized I will deduct one full grade from the paper. Refer to the web version of this course outline for examples of various forms of plagiarism and correct paraphrasing. Any student caught cheating on any examination (or assignment) will receive a "0" for that examination and that examination will count toward your final grade. One of the most common forms of cheating occurs when a student looks at another student’s exam to obtain some answers. In many cases, it is not easy to tell if a student has been looking at the next exam or not. In those cases, the student will be warned once and IF THE EYES

WANDER AGAIN IT WILL BE ASSUMED THAT THE STUDENT IS CHEATING. While taking an examination, all papers, notes, books, etc. must be placed under your chair, except that you are allowed to bring one crib sheet in the form of a 5” x 7” index card, in which you may write as much information as you can pack into both sides of the card. WARNING: IN THE EVENT THAT AN INCIDENT OF ACADEMIC DISHONESTY COMES TO LIGHT AFTER THE COURSE IS OVER, THE ABOVE RULES WILL CONTINUE TO APPLY AND, IF WARRANTED, THE COURSE GRADE WILL BE RETROACTIVELY ADJUSTED.


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In accordance with this pledge, students acknowledge their commitment to the values and principles of the mission of St. John's University. 1) I will not tolerate or participate in any form of academic fraud by cheating, lying or stealing, nor will I accept the actions of those who choose to violate this code. 2) I will conduct myself both honorably and responsibly in all my activities as a St. John's University student, both academically and non-academically.



















If you have any questions about the course, consult your course outline first, particularly the online version. If you need further clarification then see me. You should always bring the course outline to class (you should staple it to your notebook) and refer to it from time to time to remind you of deadlines, policies, etc. If lose your course outline, however, you can always download one from my home page.


Sign and return to the professor by the third day of classes.  Note: You may not be given credit for this course unless I have this portion of the syllabus in my possession (Cut with scissors along the dotted line; ripped stubs are not acceptable).  CHANGES: I reserve the right to change or add to assignments and make changes to this course outline, for good reason and with adequate notice.


I _____________________________________ have received and read a copy of the course outline for Altered States of Consciousness and Parapsychological Events (PSY 2100).  I have read the course outline and the expanded on-line version at  I have been given an opportunity to discuss and ask questions about the content of these documents and understand and agree to the requirements of this course. 

Student’s signature: ____________________________________   Date: _________  Student No.:  ____________

Parent or guardian’s signature (if student is not 18 years old): ____________________________Date: _________