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Extraordinary phenomena can be very varied. For our context, “extraordinary phenomena” (and also sometimes “challenging phenomena”) are objects of study that meet one of the following conditions: 1) they contradict the ontological and epistemological bases of contemporary science; 2) they provide empirical-statistical evidence that challenges or calls into question (but does not deny or contradict) recognized scientific theories within the field of behavioral and health sciences; and 3) they have uncertain causality and cannot be scientifically explained in a comprehensive and consistent manner (either because the object has not been determined using the scientific method or because the scientific evidence does not provide conclusive results).

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Extraordinary phenomena can also be called anomalous phenomena, frontier phenomena and phenomena marginal to science. All these expressions are euphemisms that share the conditions explained above


Research on extraordinary phenomena is multidisciplinary, and often, instead of using the word "phenomena", a discipline may use terms more specific to its area of focus. For example, in psychology, the term "extraordinary behaviors" is regularly used; and it is common in the field of communication sciences to use the terms "anomalous communication" or "frontier communication". This is similar in all disciplines involved in the investigation of extraordinary phenomena, including medicine, statistics, and religion among others.

So, here the term "phenomena" should be understood as a catch-all word referring to different objects of study, such as belief systems, behaviors, emotion, cognition, diseases etc.

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