Noetic Sciences study the mind - consciousness, human potential and beliefs. 'Noetic' comes from the Greek word nous or intuitive knowing. Noetic theory is a branch of metaphysical philosophy concerned with the study of nature, the operation of intellect, and the relationship between human and divine intellect. In the Western tradition and Persian/Islamic philosophy, noetic theory was strongly influenced by the theories of philosophers as Anaxagoras, Aristotle, and Plato.
In modern dictionaries, "noetic" is often defined as meaning "intellect." Where as noesis is translated as "insight" or "intellection". This practice derives from medieval theologians and philosophers who used the Latin word "intellectus" - but for them, this typically meant what we today would call "intuition.
Noetic Psychology is a specific theme in psychology dedicated to the discovery of meaning and purpose; resolution of existential angst; the integration of affect (emotion) with cognition (thinking i.e. intelligence) through forming meaning. Values are a key component of Noetic Psychology. Noetics began with the work of Viktor Frankl in the early 1950s with the Noetic Psychology movement being started by Dr. Leigh Kibby in the late 1990s. In Noetic Psychology, the term noetic is similar to the Greek usage of Noos meaning spirit and/or spirituality. Noetic Psychology includes specific skills such as those described as Neuro-Empathic Programming.
The Institute of Noetic Sciences was co-founded in 1973 by former astronaut Edgar Mitchell and industrialist Paul N. Temple to encourage and conduct research and education programs on mind-body relationships for the purpose of expanding "human possibility by investigating aspects of reality - mind, consciousness, and spirit. Institute programs include research in what they call "extended human capacities," "integral health and healing," and "emerging worldviews". This includes research into spiritual energy, meditation, consciousness, alternative healing, spirituality, human potential, psychic abilities and life after death, among others.
Headquartered in Petaluma, California, the Institute's membership is approximately 35,000. The organization is situated on a 200-acre (80 hectare) campus housing an active retreat and learning center. The institute's name is derived from noetic theory, which is concerned with intellectual or rational activity, and proposes the idea of an evolutionary shift in humans to a new species called Homo noeticus, possessing paranormal abilities.
The Institute publishes a quarterly review called Shift: At the Frontiers of Consciousness. However, the Institute lacks accreditation for scientific peer review.