Q&A – An Introduction to Paranormal Psychology – with Chris French

Q&A – An Introduction to Paranormal Psychology – with Chris French



Are there any paranormal phenomena supported by evidence? Have you ever found anything during experiments you couldn’t explain? Chris French answers questions from the audience following his talk on anomalistic psychology.
Watch the talk here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jve3p0ws-nI

Ever since records began, in every known society, a substantial proportion of the population has reported unusual experiences many of which we would today label as ‘paranormal’. Opinion polls
show that the majority of the general public accepts that paranormal phenomena do occur. Such widespread experience of and belief in the paranormal can only mean one of two things. Either the paranormal is real, in which case this should be accepted by the wider scientific community which currently rejects such claims; or else belief in and experience of ostensibly paranormal phenomena can be fully explained in terms of psychological factors. Chris French provides an introduction to the sub-discipline of anomalistic psychology, which may be defined as the study of extraordinary phenomena of behaviour and experience, in an attempt to provide non-paranormal
explanations in terms of known psychological and physical factors.

Chris French is Professor of Psychology at Goldsmiths, University of London. His research focusses on the psychology of paranormal belief and ostensibly paranormal experiences, the belief in conspiracy theories and false memories.

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July 27, 2016 / 9 Comments / by / in
  • nope, this is not science

  • 4:00 That was a great example, actually. Paranormal, by definition, doesn't exist once you learn what it is, as then it just becomes natural. Makes it tricky to study paranormal claims, then.

  • I appreciated his cautious scepticism

  • Google gives me ads for a "clairvoyant" who wants to tell me the future on this video.

  • Studying wacky people, psychos, and frauds, and discovering they are all lying or incorrect or mistaken about their claims, really does nothing to detract from the real weirdness and weird events that have happened and are witnessed/experienced by people, and the truth is that these events and experiences cannot generally be replicated in any meaningful scientific way. You can't test "ghosts", whatever a "ghost" is, you can't bring it into a lab – but it doesn't detract from the fact that there people witnessing and experiencing "ghosts", and it's not just crazy people who are mistaken, or fraudulent; something really happened, was seen, and there is no good explanation outside of "ghost" for that phenomena.

    It's really horrendous how these so called "skeptics" (ie. debunkers) operate, their job is to simply disprove and falsify, their job is to knock down. If you start out with a position as they take, of course you will confirm your biases, just as much as believers confirm theirs.

    Magic isn't science that we have yet to explain, science is magic that we have explained.

  • The Twin Towers anecdote was interesting, but it's worth noting that the World Trade Towers had been bombed previously in 1993, and it was a well discussed fear that they might be bombed again with more devastating results in the future.

  • Yes and I am also skeptical BUT I have had spooky dreams at a distance. I cannot make them happen. I wish I could. Sorry.

  • Re predictive dreams. I had a dream about my then business partner. In this dream he attacked me in my house, tried to rape me and kill me. A couple of months later he accused of stealing from me and threatened me greviously to try and extort money he claimed I owed him. Now I knew this guy was unstable and given to violence, but the business was doing well, and I was fairly confident I could keep things under control – you can;t only work with perfect people. So, I don't think I predicted the future like predicting a random event. What happened with my partner was in fact inevitable given his personal problems, but I choose to put my doubts aside, and my dream expressed a genuine and well founded fear. Most events in life are not random, and much of what think of as 'unpredictable, is actually perfectly predicable if looked at from the correct perspective. But I don't have such dreams regularly so why this one? ( i have had others but they are very rare and always relate to extreme circumstances) Well the threat this guy posed was very real and indeed I had take quite drastic action to prevent him attacking me. So, this was a fair warning and actually it did help me as I was less surprised and took strong measures to counter the threat quicker than I otherwise might. I don't consider this demonstrates the paranormal, but merely than my consciousness has many levels and safeguards built in over billions of years.

  • If brains were replicated by computers, then the amount of data stored using current technology would be unmanageable, because it's already the situation that consciousness is a tiny aspect of awareness, and the consequence is that there's some poor communication between what you see, believe, and remember clearly.

    "Paranormal" experiences are indistinct, and so are memories or conclusions jumped to on the basis of suspicions. Everything is connected probabalisticly.

    Earlier studies recognized the effects of "blind sight" and synesthesia, just to show more underlying complications that come about from a single line of study. Ie the "man with a hammer" expects to see nails and there's one programmed reaction to any situation, and no one is exempt from previously formed explanations. The Psychologist pointed that out of course.

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