SotF 2016 – Chris French – The Psychology of Ghosts and Hauntings

Saturday 13 August 2016, 7:50 pm - 8:50 pm
At: Banshee Labyrinth, 29-35 Niddry Street, EH1 1LG


13th Chris French A

Opinion polls repeatedly show relatively high levels of belief in ghosts even in modern Western societies. Furthermore, a sizeable minority of the population claim to have personally encountered a ghost. This talk will consider a number of factors that may lead people to claim that they have experienced a ghost even though they may not in fact have done so. Topics covered will include hoaxes, sincere misinterpretation of natural phenomena, hallucinatory experiences and pareidolia (seeing things that are not there), inattentional blindness (not seeing things that are there), the fallibility of eyewitness testimony, the possible role of complex electromagnetic fields and infrasound, photographic evidence, electronic voice phenomenon (EVP), and the role of the media.

Professor Chris French is Head of the Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit in the Psychology Department at Goldsmiths, University of London. He is a Fellow of the British Psychological Society and of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, as well as being a Patron of the British Humanist Association. He is the founding member and Chair of Greenwich Skeptics in the Pub. He is a member of the Scientific and Professional Advisory Board of the British False Memory Society as well as being a member of the Forensic Psychology Unit at Goldsmiths. He has published over 150 articles and chapters covering a wide range of topics within psychology. His main area of research is the psychology of paranormal beliefs and anomalous experiences. He frequently appears on radio and television casting a sceptical eye over paranormal claims, as well as writing for the Guardian and The Skeptic magazine which, for more than a decade, he also edited. His most recent books are Anomalistic Psychology, co-authored with Nicola Holt, Christine Simmonds-Moore, and David Luke (2012), and Anomalistic Psychology: Exploring Paranormal Belief and Experience, co-authored with Anna Stone (2014).

Find out more at http://www.gold.ac.uk/apru/ or http://www.theguardian.com/profile/chris-french or by following him on twitter @chriscfrench

Skeptics on the Fringe is proud to be part of PBH’s Free Fringe. Our talks are free and unticketed, so come early to the Free Fringe’s spoken word hub at the Banshee Labyrinth to be sure of a seat.

We have a different topic every day, bringing science, reason and critical thinking to the largest arts festival in the world.

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