The Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit holds series of lectures. Some of them are now available as videos or podcasts. Among them…
Deborah Hyde: Demons and nightmares: Why do People Believe in the Malign Supernatural?
Deborah’s talk is on the cultural and physiological aspects of the religious and superstitious experience and she’ll answer such questions as: When do the dead chew in their graves? Why do vampires strike in autumn? Why do ghosts live in electric clocks?
Dr Sam Parnia: Near Death Experiences During Cardiac Arrest
One of the subjects that has both captivated and eluded humankind throughout time is the mystery of what happens when we die. Although traditionally a subject for philosophical or theological debate, scientific progress has begun to shed light on both the physiological as well as cognitive processes such as near death experiences that take place during clinical death. Dr. Sam Parnia, author of What Happens When We Die, chronicles the history and development of the study of cardiac arrest as well as near death experiences. At the same time, he will introduce the novel method he and his colleagues have devised to study the phenomenon of consciousness and the human mind at the end of life, which they hope will finally enable science to resolve the mystery of near death experiences.
Prof. Richard Wiseman: “Heads I Win, Tails You Lose”: How Parapsychologists Nullify Null Results
This talk explores how parapsychologists often explain away evidence against the existence of psi, examining how null findings are ignored during exploratory research, how chance results obtained during attempted replication are attributed to non psi-conducive procedures, how post hoc data mining is used to identify pockets of significant data in meta-analyses that have yielded null results, and how the eventual decline of any alleged effects are viewed as an inherent property of psi. It is argued that understanding and preventing these problems are central to resolving debates about the existence of psychic ability.
Prof. Chris French: Something Wicked This Way Comes: Causes and Interpretations of Sleep Paralysis
This presentation will describe the phenomenon of sleep paralysis, including numerous first-person accounts. In its most basic form, sleep paralysis simply involves being half-awake and half-asleep and realising that, for a short time, one cannot move. This experience is very common with around 40% of the population reporting that they have experienced it. Around one in twenty people report having experienced terrifying hallucinations during their episodes of sleep paralysis. The underlying psychophysiological causes of the fascinating phenomenon will be described, as will the different interpretations of the experience cross-culturally.
Dr Rupert Sheldrake: Morphic Resonance, Collective Memory and the Habits of Nature
According to the hypothesis of formative causation, all self-organizing systems, including crystals, plants and animals contain an inherent memory, given by a process called morphic resonance from previous similar systems. All human beings draw upon a collective human memory, and in turn contribute to it. Even individual memory depends on morphic resonance rather than on physical memory traces stored within the brain. This hypothesis is testable experimentally and implies that the so-called laws of nature are more like habits.
For the videos, see http://www.gold.ac.uk/apru/lectures/