Department of Psychology

Professor Christopher French

Position held:
Professor of Psychology, Co-ordinator, Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit, Standards Scrutiny Sub-Committee, Promotions Panel B Committee

Phone:
+44 (0)20 7919 7882

Fax:
+44 (0)20 7919 7873

Email:
c.french (@gold.ac.uk)

Website:
http://www.goldsmiths.ac.uk/apru/

Address:
Room 311 Whitehead Building,
Psychology Department,
Goldsmiths, University of London,
New Cross, SE14 6NW

Summary of research

The psychology of paranormal belief and ostensibly paranormal experiences; belief in conspiracy theories; false memories.

Academic qualifications

BA PhD CPsychol FBPsS FRSA

Areas of supervision

Research within the APRU covers all topics within anomalistic psychology including (but not limited to):

  • cognitive biases related to ostensibly paranormal experiences;
  • personality characteristics associated with paranormal belief and experience;
  • the development and maintenance of paranormal and related beliefs;
  • the functions of paranormal and related beliefs;
  • altered states of consciousness;
  • hypnosis;
  • dissociative states;
  • false memories;
  • reality monitoring;
  • the psychology of deception and self-deception;
  • placebo effects;
  • the psychology of psychic readings;
  • the psychology of superstition;
  • the psychology of coincidences;
  • hallucinations;
  • sleep-related disorders, including sleep paralysis;
  • religious experiences and religious beliefs;
  • critical evaluation of specific paranormal claims;
  • the media and the paranormal;
  • non-paranormal accounts for a range of ostensibly paranormal experiences (including ESP, PK, psychic readings, psychic healing, alternative and complementary medicine, out-of-body and near-death experiences, astrology and other divinatory techniques, reincarnation, UFOs and alien abduction, ghosts and poltergeists, crystal power and dowsing).

Grants & awards

THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN MEMORY FOR PSYCHIC READINGS AND PARANORMAL BELIEF
£32324 (subject to revision in light of any increase in academic pay scales) from the Perrott-Warrick Committee to fund one-year junior lectureship to relieve me of teaching and administrative duties for one year and to work collaboratively on the above project.

CLINICIANS’ BELIEFS ABOUT CHILDHOOD ABUSE, MEMORY AND HYPNOSIS
£9200 from the Odin Trust. Application submitted jointly with Dr James Ost, Dr Lorraine Hope, Mr Simon Easton (Portsmouth) and Dr Daniel Wright (Sussex). Dr Ost named as Principal Applicant. Awarded April 2006.

AN INVESTIGATION OF DOWSING
£1472 from the Society for Psychical Research. Application submitted jointly with Dr Elaine Beattie. Awarded August 2006.

French, C. Psychological and parapsychological investigations of alleged alien abductees: Phase 1. Bial Foundation. €36000 (£23.5K approx). (Nov. 2002).

Haque, U. HAUNT. Sciart. £14,985. (French, C. as scientific adviser).

Allan, K., French, C. & Gabbert, F. On the relationship between reality monitoring and belief in parapsychological phenomena: Neurophysiological studies. Bial Foundation. €45,080 (£28K approx). (Nov. 2004).

CLINICIANS’ BELIEFS ABOUT CHILDHOOD ABUSE, MEMORY AND HYPNOSIS
£9200 from the Odin Trust. Application submitted jointly with Dr James Ost, Dr Lorraine Hope, Mr Simon Easton (Portsmouth) and Dr Daniel Wright (Sussex). Dr Ost named as Principal Applicant. Awarded April 2006. 

AN INVESTIGATION OF DOWSING
£1472 from the Society for Psychical Research. Application submitted jointly with Dr Elaine Beattie. Awarded August 2006. 

EXPLORING THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN SUSCEPTIBILITY TO FALSE MEMORIES AND BELIEF IN AND EXPERIENCE OF THE PARANORMAL
£34103 grant application to the Bial Foundation to fund RA for one year. Application submitted jointly with Krissy Wilson. Prof French named as Project Leader. 

TELEPHONE TELEPATHY
£6K (private donation). In collaboration with Dr Rupert Sheldrake. 

BEYOND TELEPHONE TELEPATHY
£6K grant application to the Perrott Warrick Committee, primarily to fund RA for two months.

PERSON-ENVIRONMENT FIT, PSYCHOLOGICAL HEALTH AND SLEEP PARALYSIS: A CROSS-CULTURAL INVESTIGATION
£4K grant from British Academy/National Science Council, Taipei (Grants for British-Taiwan Joint Projects), with Dr A Richards, Dr Y-C Hsia and Dr Hsu. Awarded May 2009. 

HAUNT II: FURTHER INVESTIGATIONS OF POSSIBLE ENVIRONMENTAL CAUSES OF HAUNT-TYPE EXPERIENCES
£35K awarded to fund “Haunt II” project by the Perrott-Warrick Committee, August 2010. (This was in response to an application for £170,379.59 to appoint temporary lecturer in anomalistic psychology and to support Haunt II project). Funding to be taken up for academic year 2011/12.

Research interests

The major focus of my research is the area of anomalistic psychology which may be defined as the study of extraordinary phenomena of behaviour and experience, including (but not restricted to) those which are often labelled "paranormal". It is directed towards understanding bizarre experiences that many people have without assuming a priori that there is anything paranormal involved. It entails attempting to explain paranormal and related beliefs and ostensibly paranormal experiences in terms of known psychological and physical factors.

Selected publications

Number of items: 45.

Article

Brotherton, Robert and French, Christopher C.. 2014. Belief in Conspiracy Theories and Susceptibility to the Conjunction Fallacy. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 28(2), pp. 238-248. ISSN 0888-4080 [Article]

Hadwin, Julie A., Donnelly, Nick, Richards, Anne, French, Christopher C. and Patel, Umang. 2009. Childhood anxiety and attention to emotion faces in a modified stroop task. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 27(2), pp. 487-494. ISSN 0261510X [Article]

French, Christopher C., Santomauro, Julia, Hamilton, Victoria, Fox, Rachel and Thalbourne, Michael A.. 2008. Psychological aspects of the alien contact experience. Cortex, 44(10), pp. 1387-1395. ISSN 00109452 [Article]

Thompson, Trevor, Keogh, Edmund, French, Christopher C. and Davis, Robert. 2008. Anxiety sensitivity and pain: Generalisability across noxious stimuli. Pain, 134(1-2), pp. 187-196. ISSN 0304-3959 [Article]

Wilson, Krissy and French, Christopher C.. 2008. Misinformation Effects for Psychic Readings and Belief in the Paranormal. Imagination, Cognition and Personality , 28(2), pp. 155-171. ISSN 0276-2366 [Article]

Richards, Anne, French, Christopher C., Nash, Gily, Hadwin, Julie A. and Donnelly, Nick. 2007. A comparison of selective attention and facial processing biases in typically developing children who are high and low in self-reported trait anxiety. Development and Psychopathology, 19(2), pp. 481-495. ISSN 09545794 [Article]

Hunt, Caroline, Keogh, Edmund and French, Christopher C.. 2007. Anxiety sensitivity, conscious awareness and selective attentional biases in children. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 45(3), pp. 497-509. ISSN 0005-7967 [Article]

French, Christopher C. and Wilson, Krissy. 2006. Incredible memories: How accurate are the reports of anomalous events. European Journal of Parapsychology, 21(2), pp. 166-181. ISSN 0168-7263 [Article]

Blagrove, Mark, French, Christopher C. and Jones, Gareth. 2006. Probabilistic reasoning, affirmative bias and belief in precognitive dreams. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 20(1), pp. 65-83. ISSN 0888-4080 [Article]

Wilson, Krissy and French, Christopher C.. 2006. The relationship between susceptibility to false memories, dissociativity, and paranormal belief and experience. Personality and Individual Differences, 41(8), pp. 1493-1502. ISSN 01918869 [Article]

French, Christopher C.. 2005. Near-death experiences in cardiac arrest survivors. Progress in Brain Research, 150, pp. 351-367. ISSN 00796123 [Article]

Crawley, Susan and French, Christopher C.. 2005. Field and observer viewpoint in remember-know memories of personal childhood events. Memory, 13(7), pp. 673-681. ISSN 0965-8211 [Article]

Keogh, Edmund, Bond, Frank W., French, Christopher C., Richards, Anne and Davis, Robert E.. 2004. Test anxiety, susceptibility to distraction and examination performance. Anxiety, Stress & Coping, 17(3), pp. 241-252. ISSN 1061-5806 [Article]

Hadwin, Julie A., Donnelly, Nick, French, Christopher C., Richards, Anne, Watts, Antonia and Daley, Dave. 2003. The influence of children's self-report trait anxiety and depression on visual search for emotional faces. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 44(3), pp. 432-444. ISSN 0021-9630 [Article]

French, Christopher C., Calder, A., Richards, A. and Young, A.. 2002. Anxiety-related bias in the classification of emotionally ambiguous facial expressions. Emotion, 2(3), pp. 273-287. ISSN 19311516 [Article]

Holden, Katharine and French, Christopher C.. 2002. Alien abduction experiences: Some clues from neuropsychology and neuropsychiatry. Cognitive Neuropsychiatry, 7(3), pp. 163-178. ISSN 1354-6805 [Article]

Richards, Anne, French, Christopher C., Calder, Andrew J., Webb, Ben, Fox, Rachel and Young, Andrew W.. 2002. Anxiety-related bias in the classification of emotionally ambiguous facial expressions. Emotion, 2(3), pp. 273-287. ISSN 1528-3542 [Article]

Crawley, Susan E., French, Christopher C. and Yesson, Steven A.. 2002. Evidence for transliminality from a subliminal card-guessing task. Perception, 31(7), pp. 887-892. ISSN 0301-0066 [Article]

French, Christopher C.. 2001. Dying to know the truth: visions of a dying brain, or false memories? The Lancet, 358(9298), pp. 2010-2011. ISSN 01406736 [Article]

Keogh, Edmund and French, Christopher C.. 2001. Test anxiety, evaluative stress, and susceptibility to distraction from threat. European Journal of Personality, 15(2), pp. 123-141. ISSN 0890-2070 [Article]

Richards, Anne, French, Christopher C., Keogh, Edmund and Carter, Corrin. 2000. Test-Anxiety, inferential reasoning and working memory load. Anxiety, Stress & Coping, 13(1), pp. 87-109. ISSN 1061-5806 [Article]

Book Section

French, Christopher C.. 2010. The mosaic of memory. In: Christopher C. French and Wendy M. Grossman, eds. Why statues weep. The best of The Sceptic. London: The Philosophy Press, pp. 82-86. ISBN 0953761126 [Book Section]

French, Christopher C.. 2010. Missing the point? In: Stanley Krippner and Harris L. Friedman, eds. Debating psychic experience. Human potential or human illusion? Santa Barbara, CA, USA: Praeger, pp. 149-152. ISBN 0-31339-261-7 [Book Section]

French, Christopher C., Santomauro, J, Hamilton, Victoria, Fox, Rachel and Thalbourne, M. 2010. Psychological aspects of the alien contact experience. In: Matthew D Smith, ed. Anomalous experiences. Essays from parapsychological and psychological perspectives. Jefferson, NC, USA: McFarland, pp. 136-153. ISBN 978-0-7864-4398-7 [Book Section]

French, Christopher C.. 2010. Reflections of a (relatively) moderate skeptic. In: Stanley Krippner and Harris L. Friedman, eds. Debating psychic experience. Human potential or human illusion? Santa Barbara, CA, USA: Praeger, pp. 53-64. ISBN 0-31339-261-7 [Book Section]

French, Christopher C.. 2009. Anomalistic psychology. In: Mike Cardwell, Liz Clark and Claire Meldrum, eds. Psychology for A2 for AQA (A). London: Collins, pp. 472-505. ISBN 978-0-00-725504-7 [Book Section]

French, Christopher C.. 2009. Near-death experiences and the brain. In: Craig Murray, ed. Psychological scientific perspectives on out-of-body and death-near experiences. New York: Nova Science Publishers, pp. 187-203. ISBN 978-1-60741-705-7 [Book Section]

French, Christopher C. and Wilson, Krissy. 2007. Cognitive factors underlying paranormal beliefs and experiences. In: Sergio Della Sala, ed. Tall tales about the mind and brain. Separating fact from fiction. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 3-22. ISBN 978-0-19-856877-3 [Book Section]

French, Christopher C. and Santomauro, J.. 2007. Something wicked this way comes. Causes and interpretations of sleep paralysis. In: Sergio Della Sala, ed. Tall tales about the mind and brain. Separating fact from fiction. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 380-398. ISBN 978-0-19-856877-3 [Book Section]

French, Christopher C.. 2005. Fantastic memories. The relevance of research into eyewitness testimony and false memories for reports of anomalous experiences. In: Richard Wiseman and Caroline Watt, eds. Parapsychology. London: Ashgate Publishing, pp. 153-174. ISBN 978-0-7546-2450-9 [Book Section]

French, Christopher C.. 2004. Skepticism. In: Jane Henry, ed. Parapsychology. Research on exceptional experiences. London: Routledge, pp. 80-89. ISBN 978-0-415-21360-8 [Book Section]

French, Christopher C.. 2004. Parapsychology. In: Adam Kuper and Jessica Kuper, eds. The social science encyclopedia. London: Routledge, pp. 702-703. ISBN 978-0-415-32096-2 [Book Section]

French, Christopher C.. 2003. Fantastic memories. The relevance of research into eyewitness testimony and false memories for reports of anomalous experiences. In: James Alcock, Jean Burns and Anthony Freeman, eds. Psi wars. Getting to grips with the paranornal. Exeter: Imprint, pp. 153-174. ISBN 0 907845 487 [Book Section]

Holden, Katharine J. and French, Christopher C.. 2002. Alien abduction experiences. Clues from neuropsychology and neuropsychiatry. In: Sean Spence and Peter Halligan, eds. Pathologies of body, self and space. Hove: Psychology Press / Taylor and Francis, pp. 163-178. ISBN 1841699330 [Book Section]

French, Christopher C.. 2001. Alien abductions. In: Ron Roberts and David Groome, eds. Parapsychology, the science of unusual experience. London: Arnold Publishers, pp. 102-116. ISBN 9780340761687 [Book Section]

French, Christopher C.. 2001. The placebo effect. In: Ron Roberts and David Groome, eds. Parapsychology, the science of unusual experience. London: Arnold Publishers, pp. 35-47. ISBN 9780340761687 [Book Section]

Edited Book

Grossman, Wendy, M. and French, Christopher C., eds. 2010. Why statues weep. The best of The Skeptic. London: The Philosophy Press. ISBN 0953761126 [Edited Book]

French, Christopher C. and Colman, Andrew M. , eds. 1995. Cognitive psychology. New York: Longman Group. ISBN 0582278104 [Edited Book]

Report

French, Christopher C.. 2001. Paranormal perception? A critical evaluation. Other. Institute for Cultural Research, London.

This list was generated on Fri Dec 26 12:37:16 2014 GMT.


Content last modified: 19 Dec 2013

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