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Professor Christopher French

Staff details

PositionProfessor of Psychology, Co-ordinator, Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit, Standards Scrutiny Sub-Committee, Promotions Panel B Committee
Department Psychology
Email c.french (@gold.ac.uk)
Phone+44 (0)20 7919 7882
Professor Christopher French

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).

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.

Publications

Edited Book

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

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

Book Section

The mosaic of memory
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

Reflections of a (relatively) moderate skeptic
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

Missing the point?
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

Psychological aspects of the alien contact experience
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

Anomalistic psychology
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

Near-death experiences and the brain
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

Something wicked this way comes. Causes and interpretations of sleep paralysis
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

Cognitive factors underlying paranormal beliefs and experiences
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

Fantastic memories. The relevance of research into eyewitness testimony and false memories for reports of anomalous experiences
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

Skepticism
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

Parapsychology
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

Fantastic memories. The relevance of research into eyewitness testimony and false memories for reports of anomalous experiences
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

Alien abduction experiences. Clues from neuropsychology and neuropsychiatry
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

Alien abductions
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

The placebo effect
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

Article

Intention Seekers: Conspiracist Ideation and Biased Attributions of Intentionality
Brotherton, Robert and French, Christopher C.. 2015. Intention Seekers: Conspiracist Ideation and Biased Attributions of Intentionality. PLoS ONE, 10(5), ISSN 1932-6203

A twin and molecular genetics study of sleep paralysis and associated factors.
Denis, Dan; French, Christopher C.; Rowe, Richard; Zavos, Helena M. S.; Nolan, Patrick M.; Parsons, Michael J. and Gregory, Alice M.. 2015. A twin and molecular genetics study of sleep paralysis and associated factors. Journal of Sleep Research, 24(4), pp. 438-446. ISSN 0962-1105

Latent variables underlying the memory beliefs of Chartered Clinical Psychologists, Hypnotherapists and undergraduate students
Ost, James; Easton, Simon; Hope, Lorraine; French, Christopher C. and Wright, Daniel B.. 2015. Latent variables underlying the memory beliefs of Chartered Clinical Psychologists, Hypnotherapists and undergraduate students. Memory, ISSN 0965-8211 (In Press)

Magic and memory: using conjuring to explore the effects of suggestion, social influence, and paranormal belief on eyewitness testimony for an ostensibly paranormal event
Wilson, Krissy and French, Christopher C.. 2014. Magic and memory: using conjuring to explore the effects of suggestion, social influence, and paranormal belief on eyewitness testimony for an ostensibly paranormal event. Frontiers in Psychology, 5(1289), pp. 1-9. ISSN 1664-1078

Belief in Conspiracy Theories and Susceptibility to the Conjunction Fallacy
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

Measuring Belief in Conspiracy Theories: The Generic Conspiracist Beliefs Scale
Brotherton, Robert; French, Christopher C. and Pickering, Alan. 2013. Measuring Belief in Conspiracy Theories: The Generic Conspiracist Beliefs Scale. Frontiers in Psychology, 4(279), pp. 1-15.

Childhood anxiety and attention to emotion faces in a modified stroop task
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

The “Haunt” project: An attempt to build a “haunted” room by manipulating complex electromagnetic fields and infrasound
French, Christopher C.; Haque, Usman; Bunton-Stasyshyn, Rosie and Davis, Robert. 2009. The “Haunt” project: An attempt to build a “haunted” room by manipulating complex electromagnetic fields and infrasound. Cortex, 45(5), pp. 619-629. ISSN 0010-9452

Psychological aspects of the alien contact experience
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

Anxiety sensitivity and pain: Generalisability across noxious stimuli
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

Misinformation Effects for Psychic Readings and Belief in the Paranormal
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

A comparison of selective attention and facial processing biases in typically developing children who are high and low in self-reported trait anxiety
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

Anxiety sensitivity, conscious awareness and selective attentional biases in children
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

Incredible memories: How accurate are the reports of anomalous events
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

Probabilistic reasoning, affirmative bias and belief in precognitive dreams
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

Anxiety Sensitivity: The Role of Conscious Awareness and Selective Attentional Bias to Physical Threat.
Hunt, Caroline; Keogh, Edmund and French, Christopher C.. 2006. Anxiety Sensitivity: The Role of Conscious Awareness and Selective Attentional Bias to Physical Threat. Emotion, 6(3), pp. 418-428. ISSN 1528-3542

The relationship between susceptibility to false memories, dissociativity, and paranormal belief and experience
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

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

Field and observer viewpoint in remember-know memories of personal childhood events
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

Test anxiety, susceptibility to distraction and examination performance
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

Fantastic memories: The relevance of research into eyewitness testimony and false memories for reports of anomalous experiences
French, Christopher C.. 2003. Fantastic memories: The relevance of research into eyewitness testimony and false memories for reports of anomalous experiences. Journal of Consciousness Studies, 10(6-7), pp. 153-174. ISSN 13558250

The influence of children's self-report trait anxiety and depression on visual search for emotional faces
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

Anxiety-related bias in the classification of emotionally ambiguous facial expressions
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

Anxiety-related bias in the classification of emotionally ambiguous facial expressions.
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

Evidence for transliminality from a subliminal card-guessing task
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

Alien abduction experiences: Some clues from neuropsychology and neuropsychiatry
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

Dying to know the truth: visions of a dying brain, or false memories?
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

Test anxiety, evaluative stress, and susceptibility to distraction from threat
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

Test-Anxiety, inferential reasoning and working memory load
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

Computers in the clinic. Microcomputers, psychology and medicine. Robert West, Margaret Christie and John Weinman (Eds). John Wiley and Sons, Chichester. 1990. No. of pages xii + 318. ISBN 0-471-924-040 (hardback). Price £45
French, Christopher C.. 1991. Computers in the clinic. Microcomputers, psychology and medicine. Robert West, Margaret Christie and John Weinman (Eds). John Wiley and Sons, Chichester. 1990. No. of pages xii + 318. ISBN 0-471-924-040 (hardback). Price £45. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 5(6), pp. 531-532. ISSN 08884080

Report

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

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