Aims of The Unit

In this section


The APRU has the following aims:

1. To provide a focus for research activity in the area of anomalistic psychology

2. To facilitate further expansion in this area

3. To engage in collaborative research both nationally and internationally

4. To provide support for student research at postgraduate and undergraduate levels

5. To provide a base for suitably qualified visiting research fellows

6. To provide a base for suitably qualified placement students

7. To raise the academic profile of anomalistic psychology

The main approaches that have been taken with regard to this aim by members of the APRU have included publishing anomalistic psychology research in good quality refereed journals and organizing symposia on anomalistic psychology at national and international conferences.

An increasing number of courses on anomalistic psychology and parapsychology are taught as options on British psychology degree programmes and as extramural courses. Such courses are very popular with students and provide an excellent vehicle for the teaching of various aspects of critical thinking. Prof French has taught his course on anomalistic psychology for many years as part of the BSc (Hons) Psychology degree at both Goldsmiths and Birkbeck College. Krissy Wilson taught half of the anomalistic psychology course at Goldsmiths for 2006-07. Dr Susan Crawley was appointed to teach courses on anomalistic psychology for the continuing education/open studies programmes at both the University of Warwick and University of Oxford. Prof French gave one of the British Psychological Society's Annual London Lectures to A level students on the topic of anomalistic psychology in 2004 and one of the Scottish Lectures in Edinburgh in 2005.

8. To disseminate findings and improve communication within the area by means of:

Organisation of conferences, symposia and scientific meetings
To disseminate findings and improve communication within the area by means of organisation of conferences, symposia and scientific meetings:
Members of the APRU have had considerable success in organising or helping to organise conferences, symposia and scientific meetings. Prof French, for example, convened, a symposium entitled, "The psychology of paranormal experiences" at the British Psychological Society Centenary Annual Conference, Glasgow, in March 2001. He also convened, chaired and was a discussant for a symposium entitled, "Psychological approaches to the paranormal" at the VII European Congress of Psychology, Barbican, London, in July 2001. He was a member of the Programme Committee for the Annual Conventions of the Parapsychological Association in Paris (2002) and Vienna (2004). He was also a Member of the Congress Advisory Board for the 11th European Skeptics Congress, London, September 2003.

Public education via the media
To disseminate findings and improve communication within the area by means of public education via the media:
The APRU is firmly committed to the importance of popularising science and members are frequently consulted by the media on paranormal and related topics. We often provide an informed sceptical perspective on a wide range of such topics including psychic prediction, telepathy, faith healing, hypnotic past-life regression, ghosts, UFOs, out-of-body experiences, astrology, and so on, for both radio and television programmes. Members have appeared on various science programmes (e.g. Equinox, Science Now, All in the Mind), current affairs programmes (e.g. Newsnight, Today, P.M.) and documentaries (e.g. Heart of the Matter, Everyman), in addition to numerous discussion programmes (e.g. The Time, The Place; Kilroy; This Morning; Richard and Judy). Prof French took part in two series of Haunted Homes (ITV) and the series Britain's Psychic Challenge (Channel 5) and has also taken part in numerous one-off documentaries (e.g., he spent 16 days in the Lebanon in March 1998 taking part in a Channel 4 documentary on reincarnation claims among the Druse people). Krissy Wilson co-presented Believe it or not (ITV West Country).

Members have been interviewed on paranormal and related topics for a wide range of magazines (ranging from New Scientist to New Woman and Cosmopolitan) and newspapers (e.g. Washington Post, Guardian, THES, The Times, Sunday Times, Observer, Telegraph, Daily Mail).

Members also frequently take part in science festivals and other events aimed at popularising science, such as those organised by the British Association for the Advancement of Science.

One final area of activity worthy of mention is that members of the APRU have been responsible for editing The Skeptic, the UK's longest running sceptical magazine, since 2001. Although the subject matter of The Skeptic covers a wider range than just anomalistic psychology, many of the articles published are on relevant topics.

The Psychology of the Paranormal E-mail Network
To disseminate findings and improve communication within the area by means of the Psychology of the Paranormal E-mail Network:
The email network has proved to be an effective means to communicate forthcoming events of interest, etc., to interested parties. It has over 850 subscribers.