Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit Invited Speaker Series

In this section


Previous lectures


* = Event jointly hosted with Goldsmiths’ Forensic Psychology Unit


Autumn Term (2017)

3 Oct               Professor Abby Day

Goldsmiths, University of London

The ordinary, extraordinary experience of other-world relationality

NB The venue for this talk is the Ian Gulland Lecture Theatre, Whitehead Building


31 Oct             Dr James Davies

University of Roehampton

The making of mental disorder: the disturbing truth about the construction of the psychiatrist’s bible, the DSM

NB The venue is LG02, not LG01, in Professor Stuart Hall Building


21 Nov            Professor Erlendur Haraldsson

University of Iceland in Reykjavik

Reincarnation: Any evidence for it?


28 Nov            Dr Josh P Davis*

University of Greenwich

Recent developments in the study of super-recognisers


5 Dec               Dr Caspar Addyman

Goldsmiths, University of London

Open Science: A skeptical scientific renaissance?


12 Dec             Dr Jonathan Lanman

Queens University Belfast

Why social cognition is key for understanding who’s religious and who’s not


Spring Term (2018)


9 Jan               Leslie Cuthbert*


Lacunae in the law: Profound gaps psychology might patch


11 Jan               Aron Ra

Science Communicator and Secular Activist

Why do believers hate reality so much?


23 Jan             Jennifer Rees*

West Herts College

Exploring the mind of a psychopath


30 Jan           ***Postponed***  Dr Jackie Craissati, MBE*

Psychological Approaches

Ten myths about sex offenders

Note: “We host academic events where our students hear from experts with a wide range of views so that they can learn to examine the evidence behind arguments and think critically. Due to ongoing legal issues the Forensic Psychology Unit and the speaker have decided to postpone this event until later this year.”


6 Feb           ***Postponed***    Andy Lewis

Blogger and Developer of the Quackometer website

The meaning of quackery


27 Feb             Deborah Hyde

Editor, Skeptic magazine

The restless Ghost of Wroclow


20 Mar            Professor Alejandro Parra

Universidad Abierta Interamericana, Buenos Aires

Humanistic group therapy, mental health and anomalous/paranormal experiences


12 Jun         Professor Carolyn Hildebrandt

University of Northern Iowa, USA

The Power of Belief: The Psychology of Superstition



Spring term 2016

12 Jan Ian Ridpath 
Science writer and broadcaster
"UFOs: Fact or fantasy?"
19 Jan Professor Fiona Gabbert 
Goldsmiths, University of London
"Your memory or mine? The effects of discussion on memory"
26 Jan Dr Sarah Beck 
University of Birmingham
"The development of counterfactual thinking: How children use imagination to think about reality"
9 Feb Dr Raphael Underwood 
Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King's College London
"Cognitive and neural processes in the pathway to psychosis"
23 Feb ***CANCELLED*** Glen Carrigan ***CANCELLED***
University of Central Lancashire
"Brains, bats, Star Trek and psychopaths: The neuropsychology of morality"
1 Mar Professor Daniel Freeman 
University of Oxford
"Paranoia: Advances in understanding and treatment"
8 Mar Professor Erlendur Haraldson 
University of Iceland 
"Arguments and evidence for and against an afterlife"
15 Mar Dr Dan Jolley 
Staffordshire University
"The social psychological consequences of conspiracy theories"
22 Mar Dr Roger Newport 
University of Nottingham
"Things that make you go weird"

Autumn term 2015

29 Sept Professor David Hand
Imperial College London
“The Improbability Principle: Why coincidence, miracles, and rare events happen every day.”
20 Oct Dr Nick Medford 
Sussex University 
"Who am I? The brain and the self in health and disease."
27 Oct Deborah Hyde 
Editor of The Skeptic magazine
"What can we learn about people from fairies?"
10 Nov Michael Heap 
University of Sheffield
"What's wrong with hypnosis?"
17 Nov Dr Jason Braithwaite (Speaker cancelled)
University of Birmingham
"This dissociated brain: What do dissociative experiences and out-of-body experience (OBE) tell us about self-consciousness?"

1 Mar


Dr Julia Shaw 
London South Bank University
"But it feels so real! Creating detailed memories of crimes that never happened"

Spring term 2015

13 Jan
University of Exeter 
“Homeopathy ... and the ‘4th law of thermodynamics’”
27 Jan Professor Richard Wiseman
University of Hertfordshire 
“Weird stuff: A personal perspective”
10 Feb Jonny Scaramanga 
Institute of Education 
“Designed for programming the mind: Lessons from a method of indoctrination”
24 Feb
British False Memory Society 
“Carol Felstead and the creation of a Satanic Myth in the United Kingdom”
10 Mar Professor Konrad Talmont-Kaminski 
Masaryk University in Brno & University of Finance and Management in Warsaw 
"Magical thinking and religion"
24 Mar
University of Greenwich 
“Artificial paradises? Anomalistic psychology and the psychedelic experience”

Autumn term 2014

7 Oct Dr Karen Majors 
East London Consortium of Educational Psychologists and Institute of Education
"The phenomenon of children’s imaginary companions: An exploration of their characteristics and purposes they serve"
14 Oct
University of Northampton
“Ghost therapy"

11 Nov

Professor Karen Douglas
School of Psychology,University of Kent 
"The psychology of belief in conspiracy theories: Correlates, causes and consequences"

25 Nov   Professor Chris Roe 
University of Northampton 
“What have we learned from experimental tests of dream ESP?”
2 Dec John Sweeney 
Journalist and author 
“Brainwashing people is wrong”

Spring term 2014

14 Jan
University College London
“Magic and belief in the Middle Ages”
21 Jan Professor Charles Fernyhough 
Writer and Professor of Psychology, Durham University
“Hearing the voice”
28 Jan Robert Brotherton 
Goldsmiths, University of London
“The psychology of conspiracy theories”
11 Feb
Neuropsychologist and writer
“Has science done away with the soul?”
25 Feb Richard Firth-Godbehere 
Queen Mary, University of London
"Do you really know how you feel?"
11 Mar
Goldsmiths, University of London
“The misdirected mind”
25 Mar
Dr David V Barrett 
“British Israelism: how an ancient historical puzzle fuels conspiracists and terrorists today”

Autumn term 2013

8 Oct Martin S Taylor 
Hypnotist and magician
"More lives than one?"
15 Oct


Department of Psychology, University of Iceland
“Modern miracles and Sathya Sai Baba"

22 Oct

Jessica Monteith 
Reading University
"The history of vampirism from revenants to the Cullens (or why I want to date a dead guy)"

29 Oct   Rosie Waterhouse 
Journalist and lecturer, City University London
“Satanic ritual abuse, false memories and multiple personalities: Anatomy of a 20-year investigation”
12 Nov Meirion Jones 
Investigations producer, BBC 
“How to make millions with a bogus bomb detector”
3 Dec Dr Niall McCrae 
Florence Nightingale School of Nursing and Midwifery, Kings College London
“Spiritual experiences in temporal lobe epilepsy: ”Neuropsychiatric symptom or portal to the divine?”
10 Dec Professor Martin Conway 
Professor of Cognitive Psychology and Associate Dean of Research, City University
“What adults can remember from childhood and what they believe they can remember”

Spring term 2012

10 Jan David Allen Green
Lawyer and writer
“Two Types of Evidence – Scientific vs. Legal Proof”
17 Jan Alisdair Hopwood
Artist and creator of The WITH Collective
[Supported by the Wellcome Trust]
“(False) Memories are Made of This: The current preoccupations of The WITH Collective”
24 Jan Dr Jason J. Braithwaite
Behavioural Brain Sciences Centre, University of Birmingham
“Neurocognitive Correlates of the Out-of-Body Experience in the Non-Clinical Populations”
31 Jan Dr Krissy Wilson
Charles Sturt University, New South Wales
“Beyond Belief Down Under"
7 Feb Dr Rupert Sheldrake
Biologist and author
“The Science Delusion: Freeing the Spirit of Enquiry”
21 Feb Andy Lewis
Blogger and Developer of the Quackometer website
“The Persistence of Delusion: Why do Some Alternative Medicines Thrive and Others Die?”
28 Feb Prof Erlendur Haraldsson
Department of Psychology, University of Iceland
“Kant as a psychical researcher: Swedenborg´s and Indridason´s descriptions of remote fires in Stockholm and Copenhagen”
6 Mar Dr Miguel Farias
University of Oxford
“Faith in Science? The Psychological Functions of Believing in Science”
13 Mar Massimo Polidoro 
Journalist and writer
“Magic or Miracle? Putting Psychic Powers to the Test”
20 Mar
Prof Richard Wiseman
Department of Psychology, University of Hertfordshire
“Adventures in Wonderland: A personal perspective"

Autumn term 2011

4 Oct Dr Simon Singh & Alan Henness
Science writer & Sceptical activist
"Battling Bogus Medical Claims”
18 Oct Dr David Barrett
“The Church of Scientology – a Scientific or an Esoteric Religion?"
22 Nov   Dr Susan Blackmore
Psychologist, lecturer and writer
“A 21st Century Séance”
29 Nov Prof Amina Memon (NB: This talk was originally scheduled for 1 Nov)
Department of Psychology, Royal Holloway, University of London
“Making the best use of video identification parades and meeting the needs of vulnerable witnesses”
6 Dec Carl Miller & Jamie Bartlett
Demos think-tank Demos think-tank
“Truth and the Net”

Spring term 2011

18 Jan Dr Nathalia Gjersoe
Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Bristol
“Totems, Temples and Teddies: The Cognitive Science of Why we Revere Special Objects”
1 Feb Dr Paul Rogers
School of Psychology, University of Central Lancashire
“Paranormal Belief and the Misperception of Coincidental Events”
15 Feb Dr David Colquhoun, FRS
Honarary Fellow, University College London
“How Quackery Corrupts Real Science”
22 Feb Dr Melvyn Willin
Paramusicologist and psychical researcher
“Music and the Paranormal”
1 Mar Prof Erlendur Haraldsson 
Department of Psychology, University of Iceland
"Hallucinations, Grief Reactions and Alleged Glimpses of the Departed"
15 Mar Dr David Clarke
Sheffield Hallam University
“The Angel of Mons and Other Wartime Legends “

Autumn term 2010

12 Oct Jon Ronson 
Writer and documentary filmmaker
"The Men Who Stare at Goats and Other True Tales of Craziness at the Heart of Power"
26 Oct Deborah Hyde 
Writer and blogger
“Demons and nightmares: Why do People Believe in the Malign Supernatural?"
9 Nov Gustav Kuhn 
Department of Psychology, Brunel University 
“The Science of Magic: How Magic changes our Expectations About Autism"
16 Nov Dr Simon Dein 
Senior Lecturer in Anthropology and Medicine, UCL
“A Messiah from the Dead: What Really Happens When Prophecy Fails”
23 Nov
Daniela Rudloff 
Department of  Psychology, University of Leicester
“Mental 'Short-Cuts'- The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”
7 Dec  Andy Lewis  *** CANCELLED *** 
Blogger and Developer of the Quackometer website 
“The Persistence of Delusion: Why do Some Alternative Medicines Thrive and Others Die?"

Autumn term 2009

6 Oct Dr Cara Laney
Department of Psychology, University of Leicester
“True vs. False Memories: Is There a Definitive Difference?”
27 Oct Anonymous
“The Good Daughter: When an Adult Recovers “Memories” of Parental Child Sexual Abuse, How can the Rest of the Family Assess the Charge?”
10 Nov Professor Chris French
Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit, Goldsmiths
“Something Wicked This Way Comes: Causes and Interpretations of Sleep Paralysis”
24 Nov Dr Mark Vernon
Writer, broadcaster and journalist
“Happiness: The Failure of a New Science”
8 Dec Professor Bruce Hood
Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Bristol
“Supernatural Belief: Me or Memes?”

Summer term 2010

18 May

Peter Brookesmith*** CANCELLED ***
Writer and Publisher
“The Unextraordinary Oddity of Alan Godfrey’s ‘Alien Abduction’”

15 June Professor Erlendur Haraldsson
University of Iceland in Reykjavik
“Empirical Enquiry into Cases of Children who Claim to Remember a Past Life “

Spring term 2010

2 Feb Dr Emmanuelle Peters
Institute of Psychiatry, Kings College London
“Understanding Delusional Thinking: A Scientist-Practitioner Perspective”
9 Feb Nick Campion
Sophia Centre for the Study of Cosmology in Culture, University of Wales, Lampeter
“How Many People Really Believe in Astrology?”
23 Feb Dr Stephen Law
Department of Philosophy, Heythrop College, University of London
"Intellectual Black Holes"
2 Mar Dr Miguel Farias
Goldsmiths, Oxford and Cambridge Universities
“Believing in the Da Vinci Code: Social-Cognitive Predictors and Correlates”
9 Mar Dr Gustav Kuhn   *** CANCELLED *** 
Department of Psychology, Brunel University
“The Science of Magic: How Magic Changes our Expectations About Autism”
16 Mar Professor Richard Wiseman
Department of Psychology, University of Hertfordshire
““Heads I Win, Tails You Lose”: How Parapsychologists Nullify Null Results”
23 Mar Dr Sam Parnia
University of Cornell and University of Southampton
“Near Death Experiences During Cardiac Arrest”

Summer term 2009

12 May Dr Simon Singh
Writer, lecturer and broadcaster
“Trick or Treatment? Alternative Medicine (and the Media) on Trial”

Spring term 2009

20 Jan Dr Rupert Sheldrake
Perrott-Warrick Scholar and Fellow of the Institute of Noetic Studies
“Morphic Resonance, Collective Memory and the Habits of Nature”
3 Mar Abstract and biography
Writer, broadcaster and founder of “The Philosopher’s Magazine”
“Do Psychology and Philosophy Need Each Other?”
10 Mar Nick Pope
Writer, lecturer and broadcaster
“The Real X Files”
(NB: This event was postponed from 3 Feb)
24 Mar Professor Bernard Carr
Professor of Mathematics and Astronomy, Queen Mary, University of London
“Can Science Accommodate Psychic Experience?”

Autumn term 2008

7 Oct Dr Susan Blackmore
Writer, lecturer and broadcaster
“Is God a Dangerous Meme?”
21 Oct Dr Karen Douglas
Department of Psychology, University of Kent
“Conspiracy Beliefs: A Social Psychological Perspective”
11 Nov Dr Kimberley A. Wade
Department of Psychology, University of Warwick
“Time to Rewrite Your Autobiography?”
18 Nov Dr David Luke
Writer, lecturer and researcher
“Psychoactive Plants and Psychic People: Does Psilocybin Really Cause Psi? “
9 Dec Dr Christine Mohr
Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Bristol
“Magical Beliefs and the Two Cerebral Hemispheres”

Spring Term 2008

18 Mar

Dr Dorothy Rowe
Clinical Psychologist and Writer
“Why is that Important to You?“

11 Mar

Dr Ciarán O’Keeffe
Research Associate, Université de Paris 8, Laboratoire de Psychologie Sociale
“The Truth About Mediums”

26 Feb

Joe Banks
Goldsmiths, University of London
“Rorschach Audio: Implications for the Electronic Voice Phenomenon and Art”

19 Feb

Dr Matthew Smith
Department of Psychology, Liverpool Hope University
“Chance, Luck and Destiny: A Psychological Perspective”

29 Jan

Dr Christine Mohr *** CANCELLED ***
Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Bristol
“Magical Beliefs and the Two Cerebral Hemispheres”

22 Jan

Dr Mark Blagrove
Department of Psychology, University of Swansea
“Personality and Lucid Dreaming”

Autumn Term 2007

4 Dec Gordon Smith
Psychic and Writer.
“The View from the Other Side.”

27 Nov

Dr Peter Fenwick
Honorary Senior Lecturer, Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College.
“Deathbed visions, coincidences, and intriguing tales of Grandfather’s Clock.”

13 Nov

Dr Michael Heap
Clinical and Forensic Psychologist, and Chairman of the Association for Skeptical Enquiry (ASKE).
“The Need to be Authentic and its Influence on Behaviour, Attitudes and Beliefs.”

23 Oct Professor Richard Wiseman
Psychology Department, University of Hertfordshire
“Parapsychology: Predicting the Future.”
16 Oct

Dr Brian Hughes
School of Psychology, National University of Ireland, Galway
“Making Sense of Miracle Cures: How Psychology Makes Alternative Medicine 'Work'“

Summer Term 2007

19 July

Dr Francesca Collins
Monash University, Australia
"Very superstitious: Dissociation, control and paranormal beliefs."

Autumn Term 2006

5 Dec Dr James Ost
Department of Psychology, University of Portsmouth
"The Recovered Memory Debate: A Collective False Memory?"
21 Nov

Dr Rupert Sheldrake
Perrott-Warrick Scholar and Fellow of the Institute of Noetic Studies
"What if Telepathy Really Happens?"

24 Oct

Dr Caroline Watt
Department of Psychology, University of Edinburgh
"What Parapsychology can Contribute to Psychology"

10 Oct

Professor Richard Wiseman
Psychology Department, University of Hertfordshire
"Things that go Bump in the Mind"

Spring Term 2006

6 Mar Dr Ornella Corazza
Department of Study of Religions, School of Oriental and African Studies
"Experiencing near-death states through the use of chemicals"
20 Feb

Dr Jason Braithwaite
Department of Psychology, University of Birmingham
"Are we the Haunters of Houses? Towards a Cognitive Neuroscience of Haunt-Type Experiences"

30 Jan

Dr Peter Naish
Department of Psychology, Open University
"Hypnosis and Psychosis: The Temporal Connection"

16 Jan

Professor Irving Kirsch
Department of Psychology, University of Plymouth
"Placebos and the Power of Belief""