Christopher French

Chris is an expert in the area of anomalistic psychology, focusing upon non- paranormal explanations for ostensibly paranormal experiences.

Staff details

Christopher French


Emeritus Professor




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Professor Chris French is the Head of the Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit in the Psychology Department at Goldsmiths, University of London. He is a Fellow of the British Psychological Society and of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry and a Patron of the British Humanist Association. He has published over 150 articles and chapters covering a wide range of topics. His main current area of research is the psychology of paranormal beliefs and anomalous experiences. He frequently appears on radio and television casting a sceptical eye over paranormal claims. His most recent book is Anomalistic Psychology: Exploring Paranormal Belief and Experience.

Grants and Awards

Chris has received external grant funding from a variety of organisations to support his work including: ESRC, MRC, Perrott-Warrick Committee, Society for Psychical Research, British Academy, Wellcome Trust, and the BIAL Foundation.

Public Engagement and Knowledge Exchange

Chris has contributed to public engagement in a wide variety of ways. Some examples include:

  • Developing and implementing Goldsmiths’ Public Engagement Strategy.
  • Since 2006, organizing and running the Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit Invited Speaker Series (now run in conjunction with the Forensic Psychology Unit; see
  • Since 2013, organizing and running Greenwich Skeptics in the Pub (
  • Co-organizing numerous conferences.
  • Regular engagement in public-facing events including festivals, lectures, school events, and panel discussions.
  • Writing for the Guardian and the Conversation.
  • Regularly appearing in the media offering a skeptical perspective on dubious claims.

Publications and research outputs


French, Christopher C. and Stone, A. 2013. Anomalistic psychology: Exploring paranormal belief and experience. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 978-1403995711

Holt, N; Simmonds-Moore, C; Luke, D and French, Christopher C.. 2012. Anomalistic psychology. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 978-0230301504

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

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

Book Section

French, Christopher C.. 2022. Demonic Possession and Disorders. In: Stephen Hupp and Richard Wiseman, eds. Investigating Pop Psychology: Pseudoscience, Fringe Science, and Controversies. New York: Routledge, pp. 130-138. ISBN 9780367620684

French, Christopher C.. 2016. Possession and exorcism. In: David Groome and Ron Roberts, eds. Parapsychology: The Science of Unusual Experience. 2nd ed. London: Psychology Press, pp. 34-47. ISBN 978-1138916418

French, Christopher C.. 2016. Reincarnation. In: David Groome and Ron Roberts, eds. Parapsychology: The Science of Unusual Experience. 2nd ed. London: Psychology Press. ISBN 9781138916418


Rauf, Betul; Perach, Rotem; Madrid-Valero, Juan J.; Denis, Dan; Sharpless, Brian A.; Farron, Hope; French, Christopher C. and Gregory, Alice M.. 2023. Associations between sleep variables and ostensibly paranormal experiences and paranormal beliefs: A scoping review. British Journal of Psychology, 114(4), pp. 797-818. ISSN 0007-1269

Rauf, Betul; Perach, Rotem; Madrid-Valero, Juan Jose; Denis, Dan; Sharpless, Brian; Poerio, Giulia Lara; French, Christopher C. and Gregory, Alice M.. 2023. The associations between paranormal beliefs and sleep variables. Journal of Sleep Research, 32(4), e13810. ISSN 0962-1105

Rauf, Betul; Sharpless, Brian A.; Denis, Dan; Perach, Rotem; Madrid-Valero, J.J.; French, Christopher C. and Gregory, Alice M.. 2023. Isolated Sleep Paralysis: Clinical Features, Perception of Aetiology, Prevention and Disruption Strategies in a Large International Sample. Sleep Medicine, 104, pp. 105-112. ISSN 1389-9457


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

Research Interests

Chris’s research focuses on the psychology of paranormal and related beliefs and of ostensibly paranormal experiences, as well as the psychology of belief in conspiracy theories. He is the Director of the Social Processes and Personality Group. Key areas of interest are listed below. For further details, see

  • Paranormal beliefs
  • Ostensibly paranormal experiences
  • Belief in conspiracies
  • False memories
  • Eyewitness testimony
  • Sleep paralysis
  • Magical thinking
  • Pseudoscience
  • Parapsychology
  • Cognitive biases