Christopher French

Staff details

Position Professor of Psychology
Department Psychology
Email c.french (@gold.ac.uk)
Phone +44 (0)20 7919 7882
Twitter @ChrisCFrench>
Christopher French

Summary

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 www.gold.ac.uk/apru/speakers).
  • Since 2013, organizing and running Greenwich Skeptics in the Pub (www.greenwich.skepticsinthepub.org).
  • 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.

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 www.gold.ac.uk/apru

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

Publications

Book

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

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

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

Possession and exorcism
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

Reincarnation
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

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

Abducted: The psychology of close encounters with extraterrestrials
French, Christopher C.. 2016. Abducted: The psychology of close encounters with extraterrestrials. In: J. Al-Khalili, ed. Aliens – Science asks: Is there Anyone Out There? London: Profile Books, pp. 58-69. ISBN 978-1781256817

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

Alien contact and abduction claims
French, Christopher C.. 2016. Alien contact and abduction claims. In: D. Groome and R. Roberts, eds. Parapsychology: The Science of Unusual Experience. London: Psychology Press, pp. 48-64. ISBN 978-1138916418

Reincarnation claims
French, Christopher C.. 2016. Reincarnation claims. In: D. Groome and R. Roberts, eds. Parapsychology: The Science of Unusual Experience. London: Psychology Press, pp. 82-95. ISBN 978-1138916418

Reflections on the False Memory Archive
French, Christopher C.. 2016. Reflections on the False Memory Archive. In: A. R. Hopwood, ed. False Memory Archive Anthology. 1 U.K.: Kindle Edition. ISBN B01AWZV2FY

Beliefs about memory, childhood abuse, and hypnosis amongst clinicians, legal professionals and the general public
French, Christopher C. and Ost, James. 2016. Beliefs about memory, childhood abuse, and hypnosis amongst clinicians, legal professionals and the general public. In: R. Burnett, ed. Wrongful Allegations of person abuse. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780198723301

How misconceptions about memory may undermine witness testimony
Ost, James and French, Christopher C.. 2016. How misconceptions about memory may undermine witness testimony. In: Pamela Radcliffe; Gisli Gudjonsson; Anthony Heaton-Armstrong and David Wolchover, eds. Witness Testimony in Sexual Cases: Evidential, Investigative and Scientific Perspectives. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 361-373. ISBN 9780199672936

Anomalistic psychology
French, Christopher C.. 2015. Anomalistic psychology. In: M Cardin, ed. Ghosts, spirits, and psychics: The paranormal from alchemy to zombies. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, pp. 17-20. ISBN 978-1-61069-683-8

The psychology of belief and disbelief in the paranormal
French, Christopher C.. 2015. The psychology of belief and disbelief in the paranormal. In: E C May and S B Marwaha, eds. Extrasensory Perception: Support, Skepticism, and Science. Volume 1: History, Controversy, and Research. Santa Barbara: Praeger, pp. 129-151. ISBN 978-1-4408-3287-1

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

Subjective sleep-related variables in those who have and have not experienced sleep paralysis
Denis, Dan; French, Christopher C.; Schneider, Melanie Nicole and Gregory, Alice M.. 2017. Subjective sleep-related variables in those who have and have not experienced sleep paralysis. Journal of Sleep Research, ISSN 0962-1105

A systematic review of variables associated with sleep paralysis
Denis, Dan; French, Christopher C. and Gregory, Alice M.. 2017. A systematic review of variables associated with sleep paralysis. Sleep Medicine Reviews, ISSN 1087-0792

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.. 2017. Latent variables underlying the memory beliefs of Chartered Clinical Psychologists, Hypnotherapists and undergraduate students. Memory, 25(1), pp. 57-68. ISSN 0965-8211

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

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

Inattentional blindness, absorption, working memory capacity, and paranormal belief
Richards, Anne; Hellgren, M G and French, Christopher C.. 2014. Inattentional blindness, absorption, working memory capacity, and paranormal belief. Psychology of Consciousness: Theory, Research, and Practice, 1(1), pp. 60-69. ISSN 2326-5523

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.

Recovered memories, satanic abuse, Dissociative Identity Disorder and false memories in the UK: a survey of Clinical Psychologists and Hypnotherapists
Ost, James; Wright, Daniel; Easton, Simon; Hope, Lorraine and French, Christopher C.. 2013. Recovered memories, satanic abuse, Dissociative Identity Disorder and false memories in the UK: a survey of Clinical Psychologists and Hypnotherapists. Psychology, Crime and Law, 19(1), pp. 1-19. ISSN 1068-316X

Failing the future: Three unsuccessful attempts to replicate Bem’s ‘retroactive facilitation of recall’ effect
Ritchie, Stuart J.; Wiseman, Richard and French, Christopher C.. 2012. Failing the future: Three unsuccessful attempts to replicate Bem’s ‘retroactive facilitation of recall’ effect. PLoS ONE, 7(3), e33423. ISSN 1932-6203

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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