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Weird Science: An Intro to Anomalistic Psychology - a talk by Prof Chris French

PLEASE NOTE We are delighted that it is looking like a full house for Chris's talk. Can we please ask that if you can no longer attend that you please change your status on Meetup so that someone else can attend. Thank you.

Weird Science: An Introduction to Anomalistic Psychology -A Talk by Professor Chris French

Ever since records began, in ever known society, a substantial proportion of the population has reported unusual experiences many of which we would today label as “paranormal”. Opinion polls show that the majority of the general public accepts that paranormal phenomena do occur. Such widespread experience of and belief in the paranormal can only mean one of two things. Either the paranormal is real, in which case this should be accepted by the wider scientific community which currently rejects such claims; or else belief in and experience of ostensibly paranormal phenomena can be fully explained in terms of psychological factors. This presentation will provide an introduction to the sub-discipline of anomalistic psychology, which may be defined as the study of extraordinary phenomena of behaviour and experience, in an attempt to provide non-paranormal explanations in terms of known psychological and physical factors. This approach will be illustrated with examples relating to a range of ostensibly paranormal phenomena.

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, a Distinguished Supporter of the British Humanist Association and a member of the Scientific and Professional Advisory Board of the British False Memory Society.


He has published over 100 articles and chapters covering a wide range of topics within psychology.

His main 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, as well as writing for the Guardian and The Skeptic magazine which, for more than a decade, he also edited.

His most recent books are Why Statues Weep: The Best of The Skeptic, co-edited with Wendy Grossman (2010, London: The Philosophy Press) and Anomalistic Psychology, co-authored with Nicola Holt, Christine Simmonds-Moore, and David Luke (2012, London: Palgrave).


Follow him on Twitter: @chriscfrench


Door at 6.30 pm for talk at 7.00 p.m.

Please arrive early to have a glass of wine from our CLHG Charity Wine Bar find your seat and chat with other members. Profits from the wine bar will go to Chris's chosen charity Prostate Cancer UK.

Depending on the length of the Q & A session post the talk we expect to be heading to the local pub the Enterprise around 8.30 p.m. for further discussion and debate.

All our talks are open to the general public and free to attend but we ask those who can to make a donation of what they can afford to cover the costs of room and equipment hire and help keep our talks free to all.



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  • David M.

    Great speaker. How many times a year can we have Chris?

    April 20, 2013

  • David G.

    Was very good.

    April 20, 2013

  • Josh K.

    Will there be a video/podcast?
    Seems like I have missed another great CLHG event.
    I know how much effort goes into organising event like this. So I hope I will be forgiven for being so bold as, on behalf of all those who did attend and all those who didn't , to say a big thank you to all those responsible; the committee and volunteers. THANK YOU! p.s. Is my cheque in the post?

    April 19, 2013

    • Kieron

      I don't think so Josh, I didn't see anyone filming.

      1 · April 20, 2013

    • Josh K.

      Shame - thanks for letting me know

      April 20, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Sometimes when Brendan was doing the wine bar he asked for people, me, to bring in a bottle of wine & he would re-imburse me. Does he, or whoever is organising the bar, want me to do the same?

    February 3, 2013

    • David M.

      Hi Kris, I suggest you reply to Brendan above as then he should get an email in his inbox. Normally I suggest you reply/email him directly before the talk, as it helps him know what is needed.

      April 19, 2013

  • Behzad

    Very interesting talk.
    Thank you Helen and other organisers for this great event.

    2 · April 19, 2013

  • Alan P.

    Very entertaining - and great to see such a fantastic turnout. We could only just get everyone in.

    April 19, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    That was a very interesting, eye-opening talk - shows just how susceptible we all are to suggestion and the power of the mind to delude. Very pleasing for the CLHG committee to see a packed house at the session, with a number of people having to stand. Thanks to those who were generous and supported donations for Prostate Cancer UK through buying wine. Great night.

    1 · April 19, 2013

  • Baptiste B.

    Brilliant Talk

    April 19, 2013

  • Daniel

    Now I am going to play all of my Led Zep records backwards!!

    April 19, 2013

  • Jason

    Chris is doing important work at the APRU and he is a very entertaining speaker.

    April 19, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Chris Smith was informative, witty and had a sense of fun. I enjoyed his talk.

    1 · April 18, 2013

  • Janie

    So sorry, I am shattered after work today...apologies for late notice....

    April 18, 2013

  • John D.

    Not able to attend now, such a shame, hope someone else can take up my place.

    April 18, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Working late, :(

    April 18, 2013

  • Lola

    Due to something that has come up at work, I am unable to attend the talk. I was really looking forward to it. But I hope someone else is able to take up my place.

    April 18, 2013

  • Priscilla R.

    Excellent opportunity to find out more about the subject!

    April 18, 2013

  • Shahbaz

    Apologies for the short notice but I have to work late tonight.

    April 18, 2013

  • Yaniv G.

    Me and a small group of friends want to come, but I hadn't realised about RSVP-ing before yesterday. Would it be problematic to show up in the venue without having reserved places for everyone? and are there any people who have booked a place and know they can't come, and are willing to give theirs up?

    Sorry to be a pain, as you can see i'm fairly new to this.

    April 18, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      Yaniv, it is always best to RSVP for our events. There is a health and safety-imposed limit on the venue so we are pretty full. Probably worth coming along as I'm sure a few people will not turn up anyway.

      April 18, 2013

  • James

    Gutted I can't make it anymore. I've RSVP'd so hopefully someone else can take my place.

    April 17, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I can't make it anymore sadly, so hope someone will be glad to take my spot.

    April 15, 2013

  • Sanch

    Will come late.. depending on uni.

    February 4, 2013

  • Steve C.

    Sorry can't go, as I have a wedding to go to. Fascinating subject and I have heard Chris French many times, always entertaining

    1 · February 3, 2013

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