Friday, July 13, 2007

Skeptics in the Pub Presentation

Next Thursday, 19 July, at 4:10 pm, in Room 309 of the Richard Hoggart Building, Goldsmiths College, Dr Francesca Collins of Monash University, Australia, will be giving a presentation entitled "Very superstitious: Dissociation, control and paranormal beliefs". Here is the abstract of Francesca's presentation:

The last fifteen years has produced significant research linking belief in the paranormal to the experience of psychological dissociation. In this presentation, emerging research findings regarding the relationships between dissociation and the reporting of unusual experiences in non-clinical populations will be reviewed. Specific attention will be given to the relationship between the experience of dissociative phenomena and paranormal beliefs including: traditional religious belief, psi belief, witchcraft, superstition, spiritualism, extraordinary life forms and precognition (Tobacyk, 1991). This will be followed by a discussion of my recent investigation into the relationship between dissociation, locus of control and specific paranormal beliefs. The specific aims of the study were to: 1) confirm the existence of relationships between dissociation, paranormal beliefs and locus of control within a non-clinical population; and 2) determine whether these relationships represent a true correlations between distinct psychological constructs or reflect a general tendency among the highly dissociative to report unusual experiences. Data from 132 adult undergraduate students from Monash University revealed a positive relationship between self-reported dissociativity and unusual beliefs. The most striking, and perhaps the most easily understood, was the relationship found between dissociation, external locus of control and a tendency toward superstition. These results will be discussed in terms of the role of dissociation in the everyday functioning of non-clinical individuals.

The talk is open to staff, students and members of public and entry is free. Full details of how to get to Goldsmiths can be found at More information about Skeptics in the Pub can be found at

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