The field of research on the paranormal has changed enormously in the last 20 years. Examining experiences of ESP, psychokinesis, precognition, ganzfeld, dissociative states, out-of-the-body experiences, alien abductions and near-death experiences, David Marks appraises the best available evidence to date on scientific claims of the paranormal. Each chapter also provides a description of the psychological processes that are likely to contribute to these experiences, and to the high prevalence of paranormal beliefs. Importantly, this book does not take a fixed sceptical or ‘disbelieving’ view of the phenomena but, as far as possible, offers a neutral gaze which will equip readers to make up their own minds, as well as providing them with the critical skills to defend their conclusions.

Psychological Processes and Anomalous Experience

Psychological Processes and Anomalous Experience

An individual who commits a fallacy is being deceived into accepting a conclusion which merely looks correct. (Wason, 1964: 30)

Outline: Psychological processes can provide some helpful insights into the nature and function of anomalous and paranormal experience. Nobody is perfect and people frequently erroneously attribute paranormal characteristics to experiences or events that have normal explanations. Interpretations of anomalous experiences are open to a host of psychological influences, including fast and slow thinking, memory and cognitive factors, worldview, confirmation bias, subjective validation and the ‘Forer Effect’. It seems useful to separate anomalous beliefs such as urban legends from paranormal beliefs. In one’s appreciation of anomalistic experience, the search for the meaning is reinforced by the reward ...

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