Template:Infobox person Christopher Charles French is a British psychologist and vocal skeptic specialising in the psychology of paranormal beliefs and experiences, cognition and emotion.[1]


He is currently Professor of Psychology at Goldsmiths College, University of London, is head of their Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit[2] which he founded in 2000, and former Editor-in-Chief of The Skeptic (UK) magazine.[3]

He teaches a course entitled Psychology, Parapsychology and Pseudoscience as part of the BSc (Hons) Psychology programmes at both Goldsmiths College and Birkbeck College. He is a Chartered Psychologist and a Fellow of the British Psychological Society.[2] He has authored or co-authored over 80 articles and chapters dealing with a wide variety of subjects in psychology, his work has been published in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology, the Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, the British Journal of Psychology and the British Journal of Clinical Psychology.[4]

The focus of his current research is the psychology of paranormal beliefs and anomalous experiences.[5] In addition to academic activities, such as conference presentations and invited talks in other departments, he frequently appears on radio and television presenting a sceptical view of paranormal claims.[5] He has been consulted as an expert on a wide range of such claims including psychic abilities,[6] recovered memory,[7] telepathy,[8] faith healing,[9] past life regression,[10] ghosts,[11] UFO abductions,[12] out-of-body experiences,[13] astrology[14] and so on.[15] In 2004 French and colleagues conducted an experiment involving electromagnetic fields (EMF) and extremely low frequency sound waves (infrasound) phenomena that have been associated with allegedly haunted locations, the experiment did not establish a causal relationship between these phenomena and experiences of the subjects.[16] A study, led by French and published in 2008, explored the psychology of people who believed they had been abducted by aliens.[17] He has appeared on various science programmes (e.g. Equinox, Science Now, All in the Mind) and documentaries (e.g. Heart of the Matter, Everyman) as well as numerous discussion programmes (e.g. Esther; The Time, The Place; Kilroy; This Morning).

In 1997, he was one of three sceptics sitting on a panel for a 90-minute live debate on UFOs broadcast at peak viewing time by the Strange but True? team to mark the 50th anniversary of UFOs.[18] In 1998, he took part in an investigation of reincarnation claims amongst the Druze people of Lebanon, broadcast as part of the To the Ends of the Earth series. This involved spending around three weeks in Lebanon with a film crew.[19]

In August 1996, he organised and chaired an integrated paper session on the topic of The Psychology of Paranormal and Pseudoscientific Beliefs at the XXVI International Congress of Psychology in Montreal.[20] He also contributed to a symposium on The Psychology of Anomalous Experience at the British Science Association annual British Science Festival at the University of Birmingham in September 1996.[21] In July 1997, he chaired a symposium on The Psychology of Paranormal Belief at the Fifth European Congress of Psychology in Dublin. He presented a paper at a conference on Paranormal and Superstitious Beliefs: A Skeptical Examination at Manchester Metropolitan University on Friday 13 November 1998.[22] In February 1999, he contributed to a symposium of the Royal Statistical Society (which he co-organised). In July 1999, he co-organised and presented a paper at a half-day conference on Parapsychology: Current Status and Future Prospects at Goldsmiths College and gave a paper at the Sixth European Congress of Psychology in Rome.[22] In February 2001, he gave an invited presentation to the Institute for Cultural Research[4] at the Royal Society of Medicine and he has organised two symposia at major conferences (Glasgow, March 2001; London, July 2001).

He made regular appearances on ITV's programme Haunted Homes. He also makes appearances in the Channel 4 documentary series 'Tony Robinson and the Paranormal'.[19]

Since 2009, French has been a columnist for The Guardian newspaper exploring scepticism and anomalistic psychology.[23][24]

In January 2010, French was elected as a Fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry[5]


Co-edited bookEdit

(2010) Why Statues Weep. The Best of The Skeptic, London: The Philosophy Press.

Selected book sectionsEdit

French, Christopher C. (2004). "Parapsychology" The Social Science Encyclopedia, 702-703, London: Routledge.

French, Christopher C. (2004). "Skepticism" Parapsychology. Research on Exceptional Experiences, 80-89, London: Routledge.

(2007) "Something Wicked This Way Comes. Causes and Interpretations of Sleep Paralysis" Tall Tales About the Mind and Brain. Separating Fact from Fiction, 380-398, Oxford University Press.

(2007) "Cognitive Factors Underlying Paranormal Beliefs and Experiences" Tall Tales About the Mind and Brain. Separating Fact from Fiction, 3-22, Oxford University Press.

French, Christopher C. (2009). "Anomalistic Psychology" Psychology for A2 Level for AQA (A), 4th, 472-505, New York: HarperCollins.

French, Christopher C. (2010). "Reflections of a (Relatively) Moderate Skeptic" Debating Psychic Experience: Human Potential Or Human Illusion?, 53-64, Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO.

French, Christopher C. (2010). "Missing the point?" Debating Psychic Experience: Human Potential Or Human Illusion?, 149-152, Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO.

Selected articlesEdit

(1984-03). A critical review of EEG coherence studies of hemisphere function. International Journal of Psychophysiology 1 (3): 241-254.

(Epub 2011-07-12). The reaction of psychiatric patients to computerized assessment. British Journal of Clinical Psychology 26 (4): 267-278.

(1991). Effects of encoding and anxiety on implicit and explicit memory performance. Personality and Individual Differences 12 (2): 131-139.

(Epub 2007-05-29). An anxiety-related bias in semantic activation when processing threat/neutral homographs. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology: Section A: Human Experimental Psychology 45 (3): 503-525.

, Anne (Epub 2011-04-13). Effects of mood manipulation and anxiety on performance of an emotional Stroop task. British Journal of Psychology 83 (4): 479-491.

(Epub 2011-07-12). Hypomania, anxiety and the emotional Stroop. British Journal of Clinical Psychology 35 (4): 617-626.

(1997-08). Cognitive processing and trait anxiety in typically developing children: Evidence for an interpretation bias. Journal of Abnormal Psychology 106 (3): 486-490..

(Epub 2001-04-19). Test anxiety, evaluative stress, and susceptibility to distraction from threat. European Journal of Personality 15 (2): 123-141.

(2002-09). Anxiety-related bias in the classification of emotionally ambiguous facial expressions. Emotion 2 (3): 273-287.

(Epub 2007-01-25). Test anxiety, susceptibility to distraction and examination performance. Anxiety, Stress & Coping: An International Journal 17 (3): 241-252.

References Edit

  1. includeonly>Wignall, Alice. "What it's like to work at... ...Goldsmiths College, University of London", 2005-01-18. Retrieved on 2013-07-24.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Professor Chris French. Goldsmiths College, University of London website. Department of Psychology, Goldsmiths College, University of London. URL accessed on 2013-07-24.
  3. Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit. Goldsmiths College, University of London website. Goldsmiths College, University of London. URL accessed on 2013-07-24.
  4. 4.0 4.1 French, Christopher C. (2011), Paranormal Perception: A Critical Evaluation, Monograph 42, London: Institute for Cultural Research, ISBN 9780904674347, 
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 (2010-01-12)Sixteen notable figures in science and skepticism elected CSI Fellows.
  6. includeonly>Matthews, Robert. "Spiritualists' powers turn scientists into believers", 2001-03-08. Retrieved on 2013-07-25.
    includeonly>Sample, Ian. "Sally Morgan rejects Halloween challenge to prove her psychic powers", 2011-10-31. Retrieved on 2013-07-24.
    includeonly>Gayle, Damien. "Two professional mediums fail test to demonstrate their psychic powers under laboratory conditions", 2012-11-01. Retrieved on 2013-07-25.
  7. includeonly>Storr, Will. "The mystery of Carol Myers", 2011-12-10. Retrieved on 2013-07-24.
  8. "Dr. Chris French, Extraordinary Psi Claims". Skeptiko.
  9. "Chris French". No. 184 series 2.
  10. includeonly>Lawrence, Julia. "Has Marilyn Monroe been reincarnated as a shop assistant called Chris? Meet the Britons who are convinced they've had bizarre past lives...", 2010-12-03. Retrieved on 2013-07-025.
  11. includeonly>Sample, Ian. "Do the dead contact us through tape recorders?", 2005-01-13. Retrieved on 2013-07-24.
    includeonly>The Scotsman staff. "Ghosts in the machine", 2005-01-04. Retrieved on 2013-07-25.
  12. includeonly>The Scotsman staff. "Alien abduction is all in the mind says expert", 2005-10-26. Retrieved on 2013-07-25.
  13. includeonly>Rowlands, Barbara. "In the dead of the night", 2001-11-17. Retrieved on 2013-07-24.
  14. Stewart, Joseph V. (1996). Astrology: What's Really in the Stars, Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books.
  15. "What would an alien look like?". Science Weekly.
    French, Chris Haunted houses, telepathy and UFOs: Investigating the extraordinary. Merseyside Skeptics Society. URL accessed on 2013-07-25.
  16. includeonly>Marcus, Adam. "Ghost lusters: If you want to see a specter badly enough, will you?", 2008-10-27. Retrieved on 2013-07-24.
  17. includeonly>Waterhouse, Rosie. "Weird ... or what?", 2008-10-13. Retrieved on 2013-07-24.
  18. Strange But True - Season 3, Episode 11: Strange But True? Live. CBS Interactive. URL accessed on 2013-07-24.
  19. 19.0 19.1 Template:IMDb name
  20. French, C.C. (convenor) (1996). Psychology of paranormal and pseudoscientific beliefs. International Journal of Psychology 31 (3-4).
  21. French, Christopher C. Parapsychology and the paranormal. (Paper presented at the British Association Annual Festival of Science) Atheism Central for Secondary Schools. Alan Urdaibay. URL accessed on 2013-07-24.
  22. 22.0 22.1 Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit: Conferences and other Presentations. Goldsmiths College, University of London website. Goldsmiths College, University of London. URL accessed on 2013-07-24.
  23. "Sceptical thinking makes a comeback". Science Weekly.
  24. includeonly>"Profile: Chris French", 2009-03-06. Retrieved on 2013-07-24.

External links Edit

This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia (view authors).

Ad blocker interference detected!

Wikia is a free-to-use site that makes money from advertising. We have a modified experience for viewers using ad blockers

Wikia is not accessible if you’ve made further modifications. Remove the custom ad blocker rule(s) and the page will load as expected.