Over the years I have carried out several experiments examining the psychology of magic, and co-authored a book on the topic (Magic in Theory, with Peter Lamont). Both New Scientist and Scientific American have just run articles on the topic, mentioning some of this work.
Interested in the psychology of love? I have just launched a new survey looking at romance around the world. Participating takes just a few minutes and involves answering a few simple questions about romantic gestures. Take part by clicking here.
In the early 1990s, Mathew Smith, Julie Milton, and I investigated ‘Jaytee’, a dog who could allegedly psychically predict when his owner was returning home. We believed that the results of our study did not support the dog’s alleged ability. At roughly the same time, Rupert Sheldrake conducted additional work with Jaytee, and argued that his findings suggested that Jaytee was able to signal when his owner started to return home from a distant location. RSupert also criticised the study conducted by Mathew Smith, Julie Milton and myself. We subsequently replied to the points raised in this critique, and Rupert replied to our reply.
I am frequently asked about Rupert’s experiments with Jaytee. There is a PDF of my thoughts here.
In December I was fortunate enough to be asked to speak on the final voyage of the QE2. Apart from running aground, all went well and I am looking forward to being invited back on the ship’s next final voyage.
Last year I announced some initial results from a Quirkology experiment into New Year’s Resolutions. We tracked more than 5000 people as they tried to achieve their aims and ambitions, and found big sex differences for the strategies that proved successful. Here is some advice based on the work, hope that you find it helpful….
Imagine that you have an 18 year old teenage daughter (if you do actually have one, this won’t be especially hard) and she stole a bottle of water from a shop during the riots. You know that if you take her to the police she will be charged and convicted. There is no way that the police will find out about her behaviour unless you take her in.
Would you take her to the police? Vote now!
I am going to be speaking with Ben Goldacre, Chris French and Stephen Law on the 17th January at the London CFI Weird Science event. I am first on at 11am, and here is the blurb to give you an idea about topics….
Investigating the impossible: A skeptical approach
For over 20 years, psychologist Richard Wiseman has delved deep into the mysterious world of the paranormal, carrying out high profile, and often controversial, investigations into the impossible. In this talk, Wiseman describes some of his more colourful adventures, presenting a scientific look at a range of seemingly paranormal phenomenon, including fire-walking, ghostly encounters, and ESP. Discover whether such phenomena really exist, what the future holds for parapsychology, and why we are all attracted by the lure of strange stuff. Free packet of peanuts for the best question.
Rob Jenkins from the University of Glasgow and I have teamed up with New Scientist magazine to carry out an experiment into the relationship between facial appearance and personality. We have invited the readers of New Scientist to submit their photographs and complete a simple online measure of personality. We are currently analyzing the faces and will soon post a link to the second phase of the experiment.