‘Hauntings’ results out

castleinset1We have just announced the initial results of our project into ‘ghostly’ photographs.

The findings will be discussed in depth at Hauntings: The Science of Ghosts on 4th April at Edinburgh Science Festival. However, we have some initial results on the Hauntings website, including the top ten ‘ghost’ pics from the study (click the link above, and then the ‘experiments’ tab).

In terms of print and web, the story has been featured all over the place, including The Times, The Daily Mail, The Scotsman, The Daily Express, The Sun, The Metro, BBC, CNN, Yahoo, Sky News, The Guardian, and Fox News.

TV and radio has included R4’s Today Programme (at 8.55), GMTV, BBC Breakfast News and CNN. AOL have a video about the story here.

Sky News clip below:

And thanks to the nice people over at Derren Brown’s blog for posting another link to this blog.

Feel free to post comments about the pic. Back on Monday.

Science of ghosts: New Research


Yesterday was a bit of a busy one because we launched two new online studies into the psychology of ghosts.

We are conducting the first international survey into alleged ghostly experiences, and also hunting for ghost photographs.  The photo on the left shows the first image on the site, and was taken in 1993 when i was researching in India.  There is a strange purple glow around the group.  More importantly, my choice of shorts, shoes and socks defy rational explanation.

Lots of media covered the story (including Channel 4, The Daily Telegraph, The Daily Express, The Metro, and The Daily Mail), but probably the most comprehensive piece is this feature in The Scotsman.

The ‘ghost’ photograph site has already had about forty thousand views from all around the world, and people have sent in lots of new photos for the site, so looks like the project has caught the public imagination.

The results of both studies will be announced at ‘Hauntings: The Science of Ghosts‘ on the 4th April. Very excited about the day. PA release about the project after the break.

Update: TV clip about it here.

Test your intuition…..

newYesterday was rather exciting. The Darwin Day illusion caused an especially large number of views and comments (thanks to everyone who linked to the site and Stephen Fry for the twitter-plug).

Also, the work that Rob Jenkins and I have been carrying out into facial appearance and personality made it onto the front cover of New Scientist. The research provides tentative and tantalizing evidence that religiosity may be reflected in facial features (at least in female faces). But can you spot a religious face?

Newsweek on luck

090124_cover_small-thumb4Looking for an interesting Sunday read?  Newsweek have just published a long article featuring my research into the psychology of luck (see 2nd half of article).  The piece is written by Ben Sherwood to promote his new book, The Survivors Club (‘The Secrets and Science That Could Save Your Life’), and describes my newspaper experiment, and the four principles of luck.  If you don’t have time to read the Newsweek piece, there is a nice  summary at Get Rich Slowly.

World’s Worst Jokes

Interesting piece in The Daily Mail this morning on why people laugh at bad jokes, and my LaughLab list of the world’s worst jokes.  The ‘one line at a time’ stories are looking great.  I will delete any REALLY strange entries, and it is neck and neck at the moment in terms of number of comments.  Encourage your friends to contribute and we could get them finished by the end of the day.  Feel free to write your comments about the stories here, rather than in the stories themselves.

Thought experiment…..

Imagine that you have an 18 year old teenage son (if you do actually have one, this won’t be especially hard) and he stole a bottle of water from a shop during the riots.  You know that if you take him to the police he will be charged and convicted.  There is no way that the police will find out about his behaviour unless you take him in.

Would you take him to the police?  Vote now!