Richard Wiseman's research while affiliated with University of Hertfordshire and other places

Publications (48)

Article
Full-text available
Previous work suggests that unexpected and surprising experiences ( e.g ., living in another culture or looking at surreal images) promotes creative thinking. This targeted literature review examines whether the inherent cognitive disruption associated with experiencing the seemingly impossible has a similar effect. Correlational and experimental r...
Article
Full-text available
Research suggests that learning to perform magic tricks can promote both physical and psychological wellbeing. The current study extended this work by examining the impact of learning magic tricks on divergent thinking. A group of 10- to 11-year-old children completed Guilford’s Alternate Uses Test both before and after participating in either a ma...
Article
Full-text available
This study investigated the potential for comics to promote skepticism about the paranormal. Participants rated their interest in comics, read a skeptical account of alleged paranormal phenomena in one of three mediums (text, comic, and comic containing an interactive magic trick), and then rated their engagement, skepticism and recall. The text wa...
Article
Full-text available
Previous research suggests that magic tricks can be employed within an educational context to enhance attention, engagement, critical thinking and recall. This study builds on this work by examining the impact of incorporating magic tricks into an online educational video. Adult participants ( N = 198) completed a need for cognition scale and then...
Article
Full-text available
For hundreds of years, magic tricks have been employed within a variety of pedagogic contexts, including promoting science and mathematics, delivering educational messaging, enhancing scepticism about the paranormal, and boosting creative thinking for product design. This review examines this diverse body of work, focusing on studies that have asse...
Article
Full-text available
The recent ‘replication crisis’ in psychology has focused attention on ways of increasing methodological rigor within the behavioral sciences. Part of this work has involved promoting ‘Registered Reports’, wherein journals peer review papers prior to data collection and publication. Although this approach is usually seen as a relatively recent deve...
Article
Full-text available
Research has demonstrated that involvement with mainstream performing arts, such as music and dance, can boost wellbeing. This article extends this work by reviewing little-known research on whether learning magic tricks can have an equally beneficial effect. We first present an historic overview of several magic-based interventions created by magi...
Article
Full-text available
Past research has used the phi phenomenon to create the illusion of one object moving through another. This article presents three optical illusions that are conceptually similar, yet little known within academic psychology. Two of the illusions have been developed within the magic community and involve the performer appearing to make a finger jump...
Data
This provides data sets obtained from OSC and MLP. (XLSX)
Article
Full-text available
The quality of psychological studies is currently a major concern. The Many Labs Project (MLP) and the Open-Science-Collaboration (OSC) have collected key data on replicability and statistical effect sizes. We build on this work by investigating the role played by three measurement types: ratings, proportions and unbounded (measures without concept...
Article
Full-text available
Past research shows that in drawn or photographic portraits, people are significantly more likely to be posed facing to their right than their left. We examined whether the same type of bias exists among sagittal images of the human brain. An exhaustive search of Google images using the term ‘brain sagittal view’ yielded 425 images of a left or rig...
Article
Full-text available
The Beuchet Chair is a powerful and highly popular optical illusion. The illusion involves two reasonably large pieces of apparatus: an oversized chair seat and four normal-sized chair legs. When properly arranged and viewed from a precise location, a person standing on the seat appears to be much smaller than they actually are. Although compelling...
Article
Full-text available
Perceptual science has frequently benefited from studying illusions created outside of academia. Here, we describe a striking, but little-known, example of inattentional blindness from the British comedy series "Monty Python's Flying Circus." Viewers fail to attend to several highly incongruous characters in the sketch, despite these characters bei...
Article
The susceptibility of eyewitnesses to verbal suggestion has been well documented, although little attention has been paid to the role of nonverbal communication in misinformation. Three experiments are reported; in each, participants watched footage of a crime scene before being questioned about what they had observed. In Experiments 1 and 2, an on...
Article
Full-text available
Proponents of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) claim that certain eye-movements are reliable indicators of lying. According to this notion, a person looking up to their right suggests a lie whereas looking up to their left is indicative of truth telling. Despite widespread belief in this claim, no previous research has examined its validity. In S...
Article
Two studies examined the relationships between self-rated and objectively measured creative ability and ease of perceiving alternative interpretations of the ambiguous Duck-Rabbit figure. The studies found empirical support for what has previously been a largely analogical connection between figural reversal and creativity, using both self-rated tr...
Article
Past research suggests that men perceive women with large pupils as especially attractive. We employed an innovative methodology to examine whether this effect influences consumer decision-making. A popular psychology book was published with two slightly different front covers. Both covers contained the same photograph of a woman; however, the woma...
Article
Full-text available
The first author, a proponent of evidence for psychic ability, and the second, a sceptic, have been conducting a systematic programme of collaborative sceptic-proponent research in parapsychology. This has involved carrying out joint experiments in which each investigator individually attempted to mentally influence the electrodermal activity of pa...
Article
This paper explores the notion that people who believe in psychic ability possess various psychological attributes that increase the likelihood of them misattributing paranormal causation to experiences that have a normal explanation. The paper discusses the structure and measurement of belief in psychic ability, then reviews the considerable body...
Article
Research suggests that season of birth is associated with several psychiatric and neurological disorders, and also with adult monoamine neurotransmitter turnover. Personality traits are modulated in part by neurotransmitters; and population studies show season of birth variations in adult personality traits such as novelty seeking. Also, neurotrans...
Article
Full-text available
Mediums claim to be able to communicate with the deceased. Such claims attract a considerable amount of public interest and, if valid, have important implications for many areas of psychology. For over 100 years, researchers have tested alleged mediums. This work has obtained mixed results and provoked a considerable amount of methodological debate...
Article
Some alleged psychics appear to be able to deform metallic objects, such as keys and cutlery, by thought alone. This paper describes two studies that examined whether one aspect of these demonstrations could be created by verbal suggestion. In the first study, participants were shown a videotape in which a fake psychic placed a bent key on a table....
Article
Full-text available
Zusammenfassung – Zur Interpretation von "Experimentatoreneffekten", die in der Parapsychologe häufig vorkommen, existieren zahlreiche konkurrierende Erklärungs-muster (siehe Palmer 1989a; 1989b). Mit zwei Forschern, die konsistent unterschiedli-che Ergebnisse in Psi-Experimenten erzielten und ein gemeinsames Remote Staring-Experiment durchführten,...
Article
A large body of research has attempted to develop theories about the function and origin of superstitious beliefs on the basis of the psychological correlates of such beliefs. Most of this work has measured superstitious belief using the Paranormal Belief Scale (PBS). However, this scale refers solely to negative superstitions (e.g., breaking a mir...
Article
Full-text available
In Experiment 1, participants took part in a fake seance. An actor suggested that a table was levitating when, in fact, it remained stationary. After the seance, approximately one third of participants incorrectly reported that the table had moved. Results also showed a significant relationship between the reported movement of the table and belief...
Article
Full-text available
In cases of alleged hauntings, a large number of seemingly trustworthy witnesses consistently report experiencing unusual phenomena (e.g. apparitions, sudden changes in temperature, a strong sense of presence) in certain locations. The two studies reported here explored the psychological mechanisms that underlie this apparent evidence of 'ghostly'...
Article
It is often proposed that prefrontal cortex is important in organization and control of working memory contents. In some cases, effective reorganization can decrease task difficulty, implying a dissociation between frontal activity and basic memory demand. In a spatial working memory task, we studied the improvement of performance that occurs when...
Article
This paper describes a mass participation experiment examining the possible existence of extra-sensory perception (ESP). The Mind Machine consisted of a specially designed steel cabinet containing a multi-media computer and large touch-screen monitor. The computer presented participants with a series of videoclips that led them through the experime...
Article
Full-text available
Hampton Court Palace is reputed to be one of the most haunted places in England, with both staff and visitors reporting unusual phenomena in many areas of the building. Our investigation aimed to discover the extent to which these reports were related to three variables often proposed to account for alleged hauntings, namely, belief in ghosts, sugg...
Article
Storm and Ertel (2001) published a meta-analysis of 79 ganzfeld studies published between 1974 and 1996. They used substantially inconsistent inclusion criteria to form the database and included studies with well-documented methodological problems. Using a methodological quality scale that omitted important items such as the use of duplicate target...
Article
The authors recently published a nonsignificant meta-analysis of 30 extrasensory perception ganzfeld studies, all conducted after the 1986 publication of important methodological guidelines aimed at reducing sources of artifact noted in earlier studies. In response, L. Storm and S. Ertel (2001) presented a meta-analysis of 79 studies published betw...
Article
D. J. Bem and C. Honorton (1994) recently presented in this journal a set of ganzfeld extrasensory perception (ESP) experiments conducted by C. Honorton that appeared to support the existence of a communication anomaly. In this article, the authors present a meta-analysis of 30 ganzfeld ESP studies from 7 independent laboratories adhering to the sa...
Article
Some scientists have argued that recent meta-analyses of many different types of parapsychological study suggest that extrasensory perception (ESP) might exist, albeit as a small effect. Large-scale ESP experiments conducted via newspapers, magazines, radio and television can generate a huge number of guesses and offer researchers a way of quickly...
Article
The American Institutes for Research (AIR) recently produced a report on the effectiveness of US government-funded research in demonstrating the existence of a remote viewing effect that could be used for intelligence-gathering purposes. The most recent studies in this program were carried out by Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC...
Article
Full-text available
In his book, Seven Experiments That Could Change The World, Rupert Sheldrake suggested that the public carry out experiments to test whether pets can psychically detect when their owners are returning home. The first of these tests was undertaken by an Austrian television company and involved an owner in the northwest of England, Pam Smart (PS) and...
Article
Full-text available
Each of the two authors recently attempted to replicate studies in which the "receivers" were asked to psychically detect the gaze directed at them by unseen "senders." R. W.'s studies failed to find any significant effects; M. S.'s study gave positive results. The authors then agreed to carry out the joint study described in this paper, in the hop...
Article
This paper briefly reviews previous research on luck and psi, and presents a study on luckiness, competition, and performance on a psi task from an ongoing research project into the psychology and parapsychology of luck and luckiness. Participants were classified as either lucky, unlucky, or uncertain, according to their responses on a Luckiness Qu...
Article
Full-text available
Bem and Honorton (1994) have recently presented data that appear to support the existence of extrasensory perception (ESP). A major part of their argument rests on a set of parapsychological experiments known as the "autoganzfeld" studies. In these studies one participant (a sender) attempted to psychically communicate the contents of a film clip (...
Article
Zusammenfassung - Zur Interpretation von "Experimentatoreneffekten", die in der Parapsychologe häufig vorkommen, existieren zahlreiche konkurrierende Erklärungs- muster (siehe Palmer 1989a; 1989b). Mit zwei Forschern, die konsistent unterschiedli- che Ergebnisse in Psi-Experimenten erzielten und ein gemeinsames Remote Staring- Experiment durchführt...

Citations

... The teaching sessions integrated skills essential for completing the dissertation such as critical thinking, linking, metacognitive reflection, and conceptualising the process of a long project. Previous research has suggested that using magic can stimulate curiosity, engage and motivate students, and that they will find the session more memorable (see Moss, Irons and Boland, 2017;Wiseman and Watt, 2020;Wiseman, Wiles and Watt, 2021) The presentation reported the findings from pre-and post-session questionnaires completed by participants to evaluate the use of a magic trick in teaching dissertation skills by: ...
... Os quadrinhos já foram usados em diferentes áreas, envolvendo tópicos extraídos de disciplinas convencionais, como biologia evolutiva (HOSLER; BOOMER, 2011), virologia (SPIEGEL et al., 2013), células-tronco (AMARAL et al., 2015, nanotecnologia (LIN et al., 2015) e ceticismo paranormal (WISEMAN et al., 2021). Além disso, os quadrinhos já foram adotados em uma variedade de abordagens, seja usando aquelas disponíveis comercialmente (por exemplo, CARTER, 1988;KAKALIOS, 2009), ou mesmo sob medida (por exemplo, BARRON, 1993;EL-SETOUHY;RIO, 2003;KEOGH;NAYLOR;WILSON, 1998;NEGRETE, 2013;PUTNAM;YANAGISAKO, 1982). ...
... Spirits and other invisible entities are usually elements that can be found in folklore. From a scientific perspective, it can be assumed that the environment itself is important (Wiseman et al., 2003). ...
... These findings support the idea that magic can offer an appealing and enjoyable framework for presenting scientific ideas, and that it provides a valuable tool to present complex concepts about psychology in a playful way, corroborating studies of magic and teaching (e.g. Moss, Irons & Boland, 2017;Wiseman, Houstoun & Watt, 2020). Our results suggest that the benefits of combining magic and science communication are not one directional, and that using magic to present scientific concepts not only helps make the science more appealing, but also leads people to have a greater appreciation for the art of magic. ...
... The teaching sessions integrated skills essential for completing the dissertation such as critical thinking, linking, metacognitive reflection, and conceptualising the process of a long project. Previous research has suggested that using magic can stimulate curiosity, engage and motivate students, and that they will find the session more memorable (see Moss, Irons and Boland, 2017;Wiseman and Watt, 2020;Wiseman, Wiles and Watt, 2021) The presentation reported the findings from pre-and post-session questionnaires completed by participants to evaluate the use of a magic trick in teaching dissertation skills by: ...
... In this case and in most of the narratives I have heard, the religious idea of "God" works as a functional equivalent of "luck" in Gebre's fatalist perspective. As some authors in gambling studies have suggested, perceived luck can play a major role in people's key decisions (Smith, Wiseman, Harris, & Joiner, 1996). ...
... Without peer review, there is no chance to identify problems with experimental design. Registered reports with a journal allow these plans to be peer-reviewed and improved through the process (Crüwell and Evans 2021, Montoya et al. 2021, Wiseman et al. 2019. It can also be used to encourage the publication of negative results as the journal in which the report was reviewed agrees in principle to publish the results (Parker et al. 2019). ...
... Lamont & Wiseman, 1999;Macknik et al., 2008;Kuhn, Amlani & Rensink, 2008;Kuhn, 2019) can involve publishing magic methods in non-magic forums and disseminating these ideas to the general public. It can also involve, for example, teaching magic tricks to enhance students' wellbeing (Bagienski & Kuhn, 2019Wiseman & Watt, 2018), and to facilitate creative thinking (Wiseman, Wiles, & Watt, 2021). Magic principles have also been applied to the process of video game design (Kumari, Deterding, & Kuhn, 2018), the study of deception (Hyman, 1989), and to the general study of human cognition (Kuhn, Amlani, & Rensink, 2008;Macknik et al., 2008;Rensink & Kuhn, 2015;Thomas, Didierjean, Maquestiaux, & Gygax, 2015). ...
... Power analysis of sensitivity was performed in G*Power 3.1.9.7 (Faul et al., 2007). Observed effect size d was computed using the standardized test statistic Z from Mann-Whitney U test where d = 2r 1 − r 2 , r = z N and N = total sample size (Kornbrot et al., 2018;Rosenthal, 1994 ). ...
... In addition, Blagrove et al. (2006) argued that people with beliefs in the paranormal tend to connect unrelated events that appear to be repeating patterns through non-physical mechanisms because they connect broad categories of phenomena according to highly inclusive sets of explanations, e.g., the supernatural (Blackmore, 1997;Bressan, 2002). If the membership criteria are vague, or if the threshold for explanation is especially low because the causal mechanism is underspecified, then this increases susceptibility to detecting patterns in meaningless, noisy environments (French & Wilson, 2007;Wiseman & Smith, 2002). What this implies is that the frequent detection of coincidences is indicative of the range of possible pattern repetitions that the mind is willing/ able to observe. ...