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ANOMALISTIC PSYCHOLOGY NOTES
ANOMALISTIC PSYCHOLOGY AND PARAPSYCHOLOGY
Anomalistic psychology is the psychology of paranormal beliefs and experiences most of the research
is directed towards finding nonparanormal explanations for ostensibly paranormal experiences.

This differs from parapsychology in that parapsychologists typically are searching for evidence to prove
that paranormal forces actually exist…

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THE GANZFELD PROCEDURE AND ESP
The Ganzfeld procedure is a wellcontrolled lab procedure to investigate ESP (extrasensory perception).
It can be used to test three types of ESP:

Clairvoyance (visually perceiving object outside visual field)
Telepathy (transmission and receiving of thoughts between two people)
Precognition (perceiving events before they take…

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Parker and Brusewitz (2003) state that this is a myth and point out evidence of 6 case studies
of people who score well above chance.
Milton & Wiseman (1999) argued that using the Ganzfeld technique to investigate ESP was
methodologically flawed as replication is practically impossible.
Research is contradictory
Abelson…

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Psychokinesis is `the mind's ability to affect or move an object at a distance by intention alone' (Henry,
2005). There are four types of possible PK phenomenon:

MacroPK ­ affecting by intention objects large enough to see the effect (e.g. spoonbending)
Recurrent spontaneous PK ­ poltergeist activity
MicroPK ­ affecting…

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Coincidence is when two events happen at the same time and we assume (rightly or wrongly) that one
causes the other. This can create a cognitive bias that one event causes the other, which may lead to
superstitious beliefs.

Explanations of coincidence (Watt, 199091)

Hidden cause ­ when a coincidence…

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Difference in the way `belief' is measured ­ in many studies a general scale is used whereas in
Blackmore's study there was simply one question about whether or not the participant believed
in ESP.
There is a link between probability misjudgements and paranormal belief but not a definite
causal relationship…

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Damisch et al. found that the activation of goodluckrelated superstitions led to enhanced
performance on a variety of tasks (such as motor dexterity and memory) and suggest that such
superstitions increase one's selfefficacy.
Animal research lacks generalisability to humans and raises some ethical issues



MAGICAL THINKING
Explanations

Freud believed that…

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PERSONALITY FACTORS
Neuroticism ­ paranormal beliefs may act as a defence mechanism to create a distance from
reality and reduce negative emotional states
Extroverts seek stimulation to increase brain arousal levels and respond better to new stimuli
than introverts they are therefore more open to paranormal experiences so their beliefs…

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NEARDEATH EXPERIENCES

A neardeath experience (NDE) occurs when a person is either in a state of or close to clinical death,
and can also occur after fainting in stressful situations. Some explanations of NDEs include:

Psychological, e.g. viewing it as a spiritual experience
Endorphins (released at times of pain or…

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the brain attempting to reconstruct the visual field using memory and imagination (biological
explanation).
Research

Green studied 400 cases of naturallyoccurring OBEs and found that 20% involved another
body (parasomatic rather than asomatic), 25% were linked to psychological stress and 12%
occurred during sleep.
Alvardo reviewed lab studies where OBEs…

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