Richard Wiseman – Paranormality

July 11, 2011

Richard Wiseman is Professor of the Public Understanding of Psychology at the University of Hertfordshire in England. Richard began his career as a professional magician before pursuing a career in psychology, and developing a reputation for research into luck, deception, the paranormal, humor, and the science of self-help.

Richard is a fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry and a Skeptical Inquirer consulting editor. He is the author of many books, including The Luck Factor, Quirkology and 59 Seconds.

In this interview with Karen Stollznow, Richard talks about his latest book, Paranormality: Why We See What Isn’t There. Instead of examining paranormal phenomena, he discusses why it’s more worthwhile to investigate the insights paranormal phenomena tell us about our brains, behavior and beliefs. Richard explains why we’re “wired for weird”, demonstrates how skeptics can perform “miracles”, and reveals the real secrets of the supernatural.

This is point of inquiry from Monday, July 11th, 2011. 

Welcome to Point of inquiry. I’m Karen Stollznow point of inquiry is the radio show and podcast of the Center for Inquiry, a think tank advancing reason, science and secular values in public affairs and to the grassroots. My guest this week is Richard Wiseman, professor of the Public Understanding of psychology at the University of Hertfordshire in England. Richard began his career as a professional magician before pursuing a career in psychology and developing a reputation for research into Lucke deception, the paranormal humor and the science of self-help. Richard is a fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry and the skeptical Inquirer consulting editor. He’s the author of many books, including The Luck Factor Ecology, 59 Seconds, and his latest title, Paranormal Party Why We See What Isn’t There. 

Richard, welcome to Point of Inquiry. 

Pleasure to be here. Thank you for having me. 

Thank you. And your latest book, Personal Malusi, Why We See What Isn’t There claims to explore the new signs of the paranormal and to reveal the real secrets of the paranormal. At first glance, this seems to be a contradiction in terms. So what is the science of the paranormal? 

Well, it’s really summing up my research about 20 years. And the argument there is that, of course, when it comes to things like ghosts and telepathy and precognition and so on, these things don’t actually exist. You know, people are not psychic. However, there is still a psychology of why people believe in them and also what they tell us about our everyday lives and about our beliefs. And that’s what Parren Normality explores. 

And you’ve said that research into Telepathy Fortune-Telling, an out of body experiences, produces remarkable insights into our brains, behavior and beliefs. 

Absolutely. So if you take something like, for example, the notion and run, about 25 percent of people in the population have this experience. The idea of waking up, seeing a figure at the end of the bed, not being able to move, thinking that figure is somehow pressing you down into the bed, that can be a terrifying experience if you don’t understand the psychology of it. Now, the moment you look into the psychology of it, you realize that when we dream, we are paralyzed so we don’t move around and act out our dreams. That as we drift from dream state into waking state, often some of the bizarre dream imagery comes along, along with some of that paralysis, which explains why we see the figure, why we can’t move. Once you understand that, not only do you get an interesting insight into dreaming, but also that whole experience for people becomes a lot less frightening. And then that’s what Paranoid Melati is about. It’s about going backstage with these experiences and seeing what’s actually going on. 

Sounds fascinating. You’ve spent two decades now researching paranormal phenomena, including individual claims. However, in parallel Melati, you say that instead of examining paranormal phenomena, it’s well worthwhile to investigate what paranormal phenomena can tell us about ourselves. So should we bother testing paranormal claims? 

I think we should. You know, and James Randi has the million dollars up as prize money I talk about in the book on the people that do the UK test for that. So that money. And I think you always have to have that that door open. You always have to say, look, there might be something to it. It would be revolutionary if these things did turn out to be true. And you can’t be closed minded to say, look, we’re never going to meet somebody who can actually do these things. And also, the testing is rather fun. So in the book, I talk about testing a medium called a Patricia Parts with with Chris French, another psychologist here in the U.K. And Patricia had about 30 years of experience of doing psychic readings where people would sit down in front of her. She tell them all about themselves and they would leave impressed. And so she came along, said she likes Triva for Roundy’s million. And we came up with a very simple experiment because the problem with going to a psychic is that often you’re doing the work for them. They come up with a fairly general statement and then you work hard to find some meaning in terms of your background in your life. So with Patricia, we had 10 students come in. They sat the opposite end of the room to her. 

They were so cloaked in a black cloak so that she couldn’t get him any information from their body language and so on. And she simply wrote down the readings. Then at the end of the experiments, we showed all 10 students all 10 readings and said, choose the one which seems to suit you. And lo and behold, under those circumstances, no one could choose the right reading. The reading was meant for them. So she failed the test. So it gives us some insight into why she how she does what she claims to be able to do. So the psychology, again, fascinating. But we’re not learning anything about genuine psychic ability because in my opinion, it doesn’t actually exist. 

And you’ve also said in your book, too, that these types of field studies are not the exception. They’re the norm. 

Oh, absolutely. I mean, you can look back on that from two Victorian times when scientists were going around and testing psychics, you know, albeit with rather sort of primitive compared to state methods. But still, you have people being caught out in a lot of that time. It’s about physical mediumship. We’d lower the lights and put people into complete darkness and objects would fly around the room. And that was all really popular until infrared cameras and photography came along when these people were being exposed left, right and center. So as technology comes along, we’ll we’ll find out more about what’s going on in that instance in the dark and find out these people don’t have the powers they claim to have. But still, it’s far. I mean, I’ve done lots of fake sounds is myself. And it’s a it’s a great way of spending time in the dark. 

A tautology, innocence. Absolutely. 

And he recently appeared on the television show DAYBREAK, and you were talking about the fact that psychics aren’t regulated at all. And in just looking about online, it seems that this was misconstrued by many people as you calling for the regulation of psychics. 

Yeah, I heard it would be quite interesting in itself. I think they. I mean, my point was, was fairly straightforward, which was that lots of people go along to a psychic and they are essentially placing a major life decision about finances or their love life or their career or whatever in the hands of somebody else. Now, if you go on to a normal counselor, you think that person has got magical abilities. And so you know that you perhaps wouldn’t place your entire life into their hands. The difference would go into a psychic is they appear to demonstrate these incredible abilities. And they’re because it’s very easy how people would think, well, you know, if they know what the future holds. Of course, I should trust them. And the problem is they’re not giving you the tools to solve the problem. They’re just giving you a solution. You know, good counseling is about saying, well, look, if you look at the situation this particular way, then that might help you. And that’s something you can use again in the future with with bad psychics, as it were. People just keep on coming back again and again. They become very reliant on the psychic. And I say that there’s no regulation there at all. And I think it would be handy. The very minimum is if psychics had to have some sort of counseling qualification. And it’s a big industry if you think of psychic hotlines as well as face to face counseling. It’s a lot of money going through that industry, which I think one of the reasons why, you know, in some quarters the book has really come in for quite a lot of kind of criticism with people not wanting the public to know. The other side of the psychics always want them to think that all this stuff is true would be very difficult to recruit. 

I think we’d be endorsing them in a sense. But it might also disprove the claims. 

Yeah, I mean, you couldn’t regulate whether or not they’ve actually got psychic ability to regulate to some degree, whether or not they good councilors, whether whether they’re giving advice, which is harmful to their colleague, to their clients over time. And some of them are in some of very exploitative. We did an investigation a few years ago into Curser removing psychics, and we sent in undercover actress who said, look, I’m running a terrible time. It’s been a lot of death in my family recently. In fact, the only person who still really is really close to me is my sister. And time and again, these psychics would say, well, it’s your sister. There’s a curse on you. You must tell them. So you come here. I give you a few powers to get curse removed. When she gave them the money. Oh, well, actually, the case is most stronger than we thought it would be, even more money. You know, it’s a very, very expensive racket that that particular one. And people need to know about it. 

Definitely. So, Richard, your book promises to teach us how to perform miracles. So, for example, how to see a ghost, how to unleash the power of our unconscious minds. And as you were discussing, to how to convince strangers we know all about them. So called reading in psychics, it seems as though there’s a fascinating fact in response to every paranormal claim. Would you say that’s the case? 

I think that, you know, there’s a reason why people believe these these things that psychics and mediums and so on are demonstrating something. 

And so that means that people are being fooled or they’re believing something isn’t true. So, yeah, I think there is something interesting there that is predicting the future or contacting the dead or whatever. And what I want to do in the book, like for my other books, I wanted to keep it fairly hearted. I wanted people to also interact with. It isn’t just a book that you read. You take home messages as things you can try with your friends. There’s these things, QR tags in a book. So you if you got smart phone, you can point it at the QR tag instantly see some archived research video or an interview which which backs up what’s in the text. So I wanted it to be as interactive as possible. And part of that, the demos. So, you know, even the suggestibility test, which is a great demo where you try and hold your hands level, even though it’s been suggested to you that the fingers of one hand are attached to a helium balloon, the fingers, the other attaches some heavy bricks, that very, very simple test, which you can do in yourself to friends at parties. It tells you a great deal about yourself in terms of suggestibility. So, yeah, I wanted to make it as interactiveness fun as possible and to say, look, you can reproduce a lot of these these phenomena that you hear about. 

Do you try to give back to believers in a sense, by replacing these erroneous beliefs with interesting facts? 

I would love to think it’s that simple. But I suspect there’s something from the Amazon reviews that the believers will and do hate it. So, yeah, and I mean, none of us likes to read stuff that disconfirms our beliefs. So I suspect the audience for this particular book is. Skeptical, but there is an attempt to reach out. You know, if you say as a kind of bell curve to the majority of people in the middle who haven’t made up their minds one way or another. And it’d be nice to have something which is very accessible for those people who say, oh, yeah, I’ve heard about the paranormal. I never had the experiences myself. I wonder what it’s about. If they go into a bookstore, for the most part, they’ll be bombarded with texts that tell them all this stuff is true. You know, there’s a very strong idea in the book publishing industry that the skeptics are that there’s not room for skeptical book. And so there’s a lot of resistance among publishers to this book. So, yeah, it is interesting. It’s a very interesting challenge to try and put something out there which, you know, is a skeptical text, essentially. 

You’ve said that the human brain is wired for weird. So in that case, how skeptics overcome this? Or have we really overcome this? 

I think that’s that’s a very good question. I don’t think any of us is truly, completely rational. I mean, the book I talk about her unrealistic optimism, you know, this this driving force that we’re all fairly unrealistic when it comes to assessing our positive traits. So you ask people, you know, in terms of safety, are you an above average driver? An 80 something percent of people go, yes, I’m above average driver. You know, you can go to hospital wards where people are there because they have caused a car accident and it’s still 80 percent of them think they’re above average driver. Do you have an above average sense of humor? That’s around about 95 percent to people? Yes, very few people will say, no, I just don’t just don’t get the jokes. So there’s something there which drives us forward. You know, it turns out the people who are depressed actually are quite realistic, an assessment of their own abilities. So in that sense, unrealistic optimism is good for us. Lots of skeptics, you know, say touchwood, cross their fingers and whatever. 

So I think it’s simply the thin end of the wedge. But the difference with the believers is they really believe this stuff. You know, they really think that people can do amazing, magical things. And that does feel to me very different. So I don’t think skeptics are, you know, incredibly rational. 

They’re just more rational. 

So how can others how can believers overcome this tendency then? Is that possible? 

Well, I don’t. I don’t know. I mean, I suppose to some extent, like all these things, it’s going to be so hard wired into the brain. It’s going to be due to childhood experiences. We know that people have had fairly tough upbringings. We’d like to think as a kid that there’s a kind of magical solution to that. There are issues and problems and they’re more likely to believe in the paranormal. We know it, quote, runs in families because obviously, if you’re told by your parents these things exist, then you tend to believe them. So there’s all those sorts of factors in many which are gonna be extremely difficult to undo later in life. So I don’t think the book is about trying to convince that believers. I mean, I’m not certain that that’s that’s really my mission. It’s more science. The skeptics look, you know, here’s a fun book full of lots of facts that you can use when you talk to your friend. And they’re interesting in their own right. And then that big chunk of people, as I say, in the middle, who haven’t made up their minds. And I just thought, well, look, what why should they only be subjected to one side of the argument? 

And you tend to present the research and facts to your audience and then invite them to decide for themselves. So in your experience, what is it that they decide? 

That’s a tricky one, because I guess my most fun experience would be giving talks. And of course, I’m giving the talk there. Most the people in the audience are skeptical. So I’d love to say, you know, by the end of the talk, they they completely disbelieve the paranormal and totally buy my point of view, which might be true, but it may also have been true before I started the talk. So it wouldn’t have been much of an achievement. So so I don’t think that there’s very much room for us to shift our beliefs one way or another. I mean, it’s very rare for a skeptic to become a believer. It’s equally rare for believers to become skeptics. Some have. I mean, I think Sue Blackmore is a colleague of mine, started out as a believer, and then she started to look into it. 

And so the weird experiences she had, particularly without a body, experiences, she started them to become more skeptical. But it’s very rare to go cross that boundary normally. You know you know where you are if you’re if you’re anywhere on that continuum and you stick there. 

And certainly the average believer wouldn’t go through as much research as Susan Blackmore. 

No, no, that’s that’s that’s right. And of course, I things I talk about the book is the fact that we don’t really want to because, you know, we’d like to have our beliefs confirmed. It’s why we watch TV shows and read newspapers that confirm our sort of political views or religious views is always a bit uncomfortable to have that challenged. And we’re we’re very good at avoiding uncomfortable situations. 

How do you deal with people who say to you, look. Read your books and I agree with you. But I’ve had a real paranormal experience. 

I’ve had some of that. I get in talks. And since the book’s come out, I had more emails along those lines. And of course, what everyone does is always say, oh, because I’m a skeptic, too, before launching into how they’ve seen a ghost and can predict the future. And that’s what’s fascinating about people. So I was skeptical until this happened to me. As as experience are interesting, but there’s not very much you can do. I don’t really engage with it because often this is law of large numbers at work. You know, there will be some people that do have a dream and the next day that dream comes true. And for those individuals, that’s going to be an incredibly compelling experience. Of course, it’s hard to take into account, you know, the millions of people dreaming every night, you know. So when you say that to them, it’s not gonna sell much of a counter explanation. So I don’t really engage with it very much unless, you know, it’s the case with some of the ghost photos I get sent. There’s a very obvious explanation, which once you point out is difficult to deny. But for the most part, I tend to delete the emails. 

So you get a lot of those fed up here in my observations. 

Many paranormal claims are becoming more ambiguous. So, for example, ghost experiences are now merely described as a presence in psychics call themselves sensitives, and they have feelings instead of making predictions. So have you found this shifts to be the case in your research? 

To some extent, there has always been shift in that in that the claims and offer that has to do with technology and testing. So as I say, early on in the scientific cycle, research was founded around the turn of the last century. You had lots of people claiming to be upset, to move objects in the dark. The power of their mind or the spirits that infrared comes along and something they can’t do it. So now maybe they can bend a piece of metal or whatever with the power of their mind that they’re magicians. Come along and debunk that. So you see this retreating into. Well, now it is a very, very safe in terms of testing the claims safety stand up on stage. I give a one the one reading because it’s very, very difficult to debunk. And you have to do to actually go through a proper scientific test to find out it’s not real. And of course, lots of them are very reluctant to do that. So I think to some extent it’s shaped by the ability for people to go onto the Web to find out what’s really going on and then respond to that. 

So, yeah, I think if people type in the word psychic and find out that there’s a lot of fraud in the field, then calling yourself sensitive is putting yourself outside of that. See, I think it is going on. 

I think it’s in response to a lot of debunking and a lot of criticism of some of these claims. 

This is like the euphemism treadmill. These terms are titrating and therefore new terms are coming out. 

Yeah. And you get a very strange situation where people say, oh, I’m very, very skeptical about psychics. You know, I’m an intuitive. Oh, what do you do? Well, I just feel it. You know that. So, yeah, I think there is this sort of weird distancing that’s going on and also a weird appeal to science. You know, by putting, what, neuro in front? I’m amazed we haven’t had neuro psychics who, you know, claimed to be able to use the power of the brain or something to be psychic because it’s always been this appealed to science. Was that this the other time criticizing any scientific investigation into their own claims? 

So we will have them now. 

I think that’ll be that’ll be my main contribution to the field is that we will now get neuro psychics. Yes. 

I’m very proud we got neurolinguistic programing into this. It’s like highjacking about the terms, energy and vibration. 

Absolutely. I was thinking about neurolinguistic programing the other day. I think it may actually being be the first attempt to use the word neuro, you know, in a non neuro sense to bring scientific credibility to a field because you see all over the place now, you know, neuromarketing and so on by thinking help Mobeen first in there, which is just I find that fascinating. But the word neuro in front and suddenly people think, oh, it must be science. 

Well, we got credibility. I think the same thing with skeptic. That’s why we have a lot of believers calling themselves skeptics. 

Yes. Yes. 

So, Richard, you’ve reported that one in four adults in Britain claim to have seen a ghost. So is belief in the paranormal on the increase? 

I think that the ghost data showed there was a very slight increase over time, which either means that just more ghosts around or people are just very happy to admit that’s the case because of paranormal programing. And I suspect it’s the latter. I don’t think these beliefs are on the increase and I don’t think it on the decrease. I think they are very kind of bomb proof that they have always been there. They do take a different shape. Forms over the years. But, you know, when you look at the different opinion polls, yes, sometimes belief in ESPN 20 percent, sometimes it’s 30 percent. You know, belief in ghosts, sometimes 30, sometimes 40. It does wobble a little bit. But for the most part, you know, it’s it’s pretty kind, a solid. People have these experiences. They always have done. 

So I suspect there is something hardwired in us. And I think part of that is this idea that if you take seeing ghost, for example, seeing faces is just so important to us on an everyday basis that it’s maybe it’s quite sensible. The brains evolved to see a few faces, the arms there that Miss One actually is. So once in a while, you look at a pattern in the darkness or whatever and be convinced there’s a face there. And that’s really just a successful brain because that that’s a better thing. I have a few of those. The message, genuine tiger in the bushes. So so I think these things probably are pretty much hardwired. 

And I certainly think we’re seeing more examples of this with the with the Internet nowadays. Examples of PARDOEL, the Virgin Mary cheese sandwiches and things like that. They seem to have seemed to have a way to be able to share these with other people more so. 

Yeah. I mean, I think I think the Web has really impacted on all of this. And people can share their experiences. And and as you say, anything is image based like that. You know, seeing that face of Jesus in a Kit Kat or whatever is. Those things tend to whiz around. I’ve lost grace. We never get bored with them. That was fantastic. You know that next week you’ll be Jesus in another chocolate bar. We just as interesting as the Kit Kat image. So I’m a big fan of those those sorts of images. They’d make me laugh every single time. 

I think some of them are fantastic and some are quite convincing. 

Yeah, that’s right. Yes. Yeah. Why do you think that Jesus had Hatice appeared in a Kit Kat? I had a colleague at work once who went to the toilets and then came rushing into my room saying that the way he’d urinated on the toilet paper look like the face of Jesus. And was I interested in going to investigate it? I passed on that one. 

The one you passed? 

Absolutely. Absolutely, yes. I thought God might move in mysterious ways, but. But not that mysterious. 

And you’ve also said that these are a lot of these experiences, paranormal experiences, that people have seemed to be based in more what they’ve seen on television rather than their actual belief in the paranormal. Can you expand on that a little bit? 

Well, I mean, I think in fact, I think TV is very similar to book publishing in that, you know, if you say we’ve got a ghost tonight, lots of people tune in. And so certainly in the U.K., I’m sure in the US, there’s just a lot of these ghost hunting programs which involves running around infrared camera or screaming. And it’s fairly cheap programing to make. And you stick the stuff out there and it just means that lots of people then interpret their odd experiences in the frame of of a ghost, you know? And why wouldn’t you if you weren’t being told the other side of the story, you’re told who actually goes to exist. And then that’s to say you wake up in the middle of the night and feeling the sense of presence. Why wouldn’t you say, well, maybe that that was a ghost. So I know this mother research showing that the more of that sort of programing, which is on and watched, that the more likely it is that people will report ghostly experiences. I think the real challenge for skepticism is to fight that tonight. I think he’s doing very well on the Internet. It’s not doing so well in insulin is more traditional channels like on on mainstream television and book publishing, which is to say why I put out Parran normality. But yes, I think popular culture, you know, has always played a role in shaping how people decide what they’ve just experienced. 

And you’ve been highly successful at bridging the gap between skeptics and leaders. So what advice do you have the skeptics to become more effective at disseminating critical thinking, especially in these areas where we haven’t had too much success? 

I think is very tricky. I think that for me, I didn’t think I’d really try and reach out to the hardcore believers. I always just try and reach those groups of people that haven’t sided one way or another. I think for them it has to be fun. I mean, I think that all the different books have got some sense of fun to them, but also that there’s got to be an emotional messaging. There’s gotta be something that they are going to be getting out of it. So with the Luck Factor book and 59 seconds as well, the idea was that by by learning, you know what the real secrets of luck, as it were, why some people see Lucky and others or why some people are more motivated or happy or whatever, then you can also be that that thing, apparently MALUSI, that’s harder to do. 

And so the idea is by learning about these things, you learn about yourself. And there’s a few stunts and demos you can perform for others. But I think that’s very, very important that we forget that we are essentially emotional creatures and so that. Message has to have emotional appeal. 

I think that that’s the real challenge, the skepticism and the greed, and you state that for some people, a loss of superstition leads to a boring world. So why is it that some people seem to need a belief in the supernatural? 

I think that there’s all sorts of reasons why it has got emotional appeal. Obviously feel ill. The notion that someone can instantly cure you is obvious. You lost a loved one. The idea that you communicate with them. You know, if you’re worried about uncertainty, as many people are about the future, then the idea of a psychic astrologer telling you actually these are the things that going to happen is very reassuring. So I don’t think there’s any sort of general appeal of the supernatural. It’s all more to do with the more detailed beliefs that people have and the fact that that that they then have some sort of appeal for those people. And, of course, that gives skeptics a problem, because if you go in and say, well, you know you know that that media who makes you feel good because, you know, allows you to talk to your dead husband, well, they’re a fraud. And you know, that psychic over there who makes you feel very warm about the future? Well, that’s what cold reading. You know, surprise, surprise. People are not going to listen to our message. So I think it’s very important to understand that the sort of emotional utility, as it were, of what’s happening in Detroit, that overcoming this is the last barrier to skepticism in society. No, I think I mean, skepticism does seem to be doing very well at the moment. So it’s very big meetings. You know, right across the world on the Internet, it seems to be very successful. I can remember the days when, you know, you’d have a big international meeting of skeptics and there were 10 of us in the room. On a good day. So I think the Internet played a key role with bringing skepticism. Now skeptics together and promoting it. So actually, I’m I’m pretty optimistic about the future. But then I think if one is going to do outreach and really get beyond preaching to the choir, as it were, we just need to think about how to to message something in a very emotional way and persuade, you know, the powers that be, as it were, you know, the broadcasters and the publishers that yes, indeed, there really is an audience for this stuff. 

And so how do we achieve that? 

Well, by showing there is an audience, this stuff, I think it is it’s tricky. I mean, often those people don’t want to take risks because there’s big chunks of money involved in doing that. But certainly Immaculee speak in the U.K. that there’s science books over here that have done extremely well. And I think as soon as you see that happening, then you will see a sea change. I mean, the God Delusion is an excellent example. You know, who would have thought a book on the atheist point of view would be such a huge bestseller? Yes, it is. And so now you see all these other books coming out on the same topic. So it’s I think is a healthy time to be a to be a skeptic. 

Hopefully personal morality will be a gateway to skepticism. 

I hope so. I mean, yeah, I mean, it’s certainly it’s a gentle introduction to skepticism, hopefully from one as well. And so, who knows, maybe people read it and then start to get more involved. The skeptical movement. That’ll be lovely. 

Richard, I always like to ask my guests for a skeptical sound bite nugget of wisdom from their specific area of skepticism. So what’s your skeptical sound bite from point of inquiry listeners? 

A skeptical sound bite. I confess, I think I would say what? What. Whatever you’re doing, have fun. Do it. They’re doing it because I think a lot of skepticism can be quite sort of po faced, an unserious. And there is the Martin Gardner quote, which I’m now going to mangle, I’m sure, which is, as it says, was a horse laugh is worth a thousand arguments or whatever the quote is that actually, you know, people won’t be attracted to whatever it is we’re doing unless we’re having fun doing it. So I think some of our successful projects are because people bring a passion and energy to it because they’re just enjoying what they’re doing. Is that straightforward? So, yeah, whatever it is that people want to do, I’d say find your passion, find what makes it the most fun for you and and really follow that. 

That’s wonderful advice. And I’d like to ask you as well, with all of the areas, you’ve got a reputation for research into lunk and humor and all of these varied areas, do you find that the skepticism in each of these areas are all of a type? 

Yes. I mean, it’s said luck factors, I say, was about the sort of science of lucky lives. Quickly, was this a straight pro psychology book, albeit in some weird areas, 59 seconds of science, of self-help, paranoia, malice, very obvious. The next one, which come, unfortunately, talk about it as follows in the same sort of opera. So, yeah, I mean, it’s very much if you’re so into science and basically into psychology and you want to make a difference and make a change in your life, then then hopefully people will will come to these these books. So it’s not straight skepticism as we know it’s. It’s a little bit broader than that, but I hope it’s still as interesting as all the other work habits in the movement. 

Well, congratulations on your new book, and that’s going to be available through our Point of inquiry Web site as well. So, Richard, thank you so much. It was a pleasure to speak with you. 

A pleasure. Thank you very much for having me on the show. 

So in case you have not heard, the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry is holding a conference Psychon on October 27 through the 30th in New Orleans. That’s Halloween weekend. It’s going to feature an amazing speaker list. Bill Nye, Harriet Hall, Lawrence Krauss, Paul Offit, James Randi, Phil play, Rebecca Watson, Barbara Forrest, as well as some really fantastic events, including a Mardi Gras parade and costume party and a Whodini sounds. All of that and more on the boundary of the bayou. It will be a conference like no other. So go to the Web site Sci. Conference dot org, that CSI conference dot org and secure your spot today. 

Thank you for listening to this episode of Point of Inquiry. You can find out more about Richard at Richard Wiseman dot com and locate his books from the point of inquiry home page. To participate in the online conversation about this show, please join our discussion forum at point of inquiry dot org. The views expressed on point of inquiry aren’t necessarily the views of the Center for Inquiry, nor its affiliated organizations. Questions and comments on today’s show can be sent to feedback at point of inquiry dot org. 

Point of inquiry is produced by Adam Isaac in Elmhurst, New York. And our music is composed by Emmy Award winning Michael Waylan. Today’s show also features contributions from Debbie Goddard. I’m your host, Karen Stollznow. 

Karen Stollznow