Anomalistic psychology

  • Created by: Kerry
  • Created on: 11-04-15 11:53
Why does anomalistic psychology lack falsifiability?
Scientific methods test hypotheses, cant prove hypothesis correct but can prove it wrong (falsify). In parapsychology this isnt possible e.g. ESP. Some suggest phenomena disappears in presence of sceptic (jealous phenomena)
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How does parapsychology lack controlled, replicable research?
Scientific studies = well controlled, replicated to ensure reliable findings. Bem - people sense future events before they occur, evidence from testing recall of words. Ritchie et al (sceptics) - failed to get same results using same procedure/method
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How does parapsychology lack theory?
Scientific research aims to construct theories, most paranormal phenomena dont have theories. E.g. theories of how ESP happens
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How does burden of proof vary in science and parapyschology?
In science - burden of proof is with believer, in parapsychology researchers argue burden of proof lies with sceptics - they must disprove the phenomena
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How does it lack ability to change?
In science - explanations adapted due to hypothesis testing. e.g. no evidence for hypothesis. Parapyschology has been explained in same way despite lack of evidence
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How do other pseudosciences offer support for parapyschology?
Not the only pseudoscience e.g. Freud's hypotheses were unfalsifiable. Also argue that psychology isnt scientific. Means parapsychology shouldnt be singled out as no worse than psychological areas that are accepted as scientific
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How does Mousseau offer support?
Is respectable research -peer reviewed parapsychology with mainstream science journals. Parapsychology better as reported negative findings but scientific didnt. Scientific journals did use more experimental methods and produce more empirical data.
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How does AAAS confirm parapsychology's scientific status?
American Association for Advancement of Science - parapsychological association (PA) allowed to be member, appears to confirm parapsychology's scientific status
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What is the problem with unfounded claims?
People make money from them - psychics that tour the country claiming to contact dead relatives
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What is psychokinesis?
Ability to move or deform inaminite objects through mental processes
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How is expectations a methological issue according to Wiseman and Greening?
p's shown video of fake psychic placing bent key on table, expectation condition - psychic says key is continuing to bend. p's more likely to report being than p's in non-expectation condition. Expectation increases chance of person reporting psi
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How does Hansel suggest there is a lack of control in psychokinesis studies?
Well controlled studies = no support for PK. Ideal controls - 2 researchers, randomised targets and independent recording. Out of 30 PK studies, 13 had postive results but none well controlled. Studies that were well controlled reported negative find
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Why do PK studies lack ecological validity?
Random number generators seen as inappropriate way to study PK by some. Original claims for PK about observable physical changes and RNG's concern unobservable changes. PK may not function at unobservable level
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What did Radin and Nelson suggest about quality of method and outcome?
Meta analysis of 500+ studies, assessed methodological qualities and correlated this with outcome. Found no significant effects, suggests quality doesnt affect ability to obtain significant results
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What did Radin et al find about the file drawer effect?
Conducted a survey, found average number of unreported studies per investigator was 1. File drawer effect unlikely to explain positive findings - suggests results due to the PK phenomena
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What is a negative of this study?
Survey - people could of lied, realistically a lot more unreported studies
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What is probability?
Likelihood of an event occurring
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What are differences between believers and sceptics in probability?
Believers underestimate probability, reject coincidence and attribute causality to events that are random
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What did Blackmore and Troscianko suggest about paranormal experiences?
Paranormal experiences are a cognitive illusion resulting from failure to accurately judge probability
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How does repetitive avoidance test probability judgement?
p' produce a string of random numbers, number of repetitions are counted. True random sequence has repetitions, those that underestimate probability less likely to produce repetitions. Brugger et al - believers avoid producing repetitions more
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How can probability questions test probability judgement?
Asked p's various questions on probability including birthday party paradox, more sceptics got multiple choice questions right than believers. Suggests believers misjudge probability
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How can conjunction fallacy test probability judgment?
Rogers et al - p's had to judge the probability of 2 events co-occurring, believers made more conjunction fallacy's than sceptics i.e. misjudged probability
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What is problem with correlational data?
Research suggests link between probability misjudgment and paranormal beliefs, link doesnt mean probability misjudgements are the cause of paranormal beliefs. There may be an intervening factor such as intelligence
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What did Musch and Ehrenburg find about cognitive ability?
Controlled differences in cognitive ability, found this reduced performance difference between believers and sceptics to 0 on probability tests. Means probability judgement due to cognitive ability and not beliefs
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What was Blackmore's study?
6000 p's identified which of 10 statements where true for them and true for a random person, people tended to estimate higher for others. Was the same for believers and sceptics - suggests probability misjudgement doesnt explain paranormal beliefs
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What are the Ganzfield studies of ESP?
Aim to create situation of sensory deprivation, means subject is better able to use their ESP and recieve telopathic messages.
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What are the conditions of Ganzfield studies?
Isolated in red lit room, 1/2 tennis balls over eyes, earphones in playing white noise. Sender in another room, chooses one of 4 messages to send telopathically (random). Recievers chooses which was sent from 4 images
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Why did Wooffitt suggest the studies are biased by researchers?
Analysed Ganzfield interviews, sceptical researchers less encouraging when asking recievers to elaborate on images. Believer researchers encouraged longer responses, gave more positive results. Research beliefs biased results
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How does the file drawer effect bias the studies?
Many reports on GS are meta analysis - outcomes change if studies are removed. Publication bias called FDE - researchers remove studies with negative outcomes, biases outcome dependent on their belief
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How does lack of control affect the studies?
Poor soundproofing of recievers room - video stimuli can be heard, bias to selecting 1st target image - presentation should be randomised to average out this bias
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How were positive results explained by jealous phemomena and Hyman?
Believer researchers got positive results as jealous phenomena only appears in presence of believers. Hyman argued these significant results are meaningless unless they can be explained
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What is the autoganzfield technique?
Automated computer system selects and displays targets - experimenter is blind and cannot subconsciously influence target selected. Reciever is placed in steel walled and electromagnetically shielded room - soundproof
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What did Milton and Wiseman find?
Reviewed 30 well controlled stdies, concluded they showed no significant effects.
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What did Bem criticise about their review?
Included studies that didnt follow Ganzfield protocol, removed inconsistent studies and added more recent studies. Found a significant results
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What is a superstition?
Beliefs that arent based on reason or knowledge
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What is a type 1 or type 2 error?
Superstitions arise from unjustified causal links. Better to assume causality between unrelated events that co-occur (type 1 error) than occasionally miss a genuine causal link (type 2 error)
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What is the behaviourist explanation of superstition according to Skinner?
Superstitions arise through operant conditioning - accidental stimulus response link. Superstition is maintained through negative reinforcement - repetition of superstition relieves anxiety, reinforces the superstition
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How is illusion of control related to superstitions?
Superstitions develop when people feel a lack of control, superstitious rituals allow people to gain a feeling of control and luck
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What happened when Staddon and Simmelhag repeated Skinners pigeon study?
Observed similar ritual behaviours but found them unrelated to food. Rituals occured at other times and as frequently as before reinforcement. Pigeons behaviour/superstitious behaviour not due to operant conditioning
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What is the difference between personal and cultural superstitions?
Explanations only account for personal superstitions, there are also cultural superstitions that they fail to explain. Suggests indirect learning occurs, explanations are less valid
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What was Damisch et al's study?
Activation of good luck superstitions led to enhanced performance on variety of tasks e.g. memory. Suggests superstitions increase self efficacy
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What is coincidence?
Two things that happen at the same time
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How is illusion of causality related to coincidence?
Illusion of causality is thinking one causes, some situations are more likely than others to have a causal link. People who believe in psi more likely to think causality between unrelated events.
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How is illusion of control related to coincidence?
Explanations for coincidence and assuming there is causality allow people to feel like they have control over events they actually dont.
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What did Ayeroff and Alberson find?
Psi believers are more likely to express an illusion of control when engaged on a psi task
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How is cognitive ability related to coincidence?
Lower cognitive ability in believers - less able to accurately judge if paranormal event has a normal explanation
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What was Gray's study?
Believers have significantly lower academic performance than sceptics and perform less well on syllogistic reasoning tasks
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How may causality be adaptive? How do Kokko and Foster support this?
Causality may lead to more type 1 errors than type 2, this is tolerated as enhances survival. The adaptive advantage will exist as long as occassionally correct response has a large adaptive benefit
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What did Whitson and Galinsky find about illusion of control?
Experimentally manipulated illusion of control - reduced control led to p's detecting patterns where there was none and forming illusionary correlations between unconnected events.
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What did Wiseman and Watt find?
General survey of research - believers and non-believers only differ in syllogistic reasoning and not cognitive ability
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What happens in magical thinking?
Meaning is attached to objects or actions so the objects or actions gain special/magical properties
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What is the psychodynamic explanation according to Freud?
Magical thinking is childlike thought where inner feelings are projected onto the outer world. This behaviour acts as a defence mechanism in adults, regressing helps cope with anxiety
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What is the dual processing theory?
Magical thinking based on childs mode of thought, lacks intuitive. Adult thinking is logical, adults tend to use intuitive thinking in some situations. Means there are two processes,
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How does Piaget/Lindeman and Aarnio explain magical thinking in terms of animism?
In pre-operational stage of childs thought a characteristic of thinking is animism - children ascribe feelings to personal objects. Lindeman and Aarnio relate magical thinking to animism e.g. feng shui
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What is nominal realism according to Piaget?
Another characteristic of pre-operational thought, children have difficulty separating the names of things from the things themselves e.g. Rozin et al's sugar and cyanide study
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How is the law of contagion related to magical thinking?
Things that have been in contact continue to act on each other after physical contact ceases. This means believing a thing from someone special has special powers.
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How do Nemeroff and Rozin relate this to evolution?
Adaptive to avoid touching something that had been in contact with diseased person, leads to belief that pyschological and physical properties can pass between people via the things they touch
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What is a benefit of magical thinking?
People deal more confidently with their environment as they expect good things to happen from beliefs/actions. Magical thinking acts like a placebo - creates positive expectation, this can count for improvements and lead to self fulfilling prophecy
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What is the cost of too much magical thinking? Weinberger and Harrison
Associated with mental disorders, sometimes listed as one of the characteristics of schizophrenia. Also a critical factor in OCD according to Yorulmaz et al
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What is a negative of lack of magical thinking though according to Huston?
Depressed people generally show less magical thinking (depressive realism). Suggests fully accurate assessment of abilities not good for you
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What was Eysencks theory of personality based on?
Neuroticism, extraversion and psychotism
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What is neuroticism?
Tendency to experience negative emotional states rather than positive emotional states.
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How is neuroticism related to paranormal beliefs?
Paranormal beliefs create distance from reality as defence mechanism - reduces negative emotional states.
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What did Williams find in his study of neuroticism?
300 Welsh children, found significant correlation between paranormal beliefs and neuroticism
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What is extraversion?
Characterised by positive emotions and tendency to seek extra stimulation to increase brain arousal levels
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What did Peltzer find about extraversion and paranormal beliefs?
Extraversion associated with paranormal beliefs but neuroticism and psychotism not
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What is a possible explanation for this link?
Extraverts respond better to new stimuli than introverts, therefore are more open to paranormal experiences which increases their beliefs
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What are the 3 characteristics of a more imaginative personality?
Fantasy proneness, Suggestibility and Creative personality
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What is fantasy proneness?
Tendency to become so deeply absorbed in a fantasy that it feels real. Dixon et al found a link between paranormal beliefs and mental imagination (fantasy proneness)
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What is suggestibility?
Inclination to accept the suggestions of other
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What did Hergovich suggest the link was between suggestibility and paranormal beliefs?
Suggestibility linked to paranormal beliefs as some paranormal phenomena are the result of deception. Suggestible people are more prone to accepting phenomena as real
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How is creative personality linked to paranormal beliefs according to Thalbourne?
Meta analysis, found a correlation between creative personality and paranormal beliefs. People who are more creative may be more able to make links between unrelated items
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What did Wiseman and Watt suggest was a weakness of neuroticism link?
Found neuroticism was only linked to paranormal beliefs associated with bad luck - neuroticism doesnt explain all paranormal beliefs. This could be due to the fact that bad luck superstitions could create negative emotional states (neuroticism)
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What is a weakness of no psychotism link according to Francis et al?
Tested 20,000 UK children aged 13-15, found that high psychotism did correlated with unconventional paranormal beliefs e.g. psychokinesis and astrology
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How did Clancy et al support suggestibility link?
Found people that claimed to have experienced an alien abduction were more suggestible, particuarly to false memories. May be that some reports of paranormal experiences are actually false memories
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How did French and Wilson study creativity and false memories?
Gave 100 p's a questionnaire, 4 items were about real events but 1 was fiction. 35% of p's claimed they had seen the fictious footage, they were p's that had scored higher on a test of paranormal beliefs. Creative personality more likely to create
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What is psychic healing?
Treatments used to deal with health problems by purely mental means
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How is therapeutic touch (TT) explained by energy fields?
Explained in terms of the ability to detect a patients aura (energy field) without touching them. Health is restored by re aligning the patients energy field
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How can psychic healing be explained by anxiety reduction?
Contact with sympathetic person has beneficial effects. Social support can reduce stress and anxiety and enhance effectivness of the immune system - this was shown by Kiecolt -Glaser et al
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How can psychic healing be explained by the placebo effect?
Improvement occurs because of placebo effect (belief that effective treatment has been recieved). Only based on cases where psychic healing is successful, this could be due to spontaneous recovery or temporary recovery where relapses arent reported
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What did Rosa et al find about TT?
Tested 21 TT practitioners, had to place hands through hole in a screen, experimenter placed hand 4 inches above their L or R hand. TT practitioners should be able to detect aura - correct only 44% of time, less than chance
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How does Benson et al suggest there is lack of support for the Placebo effect?
Patients recovering from cardiac surgery, 1 group were control, 1 group prayed for, the other group told they were prayed for (placebo). No benefit for placebo group - in fact prayed for group were only group to suffer complications
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Why was Rosa et al's study criticised?
Designed by 9 yr old girl, supporters have also claimed that because experimenter wasnt ill this may have affected their aura which was why it couldnt be detected
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What happened when Long et al repeated Rosa et al's study?
Used ordinary people not TT doctors, found when experimenters hand was 3 inches away results were better than chance. Suggests this was due to ability to detect body heat.
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What are psychic mediums?
Claim to be able to communicate with people in the afterlife or spirit world
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How is it explained by sensitivity to cues?
Many cues help a talented medium produce accurate information - this is called a cold reading. They can pick up information about the sitters tone of voice and their replies to previous statements
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What is the Barnum effect?
Cold reader starts with general statements e.g. A recent loss, this causes sitter to respond. Wiseman and O'Keefe suggest these responses are used later to convince listeners of psychics abilities
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How is mediumship related to fraud?
People resort to complex and convincing strategies as mediumship is a big business, Hines suggested medium could hire accomplice to steal something then ask if the person has lost something
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What was Schwartz et al's study?
5 medims, filmed. Two sitters both unknown to mediums. Over 40 and had experienced deaths recently. Medium couldnt see sitters, only allowed to answer yes or no. Mediums statements were judged in terms of accuracy - 83% and 77%.
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What happened when statements given to undergrads?
36% accurate, suggests mediums performance was well above chance
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What did Roe suggest about general statements?
Many sitters are aware mediums are using general statements but remain convinced. Suggests they have a willingness to be decieved
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How did O'Keefe and Wiseman contradict Schwartz et al?
5 mediums gave readings to 5 sitters. Each sitter read all 25 readings and rated personal relevance. Ratings were lowest for statements written about them, well controlled and conducted by sceptics. Found no evidence of mediumship
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What is another criticism of Schwartz et al?
Used undergrads to determine baseline for cold reading accuracy. Statements were written to apply to older women who had experienced deaths recently, likely they would find the statements low in accuracy
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What is an out of body experience?
Sensation of being awake and seeing your own body from a location outside your physical body
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How are they explained by paranormal explanations?
Something beyond our current understanding is happening. Only possible way to explain how you can physically leave your body is by separating mind and body
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What is the biological explanation according to Blackmore?
Related to sensory disturbance. Normally view the world as if we were behind our eyes, where sensory input breaks down the brain attempts to reconstruct what we are seeing using memory and imagination. This ends up being a birds eye view
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What did Alvarado find about artificial OOBE's?
p's asked to identify target objects out of sight of physical body, in one experiment a p could read a 5 digit number that had been randomly selected from another room. Overall the evidence was weak but there was some striking results.
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What did Blanke et al find about OOBE's?
Induced OOBE accidentally by electrically stimulating the TPJ in a woman who suffered epilepsy in that region. Stimulation of TPJ led to OOBE whereas stimulation of other areas didnt
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How did Alvarado's study not support paranormal explanations?
Didnt find evidence that parasomatic body had moved out of physical body, acknowledged exceptional cases that could be explained by suspect methodology
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What explanation does Blanke et al support?
The biological explanation of sensory disturbance - but suggests only in certain regions of the brain
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What is the problem with artificial and natural OOBE's?
Difficult to study natural OOBE's as occur without predictability and disappear as soon as reported. Most research is on artificial OOBE's which may not be the same
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When do near death experiences occur?
When person is close to death, after fainting or in a stressful situation
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What is the psychological explanation?
People hold paranormal beliefs and this allows them to interpret events in terms of paranormal explanations e.g. seeing NDE as spiritual
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What is the biological explanation according to Carr?
Endorphins released at times of pain or stress lead to feelings of detachment and euphoria
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How are NDE's related to hypoxia (lack of oxygen)?
Hypoxia may create REM intrusions causing a mixed sleep/awake state that could disrupt sensory information.
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What did Nelson et al find about this?
Studied 55 people with NDE's and 55 controls, found that NDE group were more likely to experience REM intrusions
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What was Jansen's ketamine study?
Gave ketamine to patients to observe effects, found it can produce classic symptoms of NDE's
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What is a negative of Jansen's study?
Protection from physical harm - allergic reaction to ketamine etc
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How did van Lommel et al support the spiritual/psychological explanation?
344 cardiac survivors over 8 yrs, those that had experienced NDE's saw it as a life changing, spiritual experience. Those who didnt continued to fear death. Suggests it is spiritial experience but doesnt mean it is caused by spiritial factors
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What did Moody suggest about early studies?
They may have lacked appropriate controls, interviewer bias could have affected data collected. Moody reported NDE's as wonderful experiences but recent research as found many people experience them as frightening
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Card 2


How does parapsychology lack controlled, replicable research?


Scientific studies = well controlled, replicated to ensure reliable findings. Bem - people sense future events before they occur, evidence from testing recall of words. Ritchie et al (sceptics) - failed to get same results using same procedure/method

Card 3


How does parapsychology lack theory?


Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4


How does burden of proof vary in science and parapyschology?


Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5


How does it lack ability to change?


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