Saturday 8th August, 2015
5:00pm to 6:15pm
The belief that individuals may become possessed by a variety of different types of spirits can be found in a wide range of societies, both geographically and historically. It is claimed that possessed individuals are no longer in control of their behaviour and that, in some cases, they must undergo a process of exorcism in order to expel the possessing spirit and regain such control. Some forms of possession, such as speaking in tongues, are viewed as positive experiences. In this talk, Professor Chris French will consider various psychological explanations for the phenomena of possession and exorcism, including those from neurological and socio-cognitive perspectives. Although such beliefs can, in some contexts, provide psychological benefits to the “possessed” individual, the exorcist, and their wider community, in other contexts they can result in tragic outcomes such as the torture and death of innocent children.
Professor of Psychology, Head of the Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit and Editor of the Skeptic bio from Twitter
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