Is it possible to reconcile evolutionary theory with paranormal experiences? On the surface, these two areas may seem like polar opposites, and even contradict one another. Indeed, there is little evidence that "psychic ability" is increasing as a selected skill. However, in this presentation, Christine will explore the idea that paranormal experiences can be understood within an evolutionary context. Evolutionary terms will be explored, alongside various features of psychic experiences that indicate that experiences run in families (there may be a genetic component), that they are associated with a personality type that seems to be maintained by "natural selection" (i.e., it is useful to humans!) and also that experiences often seem to be "future oriented", associated with increased survival (not in a spooky sense, but in an everyday sense, to avoid danger and threat!) and often include ones own family members. In this presentation, time will be allowed for Q&A and audience interaction.
Christine Simmonds-Moore, PhD has a PhD on personality and anomalous experiences and has been actively studying anomalous, paranormal and transpersonal experiences for over 10 years. Previous research projects include healing, ganzfeld research, virtual reality and ESP, gender role and paranormal experiences and recently, cognition and attention and paranormal experiences and the overlaps between paranormal experiences and clinical psychology. She has recently become interested in evolution and psychic experiences. Christine has also regularly taught courses on paranormal experiences, both for members of the public (at the Rhine Research Center) and at undergraduate level (at Liverpool Hope University). Christine is currently on grant funded sabbatical from her teaching post at Liverpool Hope University in the UK, and is a visiting Researcher at the Rhine Research Center and the Division of Perceptual Studies at UVA in Charlottesville. During this upcoming year, she will be working on a study which will explore individual differences and the detection of weak and paranormal signals as well as working on two books - one on psychic personality and the other on health, mental health and exceptional human experiences (the outcome of a recent conference that Christine organized in the UK). Christine is a member of the PA, where she sits on one of the grant committees, the SPR, and also a member of the British Psychological Society, highlighting her passion for mainstream psychology and the psychology of anomalous experiences.