Belief in the paranormal and suggestion in the seance room

Richard Wiseman, E Greening, M Smith

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    39 Citations (Scopus)
    69 Downloads (Pure)


    In Experiment 1, participants took part in a fake seance. An actor suggested that a table was levitating when, in fact, it remained stationary. After the seance, approximately one third of participants incorrectly reported that the table had moved. Results also showed a significant relationship between the reported movement of the table and belief in the paranormal, with a greater percentage of believers than disbelievers, reporting that the table had moved. Experiment 2 varied whether the suggestion was consistent, or inconsistent, with participants' belief in the paranormal. Results again showed that believers were more susceptible to suggestion than disbelievers, but only when the suggestion was consistent with their belief in the paranormal. Approximately one fifth of participants believed that the fake seances contained genuine paranormal phenomena.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)285-297
    Number of pages13
    JournalBritish Journal of Psychology
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2003


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