CFI EVENT with Chris French, Richard Wiseman, Caroline Watt, Carla McKinnon

CFI UK Day Conference – Night School: The life-changing science of sleep

Centre for Inquiry UK, the British Humanist Association and the Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit present present: Sleep is a major part of our lives that we barely understand - and as a result, lots of cultures have developed unique beliefs and ideas about sleep and dreams. Why do some people claim to experience mysterious 'visitations' and presences during the night, such as aliens, or demons? Why do people think dreams can predict the future? What, if anything, do our dreams mean? How can we decode them? And can you really learn a language by playing lessons while you sleep? This will be a fascinating day of talks by some of the world's leading researchers.
10.30-11.00 - Registration
11.00-12.00 - Devil in the room:
The art and science of sleep paralysis. Sleep paralysis is a fairly common anomalous experience that occurs between sleep and wakefulness and consists, at a minimum, of a period of temporary paralysis. In some cases, however, it is accompanied by a range of other symptoms, including a strong sense of presence, terrifying hallucinations, difficulty breathing, and intense fear. Not surprisingly, it has inspired artists of all kinds. Prof Chris French & Carla MacKinnon will consider both the art and the science of sleep paralysis including a screening of Carla’s award-winning film, The Devil in the Room.
12.15-13.15 - In the eye of the beholder?
The psychology of precognitive dream experiences. Have you ever had a dream that came true? Prophetic dreams are amongst the most frequently reported paranormal experiences. Dr Caroline Watt will discuss how seemingly ordinary processes of unconscious cognition, selective memory, and creative thinking can lead to these extraordinary experiences.
13.15-14.15 - Lunch
14.15-15.15 - Wake up to the power of sleep:
Prof Richard Wiseman will explore the power of the sleeping mind, including the truth about sleep learning, how you can get the perfect night’s sleep, how to decode your dreams, and how to improve your life without moving a muscle.
Speaker Biographies
Dr Caroline Watt has taught and researched parapsychology at Edinburgh University Koestler Parapsychology Unit for almost thirty years. A former President of the Parapsychological Association, Caroline has over one hundred research publications, including the forthcoming Parapsychology: A Beginners Guide, and she teaches a popular online parapsychology course.
Professor Chris French is Head of the Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit, Goldsmiths, University of London. He frequently appears on radio and television casting a sceptical eye over paranormal and related claims. He writes for the Guardian and The Skeptic magazine. His most recent book is Anomalistic Psychology: Exploring Paranormal Belief and Experience.
Carla MacKinnon is a filmmaker and an interdisciplinary producer. She was creator of the Wellcome-Trust-supported Sleep Paralysis Project, a cross-platform project aiming to raise awareness of the phenomenon of sleep paralysis while also exploring it creatively through the production of a short docu-horror film, Devil In The Room, in 2013. The film has since screened at more than 40 festivals events and conferences. Website:
Professor Richard Wiseman holds Britains only Professorship in the Public Understanding of Psychology at the University of Hertfordshire and has written several best-selling books, including 59 Seconds and Quirkology. His latest book, Night School, explores the science of sleep and dreaming.
November 7th, 2015 9:30 AM
LG02 - Professor Stuart Hall Building
Goldsmiths University
London, SE14 6NW
United Kingdom