Sunday, 8 March 2009

CONTRIBUTOR: Magical Thinking and the Human Brain

Dr. Christine Mohr and Sara Simblett will present their research on "Magical Thinking and the Human Brain", exploring the links between creativity and supernatural belief in associative thinking.

Dr. Mohr obtained a PhD in 2001 for her work on the "neuropsychology of magical belief" at the University of Zurich, Switzerland, and has continued working in this field ever since. After taking on post-doctoral positions in Geneva (Switzerland) and Edmonton (Canada), she joined the Department of Experimental Psychology at the University of Bristol in 2004 where she teaches neuropsychiatry. Strongly guided by her neuropsychological background, she mainly investigates and publishes on the brain correlates of paranormal beliefs and experiences (including out-of-body experiences). Although not primarily concerned with the question of whether the paranormal exists or not (she is a skeptic), her research seeks to understand why paranormal belief is widely distributed in the general population in the face of scant supporting scientific evidence.

Sara Simblett obtained her Masters in Neuropsychology at the University of Bristol this year. She is interested in the neuropsychology of creativity, in particular whether individual differences in personality influence creative thought processes. Sara is currently working on a research project funded by the Nuffield Foundation with Dr. Christine Mohr in the Experimental Psychology department at the University of Bristol investigating if people belonging to different professions display differences in both paranormal belief and the ability to make creative word associations.

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