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ALL IN THE MIND
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All in the Mind
Wednesday 16:30-17:00
Exploring the limits and potential of the mind
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This week  
Tuesday 17 July 2007
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Professor Raj Persaud
Dr Raj Persaud hears the findings of 20 years of academic parapsychology research; the latest study on laughter and how advances in brain research may change the way wars are fought in the future.
Programme details
PARAPSYCHOLOGY
Fifty percent of the population holds some form of paranormal belief.  Parapsychology research is booming and there are UK university departments studying phenomena such as psychics, séances, and telepathy.  Much of the growth of parapsychology in the UK might be owed to the late Bob Morris, who in 1985 became the inaugural holder of The Koestler Chair of Psychology in Edinburgh University.

Dr Raj Persaud discusses the latest developments in the world of parapsychology with Dr Caroline Watt, Senior Lecturer in Psychology and a founder member of the Koestler Parapsychology Unit at Edinburgh University; and Professor Christopher French, Head of the Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit at Goldsmiths College, University of London.

LAUGHTER
The psychological and scientific study of laughter has recently taken a turn for the serious.  Evolutionary theory argues that any behaviour as universal as laughter must have some solemn survival purpose.  And laughter has such profound effects on people’s brain and mind that it is now being seriously deployed to assist those suffering bereavement, having surgery, and even fertility treatment.  Could further understanding of the function laughter served become a weapon in our armoury of persuasion and manipulation of others?

A recent study by the Universities of Kent and Liverpool revealed that laughter acts as a social lubricant and increases altruism towards strangers.  Mark Van Vugt, Professor of Social Psychology and a member for the University of Kent’s Centre for the Study of Group Processes explains how this theory was tested.

MIND WARS
The United States defence agencies are looking at ways of improving soldiers’ endurance and psychological performance as well as ways of using brain power to remotely control machines, such as robots or aircraft.

Professor Jonathan Moreno, Director of the Center for Biomedical Ethics at the University of Virginia, talks about his latest book Mind WarsBrain Research and National Defense - which reveals how advances in brain research may change the way wars are fought in the future, and how developments in neuroscience could be employed to control soldiers, or maybe even the enemy.
Additional information
Additional information:

Bob Morris
 (09 July 1942 – 12 August 2004)
Parapsychologist; Professor at the University of Edinburgh and first holder of the Koestler Chair of Parapsychology at the University

Dr Caroline Watt, Senior Lecturer in Psychology and a founder member of the Koestler Unit at Edinburgh University

Professor Christopher French, Head of the Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit at Goldsmiths College, University of London

Mark Van Vugt, Professor of Social Psychology and a member for Kent’s Centre for the Study of Group Processes
Department of Psychology, Keynes College, The University of Kent at Canterbury, Canterbury Kent CT2 7NP
Tel: 01227 827468

Laughter as social lubricant: A biosocial hypothesis about the pro-social functions of laughter and humour
Van Vugt, M., Hardy, C., Stow, J., & Dunbar, R.

Professor Jonathan D. Moreno, Director of the Center for Biomedical Ethics at the University of Virginia

Mind WarsBrain Research and National Defense
Publisher - the Dana Press.
ISBN-10: 1932594167
ISBN-13: 978-1932594164
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