Northampton academic named new president of leading psychical research body

News Page 3rd September 2018

A University of Northampton academic and parapsychology expert has today been named as the new head of an influential research body.

Professor Chris Roe’s appointment as President of the Society for Psychical Research (SPR) follows an earlier election held at the SPR’s council meeting.

Professor Roe’s duties as President will include ceremonial functions and leading meetings of the society and acting as an ambassador for the society and for psychical research more generally.

He will also officially host the SPR’s annual conference in September and give a formal address to be held at the headquarters of the Royal Society in London.

Roe, Professor of Psychology at the University of Northampton, said: “It is a great honour to follow in the footsteps of such eminent thinkers and researchers, particularly at a time when reported levels of paranormal belief and experience among the general public are high.

“The SPR fulfils an important role in ensuring there is balanced, evidence-based information to help people reflect on and make sense of their psychical experiences.

“Education is an important part of the SPR’s mission and, moving forward, we’re looking at making our academic lectures available online for students.”

Dr Roe is also a Research centre lead at University of Northampton and teaches the popular Parapsychology module at the University.

His research interests include the psychology of paranormal belief as well as testing claims for extrasensory perception and psychokinesis.

Peter Johnson, Secretary for the Society for Psychical Research, said: “Although it is sad to bid farewell to the outgoing incumbent, it is always with a warm welcome that we announce a new President.

With established academic credentials and an active focus on growing the discipline of parapsychology, Prof. Roe’s presidency of the SPR can only lead to good things.”

The SPR was founded in 1882 by a group of Cambridge scholars to scientifically examine peoples’ psychic experiences, including telepathy, clairvoyance, and ‘life after death’.

Previous presidents include Nobel Laureates Charles Richet, Henri Bergson and John William Strutt, Prime Minster Arthur Balfour as well as William James the founder of experimental psychology.

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