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Parapsychology – Psychic Criminology

4. The Sceptical Perspective

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About this Lecture


In this lecture, we think about the sceptical perspectives on psychic detection, focusing in particular on: (i) reasons why the police might employ a psychic to assist with an investigation; (ii) the surprising regularity with which North American police forces use psychics to assist with investigations; (iii) an issue with psychic involvement being the number of potential leads it can generate in an investigation, overwhelming a police force; (iv) Reiser and Klyver’s research into the reality of claimed psychic abilities; (v) Wiseman and colleagues’ later exploration of similar claimed abilities; (vi) O’Keeffe and Alison’s findings that psychics were no more successful than students at providing information to solve an already solved crime; (v) some key ways in which a psychic’s prediction or provided information could appear more impressive than it is.


In this course, Professor Ciarán O’Keeffe (Buckinghamshire New University) explores the role of psychic involvement in criminal investigations. In the first lecture, we think about how to define psychic criminology and the involvement of psychics in police investigations. In the second lecture, we think about a history of psychic detection in police investigations. Next, we think about the Williston case as a key example of psychic involvement in a police investigation. In the fourth and final lecture, we think about the sceptical perspective on psychic detection and ways in which psychic predictions can be made to seem more impressive than they are.


Professor Ciarán O’Keeffe is associate professor of education and research and head of the School of Human and Social Sciences at Buckinghamshire New University. Professor O’Keeffe’s research interests include investigative psychology and parapsychology, and has made numerous television and radio appearances alongside an array of celebrities. Some of Professor O’Keeffe’s recent publications include 'Things That Go Bump In The Literature: An Environmental Appraisal of 'Haunted Houses'' (2020) and 'Restorative Justice and Recidivism: Investigating the impact of victim-preference for level of engagement' (2014).

Cite this Lecture

APA style

O'Keeffe, C. (2022, July 25). Parapsychology – Psychic Criminology - The Sceptical Perspective [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

O'Keeffe, C. "Parapsychology – Psychic Criminology – The Sceptical Perspective." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 25 Jul 2022,

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