Spooks and spoofs: psychologists and psychical research in the inter-war years

1:00 pm – 2:00 pm on Friday 26 October 2012
at The Royal Society, London

History of science lecture by Professor Elizabeth Valentine.

Event details:
Elizabeth Valentine is Emeritus Professor of Psychology at Royal Holloway, University of London.

Several physicist fellows of the Royal Society were interested in psychical research in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Between the wars, William McDougall FRS and other senior academic psychologists became involved with amateur psychical researcher and author Harry Price. They attended séances at his laboratory and were members of his University of London Council for Psychical Investigation. Why did reputable psychologists and the University of London cooperate with someone of dubious integrity who lacked scientific credentials? One reason for their mutual attraction may have been their common engagement in a delicate balancing act between courting popular appeal and asserting scientific expertise and authority.

Attending this event:
This event is free to attend and open to all. No tickets are required. Doors open at 12:30pm and seats will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis.

Recorded audio will be available on this page a few days afterwards.

Enquiries: Contact the events team.