I am a founding member of the University of Edinburgh's Koestler Parapsychology Unit. I was recruited as a Research Assistant by the then Koestler Professor, Robert Morris, in 1986, and in 1993 obtained my PhD, on a comparison of extrasensory perception and subliminal perception. I then became a Research Fellow at the KPU, and continued there until 2006, when I was appointed Senior Lecturer in Psychology at Edinburgh University, following the sad death of Bob Morris in 2004. This is the position I currently hold. The KPU continues as a research group in the Psychology Dept at Edinburgh University, and you can see my KPU activities below.
Research interests. My first degree is in Psychology and I have always been interested in overlaps between psychology and parapsychology, including the psychology of paranormal belief and experience, and experimenter effects in parapsychology. In 2011 I was awarded the Perrott Warrick Senior Researcher position, and since then have been engaged in a programme of research into precognitive dream experiences. This includes looking at the psi hypothesis (e.g., conducting formal tests of whether individuals can dream about unpredictable future events) and also examining psychological factors that may contribute to precognitive dream experiences (e.g., selective recall).
Other activities. I teach parapsychology to honours Psychology students, supervise PhD students, and currently also hold a fairly demanding (but rewarding!) admin position at my School. I am also a member of the scientific board of the Bial Foundation, and on the organising committee for the Bial Foundation Symposia. I am a past-president of the PA, and former board member, and have been a member of the PA program committee for longer than I care to remember. For the period that I hold the Perrott-Warrick scholarship and the admin role at my School, I have reduced my PA Board activities. However, I continue as a PA International Liaison officer for the UK, and as a program committee member for the annual conference.
Public outreach. I am eager to provide the public with information about parapsychology, and do this through the online course that I developed in 2008, through media interviews, and through numerous public talks at science festivals and the like. I also maintain the KPU website, and try to pass on parapsychology-related news via Twitter @KPUNews. You can find out more about my online course at the KPU website.
Some recent publications.
Book: H. J. Irwin & C. Watt (2007). An Introduction to Parapsychology 5th Edition. Jefferson, NC: McFarland.
Journal articles: Mobbs, D. & Watt, C. (2011). There is nothing paranormal about near-death experiences: how neuroscience can explain seeing bright lights, meeting the dead, or being convinced you are one of them. Trends in Cognitive Science, 15, 447-506.
Easter, A., & Watt, C. (2011). It’s good to know: How treatment knowledge and belief affect the outcome of distance healing intentionality for arthritis sufferers. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 71, 86-89.
Watt, C., & Wiseman, R. (2010) ‘Twitter’ as a new research tool: Proof of principle with a mass participation test of remote viewing. European Journal of Parapsychology, 25, 89-100.
Rabeyron, T. & Watt, C. (2010). Paranormal experiences, mental health and mental boundaries, and psi. Personality and Individual Differences, 48, 487-492.
Watt, C., Watson, S., & Wilson, L. (2007). Cognitive and psychological mediators of anxiety: Evidence from a study of paranormal belief and perceived childhood control. Personality and Individual Differences, 42, 335-343.