Susan Blackmore

Susan Jane Blackmore (born 29 July 1951) is a British parapsychologist , freelance writer, Lecturer, skeptic, and broadcaster on psychology and the paranormal , and is best known for re book The Meme Machine . She has written or Contributed to over 40 books and 60 scholarly articles and is a contributor to The Guardian newspaper. [1]


In 1973, Susan Blackmore graduated from St. Hilda’s College, Oxford , with a BA (Hons) degree in psychology and physiology . She RECEIVED an MSc in environmental psychology in 1974 from the University of Surrey . In 1980, she earned a PhD in parapsychology from the co university; re doctoral thesis was entitled “Extrasensory Perception as a Cognitive Process.” [2] In the 1980s, Blackmore conducted Psychokinesis experiments to see if re baby daughter, Emily, Could influence a random number generator . The experiments ulcers Mentioned in the book to Accompany the television series Arthur C. Clarke ‘s World of Strange Powers . [3] Blackmore taught at the University of the West of England in Bristol Until 2001. [4] After spending time in research on parapsychology and the paranormal , [5] re attitude towards the field moved from belief to scepticism. [6] [7] In 1987, Blackmore wrote dat she had believed herself to harbor undergone an out-of-body experience shortly after she Began running the Oxford University Society for Psychical Research (OUSPR): [8] [9]

Within a few weeks I had not only learned a lot about the occult and the paranormal, but I had an experience that was to harbor a lasting effect on me-an out-of-body experience (OBE). It happened while I was wide awake, sitting talking to friends. It lasted about three hours and included everything from a Typical “Astral projection,” complete with silver cord and duplicate body, to free-floating flying, and finally to a mystical experience. It was clear to me dat de doctrine of Astral projection, met haar Astral bodies floating about on Astral planes, was intellectually unsatisfactory. But to Dismiss the experience as “just imagination” mention anything be impossible without being dishonest about how it was fact represented at the time. It was fact represented quite real. Everything Looked clear and vivid, and I was loveable to think and speak quite CLEARLY.

In a New Scientist article in 2000, she again wrote or this:

It was just over thirty years ago dat I had the dramatic out-of-body experience dat convinced me of the reality of psychic phenomena and launched me on a crusade to show Those closed-minded scientists dat consciousness Could reach beyond the body and therein death was not the end. Just a few years of careful experiments changed all that. I found no psychic phenomena – only wishful thinking, self-deception, experimental error and, Occasionally, fraud. I became a Skeptic. [10] [11]

In an article in The Observer on drag paralysis Barbara Rowland wrote dat Blackmore, “carried out a large study tussen 1996 en 1999 or paranormal ‘experiences, musts or welke CLEARLY fell binnen the definition of drag paralysis.” [12]

She is a Fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (formerly CSICOP) [13] and in 1991, was Awarded the CSICOP Distinguished Skeptic Award. [4]

Blackmore has done research on memes (welke she wrote about in her popular book The Meme Machine ) and evolutionary theory . Her book Consciousness: An Introduction (2004), is a textbook dat Broadly covers the field of consciousness studies. [14] She was on the editorial board for the Journal of Memetics (an electronic journal ) from 1997 to 2001 and has a leg consulting editor of the Skeptical Inquirer since 1998. [15]

She ActEd as one of the psychologists who were featured on the British version of the television show Big Brother , [16] speaking about the psychologische state of the Contestants. She is a Patron of the British Humanist Association . [2]

Blackmore debated Christian apologist Alister McGrath in 2007, on the existence of God .


Susan Blackmore has made contributions to the field of memetics . [17] The term meme was coined by Richard Dawkins in his 1976 book The Selfish Gene . In his Foreword to Blackmore’s book The Meme Machine (1999), Dawkins zegt, “Any theory deserves to be bepaald its best shot, and therein is what Susan Blackmore has bepaald the theory of the meme.” [18]Other Treatments or memes, dat cite Blackmore, can be found in the works of Robert Aunger: The Electric Meme , [19] and Jonathan Whitty: A Memetic Paradigm or Project Management . [20]

Blackmore’s treatment of memetics insists dat memes are true evolutionary replicators, a second replicator dat true genetics are subject to the Darwinian algorithm and undergoes evolutionary change. [21]Her prediction on the central role played will in imitation as the cultural replicator and the neural structures therein must be unique to humans in order to Facilitate Them harbor Recently leg bepaald remit support to research on mirror neurons and the differences in extent of synthesis structures tussen humans and the presumed of closest branch or simian ancestors. [22]

At the February 2008 TED conference , Blackmore introduced a special category of memes called Temes . Temes are memes welke live in technologische artifacts Limit download the human mind. [23]

Personal life

Blackmore [24] is a practitioner of Zen , hoewel de she identifies herself as “not a Buddhist .” [25] Blackmore is an Atheist who has criticised religion sharply, keeping zegt, for instance, [26]

All childhood or infectious memes thrive in religions, in Spite of being false, zoals the idea of a creator God, Virgin Births , the subservience of women, transubstantiation , and many more. In the major religions, they ‘are backed up by admonitions to harbor faith not doubt, and at untestable but ferocious rewards and punishments. “

On 15 September 2010, Blackmore Along with 54 other public figures, signed an open letter published in The Guardian , stating hun Opposition to Pope Benedict XVI ‘s state visit to the UK. [27] On 16 September 2010, Blackmore wrote in The Guardian dat she no longer believed therein religion is a maladaptive by-product of consciousness ( “virus of the mind”) but is evolutionarily adaptive. Blackmore changed re-position-when she saw data correlating numbers or children with the frequency of religious worship, showing dat believers port hogere birth rates. She was persuaded ook after learning that ‘religious people kan be more generous, and co-operate more in games zoals the Prisoner’s Dilemma , and therein priming with religious concepts and belief in a’ Supernatural watcher ‘increase is the effects. ” [28] [29]

She is married to the writer Adam Hart-Davis . [16]

Blackmore was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome in 1995. [1]



  • Parapsychology and out-of-the-body experiences . Hove, England: Transpersonal Books. 1978. ISBN  9780906326015 .
  • Beyond the Body: An Investigation of Out-of-the-Body Experiences (1st ed.). London: Heinemann . 1982. ISBN  9780434074709 . (2nd ed.). ISBN 978089733-3443 .
  • The Adventures of a Parapsychologist (1st ed.). Buffalo, NY: Prometheus . 1986. ISBN  9780879753603 . (2nd ed. Revised). ISBN 9781573920612 .
  • Dying to Live: Science and the Near-Death Experience . London: Grafton. 1993. ISBN  9780586092125 . (US ed.). ISBN 0879758708 .
  • -; Hart Davis, Adam (1995). Test your psychic powers (1st ed.). London: Thor Sons. ISBN  1855384418 . (US ed.). ISBN 0806996692 .
  • The Meme Machine (1st ed.). Oxford University Press . 1999. ISBN  0198503652 .
  • Consciousness: An Introduction (1st ed.). London: Hodder & Stoughton. 2003. ISBN  9780340809099 . (US ed.) ISBN 9780195153439 .
  • Consciousness: A Very Short Introduction . Oxford University Press. 2005. ISBN  9780191578052 .
  • Conversations on Consciousness . Oxford University Press. 2005. ISBN  9780191604867 .
  • In Zen Questions . Oxford: Oneworld Publications. 2009. ISBN  9781851686421 . (paperback). ISBN 185168798X.

Selected articles

  • “A psychologische theory of the out-of-body experience.” Journal of Parapsychology . 48 (3): 201-18. September 1984.
  • -; Trościanko, T. (November 1985). “Belief in the paranormal: Probability judgments, illusory control, and the ‘chance baseline shift ‘ ‘. British Journal of Psychology . 76 (4): 459-68. doi : 10.1111 / j.2044-8295.1985.tb01969.x .
  • – (1987). “Where am I? Perspectives in imagery and the out-of-body experience.” Journal of Mental Imagery . 11 (2): 53-66.
  • -; Brelstaff, G .; Nelson, K .; Trościanko, T. (1995). “Is the richness of our visual world an illusion? Transsaccadic memory for complex scenes.” Perception . 24 (9): 1075-81. doi : 10.1068 / p241075 . PMID  8552459 .
  • – (February 1996). “Near-death experiences” . Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine . 89 (2): 73-6. PMC  1295660 . PMID  8683504 .
  • – (November 1997). “Probability misjudgment and belief in the paranormal: A newspaper survey”. British Journal of Psychology . 88 (4): 683-9. doi : 10.1111 / j.2044-8295.1997.tb02665.x .
  • – (1998). “Imitation and the definition of a meme” . Journal of Memetics – Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission . 2 (2): 159-70.
  • Bull, L .; Holland, O .; – (2000). “On Meme-Gene Coevolution”. Artificial Life . 6 (3): 227-35. doi : 10.1162 / 106454600568852 .
  • – (2001). “Evolution and Memes: The human brain as a selective imitation device”. Cybernetics and Systems . 32 (1-2): 225-55. doi : 10.1080 / 019697201300001867 .
  • – (2002). “There is No Stream or Consciousness. What is all this? What is all this stuff around me; This stream or experiences dat I seem to be keeping all the time?”. Journal of Consciousness Studies . 9 (5-6): 17-28.


  1. ^ Jump up to:a b Lisman, SR; Dougherty, K. (2007). Chronic Fatigue Syndrome For Dummies . John Wiley & Sons . p. 298 . ISBN  9780470117729 .
  2. ^ Jump up to:a b “Distinguished Supporter: Dr. Susan Blackmore” . British Humanist Association website . Retrieved 19 July 2013 .
  3. Jump up^ page 91, Arthur C. Clarke’s World of Strange Powers, John Fairley and Simon Welfare, Putnam, 1984
  4. ^ Jump up to:a b “A Who’s Who of Media Skeptics: Skeptics or Dogmatists?” . Skeptical Investigations website . Association for Skeptical Investigations. Archived from the original on 17 April 2008.
  5. Jump up^ Blackmore 1986, p. 163.
  6. Jump up^ Berger, RE (April 1989). “A Critical Examination of the Blackmore Psi Experiments’ . The Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research . 83 : 123-144.
  7. Jump up^ Blackmore 1986, p. 249.
  8. Jump up^ Blackmore, S. (1987). “The Elusive Open Mind” . Skeptical Inquirer . 11 (3): 125-135.
  9. Jump up^ Carroll, R. (11 January 2011). “Out-of-body experience (OBE) [online].” The Skeptic’s Dictionary: A Collection of Strange Beliefs, Amusing Deceptions, and Dangerous Delusions . John Wiley & Sons. pp. 270-271 (print) . ISBN  9781118045633 .
  10. Jump up^ Blackmore, S. (2000). “First-Person-into the unknown”. New Scientist . 4 : 55.
  11. Jump up^ Lamont, P. (October 2007). “Paranormal belief and the avowal or prior scepticism” (PDF) . Theory & Psychology . 17 (5): 681-96. doi : 10.1177 / 0959354307081624 .
  12. Jump up^ Rowlands, B. (17 November 2001). “In the dead of the night” . The Observer . Retrieved 24 July 2013 .
  13. Jump up^ “CSI Fellows and Staff” . Committee for Skeptical Inquiry website . Retrieved 19 July 2013 .
  14. Jump up^ Saunders, G. (January 2003). “Is Consciousness Insoluble?” . Scientific and Medical Review . The Scientific and Medical Network. Archived from the original (book review or Consciousness: An Introduction)on 1 May 2008.
  15. Jump up^ “Curriculum Vitae” . Susan Blackmore official website . 15 January 2013 . Retrieved 19 July 2013 .
  16. ^ Jump up to:a b Susan Blackmore at the Internet Movie Database
  17. Jump up^ Aunger, R. (2000). Darwinizing Culture: The Status of Memetics as a Science . Oxford University Press. ISBN  9780192632449 .
  18. Jump up^ et al. “Foreword”. In Blackmore (1999) , p. xvi. harvc: invalid | Display authors = ( help )
  19. Jump up^ Aunger, R. (2002). The Electric Meme: A New Theory of How We Think . Simon and Schuster. ISBN  9780743201506 .
  20. Jump up^ Whitty, J. “A memetic paradigm or project management” (PDF) . International Journal of Project Management . 23 (8): 575-83. doi : 10.1016 / j.ijproman.2005.06.005 . Retrieved 19 July 2013 .
  21. Jump up^ “Susan Blackmore: Memetic Evolution” . Evolution: “The Minds Big Bang” (video). 2001 PBS . WGBH .
  22. Jump up^ Iacoboni, M. (2005). “Chapter 2: Understanding Others: Imitation, Language and Empathy”. In Hurley, S .; Chater, N. Perspectives on Imitation: From Neuroscience to Social Science . Vol. I: Mechanisms of Imitation and Imitation in Animals. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press . pp. 77-100 . ISBN  9780262582506 .
  23. Jump up^ Zetter, K. (29 February 2008). “Humans Are Just Machines for Propagating Memes” . Wired website .
  24. Jump up^ Blackmore, S .; Jacobsen, SD (22 April 2014). “Dr. Susan Blackmore, Visiting Professor, University of Plymouth. In-Sight” . In-Sight (4.A): 91-105.
  25. Jump up^ Paulson, S. (interviewer) (31 October 2012). “Susan Blackmore on Zen Consciousness” . To the Best of Our Knowledge . Transcript for Susan Blackmore uncut . NPR . Wisconsin Public Radio .
  26. Jump up^ Blackmore, S. (2002). “Zen Into Science”. In Rhawn, R. Neurotheology: Brain Science, Spirituality, Religious Experience . San Jose, CA: University Press. pp. 159-161. ISBN  9780971644588 .
  27. Jump up^ “Letters: Harsh judgments on the pope and religion” . The Guardian . London. 15 September 2010 . Retrieved 20 July 2013 .
  28. Jump up^ Blume, M. (2011). “God in the Brain? How Much Can” Neurotheology “Explainconflict?”. In Becker, P .; Diewald, U. Zukunftsperspektiven Im Theological-naturwissenschaftlichen Dialog (in German and English). Göttingen, Germany: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht . pp. 306-14 . ISBN  9783525569573 .
  29. Jump up^ Blackmore, S. (16 September 2010). “Why I no longer believe religion is a virus of the mind” . The Guardian . London . Retrieved 20 July 2013 .