Parapsychology’s Battle for the Internet: A Critical Insight into the Wiki Problem

Claire Murphy-Morgan, Robert McLuhan, Callum E. Cooper*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterpeer-review

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In Wikipedia’s early years, entries relating to parapsychology tended to be covered in the same more-or-less objective way as other topics. A page on a psychic episode – the Enfield poltergeist or the Bridey Murphy reincarnation case, for instance – typically contained the perspectives of both psychical researchers and sceptical critics. Similarly, the biography of a career ‘psychic’ might be presented just like that of a public figure in any other sphere, perhaps with some reference to controversies but no particular sense that their activity was morally dubious.

In the past decade this changed radically, as seemingly dogmatic-sceptics began editing Wikipedia pages to reflect their own views and prejudices almost exclusively. A factual statement that might encourage a psi interpretation is instantly rebutted with proposed conventional alternatives or criticism, referenced in the writings of career sceptics such as Michael Shermer, Ray Hyman and James Alcock. Counter-views are almost entirely absent. This means any suggestion of criticism proposed by such figures is allowed to stand, however weakly supported by the evidence. The intent in every case is to present psi claims as false and the scientific investigation of them misguided or illegitimate. Why do more knowledgeable editors not simply correct the imbalance? Alas, this proves extremely difficult in practice.

This presentation will discuss the present state of parapsychology’s presence on the internet. And also, the research that is currently being done regarding the psychology of editors and pseudo-sceptical activists, involved in providing misleading information for this particular field of science.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusUnpublished - 6 Jul 2021
EventBPS Cyberpsychology Conference - Online, United Kingdom
Duration: 6 Jul 20217 Jul 2021


ConferenceBPS Cyberpsychology Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom

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