Mass participation experiments and public engagement

Mass participation experiments

Much of Professor Richard Wiseman's work has involved carrying out mass participation experiments involving thousands of people. Early research examined the psychology of lying, and involved BBC1's Tomorrow's World, The Daily Telegraph, and BBC Radio One. Over 40,000 people took part in the study and the results were published in Nature.

Professor Wiseman has also conducted mass participation studies employing ‘Mind Machines’ - interactive multimedia kiosks present the public with an opportunity to participate in psychological experiments. The first Mind Machine, designed by Prof Wiseman and Dr Emma Greening, involved asking the public to try to psychically predict the outcome of a random coin toss. This kiosk collected over a quarter of a million data points during a year-long tour of shopping centres and science festivals. A second Mind Machine, created by Prof Wiseman in collaboration with Dr Adrian Owen and Dr Daniel Bor (then at the University of Cambridge), tested the public’s short-term spatial memory and was commissioned by the British Association for the Advancement of Science. The kiosk collected several thousand data points whilst in the Wellcome Wing of the London Science Museum, and the results of the study were published in Neuron.

Public engagement with psychology

Professor Wiseman has also had published the best-selling popular psychology books 'The Luck Factor' and '59 Seconds', as well as created the Quirkology YouTube channel that has received over 500 million views.

Find out more