Professor für Neuropsychologie, Klinik für Neurologie, Universitätsspital Zürich
The talk begins with a number of experiments showing how belief in extrasensory perception, or ESP, arises from misinterpretations of everyday coincidences. The associations that underlie these misinterpretations correlate with the functional asymmetries in the cerebral hemispheres. In the second part, I propose a radical rethinking of ESP: instead of a type of paranormal sense perception, ESP should be understood as the recognition of statistical dependencies between discrete events. Recent studies show that those who believe in ESP may be better than skeptics at recognizing subtle connections.
Peter Brugger is Professor of Neuropsychology at the University of Zurich medical school, where he heads the neuropsychological unit. He has conducted research on the neurology of subjective randomness, magical thinking, superstition, creativity, madness, the representation of the body in space and time, hallucinations, numerical cognition, extracorporeal awareness, and cooperation between the cerebral hemispheres. Brugger has had research stays in the USA (San Diego) and Canada (Victoria), and is an adjoint professor at Vanderbilt University.