I am a founding member of the University of Edinburgh's Koestler Parapsychology Unit. I was recruited as a Research Assistant by the first Koestler Professor, Robert Morris in 1986, and in 1993 obtained my PhD, on a comparison of performance on extrasensory perception and subliminal perception tasks. 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 (2004). In 2016 I was appointed as the second Koestler Chair of Parapsychology. 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 2010 I was awarded the Perrott Warrick Senior Researcher position, for 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). You can find a report of my Perrott-Warrick research programme on the KPU website, here. Since 2012 I have been working with Jim Kennedy to run a registry for parapsychology studies, which aims to enhance the methodological quality of parapsychological research.
Other activities. I teach parapsychology to honours Psychology students, and supervise PhD students. 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. I am PA International Liaison officer for the UK, and 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, blog, and share parapsychology news on Twitter @KPUNews. You can find out more about my online course at the KPU website. My latest book was released in April 2016. entitled Parapsychology: A Beginner's Guide.
Some recent publications.
Book: Watt, C. (2016). Parapsychology: A Beginner's Guide. London: Oneworld Publications.
Journal articles: Watt, C., & Kennedy, J. E (2015). Lessons from the first two years of operating a study registry. Frontiers in Psychology, 7, 173.
Valášek, M. & Watt, C. (2015). Individual differences in prophetic dream belief and experience: Exploring demographic and sleep-related correlates. Personality and Individual Differences. 87, 65-69.
Watt, C., Wiseman, R. & Vuillaume, L. (2015) Dream precognition and sensory incorporation: A controlled sleep laboratory study. Journal of Consciousness Studies, 22, 172-190.
Watt, C., & Valášek, M. (2015). Postscript to Watt (2014) on precognitive dreaming: Investigating anomalous cognition and psychological factors. Journal of Parapsychology, 79, 105-107.
Watt, C., Valášek, M., Cawthron, S. & Almanza, A. (2015). In the eye of the beholder: Uncovering the characteristics of prospectively reported spontaneous precognitive dreams. Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, 79, 18-33.