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Susan Blackmore [33]Susan J. Blackmore [18]
  1. Susan Blackmore, Evolution and Memes: The Human Brain as a Selective Imitation Device.
    The meme is an evolutionary replicator, defined as information copied from person to person by imitation. I suggest that taking memes into account may provide a better understanding of human evolution in the following way. Memes appeared in human evolution when our ancestors became capable of imitation. From this time on two replicators, memes and genes, coevolved. Successful memes changed the selective environment, favouring genes for the ability to copy them. I have called this process memetic drive. Meme-gene coevolution produced (...)
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  2. Susan Blackmore, : Imitation Makes Us Human.
    To be human is to imitate. This is a strong claim, and a contentious one. It implies that the turning point in hominid evolution was when our ancestors first began to copy each other’s sounds and actions, and that this new ability was responsible for transforming an ordinary ape into one with a big brain, language, a curious penchant for music and art, and complex cumulative culture. The argument, briefly, is this. All evolutionary processes depend on information being copied with (...)
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  3. Susan Blackmore, Is Meditation Good for You?
    Are you tempted by the prospect of a reversal of ageing, increased intelligence, improved relationships or irreversible world peace? These are just some of the benefits of meditation promised by the Transcendental Meditation organisation. Admittedly, it doesn't seem very plausible. Such claims imply that sitting still silently repeating a phrase - one form of meditation practiced by the followers of the TM movement - can have profound physical, psychological and even sociological effects. Indeed, it sounds so implausible that many people (...)
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  4. Susan Blackmore, Meme, Myself, I.
    Neuroscientist Benjamin Libet of the University of California in San Francisco asked volunteers to do exactly that. A clock allowed the subjects to note exactly when they decided to act, and by fitting electrodes to their wrists, Libet could time the start of the action. More electrodes on their scalps recorded a particular brain wave pattern called the readiness potential, which occurs just before any complex action and is associated with the brain planning its next move.
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  5. Susan Blackmore, Out-of-Body Experiences in Schizophrenia.
    Questionnaires on perceptual distortions, symptoms of schizophrenia, and out-of-body experiences (OBEs) were completed by 71 volunteers with a history of schizophrenia and 40 control subjects (patients in a hospital accident ward). Significantly more of the schizophrenics (42%) than of the control group (13%) answered "yes" to a question about OBEs. However, a follow-up questionnaire showed that only 14% of schizophrenics (i.e., the same as the control group) had had "typical" OBEs, in which a change of viewpoint was reported. Those reporting (...)
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  6. Susan Blackmore, Published in 1992, in Skeptical Inquirer 16 367-376.
    The latest Gallup poll (Gallup and Newport 1991) shows that about a third of Americans believe in telepathy and about a quarter claim to have experienced it themselves. Rather fewer have experienced clairvoyance or psychokinesis (PK), but still the numbers are very high and have not been decreasing over the years. Previous surveys have found similar results and also that the most common reason for belief in the paranormal is personal experience (Palmer 1979; Blackmore 1984).
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  7. Susan Blackmore, Published in Skeptical Inquirer 1991, 16, 34-45.
    What is it like to die? Although most of us fear death to a greater or lesser extent, there are now more and more people who have "come back" from states close to death and have told stories of usually very pleasant and even joyful experiences at death’s door.
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  8. Susan Blackmore, Published in Skeptical Inquirer 1991, 15, 362-370.
    What could it mean to be conscious in your dreams? For most of us, dreaming is something quite separate from normal life. When we wake up from being chased by a ferocious tiger, or seduced by a devastatingly good-looking Nobel Prize winner we realize with relief or disappointment that "it was only a dream.".
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  9. Susan Blackmore, Published in the Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, 55, 49-59.
    Psychical research has failed to establish itself as a respected area of scientific inquiry, to resolve its many controversies or to contribute to our understanding of human nature. The progress of psychical research is reviewed with particular reference to the six topics of the original research committees of the SPR. Some of these topics were dropped while others went on to form the basis of modern psychical research and parapsychology. But although research techniques have greatly improved, the same questions are (...)
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  10. Susan Blackmore, The Evolution of Meme Machines.
    The science of memetics faces a serious problem. The concept of the meme emerged from evolutionary biology and the theory of replicators, and within this context it is well understood, if highly controversial. But out on the web, and in popular discourse, the word ‘meme’ is horribly abused. It is confused with ‘idea’ or ‘concept’ or treated as something ethereal or non-material floating about quite separate from behaviours and artefacts.
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  11. Susan Blackmore, The Elusive Open Mind: Ten Years of Negative Research in Parapsychology.
    EVERYONE THINKS they are open-minded. Scientists in particular like to think they have open minds, but we know from psychology that this is just one of those attributes that people like to apply to themselves. We shouldn’t perhaps have to worry about it at all, except that parapsychology forces one to ask, "Do I believe in this, do I disbelieve in this, or do I have an open mind?".
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  12. Susan Blackmore & Scientific American, The Power of Memes.
    Human beings are strange animals. Although evolutionary theory has brilliantly accounted for the features we share with other creatures—from the genetic code that directs the construction of our bodies to the details of how our muscles and neurons work—we still stand out in countless ways. Our brains are exceptionally large, we alone have truly grammatical language, and we alone compose symphonies, drive cars, eat spaghetti with a fork and wonder about the origins of the universe.
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  13. Susan Blackmore, Daily Telegraph, Saturday May 21st 2005, Pp 17-18.
    Every year, like a social drinker who wants to prove to herself that she's not an alcoholic, I give up cannabis for a month. It can be a tough and dreary time - and much as I enjoy a glass of wine with dinner, alcohol cannot take its place. Some people may smoke dope just to relax or have fun, but for me the reason goes deeper. In fact, I can honestly say that without cannabis, most of my scientific research (...)
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  14. Susan Blackmore, Why I'm Leaving.
    Term is starting and I’m not going back! Whoopee! At the age of fifty I feel like a wild schoolgirl tearing off my hated uniform and bursting into a chorus of ‘No more Latin, no more ....’ only this time it’s ‘No more meetings, no more forms, no more TQA and no more ...’.
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  15. Susan Blackmore (2013). Living Without Free Will. In Gregg Caruso (ed.), Exploring the Illusion of Free Will and Moral Responsibility. Lexington Books. 161.
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  16. Susan Blackmore, Thomas W. Clark, Mark Hallett, John-Dylan Haynes, Ted Honderich, Neil Levy, Thomas Nadelhoffer, Shaun Nichols, Michael Pauen, Derk Pereboom, Susan Pockett, Maureen Sie, Saul Smilansky, Galen Strawson, Daniela Goya Tocchetto, Manuel Vargas, Benjamin Vilhauer & Bruce Waller (2013). Exploring the Illusion of Free Will and Moral Responsibility. Lexington Books.
     
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  17. Susan Blackmore (2012). She Won't Be Me. Journal of Consciousness Studies 19 (1-2):16 - 41.
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  18. Susan Blackmore (2010). Memetics Does Provide a Useful Way of Understanding Cultural Evolution. In Francisco José Ayala & Robert Arp (eds.), Contemporary Debates in Philosophy of Biology. Wiley-Blackwell Pub.. 255--272.
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  19. Susan Blackmore (2008). Gesprache uber Bewusstsein (Esther Grundmann). Philosophischer Literaturanzeiger 61 (1):23.
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  20. Susan Blackmore (2008). Memes Shape Brains Shape Memes. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 31 (5):513-513.
    Christiansen & Chater's (C&C's) arguments share with memetics the ideas that language is an evolving organism and that brain capacities shape language by influencing the fitness of memes, although memetics also claims that memes in turn shape brains. Their rejection of meme theory is based on falsely claiming that memes must be consciously selected by sighted watchmakers.
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  21. Susan Blackmore (2007). Those Dreaded Memes: The Advantage of Memetics Over “Symbolic Inheritance”. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 30 (4):365-366.
    Jablonka & Lamb (J&L) reject but memetics can explain human uniqueness and culture (as a product of the ability to imitate) without depending on their slippery notion of symbolism. Modern memes show the beginnings of a division into replicators and vehicles, and the replacement of reconstructive processes with systems of blind copying, variation, and selection.
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  22. Susan Blackmore (2007). Trip of a Lifetime. The Philosophers' Magazine 39 (39):71-74.
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  23. Michael Shermer, Stephen Barrett, Barry L. Beyerstein, Susan Blackmore, Geoffrey Dean, Bryan Farha, Ray Hyman, Joe Nickell, Benjamin Radford, James Randi, Linda Rosa & Carl Sagan (2007). Paranormal Claims: A Critical Analysis. University Press of America.
    This academic text features articles regarding paranormal, extraordinary, or fringe-science claims.
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  24. Susan Blackmore (2006). Memetics by Another Name? BioScience 56 (1):74-78.
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  25. Susan Blackmore (2006). Why We Need Memetics. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 29 (4):349-350.
    Memes are not best understood as semantic information stored in brains, but rather, as whatever is imitated or copied in culture. Whereas other theories treat culture as an adaptation, for memetics it is a parasite turned symbiont that evolves for its own sake. Memetics is essential for understanding today's information explosion and the future evolution of culture. (Published Online November 9 2006).
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  26. Anthony P. Atkinson, I. S. Baker, Susan J. Blackmore, William Braud, Jean E. Burns, R. H. S. Carpenter, Christopher J. S. Clarke, Ralph D. Ellis, David Fontana, Christopher C. French, D. Radin, M. Schlitz, Stefan Schmidt & Max Velmans (2005). Open Peer Commentary on 'the Sense of Being Stared At' Parts 1 &. Journal of Consciousness Studies 12 (6):50-116.
  27. Susan Blackmore (2005). Implications for Memetics. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 28 (4):490-490.
    The implications that Steels & Belpaeme's (S&B's) models have for memetics are discussed. The results demonstrate the power of memes (in this case colour words) to influence both concept formation, and the creation of innate concepts. They provide further evidence for the memetic drive hypothesis, with implications for the evolution of the human brain and for group differences in categorisation.
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  28. Susan J. Blackmore (2005). Consciousness: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press.
    Consciousness, 'the last great mystery for science', has now become a hot topic. How can a physical brain create our experience of the world? What creates our identity? Do we really have free will? Could consciousness itself be an illusion? -/- Exciting new developments in brain science are opening up debates on these issues, and the field has now expanded to include biologists, neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers. This controversial book clarifies the potentially confusing arguments, and the major theories using illustrations, (...)
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  29. Susan J. Blackmore (2005). Conversations on Consciousness. Oxford University Press.
    Written in a colloquial and engaging style the book records the conversations Sue had when she met these influential thinkers, whether at conferences in Arizona ...
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  30. Joshua Knobe, Dingmar Van Eck, Susan Blackmore, Henk Bij De Weg, John Barresi, Roblin Meeks, Julian Kiverstein & Drew Rendall (2005). Reviews. [REVIEW] Philosophical Psychology 18 (6):785 – 817.
  31. Susan J. Blackmore (2003). Consciousness: An Introduction. Oxford University Press.
    Is there a theory that explains the essence of consciousness? Or is consciousness itself just an illusion? The "last great mystery of science," consciousness was excluded from serious research for most of the last century but is now a rapidly expanding area of study for students of psychology, philosophy, and neuroscience. Recently the topic has also captured growing popular interest. This groundbreaking book is the first volume to bring together all the major theories of consciousness studies--from those rooted in traditional (...)
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  32. Susan J. Blackmore (2003). Consciousness in Meme Machines. Journal of Consciousness Studies 10 (4):19-30.
    Setting aside the problems of recognising consciousness in a machine, this article considers what would be needed for a machine to have human-like conscious- ness. Human-like consciousness is an illusion; that is, it exists but is not what it appears to be. The illusion that we are a conscious self having a stream of experi- ences is constructed when memes compete for replication by human hosts. Some memes survive by being promoted as personal beliefs, desires, opinions and pos- sessions, leading (...)
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  33. Susan J. Blackmore (2003). The Case of the Mysterious Mind: Review of Radiant Cool, by Dan Lloyd. [REVIEW] New Scientist 13:36-39.
  34. Susan J. Blackmore (2003). What is It Like to Be...? In , Consciousness: An Introduction. Oxford University Press.
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  35. Susan Blackmore (2002). A Response to Gustav Jahoda. History of the Human Sciences 15 (2):69-71.
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  36. Susan J. Blackmore (2002). The Grand Illusion: Why Consciousness Exists Only When You Look for It. New Scientist 174 (2348):26-29.
    Like most people, I used to think of my conscious life as like a stream of experiences, passing through my mind, one after another. But now I’m starting to wonder, is consciousness really like this? Could this apparently innocent assumption be the reason we find consciousness so baffling?
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  37. Susan J. Blackmore (2002). There is No Stream of Consciousness. Journal of Consciousness Studies 9 (5):17-28.
    Throughout history there have been people who say it is all illusion. I think they may be right. But if they are right what could this mean? If you just say "It's all an illusion" this gets you nowhere - except that a whole lot of other questions appear. Why should we all be victims of an illusion, instead of seeing things the way they really are? What sort of illusion is it anyway? Why is it like that and not (...)
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  38. Susan J. Blackmore (2001). State of the Art: Consciousness. Psychologist 14 (10):522-525.
     
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  39. Susan J. Blackmore (2001). Three Experiments to Test the Sensorimotor Theory of Vision. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 24 (5):977-977.
    The sensorimotor theory of vision is the best attempt yet to explain visual consciousness without implying a Cartesian theatre. I suggest three experiments which might test the theory.
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  40. Susan J. Blackmore (2001). The Psychology of Consciousness. The Psychologist 14:522-525.
  41. Susan J. Blackmore (2001). What Can the Paranormal Teach Us About Consciousness ? Skeptical Inquirer 25 (2):22-27.
    Consciousness is a hot topic. Relegated to the fringes of science for most of the twentieth century, the question of consciousness only crept back to legitimacy with the collapse of behaviourism in the 1960s and 1970s, and only recently became an acceptable term for psychologists to use. Now many neuroscientists talk enthusiastically about the nature of consciousness, there are societies and regular conferences, and some say that consciousness is the greatest challenge for twenty-first century science. Although confusion abounds, there is (...)
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  42. Susan Blackmore (2000). Author's Response. Metascience 9 (2):254-256.
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  43. Susan Blackmore (2000). Do Memes Make Sense. Free Inquiry 20:42-4.
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  44. Susan J. Blackmore (1998). Why Psi Tells Us Nothing About Consciousness. In Stuart R. Hameroff, Alfred W. Kaszniak & A. C. Scott (eds.), Toward a Science of Consciousness II. MIT Press.
    Also published in 1998 in S.R.Hameroff, A.W.Kaszniak and .C.Scott (Eds) _Toward a Science of_ _Consciousness II._ MIT Press. 701-707. Note that there were problems with the editing of this volume and there are some misprints. This version is correct.
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  45. Susan J. Blackmore, Gavin Brelstaff, Katherine Nelson & Tom Troscianko (1995). Is the Richness of Our Visual World an Illusion? Transsaccadic Memory for Complex Scenes. Perception 24:1075-81.
  46. Susan Blackmore (1994). Demolishing the Self. Journal of Consciousness Studies 1 (2):280-282.
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  47. Susan Blackmore (1992). Psychic Experiences: Psychic Illusions. Skeptical Inquirer 16:367-376.
    Why do so many people believe in psychic phenomena? Because they have psychic experiences. And why do they have psychic experiences? Because such experiences are an inevitable consequence of the way we think. I suggest that, like visual illusions, they are the price we pay for a generally very effective relationship with a massively complex world.
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  48. Susan J. Blackmore (1991). Lucid Dreaming: Awake in Your Sleep? Skeptical Inquirer 15:362-370.
    What could it mean to be conscious in your dreams? For most of us, dreaming is something quite separate from normal life. When we wake up from being chased by a ferocious tiger, or seduced by a devastatingly good-looking Nobel Prize winner we realize with relief or disappointment that "it was only a dream.".
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  49. Susan J. Blackmore (1991). Psi in Science. Journal of the Society for Psychical Research 57:404-11.
  50. Susan Blackmore (1990). The Physical Processes of Consciousness. In Kishor Gandhi (ed.), The Odyssey of Science, Culture, and Consciousness. Abhinav Publications. 126.
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