|This article may rely excessively on sources too closely associated with the subject, preventing the article from being verifiable and neutral. (November 2012)|
|Born||Susan Jane Blackmore
29 July 1951
|Education||St Hilda's College, Oxford,
University of Surrey
In 1973, Susan Blackmore graduated from St Hilda's College, Oxford, with a BA (Hons) degree in psychology and physiology. She went on to do postgraduate study in environmental psychology at the University of Surrey, achieving an MSc degree in 1974. In 1980, she got her PhD degree in parapsychology from the same university, her thesis being entitled "Extrasensory Perception as a Cognitive Process." After some period of time spent in research on parapsychology and the paranormal, her attitude towards the field moved from belief to scepticism. In 1987, Blackmore wrote that she had believed herself to have undergone an out-of-body experience shortly after she began running the Oxford University Society for Psychical Research (OUSPR):
Within a few weeks I had not only learned a lot about the occult and the paranormal, but I had an experience that was to have a lasting effect on me—an out-of-body experience (OBE). It happened while I was wide awake, sitting talking to friends. It lasted about three hours and included everything from a typical "astral projection," complete with silver cord and duplicate body, to free-floating flying, and finally to a mystical experience. It was clear to me that the doctrine of astral projection, with its astral bodies floating about on astral planes, was intellectually unsatisfactory. But to dismiss the experience as "just imagination" would be impossible without being dishonest about how it had felt at the time. It had felt quite real. Everything looked clear and vivid, and I was able to think and speak quite clearly.
In an article in 2000, she again wrote of this:
It was just over thirty years ago that I had the dramatic out-of-body experience that convinced me of the reality of psychic phenomena and launched me on a crusade to show those closed-minded scientists that consciousness could reach beyond the body and that death was not the end. Just a few years of careful experiments changed all that. I found no psychic phenomena - only wishful thinking, self-deception, experimental error and, occasionally, fraud. I became a sceptic.
She is a Fellow of the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP) and in 1991 was awarded the CSICOP Distinguished Skeptic Award.
Blackmore has done research on memes (which she wrote about in her popular book The Meme Machine) and evolutionary theory. Her book Consciousness: An Introduction (2004), is a textbook that broadly covers the field of consciousness studies. She was on the editorial board for the Journal of Memetics (an electronic journal) from 1997 to 2001, and has been a consulting editor of the Skeptical Inquirer since 1998.
She acted as one of the psychologists who was featured on the British version of the television show "Big Brother", speaking about the psychological state of the contestants. She is a Distinguished Supporter of the British Humanist Association.
Susan Blackmore has made contributions to the field of memetics. The term meme was coined by Richard Dawkins in his 1976 book The Selfish Gene. In his foreword to Blackmore's book The Meme Machine (1999), Dawkins said, "Any theory deserves to be given its best shot, and that is what Susan Blackmore has given the theory of the meme." Other treatments of memes can be found in the works of Robert Aunger: The Electric Meme, and Jon Whitty: A Memetic Paradigm of Project Management.
Blackmore's treatment of memetics insists that memes are true evolutionary replicators, a second replicator that like genetics is subject to the Darwinian algorithm and undergoes evolutionary change. Her prediction on the central role played by imitation as the cultural replicator and the neural structures that must be unique to humans in order to facilitate them have recently been given further support by research on mirror neurons and the differences in extent of these structures between humans and the presumed closest branch of simian ancestors.
Personal life 
Blackmore is an active practitioner of Zen, although she identifies herself as "not a Buddhist". Blackmore is an atheist who has criticised religion sharply, having said, for instance, that "all kinds of infectious memes thrive in religions, in spite of being false, such as the idea of a creator god, virgin births, the subservience of women, transubstantiation, and many more. In the major religions, they are backed up by admonitions to have faith not doubt, and by untestable but ferocious rewards and punishments."
On 15 September 2010, Blackmore, along with 54 other public figures, signed an open letter published in The Guardian, stating their opposition to Pope Benedict XVI's state visit to the UK. On 16 September 2010, Blackmore wrote in The Guardian that she no longer believed that religion is a maladaptive by-product of consciousness ("virus of the mind") but is evolutionarily adaptive.
- Beyond the Body: An Investigation of Out-Of-The-Body Experiences, Academy Chicago Publishers, 1983, ISBN 0-586-08428-2 (first edition), ISBN 0-89733-344-6 (second edition)
- In Search of the Light: The Adventures of a Parapsychologist, Prometheus Books, 1987, ISBN 0-87975-360-9 (first edition), ISBN 1-57392-061-4 (second edition, 1996)
- Dying to Live: Near-Death Experiences, Prometheus Books, 1993, ISBN 0-87975-870-8
- Test Your Psychic Powers, with Adam Hart-Davis, Thorsons Publishing, 1995, ISBN 1-85538-441-8, ISBN 0-8069-9669-2 (reprint edition)
- The Meme Machine, Oxford University Press, reprint edition 2000, ISBN 0-19-286212-X
- Consciousness: An Introduction, Oxford University Press, 2003, ISBN 0-19-515342-1 (hardcover), ISBN 0-19-515343-X (paperback)
- Consciousness: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford University Press, 2005, ISBN 0-19-280585-1
- Conversations on Consciousness, Oxford University Press, 2005 ISBN 0-19-280622-X
- Zen and the Art of Consciousness, Oneworld, 2011, ISBN 1-85168-798-X
- Susan Blackmore (6 January 1990), "Dreams that do what they're told", New Scientist 125 (1698): 28–31
- Susan Blackmore (16 September 2010), "Why I no longer believe religion is a virus of the mind", Guardian
- Blackmore 1986, p.163
- Blackmore 1987, p.249
- The Elusive Open Mind by Susan Blackmore
- First Person - Into the Unknown by Susan Blackmore
- A Who's Who of Media Skeptics: Skeptics or Dogmatists?. Accessed 2008-06-03. Archived April 17, 2008 at the Wayback Machine
- "Curriculum Vitae". susanblackmore.co.uk. 9 April 2009. Retrieved 14 May 2009.
- Distinguished Supporters – British Humanist Association, accessed 12 January 2008
- Blackmore 2000, p.xvi
- A Memetic Paradigm of Project Management
- Iacoboni, M., "Understanding others: imitation, language, empathy" In: Perspectives on imitation: from cognitive neuroscience to social science, Hurley, S., and Chater, N. (Eds), Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, in press
- Susan Blackmore on memes and "temes", 2008 TED conference (video)
- Dr. Susan Blackmore
- Dr. Susan Blackmore
- "Letters: Harsh judgments on the pope and religion". The Guardian (London). 15 September 2010. Retrieved 16 September 2010.
- Blackmore, Sue (16 September 2010). "Why I no longer believe religion is a virus of the mind – Sue Blackmore". The Guardian (London).
- Personal website:Who am I?
- Lisman SR; Dougherty K (2007). Chronic Fatigue Syndrome For Dummies. John Wiley & Sons. pp. 297–302. ISBN 978-0-470-11772-9.
Further reading 
- Kurtz, P. (ed.). "Ch. 6: Why I Have Given Up". Skeptical Odysseys: Personal Accounts by the World's Leading Paranormal Inquirers. Prometheus Books. pp. 85–94. ISBN 1-57392-884-4.
- "The Elusive Open Mind: Ten Years of Negative Research in Parapsychology". Skeptical Inquirer 11: 244–55.
- "A Critical Examination of the Blackmore Psi Experiments". The Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research 83: 123–144.
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Susan Blackmore|
- Susan Blackmore's website
- Susan Blackmore's blog on The Guardian's Comment is Free
- TED Talks: Susan Blackmore on memes and "temes" at TED in 2008
- Susan Blackmore at The Internet Movie Database
- Interview with Susan Blackmore
- The Meme Machine, Interview of Susan Blackmore
- Audio interview with Dr. Susan Blackmore, exploring her journey from a disillusioned parapsychology researcher to an author on human consciousness.
- Sue Blackmore debates Alister McGrath (author of 'The Dawkins Delusion') at Bristol University on the motion that "belief in God is a dangerous delusion". 13 November. 2007.