Old Habits Die Hard

Paranormal Researchers have teamed up with Behavioural Psychologists to determine whether ghosts retain their prior personalities and habits.

“It’s just something we take for granted, that someone who had tendencies in life would carry them on after they died. But with any science, assumptions must be tested, so that’s what we set out to do,” said Hente Vaumer, Project Lead of Spiritual Investigations of North Carolina (SINC).

Using a mixture of techniques, such as psychological profiling, environmental analysis and sifting through historical records, the team compiled a set of characteristics to examine on a host of ghosts.

“While most investigators look at hard evidence, like photographs of apparitions or listening to EVPs, we go one step further an apply what we’ve found back to the personality of the entity we’re after. It is challenging, especially since, just like common folk, we have good days and bad days. Another time we had to throw out a whole month worth of compiled data because it turned out that we were dealing with two separate entities,” he says, “Still, it’s proving to be very insightful.”

Some of the key findings to come from the research include:

  • Most ghosts (86% of the sample collected) are not malevolent in nature.
  • Habits formed during a lifetime have a higher tendency to carry on after death.
  • Speech and behavioural habits have the highest tendency, whereas physical habits, like a limp or finger strumming, are less evident.
  • Of the entities marked as malevolent, 70% resorted to physical interaction when provoked, compared to 25% of non-malevolent.
  • Intelligence does not appear to have a correlation to the entity’s previous apparent level.
  • Criminal entities, those that have been identified by historical records as having served time for serious crime, represented 65% of the malevolent entities.

Says psychologist Rana Martina, “This is very exciting. It shows that the physical body, the chemicals and makeup, become insignificant after one dies. Without the influence of hormones and bodily constraints, the mind is free to develop on a different plane altogether. One can imagine that it would be like living in a sensory deprivation chamber, only even sensations of thirst, hunger and other desires would be quashed. So this raises a very important question: If there are no physical demands to motivate the mind, all that is left, the core motivator we can call it, must be of a pure essence.”

The team are cautious about drawing conclusions, conscious that others in the field do not appreciate their approach.

“Some say Paranormology is a quack-science. Others say the same thing about Psychology. Be that as it may, we’ve kept to scientific methodology and our papers can be scrutinised by peer review. We’re also using statistical analysis rather than pure empirical methodologies, and I think this makes all the difference.”ChesterLogoSmall

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Shop Whisperers

In a bid to increase sales and move targeted items, a supermarket chain in Florida have used human behavioural experts to devise a new way to encourage shoppers to choose their brands – Shop Whisperers.

“We found that our campaigns to bring people into the store were working well, but once they got in, we could not accurately direct them to the products we wished to sell,” says Director of Marketing Lopez D’Arouge, “It may be a local phenomenon, but the usual arsenal just couldn’t come up with the goods. Product positioning and signage just wasn’t getting the yield that we needed, so we had to try something completely different.”

Enter the Shop Whisperer, an employee trained to blend in as a shopper and make comments and gestures about particular products.

“Studies have shown that peer recommendation is one of the most powerful influencers. It can be a mother talking to her daughter, for example, saying, ‘Now that’s a good price. Normally these are way more expensive. I’ll get two!’ or a guy dressed in a suit muttering, ‘I hope they haven’t run out of X, because that’s what works.'” says D’Arouge, “It has to be contextual and unforced. Of course, we cannot get just anyone to do this.”

As a consequence, D’Arouge has budgeted for professional actors to play the part and the results are already telling. Based on a one month trial with three full time Shop Whisperers he has seen a ‘marked increase’ in the sales of targeted brands and items.

“Time will tell whether this is a permanent thing,” he says, “And I love the fact that we’re giving back to the community by hiring local actors who would otherwise be out of work. Who knows? If this takes off, we could see this as a legitimate career in not just supermarkets, but departments stores and specialty stores as well!”

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