Peter Lamont


  • Psychology
  • School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences

Contact details



Room F34, Psychology Building

7 George Square, Edinburgh
Post code


I studied history here at the University of Edinburgh, before completing a PhD on Victorian beliefs about spiritualism. In 1996, I joined the Koestler Parapsychology Unit (based in this department). From 2002 to 2005, I was an Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Fellow, and became a lecturer in Psychology here in 2006.

Representative publications

  1. Lamont, P. (2020). The construction of critical thinking: between how we think and what we believe. History of Psychology, 23(3), 232-251.

  2. Lamont, P. (2017). Modern Magic, the illusion of transformation, and how it was done. Journal of Social History, shw126, https://doi-org/10.1093/jsh/shw126

  3. Lamont, P. (2017). A particular kind of wonder: the experience of magic past and present. Review of General Psychology, 21(1), 1-8.

  4. Lamont, P. (2013) Extraordinary beliefs: a historical approach to a psychological problem (Cambridge University Press)
  5. Lamont, P. (2010). Reflexivity, the role of history and the case of mesmerism in early Victorian Britain. History of Psychology,13(4), 393-408.
  6. Lamont, P. (2010). Debunking and the psychology of error: a historical analysis of psychological matters. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 7(1), 34-44.
  7. Lamont, P., Coelho, C., & McKinlay, A. (2009). Explaining the unexplained: justifying disbelief in the paranormal. Discourse Studies, 11(5), 543-559.
  8. Lamont, P. (2007). Paranormal belief and the avowal of prior scepticism. Theory and Psychology, 17(5), 681-696.
  9. Lamont, P. & Bates, C. (2007). Conjuring images of India in nineteenth century Britain. Social History, 32(3), 309-325
  10. Lamont, P. (2004). Spiritualism and a mid-Victorian crisis of evidence. Historical Journal, 47(4), 897-920.

Responsibilities & affiliations

I am a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, a member of the British Psychological Society (BPS) and a former Secretary of the BPS (History and Philosophy Section). I am a member of the Society for Psychical Research, an Associate of the Inner Magic Circle, and a former President (and Honorary Member) of the Edinburgh Magic Circle. I am a reviewer for several academic journals, including History of Psychology, Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences and History of the Human Sciences. I am also co-founder of the Edinburgh Secret Society (but I can't say anything about that).

Undergraduate teaching

I am currently the course organiser for Psychology 1A and B, and Psychology 2A and B. I also teach History and Theory of Psychology (hons), and contribute to the teaching of qualitative methods at undergraduate and postgraduate level.


If you wish to meet up, the easiest way is to e-mail me, so that we can arrange an appropriate time as soon as possible.

Research summary

My research is primarily on the history and psychology of magic and the paranormal, as part of the wider history and theory of Psychology, often called CHIP (Conceptual and Historical Issues in Psychology).