What is the point of the study?
This study is investigating unusual perceptual experiences, i.e. hearing or seeing things that other people cannot hear or see. It is being conducted as part of a dissertation project at Durham University. Our aim is to understand more about the types of experiences, whether these are related to life factors, and how they relate to personality and age differences.
Who can take part, and what does it involve?
Anyone aged 18 to 30 or 60 to 75 can take part. Taking part involves answering some questions about unusual perceptual experiences and then completing a short survey about some other topics. This will include things such as sleep, personality, and general health. The survey takes about 15-20 minutes to complete.
Will everything I write be kept private?
Yes. All responses to the questionnaire will be kept anonymously and confidentially. You do not have to provide any information that could be used to identify you. At the end of the questionnaire, we will ask for your email address if you would like to be entered into a prize draw to win a £10 Amazon or Marks and Spencer gift voucher. If you provide this it will be stored separately from your questionnaire responses.
If you are a psychology student at Durham University you can also claim 20 minutes of participation credit.
What are the benefits and risks of taking part?
We cannot promise that the study will help you personally, but the information you and others give us will help to better understand the factors which may increase the likelihood of unusual experiences, and to investigate the influence of personality on having these experiences.
We do not foresee any significant risks to participants who participate in the study. However, reflecting on and describing some experiences might be distressing for some people. If you are recently bereaved, or have had unpleasant or stressful perceptual experiences in the past, then you may find it difficult to answer some of the questions. If you find yourself becoming distressed, we recommend that you stop filling in the questionnaire. You also have the right to not answer any questions that you would prefer to leave blank.
If you live in the UK and need to seek immediate support, sources include: Samaritans: 08457 90 90 90 (lines are open 24hrs), SANEline: 08457 678 000 (lines are open from 6pm-11pm), or Age UK: 0800 169 2081. If you don't want to respond to a question, just leave it blank.
What will happen to my responses if I withdraw from the study?
You are free to withdraw from the study at any point simply by closing your web browser and exiting the survey. If you do this, your responses will be discarded and not included as part of the study.
If you have any further questions or would like more information please contact
Rebecca Finnigan (Research Student, Durham University) via email: firstname.lastname@example.org or Dr Ben Alderson-Day (Research Fellow, Hearing the Voice, Durham University) on +44 (0)191 334 8163 or via email: email@example.com.
For Durham Univeristy students wishing to seek further support, please contact Durham University counselling services on +44(0) 191 334 2200 or email firstname.lastname@example.org (Durham Campus) or on +44(0) 191 334 0039 or email email@example.com (Queen’s Campus, Stockton).