Richard Wiseman (born 1966) is Professor of the Public Understanding of Psychology at the University of Hertfordshire in the United Kingdom. Wiseman started his professional life as a magician, before graduating in Psychology from University College London and obtaining a Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Edinburgh.
Professor Wiseman is known for his critical examination and frequent debunking of unusual phenomena, including reports of paranormal phenomena. He is a fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI). His research has been published in numerous academic journals, reported at various conferences, and featured on television. In 2004, he took part in a preliminary test of Natasha Demkina, a young Russian woman who claims to have a special vision that allows her to see inside of people's bodies and diagnose illnesses. The test was featured in the Discovery Channel documentary, The Girl with X-Ray Eyes.
In addition Professor Wiseman has studied the principles of good and bad luck, publishing the results in the self-help book The Luck Factor. He showed that both good and bad luck result from measurable habits; for example, lucky people, by expecting good luck, might expend more effort in their endeavours, resulting in more success, reinforcing their belief in good luck. Lucky people are outgoing and observant and therefore have many more chance encounters than unlucky people, each of which could bring a lucky opportunity. Moreover lucky people are more likely to look on the bright side of 'bad' encounters. In a mental exercise describing being shot during a bank robbery, lucky people considered themselves lucky not to have been killed while unlucky people considered themselves unlucky to have been shot.