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Paranormal belief

Robert M Ross, Bjoern Hartig, Ryan McKay
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: It has been proposed that delusional beliefs are attempts to explain anomalous experiences. Why, then, do anomalous experiences induce delusions in some people but not in others? One possibility is that people with delusions have reasoning biases that result in them failing to reject implausible candidate explanations for anomalous experiences. We examine this hypothesis by studying paranormal interpretations of anomalous experiences. METHODS: We examined whether analytic cognitive style (i...
September 17, 2016: Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry
Neil Dagnall, Andrew Denovan, Kenneth Drinkwater, Andrew Parker, Peter Clough
The present paper examined relationships between schizotypy (measured by the Oxford-Liverpool Inventory of Feelings and Experience; O-LIFE scale brief), belief in the paranormal (assessed via the Revised Paranormal Belief Scale; RPBS) and proneness to statistical bias (i.e., perception of randomness and susceptibility to conjunction fallacy). Participants were 254 volunteers recruited via convenience sampling. Probabilistic reasoning problems appeared framed within both standard and paranormal contexts. Analysis revealed positive correlations between the Unusual Experience (UnExp) subscale of O-LIFE and paranormal belief measures [RPBS full scale, traditional paranormal beliefs (TPB) and new age philosophy]...
2016: Frontiers in Psychology
Marjaana Lindeman, Annika M Svedholm-Häkkinen, Tapani Riekki
We examined whether skeptics hold implicit supernatural beliefs or implicit cognitive underpinnings of the beliefs. In study 1 (N=57), participants read a biological or a religious story about death. The story content had no effect on skeptics' (or believers') afterlife beliefs. Study 2 examined the relationships between religious and non-religious paranormal beliefs and implicit views about whether supernatural and religious phenomena are imaginary or real (n1=33, n2=31). The less supernatural beliefs were endorsed the easier it was to connect "supernatural" with "imaginary"...
May 2016: Consciousness and Cognition
Eugenio Restrepo-Madero, María Victoria Trianes-Torres, Antonio Muñoz-García, Rafael Alarcón
The Romani cultural minority living in Spain has cultural values and beliefs, religious/spiritual expressions and a particular vision of death. The relationship between these aspects and health is unknown. A sample of 150 people responded to a socio-demographic questionnaire and well-being measures of religious/spiritual experience, paranormal beliefs and fear of death. Age, a negative sense of life, fear of the death of others, being a woman and having low paranormal beliefs have a negative impact on health...
March 21, 2016: Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health
Eric C Prichard, Stephen D Christman
A growing literature suggests that degree of handedness predicts gullibility and magical ideation. Inconsistent-handers (people who use their non-dominant hand for at least one common manual activity) report more magical ideation and are more gullible. The current study tested whether this effect is moderated by need for cognition. One hundred eighteen university students completed questionnaires assessing handedness, self-reported paranormal beliefs, and self-reported need for cognition. Handedness (Inconsistent vs...
2016: Laterality
Paul Rogers, Pamela Qualter, Dave Wood
Two studies examine the impact event vividness, event severity, and prior paranormal belief has on causal attributions for a depicted remarkable coincidence experience. In Study 1, respondents (n = 179) read a hypothetical vignette in which a fictional character accurately predicts a plane crash 1 day before it occurs. The crash was described in either vivid or pallid terms with the final outcome being either severe (fatal) or non-severe (non-fatal). Respondents completed 29 causal attribution items, one attribution confidence item, nine scenario perception items, a popular paranormal belief scale, and a standard demographics questionnaire...
February 2, 2016: British Journal of Psychology
Stephen J Gray, David A Gallo
Belief in paranormal psychic phenomena is widespread in the United States, with over a third of the population believing in extrasensory perception (ESP). Why do some people believe, while others are skeptical? According to the cognitive differences hypothesis, individual differences in the way people process information about the world can contribute to the creation of psychic beliefs, such as differences in memory accuracy (e.g., selectively remembering a fortune teller's correct predictions) or analytical thinking (e...
February 2016: Memory & Cognition
Giuseppe Scimeca, Antonio Bruno, Gianluca Pandolfo, Giulia La Ciura, Rocco A Zoccali, Maria R A Muscatello
This study investigated whether people who report recurrent extrasensory perception (ESP) experiences (telepathy, clairvoyance, and precognition) have suffered more traumatic experiences and traumatic intrusions. Thirty-one nonclinical participants reporting recurrent ESP experiences were compared with a nonclinical sample of 31 individuals who did not report recurrent ESP phenomena. Past traumatic experiences were assessed via a self-report measure of trauma history (Childhood Trauma Questionnaire); traumatic intrusions were assessed via a performance-based personality measure (Rorschach Traumatic Content Index)...
November 2015: Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease
Katharina Schmack, Hannes Rössler, Maria Sekutowicz, Eva J Brandl, Daniel J Müller, Predrag Petrovic, Philipp Sterzer
Unfounded convictions involving beliefs in the paranormal, grandiosity ideas or suspicious thoughts are endorsed at varying degrees among the general population. Here, we investigated the neurobiopsychological basis of the observed inter-individual variability in the propensity toward unfounded beliefs. One hundred two healthy individuals were genotyped for four polymorphisms in the COMT gene (rs6269, rs4633, rs4818, and rs4680, also known as val (158) met) that define common functional haplotypes with substantial impact on synaptic dopamine degradation, completed a questionnaire measuring unfounded beliefs, and took part in a behavioral experiment assessing perceptual inference...
2015: Frontiers in Human Neuroscience
Fernando Blanco, Itxaso Barberia, Helena Matute
In the reasoning literature, paranormal beliefs have been proposed to be linked to two related phenomena: a biased perception of causality and a biased information-sampling strategy (believers tend to test fewer hypotheses and prefer confirmatory information). In parallel, recent contingency learning studies showed that, when two unrelated events coincide frequently, individuals interpret this ambiguous pattern as evidence of a causal relationship. Moreover, the latter studies indicate that sampling more cause-present cases than cause-absent cases strengthens the illusion...
2015: PloS One
Sitaram Jaideep Sriranjini, Kumar Sandhya, Vernekar Sanjeeva Mamta
The understanding of epilepsy has progressed since its earliest impression as a disease associated with paranormal and superstitious beliefs. Landmark advances have been made in deciphering the pathophysiological substrates involved in the disease process, and treatment advances have contributed significantly to ameliorating the seizures. However, disease-modifying agents are yet to be discovered. Ayurveda is a system of medicine that stresses a holistic approach to disease, and treatment is focused on disease modification and symptom management...
November 2015: Epilepsy & Behavior: E&B
Michiel van Elk
Previous studies have shown that one's prior beliefs have a strong effect on perceptual decision-making and attentional processing. The present study extends these findings by investigating how individual differences in paranormal and conspiracy beliefs are related to perceptual and attentional biases. Two field studies were conducted in which visitors of a paranormal conducted a perceptual decision making task (i.e. the face/house categorization task; Experiment 1) or a visual attention task (i.e. the global/local processing task; Experiment 2)...
2015: PloS One
Magali Clobert, Vassilis Saroglou, Matthieu Van Pachterbeke
OBJECTIVE: In this postmodern society, people tend to abandon conventional medicine for alternative medical systems, such as acupuncture. What are the reasons for this defiance regarding modern rationality and individualist success? Who turns to acupuncture? METHODS: This study (n=89) examined whether world views opposed to the predominance of rationality (i.e., mistrust of science, spirituality, paranormal beliefs) and individualist success or consumerism (i.e...
August 2015: Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine: Research on Paradigm, Practice, and Policy
Michelle N Dasse, Gary R Elkins, Charles A Weaver
Hypnotizability is a multifaceted construct that may relate to multiple aspects of personality and beliefs. This study sought to address 4 known correlates of hypnotizability to aid in its understanding. Eighty undergraduates completed the Magical Ideation Scale (MIS), the Creative Experiences Questionnaire (CEQ), the Australian Sheep-Goat Scale (ASGS), and the Dissociative Experiences Scale (DES) and then were administered the Creative Imagination Scale (CIS). All 5 scales were significantly correlated. Participants higher in hypnotizability scored higher on the CEQ and the MIS...
2015: International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis
Christine Mohr, Nikolaos Koutrakis, Gustav Kuhn
Magical ideation and belief in the paranormal is considered to represent a trait-like character; people either believe in it or not. Yet, anecdotes indicate that exposure to an anomalous event can turn skeptics into believers. This transformation is likely to be accompanied by altered cognitive functioning such as impaired judgments of event likelihood. Here, we investigated whether the exposure to an anomalous event changes individuals' explicit traditional (religious) and non-traditional (e.g., paranormal) beliefs as well as cognitive biases that have previously been associated with non-traditional beliefs, e...
2014: Frontiers in Psychology
A Utinans, G Ancane, J J Tobacyk, G Boyraz, M M Livingston, J S Tobacyk
A Latvian version of the Revised Paranormal Belief Scale (RPBS) was completed by 229 Latvian university students. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses revealed six relatively independent factors labeled Magical Abilities, Psychokinesis, Traditional Religious Belief, Superstition, Spirit Travel, and Extraordinary Life Forms. Based on the motivational-control model, it was hypothesized that the societal stressors affecting Latvian society during the last 50 yr. have led to a reduced sense of personal control which, in turn, has resulted in increased endorsement of paranormal beliefs to re-establish a sense of control...
February 2015: Psychological Reports
Marjaana Lindeman, Annika M Svedholm-Häkkinen, Jari Lipsanen
The current research tested the hypothesis that the abilities for understanding other people's minds give rise to the cognitive biases that underlie supernatural beliefs. We used structural equation modeling (N=2789) to determine the roles of various mentalizing tendencies, namely self-reported affective and cognitive empathy (i.e., mind reading), actual cognitive and affective empathic abilities, hyper-empathizing, and two cognitive biases (core ontological confusions and promiscuous teleology) in giving rise to supernatural beliefs...
January 2015: Cognition
Krissy Wilson, Christopher C French
This study uses conjuring to investigate the effects of suggestion, social influence, and paranormal belief upon the accuracy of eyewitness testimony for an ostensibly paranormal event. Participants watched a video of an alleged psychic seemingly bending a metal key by the power of psychokinesis. Half the participants heard the fake psychic suggest that the key continued to bend after it had been put down on a table and half did not. Additionally, participants were exposed to either a negative social influence (a stooge co-witness reporting that the key did not continue to bend), no social influence, or a positive social influence (a stooge co-witness reporting that the key did continue to bend)...
2014: Frontiers in Psychology
P Brugger, R E Graves
This paper examines the idea that an important dimension of human cognition is the amount of objective evidence required for perception of meaningful patterns. At the clinical extreme of this dimension are patients with hallucinations and delusions who experience perception with no external evidence and see connections between objectively unrelated events. Also, normal individuals exhibit considerable variation along this continuum. The theory proposed here predicts that normal subjects with low evidential criteria will be more likely to accept causal explanations, not only for everyday ''paranormal'' coincidences, but also for random contingencies in a laboratory experiment...
November 1, 1997: Cognitive Neuropsychiatry
Peter Lamont
This article considers the extraordinary phenomena that have been central to unorthodox areas of psychological knowledge. It shows how even the agreed facts relating to mesmerism, spiritualism, psychical research, and parapsychology have been framed as evidence both for and against the reality of the phenomena. It argues that these disputes can be seen as a means through which beliefs have been formulated and maintained in the face of potentially challenging evidence. It also shows how these disputes appealed to different forms of expertise, and that both sides appealed to belief in various ways as part of the ongoing dispute about both the facts and expertise...
2012: Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences
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