Belief in the paranormal is a sign of someone trusting their instincts, researchers say

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It’s really scary! Belief in the paranormal is a sign of someone trusting their instincts, researchers say

  • People who believe in the paranormal have a different way of thinking
  • Researchers say those who believe in ghosts trust their instincts
  • Skeptics who don’t believe in the paranormal are likely to be more analytical

Those of us who believe in ghosts and things that hover in the night are no doubt used to being dismissed as gullible or naive.

But here’s something to cheer you up – a study suggests that people who think the paranormal is real just have a “different” style of thinking.

Researchers say those who believe in ghosts and the supernatural trust their instincts, while skeptics are more analytical.

Researchers say those who believe in ghosts and the supernatural trust their instincts, while skeptics are more analytical

A team has reviewed 71 studies over 40 years of people who believe in hauntings, clairvoyance and psychokinesis - moving objects by thought alone

A team has reviewed 71 studies over 40 years of people who believe in hauntings, clairvoyance and psychokinesis – moving objects by thought alone

This means that, when faced with unexplained phenomena, they are more likely to follow their instincts than to apply abstract reasoning to what they have seen.

A team looked at 71 studies over 40 years of people who believe in hauntings, clairvoyance and psychokinesis – moving objects by thought alone.

The majority dismissed the believers as “uncritical and foolish.” But by applying modern understanding of psychology to the results of the studies, the researchers were able to establish that the actual evidence was not so conclusive.

It did not reveal gaps in intelligence, but rather reflected people’s different ways of thinking.

The study authors found that “two out of three studies document that paranormal beliefs are associated with poorer cognitive performance.”

However, the team said “no specific pattern of cognitive functioning for paranormal believers” emerged from the studies, which involved 20,993 participants between 1980 and 2020.

They said that “current studies do not necessarily endorse the view of a former researcher, Harvey Irwin [in 2009]that “…the believer in the paranormal is variously viewed as illogical, irrational, gullible, uncritical, and insane”‘.

Lead researcher Charlotte Dean, from the University of Hertfordshire, said: ‘The difference between believers and skeptics seems to come from the flexibility of their style of thinking and the way they approach new or abstract issues. It’s not that believers are less intelligent. It has to do with applying their problem-solving skills.

“Skeptics tend to be characterized by an analytical thinking style. If you give them an abstract problem, they think about all the different ways to solve it and pick the one that’s most likely to work. Believers are characterized by an intuitive style of thinking and follow their instincts.

She added: “So if you come across an unexplained phenomenon that could be expressed as new or abstract, they come to different conclusions whether it’s paranormal or not.”

A 2017 poll that asked adults if they believed in ghosts, ghouls, spirits and paranormal activity found that 33% were believers, 46% unbelievers and 21% undecided.

Was there a scary hand involved in this couple’s £3m lotto win

A couple who won £3.6million in the National Lottery used it to become professional ghost hunters.

Laura Hoyle and Kirk Stevens, 38, thought they won just £5 in the Set for Life draw in March 2021 and continued to play for two weeks before being alerted to their bargain.

Now Miss Hoyle, 40, from Hucknall, Nottinghamshire, has quit her job to work as a paranormal investigator alongside Mr Stevens, a manufacturing engineer.

She said: ‘Kirk and I are involved in a lot more paranormal activity and I edit the videos that we take, which I love to do.

Laura Hoyle and Kirk Stevens, 38, thought they won just £5 in the Set for Life draw in March 2021 and continued to play for two weeks before being alerted to their bargain.

Laura Hoyle and Kirk Stevens, 38, thought they won just £5 in the Set for Life draw in March 2021 and continued to play for two weeks before being alerted to their bargain.

“Without the win, we wouldn’t have been able to tick off a huge to-do list item – visiting the National Justice Museum in Nottingham out of hours and spending time there investigating.”

The carpenter, Mr Stevens, said: ‘I want to create paranormal investigation products using my carpentry and electronics skills.’


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