Does Your Religious Belief Make You More Likely to Believe in the Paranormal?

whitby-abbey-1016212_960_720Is it the case that having religious beliefs makes you believe in paranormal events heard about on television and society? According to Hergovich and colleagues, the answer is yes. But, there are a lot of conditions that make a difference. For instance, only people that reported strong belief in traditional or older styles of religious belief were strongly related to high degrees of paranormal belief.

florence-378070_960_720When looking more closely, the style of a person’s religious belief made a difference. People who were religious for spiritual reasons tended to have higher scores in paranormal belief. Paranormal belief was unaffected with people who were religious for the benefits they received. Also, being Catholic or Protestant showed slightly different degrees of relationship to having paranormal beliefs.

dome-382125_960_720In closing, it is worth noting that the relationships in this study of religion to paranormal belief were rather small. In many instances, a person’s religious belief influenced paranormal belief scores by less than 5%. The exception were people who scored highly on the traditional religious belief measure within the paranormal belief scale. These individuals beliefs were strongly associated with paranormal beliefs. In some cases, traditional religious belief influenced paranormal belief scores by 36%!

Long story short, being religious influences your belief in the paranormal; but not necessarily by very much.

 

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Submitted By: Brian Laythe

Reference:

Hergovich, A., Schott, R. Arendasy, M. (2005) Paranormal belief and religiosity. The Journal of Parapsychology, 69, 293-303.

 

 

 

Do People Believe That the Soul is Separate From The Mind And Body?

cropped-sky-690293.jpgA recent study in Finland looked at how people see the role of the brain, the mind, and the soul in death. Do people believe in an immortal soul? Do those that hold a firm religious belief differ in their belief about the soul compared to those that also believe in the paranormal?

montalcino-195003Out of the five hundred and fifty-two volunteers, seventy percent believed in God. They were asked questions in reference to their belief about the mind, body, and soul in regards to their religious and paranormal beliefs. Another set of questions asked “The soul continues to exist though the body may die”, other questions included beliefs on witchcraft, superstition and religion/spirituality.

cambodia-1600376_960_720Results showed that most people do believe that the soul is immortal and does not die when the body dies. It was also found that some people believe that the brain is more important than the mind. It was also discovered that the volunteers that had spiritual/religious beliefs along with paranormal beliefs felt more strongly about the continuation of an immortal soul. Many people believe that even in death that a person can still feel emotions, desires and continue to see, think and feel.

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Submitted by: Bridget Cotton

Reference

Lindeman, M. Riekki, T, and Svedholm-Hakkinen, A (2015). Individual Differences in Conceptions of Soul, Mind, and Brain. Journal of Individual Differences, 36(3):157–162.

Can Magnetic Waves Produce False Paranormal Memories?

skull-1626815Michael Persinger, a famous neuroscientist in paranormal circles, has spent decades studying electromagnetic fields and their effects on humans in the laboratory. In this study, their goal was to determine if magnetic fields could produce false memories in humans. After attempting to induce hypnosis with forty-eight subjects, people were given a narrative to listen to. Some people were subjected to weak magnetic fields during this period, and others were left alone.  

dsc_0115People were brought back a week later to be tested for memory recall. Persinger found that individuals who were subjected to magnetic fields produced three times more false memories about the story they listened to compared to the group that did not receive a magnetic field treatment. However, the group that did not receive magnetic fields also produced some false memories.

power-1549119In the closing of the article, Persinger states that function of the temporal lobes of the brain was related to false memory production when treated with electromagnetic waves. He also found that false memories were more likely from this group when remembering the end of the narrative, but less likely during the beginning of the recalled narrative.

Just to be safe, don’t study near power lines.

 

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Submitted By: Brian Laythe

Reference

Healey, F., & Persinger, M. A. (2001). Experimental production of illusory (false) memories in reconstructions of narratives: Effect size and potential mediation by right hemispheric stimulation from complex, weak magnetic fields. International Journal of Neuroscience,106, 195-207.

Paranormal Facts: Parapsychological Research Everyone Can Access

dsc_0048The Institute for the Study of Religious and Anomalous Experience (ISRAE) believes in education and providing quality information to the public about events and experiences that are labeled “paranormal”. For several years, we have been conducting research to understand and explore the strange, the haunted, and the supernatural. Our mission is to publish scientific papers on the topic.

dsc_0119Most people don’t know that a small group of scientists around the world have been studying phenomena like psychism, hauntings,seances, remote viewing, and near death experiences. For over a 100 years. To read the research you have to find the journals that publish this kind of work. Unfortunately, most people can’t get access to these journals. We’re bringing the parapsychology to the people. Every week, we will be posting easy to understand blogs summarizing the science and the findings of parapsychology. We’ll make sure you get the core results from the science that has been conducted. Hopefully, you’ll be entertained as well.

tablet-690032Sign up, Visit our website. We’re on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Google+. We promise you this: In a month of reading Paranormal Facts, you’ll learn more facts about the paranormal than from years of watching spooky television shows. It’s all free.

If you’re in trouble and need some reliable information, then write us. Send us requests for topics. That’s what this nonprofit is for. We’ll try to get you the information you need. If you like what we’re doing, we hope you’ll check out our research projects and mission. Choose to donate if you can. But everyone should get access to good information.

Stay Tuned, and We Hope You Enjoy The Show.

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Are Psychic Experiments Legitimate or Bad Science?


tumblr_ny6bejqjha1u60tx6o1_1280It’s not commonly known, but parapsychology receives a lot of criticism from mainstream science. Although most of this criticism is often unfounded, parapsychology has taken its reputation of scientific accuracy very seriously. Baptista and Derakhshani do just that. One of the common criticisms of ESP research is what is called the “file drawer effect”. Essentially this claim is that non-significant ESP studies never get published, thus, the studies available on ESP are cherry picked. Baptista and Derakhshani show that unpublished studies in ESP canceling out published studies is very very unlikely.

blogger-336371Other criticisms involve the mathematical power used in studies of ESP. These researchers show that the mathematical power of ESP studies are actually higher than those used in many mainstream scientific fields. Baptista and Derakhshani also show that declines in ESP findings are being replaced with more recent studies showing consistent ESP effects.

dsc_0130What should you the reader conclude about ESP and parapsychology? Every science has its weaknesses, and parapsychology is no exception. However, critics and skeptics time and time again have failed to invalidate the findings of this controversial science. Parapsychology, as an underdog, has taken great lengths to use scientific methods that are often more stringent than mainstream science. Unfortunately, unpopular in science sometimes means unfair criticism in science. Beliefs can influence the most reasonable of people. Scientists are no exception.

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Submitted by: Brian Laythe

Reference:

Baptista, J., & Derakhshani, M (2014). Beyond the coin toss: Examining Wiseman’s criticisms of parapsychology. Journal of Parapsychology, 78, 56-79.

What is Paranormal Belief and What Predicts It?

dsc_0121Paranormal belief has been measured in many ways. One of the downsides of this process is that psychologists and parapsychologists have not yet discovered a clean way to separate different types of supernatural beliefs. Lindeman and Aarnio attempt to provide some direction to how to statistically divide paranormal belief into four components: Belief in spiritual entities, magic, and psychic powers, Belief in omens and rituals to bring luck, belief in astrology fung-shui, and the moon, and belief in magical powers of food and health. The remaining question is how do cognitive and personality factors relate to these groupings of paranormal belief?

pocket-watch-1279766Lindeman and Aarnio looked at thinking styles, parent and peer influence, need for control and other background factors to see if any of these personality tendencies related or predicted their breakdown of paranormal belief. The results of their study do show that all of the above relate to their four factors, but very weakly (< 5% influence on paranormal belief factors in the majority of cases).

niccolo-macchiavelli-165412_960_720The take-home message from this research is that various types of paranormal belief are more related to each other than they are to personality and background factors in this study. Thus, you the reader are left with the knowledge that belief in one type of paranormal belief tends to predict belief in other types of paranormal phenomena, but we are all still left in the dark as to why we believe in things that go bump in the night.

 

 

 

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Submitted by: Brian Laythe

Reference:

Lindeman, M., & Aarnio, K. (2006). Paranormal beliefs: Their dimensionality and correlates. European Journal of Personality, 20, 585-602.

Is Experience or Imagination Behind Paranormal Experience?

dsc_0111MacDonald in the nineties proposed that many scientists may be overlooking the source of people’s paranormal experiences. Many sociologists have assumed that people who report paranormal experience have been influenced by society. This translates to a belief by sociologists that paranormal experiences are unconsciously influenced by friends, family, and culture. MacDonald disagrees.

dsc_0096Citing the experiential source hypothesis, MacDonald claims that there is evidence to support that there are real base events that people interpret as paranormal. MacDonald further claims that culture (i.e., friends, families, beliefs) are not sufficient to explain the core features of paranormal experiences that people report.

dsc_0152Later research has confirmed MacDonald’s claims, but in this case, we see one of the first arguments against labeling people as suggestible or somehow mentally unfit if they report a paranormal experience. Research continues, but the question for the reader is; do you think that unusual experiences are purely the result of a suggestible mind?

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Submitted by: Brian Laythe

Reference:

MacDonald, W. I. (1995). The effects of religiosity and structural strain on reported paranormal experiences. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 34, 366-376.