Ever wondered why campfire stories were never for rational thinkers? It’s because rational thinkers are less likely to believe in the paranormal. That’s not to say the experiential thinkers are ignorant for believing. They are just more likely to think with their emotions. Stress is one of those emotions that may lead to less rational thinking and more experimental thinking according to researcher Nicola Lasikiewicz. This may correlate to highly emotional and stressful life experiences leading to a higher belief in the paranormal.
Nicola Lasikiewicz surveyed 82 men and women between the ages of 18 and 62 by measuring their own perceived stress, assessing their thinking style, and assessing their currently held beliefs in the paranormal (or lack thereof). People who had received more education were likely to be rational thinkers and there were also more likely to believe in witchcraft and extraordinary life forms. However, once Perceived Stress Levels rose one was more likely to believe in all paranormal and superstitious realms, and these individuals were more likely to be experiential thinkers.
What’s interesting about this study is the rational thinkers with high stress- they had particularly strong beliefs in the paranormal. In conclusion, our tip is, the next time you want to get together and have a great night with friends exchanging ghost stories, make sure you invite the most stressed ones to the affair.
Lasikiewicz, N. (2016). Perceived Stress, Thinking Style, and Paranormal Belief. Imagination, Cognition &Personality, 35, 306-320.