Viren Swami et al. (2010) examined belief in extraterrestrials. There is debate on whether beliefs in extraterrestrial life, such as aliens, were related to the measurement of paranormal belief. Their study hypothesized that there would be common themes and relations between extraterrestrial beliefs and multiples factors, such as age, mental illness, paranormal belief, superstition, and conscientiousness.
The study used an 11-item extraterrestrial belief subscale and an 18-item paranormal belief scale that measured whether the participants had these beliefs. Findings of the study suggested that paranormal belief, more so than ESP and belief in the afterlife, were related to belief in extraterrestrial life.
These researchers also found a relationship between participants beliefs in extraterrestrial life and mental illness. More specifically, they stated that with higher extraterrestrial life beliefs, subjects report having more unusual experiences than others. An obvious finding in the study stated that openness to new experiences also relates to extraterrestrial life belief and experiences. An open minded individual could be more prone to believe that an experience could be an extraterrestrial experience.
Submitted by: Jossalyn DeLeon
Swami, V., Pietschnig, J., Stieger, S., & Voracek, M. (2011). Alien psychology: Associations between extraterrestrial beliefs and paranormal ideation, superstitious beliefs, schizotypy, and the Big Five personality factors. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 25(4), 647-653. doi:10.1002/acp.1736