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J Psychol. 2006 Nov;140(6):579-90.

Cognition and belief in paranormal phenomena: gestalt/feature-intensive processing theory and tendencies toward ADHD, depression, and dissociation.

Author information

1
Dept. of Psychology, M/S ST 11, California State University, Fresno, CA 93740-8039, USA. matthew.sharps@csufresno.edu

Abstract

Belief in paranormal phenomena and cryptids--unknown animals such as Bigfoot--may predispose individuals to interpret real-world objects and events in the same way that eyewitness identification can be biased by unrelated information (P. James and N. Thorpe, 1999). Psychological tendencies toward attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), dissociation, and depression, even at subclinical levels, may be associated systematically with particular paranormal or cryptozoological beliefs. The authors evaluated these psychological tendencies using the Conners Adult ADHD Rating Scales (C. K. Conners, D. Erhardt, and E. Sparrow, 1999), the Dissociative Experiences Scale (L. Coleman & J. Clark, 1999), and the Beck Depression Inventory-II (A. T. Beck, 1996). They performed regression analyses against beliefs in ghosts, unidentified flying objects (UFOs), extrasensory perception (ESP), astrology, and cryptids. ADHD, dissociation, and depression were associated with enhanced tendencies toward paranormal and cryptozoological beliefs, although participants who believed in each of the phenomena differed from one another in predictable and psychologically distinguishable ways. Cognitively biasing influences of preexisting psychological tendencies may predispose individuals to specific perceptual and cognitive errors during confrontation of real-world phenomena.

PMID:
17144153
DOI:
10.3200/JRLP.140.6.579-590
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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