How To Tell If You Re A Psychic Medium – Magical thinking and belief in the paranormal is thought to represent a trait-like character; people believe it or not. But anecdotes suggest that exposure to anomalous events can turn skeptics into believers. This transformation can be accompanied by altered cognitive functions, such as distorted judgments about the probability of events. Here, exposure to anomalous events shows that individuals clearly produce random numbers in traditional (religious) and non-traditional (e.g. mental dice tasks. In one class, 91 students saw a magic show after their psychology class. Before the event, half of the students performing magicians in the order of performance).(group of magicians) or paranormal (group of souls). The instructions influenced participants’ explanations of abnormal events. Participants in the wizard are more likely to explain events with magical abilities. from the paranormal group, while the opposite is true for paranormal abilities. Finally, we observed that the paranormal group showed greater avoidance of repetition than the magician group, and this effect remained the same regardless of whether it was assessed before or after the magic show. We conclude that it affects the interpretation of normal events and related cognitive biases. Beliefs and related cognitive biases are likely to be flexible as they mature and change with real events.
Occult thinking refers to a style of thinking that “involves some kind of misunderstanding about causation or, more generally, natural law” (Woolley, 1997 p. 993). Piaget (1927) showed that up to the age of 12 magical thinking constitutes a large part of the inner world of children (but for earlier estimates see Rosengren and Hickling, 1994). Despite improvements in these early claims, recent evidence still suggests that children show a more blurred distinction between reality and imagination than adults (Rosengren & Hickling, 1994; Woolley, 1997; Subbotsky, 2010). With increasing age, magical thinking is considered to dissipate. For example, when children see magic tricks from age 5 onwards, they increasingly give way to rational explanations (Rosengren & Hickling, 1994). This developmental perspective is consistent with the view that adults are rational thinkers shaped by personal, educational, and social development (Rosengren & Hickling, 1994).
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While this perspective is comfortable in our Western, highly educated society, they are not supported by studies examining supernatural and paranormal beliefs and experiences in the general adult population.
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. For example, only 10% of the US general population would label themselves as skeptics of paranormal phenomena (Rice, 2003). In Europe, 90% of the Swiss sample reported experiencing extraordinary experiences (Landolt et al., 2014), and the German public seems to be quite open-minded about extraordinary experiences, with more than half of the German public reporting such experiences (Knittel). and Schetsche, 2012). Also, after experiencing an abnormal event, Western adults typically reject magical beliefs on an explicit level, but often implicitly admit that an abnormal event has occurred (for example, transforming an image into a real object; Subbotsky & Quinteros, 2002; Subbotsky, 2004). In general, supernatural beliefs vary greatly between individuals of different ages (Rosengren & Hickling, 1994; Subbotsky, 2004) and among individuals of the same age (Johnson & Harris, 1994; Subbotsky & Quinteros, 2002). Once established, these beliefs seem to persist, and factors such as education unsurprisingly do little to reduce the propensity for these beliefs (Walker et al., 2001; Dougherty, 2004; Genovese, 2005).
Besides the observation that magical beliefs are common, they seem to correspond to certain cognitive biases. For example, individuals with high levels of supernatural belief see patterns in random noise more frequently (Brugger et al., 1993; Blackmore and Moore, 1994), show enhanced perception of deceptive faces (Riekki et al., 2013), or misjudge events. probability of occurrence (Brugger et al., 1990; Bressan, 2002). Moreover, believers are more likely to accept false personality descriptions (Mason & Budge, 2011), report events that have happened (Tsakanikos & Reed, 2005), and require more time to understand the truth in sentences that violate basic knowledge (Lindeman & Budge ). , 2011). al., 2008). Such cognitive bias can be linked to the propensity for distant associative processing (Gianotti et al., 2001), predisposition to fantasy (Sanchez-Bernardos & Avia, 2006), and openness to experience (Ross et al., 2002) in believers of magic. Therefore, the literature shows that magical beliefs are common, very stable (such as traits-like individual differences), and accompanied by certain cognitive biases and personality variables. Also, magical beliefs that may be established in early childhood. Given these results, it is surprising that relatively little is known about the formation of such beliefs and the causal role of cognitive biases.
It is possible that little has been known about the formation of supernatural beliefs, at least from adults, because it may be considered an ingrained trait in early childhood. Still, there are some anecdotal reports that magical thinking can occur in adulthood, often as a result of real-life events. For example, individuals who have near-death experiences eventually become religious and/or spiritual believers (TrueSpritWorship, 2011, 2013). Freud (1946) reported in one of his Introductory Lectures how his interactions and experiences with patients made him vulnerable to the presence of telepathy and thought transference. At first very critical and skeptical, he changed his mind after several case studies about dreams and the supernatural. “If a person sees himself as a skeptic, it is good to be suspicious of his skepticism from time to time” (p. 73). He then said, “[b] I don’t like to seek anyone’s mercy, and I must suggest to you that you should think better about the objective possibility of thought transfer and therefore telepathy (…) If you cannot believe in receiving and dealing with all magical hypothesis that may turn out to be true, then turn it into science. You will not have great confidence “(p. 75). These examples show that real events can turn early thinkers into magical believers, and that belief formation can occur in adulthood.
We are aware of several studies in the lab that have examined the impact of abnormal experiences on individuals’ supernatural beliefs. For example, verbal suggestions are subjective experiences of abnormal events in mock session rooms (Wiseman et al., 2003), movies offering psychokinetic abilities (Wiseman & Greening, 2005), or so-called “ghost” rooms (Bering). et al., 2005). Subbotsky (2004).) investigated whether adults’ causal beliefs were affected by the presentation of abnormal (magical) causal events. adults are not willing to accept that the act of magic (magic) can cause abnormal events, not presented in context, but if unrelated events are executed (for example, turning on the light and turning it off) during abnormal events, adults tend to associate unrelated events with abnormal events .Thus, the implicit behavior of adults explicitly rejects the possibility of abnormal events while still accepting the possibility of abnormal events (Subbotsky, 2001).
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Most relevant to our study, Benassi et al. (1980) argued that the public and scientists can be deceived by attributing psychic powers to ordinary and amateur magic routines, and that inferred psychic powers can be legitimate even when artists represent themselves as magicians. In their work, magicians are presented with magic tricks in the classroom. The magician is introduced either as a paranormal (psychic state) or a magician (wizard state). After observing the demonstration, participants in the paranormal explained the event more powerfully through psychic abilities than in the case of witches. While this experimental manipulation is promising in showing that framing influences how people interpret an abnormal event, the authors did not assess supernatural beliefs and reasoning about the event before and after the event. This omission makes causal conclusions difficult. Overall, though, this is a promising approach to investigating how real-life events influence our magical beliefs as we grow up.
In summary, the above studies show that experiencing abnormal events can change people’s supernatural interpretations (and potentially beliefs). These events may also affect cognitive biases that are commonly associated with trait-like magical beliefs. Empirical evidence for such causal claims is still lacking. Our aim is to investigate whether exposure to magical spectacles and their contextual presentation (framing) (i) influence how the event is interpreted (paranormal events, magic tricks, religious miracles, see also Benassi et al., 1980). (ii) traditional beliefs (religion, then TB) and non-traditional (eg supernatural, paranormal, then NTB) (Tobacky, 2004), and (iii) judgments of the probability of events (a random number of generation tasks to avoid repetition; Brugger and others, 1990). Previous research has found that strong repetition is avoided in believers of paranormal phenomena than in skeptics (Brugger et al., 1990) and since the task of generating mental numbers can be done in the classroom,
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