by Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, Ph.D. via Psychology Today
Imagine that everything we think we understand about how the world works is, in fact, an elaborate hoax. Democracy is a sham designed to fool us into believing we are in control. That a small group of unknown, unaccountable elites is actually pulling the strings and pretty much deciding the course of history; everything from the world economy and the conduct of nations to the media and pop culture is under their complete control. Anyone who says otherwise has either been fooled by the conspiracy or is an agent of disinformation.
Does this seem plausible to you? Our latest test is designed to assess your belief in conspiracy theories.
Conspiracy theories are now a firm feature of popular culture – the recent furore around Wiki-leaks provided compelling evidence for this. But the popularity of conspiracy theorising dates back to the shocking assassination of American President J.F.K. in broad daylight and in front of dozens of onlookers on November 22nd, 1963. Immediately, many people claimed that there was more than one gunman, and conspiracy theories arose implicating everyone from the CIA to the communists. More recently, films like Oliver Stone’s JFK and T.V. shows like The X-Files brought conspiratorial themes further into the mainstream. The terrorist attacks of September 11th 2001 have become perhaps the most widely debated events of the current generation. Many people doubt the ‘official’ story, believing instead that the events were the result of a conspiracy.
So, what has psychological research told us about belief in conspiracy theories? Not much. Indeed, so far only a handful of studies have looked at the personality of conspiracy theory believers. This research has found that believers tend to be lacking in trust and higher in levels of anomie – the feeling that things are generally getting worse – when compared to people with low levels of conspiracy beliefs. However, these findings show correlation, not causation. On the one hand, it may indicate that people’s conspiratorial beliefs are a result of their underlying lack of trust; people who see conspiracies behind everything are simply be projecting their own jaded view of the world onto events. Alternatively, lack of trust may follow from the perception of a conspiracy, reflecting a rational response to the reality of living in a world of conspiracy.
Read More: Personality and Conspiracy Theories: What Your Beliefs Say About You | Psychology Today.
People who were primed to feel like they have little control over their lives were more likely to change their individual views and believe in supernatural or paranormal beings, a new study suggests.
Psychologists from the University of Queensland found that when people felt a lack of control in their lives, they were more likely to believe in the so-called “psychic abilities” of the famous Paul the Octopus, an “octopus oracle” that became famous the 2010 soccer World Cup for correctly “predicting” the winner of all games in the competition.
Keep Reading: Loss of Control Makes People Superstitious – Medical Daily.
A growing body of psychology research shows that incompetence deprives people of the ability to recognize their own incompetence. To put it bluntly, dumb people are too dumb to know it. Similarly, unfunny people don’t have a good enough sense of humor to tell.
This disconnect may be responsible for many of society’s problems.
More: Incompetent People Too Ignorant to Know It | LifesLittleMysteries.com.
Our brains balk at the thought of four-dimensional hypercubes, quantum mechanics or an infinite universe, and understandably so. But our gray matter is generally adept at processing sensory data from the mundane objects and experiences of daily life. However, there are a few glaring exceptions.
Here are five common things that unexpectedly throw our brains for a loop, revealing some of the bizarre quirks in their structure and function that usually manage to slip under the radar.
More: Top 5 Things that Cause Brain Farts | LifesLittleMysteries.com.
Mary Occhino is a rising psychic star in the national spotlight. In the last few years she has written three books, hosted a radio show on which she gave medical readings, and had a reality television show called Mary Knows Best on the Syfy cable network. The show spotlighted Occhino raising “a colorful Long Island Italian-American family” and living everyday life with a psychic ability.
Over the years, Occhino has claimed to assist in missing persons cases, talk to the dead, and peer into the futures of celebrity lives. This article delves into Occhino’s predictions and activities, revealing that while Occhino is short on claims, her claims are short on independent proof. The independent evidence shows that when it comes to predictions, Occhino doesn’t know best.
Read More: CSI | Psychic Mary Occhino Doesn’t Know Best.
… most psychologists think abductions are lucid dreams or hallucinations, triggered by an awareness of other people’s similar experiences.
Read More: Alien Abductions – Facts and Origin | When Was the First Alleged Alien Encounter? | LiveScience.
In a nutshell: The full moon and other phases of the moon
have been linked to all kinds of things, but so far the science hasn’t supported folk beliefs
about the full moon.
The full moon has been linked to crime, mental illness, disasters, accidents, werewolves, and many other things. Does the scientific evidence support any of these links? Not really. Well, the science does favor one link: when the moon is waning (when the part we can see gets smaller), you would be well advised to stay out of the reach of hungry lions in the jungle. In the dark they can see us better than we can see them.
Why do people believe the full moon makes all kinds of things happen? There are several reasons.
Let’s begin with a common belief about the full moon: more people are admitted to hospitals during a full moon than at any other time of month. Is this true? No. Yet, many nurses say it is true because they have seen it happen. But the facts show that there are no more admissions to hospitals during a full moon than at any other time of the month. So why do some nurses believe in the full moon effect? The main reason is that believers rely on memory instead of keeping records.
Memory is tricky. If you believe that more people are admitted to the hospital during a full moon, then you may pay more attention to admissions when the moon is full. You may not pay much attention to the number of admissions on nights when the moon is not full. A scientist doesn’t rely just on memory.
Read More: full moon – Skeptic’s Dictionary for Kids.