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Tall Tales about the Mind and BrainSeparating fact from fiction$
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Sergio Della Sala

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780198568773

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198568773.001.0001

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Cognitive factors underlying paranormal beliefs and experiences

Cognitive factors underlying paranormal beliefs and experiences

Chapter:
(p.3) Chapter 1 Cognitive factors underlying paranormal beliefs and experiences
Source:
Tall Tales about the Mind and Brain
Author(s):

Christopher C. French

Krissy Wilson

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198568773.003.0002

It is clear that a wide range of situations exist that can potentially lead people to believe that they have experienced the paranormal when in fact they have not. The question regarding possible differences between believers and non-believers in the paranormal in terms of proneness to cognitive biases can now be answered rather more definitively than has been possible previously. Believers in the paranormal tend to be poorer at syllogistic reasoning, have a more distorted concept of randomness leading them to see meaning where there is none, are more susceptible to experiencing anomalous sensations and are, in certain circumstances, more suggestible. Memory biases in the accuracy of eyewitness testimony for ostensibly paranormal events have also often been reported, and evidence is beginning to accumulate that believers may be more prone to false memories.

Keywords:   suggestibility, syllogistic reasoning, cognitive biases, randomness, false memories, paranormal beliefs

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