Inattentional Blindness, Absorption, Working Memory Capacity, and Paranormal Belief


Anne Richards Department of Psychological Sciences
Birkbeck College University of London
Moa Gunnarsson Hellgren, Christopher C. French
Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit
Department of Psychology
Goldsmiths College

Two studies investigated the relationship between inattentional blindness, paranormal belief/experience, absorption, and working memory capacity (WMC). ‘Inattentional blindness’ (IB) refers to the failure to consciously register an unexpected visual stimulus or event when attention is diverted to a different task. Absorption is a highly focused state where individuals are unaware of stimuli outside of attentional focus and is linked with paranormal belief. It was predicted that IB individuals would have higher absorption scores and be more likely to believe in the paranormal than non-inattentionally blind (NIBs) individuals. In both studies, IBs had higher absorption and paranormal belief scores than NIBs, as predicted. In addition, Study 2 measured WMC. Although absorption predicted IB, when WMC and paranormal belief were entered into the analysis, only WMC predicted IB with IBs having lower WMC than NIBs. These data offer support for a cognitive deficit account of paranormal belief.

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Loss of Control Increases Belief in Precognition and Belief in Precognition Increases Control


Katharine H. Greenaway*, Winnifred R. Louis, Matthew J. Hornsey
The University of Queensland, School of Psychology, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Every year thousands of dollars are spent on psychics who claim to “know” the future. The present research questions why, despite no evidence that humans are able to psychically predict the future, do people persist in holding irrational beliefs about precognition? We argue that believing the future is predictable increases one’s own perceived ability to exert control over future events. As a result, belief in precognition should be particularly strong when people most desire control–that is, when they lack it. In Experiment 1 (N = 87), people who were experimentally induced to feel low in control reported greater belief in precognition than people who felt high in control. Experiment 2 (N = 53) investigated whether belief in precognition increases perceived control. Consistent with this notion, providing scientific evidence that precognition is possible increased feelings of control relative to providing scientific evidence that precognition was not possible. Experiment 3 (N = 132) revealed that when control is low, believing in precognition helps people to feel in control once more. Prediction therefore acts as a compensatory mechanism in times of low control. The present research provides new insights into the psychological functions of seemingly irrational beliefs, like belief in psychic abilities.

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Effects of Social Influence and Persuasion on Paranormal Beliefs

Journal of Undergraduate Psychological Research
2008, Vol. 3

In the last decade scholars have unexpectedly found that beliefs in the paranormal were not significantly lower in college students vs. the general population. This research has produced a lot of controversy and concern regarding the student’s education level and reasoning skills. To investigate further, the current experiment analyzed the relationship between media and social influence and college students’ beliefs concerning the paranormal. In contrast to previous research, no differences in beliefs were supported as a function of media or social influence. Potential reasons for the lack of significant results are discussed and proposals for future studies are offered.

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Childhood physical abuse and differential development of paranormal belief systems

New York State Psychiatric Institute, Columbia University, College of Physicians and Surgeons. New York, New York 10032, USA.

This study compared paranormal belief systems in individuals with and without childhood physical abuse histories. The Revised Paranormal Belief Scale and the Assessing Environments III Questionnaire were completed by 107 University students. Psi, precognition, and spiritualism, which are thought to provide a sense of personal efficacy and control, were among the most strongly held beliefs in abused subjects, and were significantly higher in abused versus nonabused subjects. Superstition and extraordinary life forms, thought to have an inverse or no relation to felt control, were the least strongly held beliefs in abused subjects, and, along with religious beliefs, did not differ between the two abuse groups. Witchcraft was unexpectedly found to be the most strongly held belief among those with abuse histories. Results suggest that by providing a sense of control, certain paranormal beliefs may offer a powerful emotional refuge to individuals who endured the stress of physical abuse in childhood.

Childhood physical abuse and differential development of paranormal belief systems – ResearchGate. Available from:

Reasoning in believers in the paranormal

ABSTRACT Reasoning biases have been identified in deluded patients, delusion-prone individuals, and believers in the paranormal. This study examined content-specific reasoning and delusional ideation in believers in the paranormal. A total of 174 members of the Society for Psychical Research completed a delusional ideation questionnaire and a deductive reasoning task. The reasoning statements were manipulated for congruency with paranormal beliefs. As predicted, individuals who reported a strong belief in the paranormal made more errors and displayed more delusional ideation than skeptical individuals. However, no differences were found with statements that were congruent with their belief system, confirming the domain-specificity of reasoning. This reasoning bias was limited to people who reported a belief in, rather than experience of, paranormal phenomena. These results suggest that reasoning abnormalities may have a causal role in the formation of unusual beliefs. The dissociation between experiences and beliefs implies that such abnormalities operate at the evaluative, rather than the perceptual, stage of processing.

Reasoning in believers in the paranormal.

(PDF Download Available).

How psychotic-like are paranormal beliefs?

Background and objectives:

Paranormal beliefs and Psychotic-like Experiences (PLE) are phenotypically similar and can occur in individuals with psychosis but also in the general population; however the relationship of these experiences for psychosis risk is largely unclear. This study investigates the association of PLE and paranormal beliefs with psychological distress.


Five hundred and three young adults completed measures of paranormal beliefs (Beliefs in the Paranormal Scale), psychological distress (General Health Questionnaire), delusion (Peters et al. Delusions Inventory), and hallucination (Launay-Slade Hallucination Scale) proneness.


The frequency and intensity of PLE was higher in believers in the paranormal compared to non-believers, however psychological distress levels were comparable. Regression findings confirmed that paranormal beliefs were predicted by delusion and hallucination-proneness but not psychological distress.


The use of a cross-sectional design in a specific young adult population makes the findings exploratory and in need of replication with longitudinal studies.

The predictive value of paranormal beliefs and experiences for psychosis may be limited; appraisal or the belief emotional salience rather than the belief per se may be more relevant risk factors to predict psychotic risk.


Matteo Cella a,b,*, Marcello Vellantec, Antonio Pretic,d
a Institute of Psychiatry, King’
s College London, London SE5 8AF, UK
b Department of Clinical, Educational & Health Psychology, University College London, UK
c Department of Clinical Psychology, University of Cagliari, Italy
d Centro Medico Genneruxi, via Costantinopoli 42, 09129 Cagliari, Italy


Analysis of Sub-Harmonics in Power Systems

Zbigniew Leonowicz
Faculty of Electrical Engineering
Wroclaw University of Technology
Wroclaw, Poland,

Abstract—With a wide range of power electronics-related applications in power systems, harmonic currents are increasing at an alarming rate which has greatly deteriorated the power quality in electrical power networks. Moreover, some of electronic controlled equipments used in power systems, such as power converters, produce sub-harmonics, a type of waveform distortion, which can severely degrade the power system performance. Therefore, they must be closely monitored. Moreover, Fast Fourier Transform cannot accurately analyze waveforms containing sub-harmonics because the synchronization of the sampling procedure to sub-harmonics is practically infeasible. The detection of sub-harmonics requires an approach different from that used for harmonics analysis. In most analysis methods the voltage waveform is expected to be a pure sinusoid with a given frequency and amplitude. Standard tools of harmonic analysis based on the Fourier transform assume that only harmonics are present in the investigated signal and the periodicity intervals are fixed, while periodicity intervals in the presence of inter-harmonics and sub-harmonics can be variable and very long. A novel approach to analysis of non-stationary signals, based on the “subspace” methods, is proposed. “Root-Music” harmonic retrieval method is an example of high- resolution eigenstructure-based method

Keywords:- Discrete Fourier Transform, dc arc furnaces
frequency measurement, harmonic analysis, power system,
subspace methods

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