I Want to Believe.
For many of us, it isn’t hard to believe in the paranormal. From bumps in the night, to eerily convincing déjà vu, to the feeling that we know about something before it happens, the supernatural has been an integral part of many of the world’s cultures from ancient times through the present day.
And yet even in our post-Enlightenment world, where modern scientific advancements continually disprove long-held convictions about magic and the like, why is it that so many people choose to keep believing?
The more skeptical among us often write off believers as less intelligent, blinded by a backwards faith, or simply more gullible in the way they process and understand the world, but is it really just a type of person who chooses to accept the supernatural?
Researchers set out to classify what makes a person more likely to believe in the paranormal, and they traced it down to this specific character trait.
According to two Gallup polls, about 26% of Americans believe in “clairvoyance/ the power of the mind to know the past and predict the future.” 73% have at least one paranormal belief.
Results were collected via phone interviews with 1,002 American adults. Other responses worth noting were that 41% believe in ESP, 37% believe in haunted houses, and 25% believe in astrology. Christians were more likely to believe in the paranormal than non-Christians (75% vs. 66%).
Regardless of the numbers, scientific evidence has never been able to find any proof of such paranormal phenomena, which has left critical skeptics stereotyping believers as a certain type of individual who is more susceptible to such fanciful convictions.
As this new study points out, however, the biggest difference between believers and non-believers can be traced down to one personality trait, and it isn’t their intelligence.