Paranormal belief and the conjunction fallacy: Controlling for temporal relatedness and potential surprise differentials in component events

Paul Rogers, John E. Fisk, Dawn Wiltshire

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Recent research suggests paranormal believers are especially prone to the ‘conjunction fallacy’. The current study extends this work by presenting believers and non‐believers with eight paranormal plus eight non‐paranormal scenarios. Participants were given either a paranormal or virtually identical non‐paranormal version of each scenario. Of these, half incorporated component events which were (virtually) co‐occurring with half including components which were temporally disjointed. Analysis of Covariance (ANCOVA; controlling for gender and maths/stats/psychology qualifications) found believers made more conjunction errors than non‐believers. Neither event type (paranormal vs. non‐paranormal) nor components' temporal relationship (co‐occurring vs. disjointed) had a significant effect on conjunction biases. Believers' tendency to produce larger conjunctive estimates was unrelated to group differences in component probability estimates (surprise values) and further, could not be attributed to group differences in the perceived functional relationship between component and conjunctive events. Possible explanations are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)692-702
Number of pages11
JournalApplied Cognitive Psychology
Volume25
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 21 Sep 2011

Keywords

  • paranormal belief
  • conjunction fallacy
  • temporal relatedness
  • potential differentials
  • evoked events
  • Evoked Potentials
  • Extrasensory Perception
  • Probability Judgment
  • Temporal Lobe

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