Paranormal belief, thinking style preference and susceptibility to confirmatory conjunction errors

Paul Rogers, John E. Fisk, Emma Lowrie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study examines the extent to which belief in extrasensory perception (ESP), psychokinesis (PK) or life after death (LAD), plus need for cognition (NFC) and faith in intuition (FI), predict the generation of confirmatory conjunction errors. An opportunity sample (n = 261) completed sixteen conjunction problems manipulated across a 2 event type (paranormal vs. non-paranormal) × 2 outcome type (confirmatory vs. disconfirmatory) within subjects design. Three Generalised Linear Mixed Models – one per paranormal belief type – were performed. With respondent gender and age controlled for, ESP, PK and LAD beliefs were all associated with the making (vs. non-making) of conjunction errors both generally and specifically for confirmatory conjunctive outcomes. Event type had no impact. Individuals high in NFC were less likely to commit the fallacy. The role thinking style plays in shaping paranormal believers’ susceptibility to confirmatory conjunction biases is discussed. Methodological issues and future research ideas are also considered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)182-196
Number of pages15
JournalConsciousness and Cognition
Publication statusPublished - 8 Sept 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Elsevier Inc.


  • Confirmation
  • Conjunction
  • Dual process
  • Paranormal belief
  • Probabilistic reasoning
  • Thinking style


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