• Perceived Stress, Thinking Style and Paranormal Belief

      Lasikiewicz, Nicola; University of Chester (2016-03)
      Paranormal beliefs often become stronger in times of stress. Such beliefs have also been found to vary in accordance with thinking style, whereby stronger beliefs are often observed in experiential thinkers. Little research, however, has explored the interaction between perceived stress and thinking style. 82 males and females aged 18 to 62 years (mean = 29.96 ± 12.53 years) completed measures of perceived stress, thinking style (rational and experiential) and paranormal belief. The results revealed stronger beliefs in experiential thinkers, compared with those with a rational thinking style. Perceived stress alone, was not a prominent predictor of belief but the combination of stress and thinking style, specifically high perceived stress with a rational thinking style, significantly predicted greater global paranormal belief, belief in superstition, traditional religious belief, and belief in psi. High perceived stress appeared to facilitate belief in rational thinkers as conversely, belief was lowest in rational thinkers under conditions of low-perceived stress. These findings suggest that stress may lower the propensity for rational thinking and consequently, encourage belief in scientifically unsubstantiated phenomena. This interaction may have implications for coping during stressful situations.