New precognition study supports skeptical view

#1
There was a new precognition study which lends support to the psychological skeptical view.

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

Abstract

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.
ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3737190/
 
#2
Since the starting point is based upon belief, quote, "The present research questions why, despite no evidence that humans are able to psychically predict the future", it's inevitable that any conclusions are also about belief.
 
#5
Also:
The present research provides new insights into the psychological functions of seemingly irrational beliefs, like belief in psychic abilities.
They must be very confused as to what an irrational belief is.

Believing one can survive without sleeping is an irrational belief.

Precognition instead is supported by empirical and experimental studies. If they wrote "controversial", instead of irrational, maybe I would have spent some time reading it. The abstract already killed it for me. Next... :)
 
C

Chris

#6
I can't see that those findings have any bearing either way on the sceptical view. Except for people who believe, like William Blake, that "a firm persuasion that a thing is so makes it so."
 
#7
Precognition instead is supported by empirical and experimental studies.
There is no empirical repeatable evidence for precognition or any alleged psychic power. If there was it would turn science on its head over night, would be all around the world in the news and in thousands of mainstream scientific papers. No such thing has happened.

I can't see that those findings have any bearing either way on the sceptical view.
Type in Google search engine "anomalistic psychology" or "psychology of paranormal belief", the findings show us that people believe in precognition as a "compensatory mechanism in times of low control". It is purely a psychological phenomenon. All alleged paranormal phenomena has a rational psychological explanation and this is yet another paper showing us the psychological reason why people need to believe in precognition when there is no evidence it actually exists.
 
C

Chris

#8
Type in Google search engine "anomalistic psychology" or "psychology of paranormal belief", the findings show us that people believe in precognition as a "compensatory mechanism in times of low control". It is purely a psychological phenomenon.
But demonstrating that there's a psychological reason for believing something doesn't prove that the belief is false, does it?
 

Paul C. Anagnostopoulos

Nap, interrupted.
Member
#9
The results make perfectly good sense psychologically. I'm not sure how much I would take that as indicative of whether people actually can see
But demonstrating that there's a psychological reason for believing something doesn't prove that the belief is false, does it?
No. But it is interesting to investigate possible explanations for belief in psychics, particularly given their poor track records.

~~ Paul
 
#11
It does indeed seem to be the case, psychologocally, that most (perhaps all) paranormal beliefs circulate around key areas of threat and disempowerment in the human condition. The future is something over which we have weak control at best, and precognitions appears to offer a level of such control. We have no control over death, but mediums and near death experiences create the notion that we have somehow "colonized" it, and that it is friendly to our needs. UFOs (I include this as a 'paranormal belief') create the impression that we aren't alone in a cold and indifferent cosmos, something else we clearly have no control over. Miraculous healing gives us the notion that we can do something about intractable health conditions likely to kill us, and so on and so forth.

Strictly speaking none of this "proves" that such phenomena cannot exist, but it weakens their case I think, and it is highly improbable that there is *no* relation between the psychological benefit they offer and the "strength of evidence" people are inclined to see for them.
 
C

Chris

#12
To put it another way, if a study showed that some people had psychological reasons for disbelieving in psychical phenomena, would it be fair to describe that as supporting the proponents' view? Would it strengthen the case of the proponents?

Of course not.
 
#13
To put it another way, if a study showed that some people had psychological reasons for disbelieving in psychical phenomena, would it be fair to describe that as supporting the proponents' view? Would it strengthen the case of the proponents?

Of course not.
So far as I am concerned, *anything* which, for any group of people, has potentially high emotional stakes, can induce this effect...no matter what polarity of belief they have. However, for humanity as a whole I would say that these phenomena pour into key pockets of racial fear...death, sickness, accident, 'fate', vengeance...etc.
 
#17
But demonstrating that there's a psychological reason for believing something doesn't prove that the belief is false, does it?
That is the genetic fallacy: consider that because we have discovered the origin of an assertion, we proved its falsity or truth when the truth of an assertion has nothing to do with its origin.
 
#18
Strictly speaking none of this "proves" that such phenomena cannot exist, but it weakens their case I think, and it is highly improbable that there is *no* relation between the psychological benefit they offer and the "strength of evidence" people are inclined to see for them.
No weakens it, because there are aspects of the anomalies that are psychologically harmful, as hellish NDEs
 
#19
Whether this study supports the skeptical view depends upon what is meant by the "skeptical view".

The study states "despite no evidence that humans are able to psychically predict the future", but the study itself is not a test of the question of precognition, but a test of whether belief reflects factors other than evidence. The skeptical view is that belief in an idea does not necessarily reflect whether there is evidence for the idea. So in that sense, the skeptical view was supported (there was no main effect from the "evidence/no evidence" condition).

This is relevant whenever someone tries to make the argument that belief in an idea indicates that there is evidence for the idea.

Linda
 
C

Chris

#20
The skeptical view is that belief in an idea does not necessarily reflect whether there is evidence for the idea. So in that sense, the skeptical view was supported (there was no main effect from the "evidence/no evidence" condition).
Well, I think anyone who read the title of the thread could be forgiven for thinking that the sceptical view of precognition was that it didn't exist!
 
Top