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A Psychology of Belief

GT Tech Challenge 4.0
by

Emma s

on 21 January 2014

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Transcript of A Psychology of Belief

fan·ta·sy
noun
1. The faculty or activity of imagining things, especially things that are impossible or improbable.

par·a·nor·mal
adjective
1. Denoting events or phenomena such as telekinesis or clairvoyance that are beyond the scope of normal scientific understanding.

A Psychology of Belief

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"The Daily Neuron." The Daily Neuron. The Daily Neuron, 11 Oct. 2013. Web. 13 Jan. 2014. <http://thedailyneuron.com/have-you-ever-seen-a-ghost-why-people-believe-in-paranormal-activity>.
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By Gwen Obispo, Emma Schick, and Tasha Smith
First of all, how are/were beliefs spread, both now and back then?
Believing in the
Paranormal
Belief in ghosts and other paranormal beings goes hand-in-hand with belief in things like magic.
They've been a popular theme in our culture for a long time.





The Question:


What are the physical and psychological causes behind beliefs in things such as the supernatural, the paranormal, and the fantastical?

In other words, why do people believe?



People have believed in what we now call "mythical" beings since humans came into existence. But modern-day views on the topic are much less wide-spread.
Believing in the Fantastical
The
sphinx
- a cross between a lion and a human - was a popular theme in Early
Egyptian
culture.
The
Mayans
and the
Aztecs
relied on their inclinations about the world around them to survive as civilizations.

But one thing is still very widespread: the paranormal.

Ghosts and spirits have been around since people first started theorizing about the afterlife.

But why are these beliefs here?

One answer could be because they're true (and who knows, maybe they are - anything could be) but we want to know the psychological and physical causes behind them.
Mental Causes
Common examples of fantastical/supernatural creatures/ideas include:

-
fairies
(elves, sprites, etc.)
-
magic
and manipulating the elements
-
goblins
, trolls, sirens
- mermen and mermaids
-
witches and wizards
(though these are also sometimes classified as paranormal)

Fairies
are most commonly imagined to look something like this.
Why

Belief in the Past
Works Cited
Early societies seem to have all had beliefs that are not so easily explained nowadays.

Greek culture
was so united with its legends that their belief system constantly reinforced their cultural and religious values.

Icelanders
have been believing in the existence of elves for centuries (and about 50% still do.)


Fantasy Prone Personality:
A trait in which a person is inexplicably fascinated with/obsessed with fantasy. People with this trait may find no difference between fantasy and reality, experience hallucinations, daydream constantly, and be more prone to believing in the fantastical and the supernatural.






Physical Causes
The Human Condition

Belief is just one aspect of being human. It's both comforting, and an escape, and lets us explore our reality fully.

It has been present in our societies ever since the dawn of time, and our imaginations are amazing things.

(But who says it's just your imagination?)
In Conclusion
Ultimately, a reader should now:

1. Understand the motivations behind these beliefs,
2. Understand what mental aspects affect them,
3. Understand what physical aspects affect them, and
4. Understand the importance of recognizing these beliefs in society.
Culture is rich with our beliefs.

There's always a new ghost film at the theater, and there's always a little girl who loves Tinker Bell.
Anyone can start talking about how terrible the
Paranormal Activity
movies are and instantly get a few agreements, and maybe even a laugh.

The music used was an instrumental version of Smother, by the band "Daughter". All copyright goes to them.
Schizotypal Personality Disorder:
A disorder associated with odd beliefs or magical thinking.
"...having cognitive or perceptual distortions and eccentricities of behavior..."
- according to PsychCentral

Often, victims of
abuse
will escape into imaginary worlds to get away from their trauma. This, in time, will blur the lines of their reality.

Severe loneliness
or
extreme isolation
can be tied to supernatural beliefs; if a person has no one to talk to, their mind might find a different way to get the interaction they crave.

Paranoia
can cause a heightened sense of awareness, and can cause its victim to over-think what they see until it changes entirely.
Human senses are extremely fallible. A brain might interpret something wrong after the sensory data goes through a plethora of filters, biases etc.

Sometimes, we have too much processing power for the stimuli, and our brains go into overdrive with too little data. A noise or a glimpse of something is exaggerated.
Full transcript