The Paranormal Bias

The tendency to believe in the supernatural or paranormal.

No one has ever demonstrated clairvoyant abilities under properly controlled conditions, so why do we listen to people who sell supernaturalism? "The emerging consensus [from neuroscience] is that belief in the supernatural seems to arise from the same mental processes that underlie everyday reasoning and perception. But while the belief in ghosts, past lives, and the ability of the mind to move matter and the like originate in normal mental processes, those processes become hijacked and exaggerated," says Sharon Begley, science writer for Time in a fascinating article titled "Why We Believe."

Benefits of Paranormal Beliefs:  We love having imaginary friends, entities we can call on anytime of day or night; they're dependable, totally devoted to us. Paranormal beliefs inspire awe, and we like feeling astounded, makes our heart pump faster. They enable us to use our vivid imagination, to it to its outer limits. 

If you've never had a paranormal experience and believe in none of the things that science says don't exist except as tricks played on the gullible, then you're in the minority. A survey on beliefs of the general United States population regarding paranormal topics was conducted by the Gallup Organization in 2005, found that 73-percent of those polled believed in at least one of the ten paranormal items presented in the survey. The ten items included in the survey were: Extrasensory perception (41% held this belief), haunted houses (37%), ghosts (32%), telepathy (31%), clairvoyance (26%), astrology (25%), communication with the dead (21%), witches (21%), reincarnation (20%), and channeling spiritual entities (9%).