Date of Award
Program or Major
Doctor of Philosophy
Ellen S Cohn
This research examined the predictors of illusory judgments of prediction under conditions of uncertainty. Study 1 investigated the believability of an experimental manipulation that required participants to choose a strategy for target object selection. Study 2 expanded upon Study 1 by giving participants an additional choice strategy (e.g., a computer's selection). In both Study 1 and Study 2, participants relied on the paranormal strategy (e.g., a psychic) to a greater degree under conditions of uncertainty than under conditions of certainty. Study 3 replicated these results using a between subjects design but also expanded upon Study 1 and 2 by examining individual difference and demographic predictors of paranormal strategy selection under conditions of uncertainty. Paranormal involvement and religious involvement were also analyzed. In Study 3, participants who chose the psychic more often were also more likely to overestimate the probability of correctly locating a hidden object. These results are discussed in terms of illusory prediction. Personal paranormal involvement and religious involvement were associated with less reliance on the psychic strategy, whereas general paranormal involvement was associated with greater reliance on the psychic strategy. Implications for this research include a possible increased predilection for gambling based upon personal paranormal beliefs. Further, this research indicates that individuals with high paranormal beliefs may be vulnerable toward psychic services during times of uncertainty.
Goforth, Erin C., "Illusory judgments under conditions of uncertainty: Reasoning errors related to paranormal and religious beliefs" (2008). Doctoral Dissertations. 421.