Love the Paranormal? That's Just Anxiety

Stressed out people may turn toward the supernatural
By Laurel Jorgensen,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 26, 2008 7:05 PM CDT
About 40% of Americans believe alien abductions are possible, compared to 25% in the 1980s, polls show.   (Shutter Stock)
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(Newser) – Not everyone believes in alien abductions, but plenty of people say they have seen ghosts or heard voices from the beyond. Poll results show that 90% of Americans have had a paranormal experience—a statistic that scientists increasingly blame on our tricky brains. Anxiety over modern society or any perceived threat, they say, turns us to beliefs like ESP and astrology.

Evolution plays a role here: Obsessed with avoiding danger, our brains imbue even inanimate objects with good or bad luck—or make associations that others would call coincidence. "We are left with a legacy of false positives," said one renowned skeptic. Then why, you ask, are there skeptics at all? To satisfy a need in their brains: feeling bigger than everyone else's, Newsweek reports.