Belief in psychic ability and the misattribution hypothesis: a qualitative review

Richard Wiseman, Caroline Watt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

This paper explores the notion that people who believe in psychic ability possess various psychological attributes that increase the likelihood of them misattributing paranormal causation to experiences that have a normal explanation. The paper discusses the structure and measurement of belief in psychic ability, then reviews the considerable body of work exploring the relationship between belief in psychic ability, and academic performance, intelligence, critical thinking, probability misjudgement and reasoning, measures of fantasy proneness and the propensity to find correspondences in distantly related material. Finally, the paper proposes several possible directions for future research, including: the need to build a multi-causal model of belief; to address the issue of correlation versus causation; to resolve the inconsistent pattern of findings present in many areas; and to develop a more valid, reliable and fine-grained measure of belief in psychic ability.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)323-38
Number of pages16
JournalBritish journal of psychology (London, England : 1953)
Issue numberPt 3
Publication statusPublished - 2006

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Aptitude
  • Culture
  • Educational Status
  • Fantasy
  • Humans
  • Individuality
  • Intelligence
  • Parapsychology
  • Personality
  • Probability Learning
  • Research
  • Telepathy
  • Thinking


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