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Thread: Higher Education Fuels Stronger Belief in Ghosts

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    Higher Education Fuels Stronger Belief in Ghosts

    Higher Education Fuels Stronger Belief in Ghosts

    By Robert Roy Britt
    LiveScience Managing Editor
    posted: 20 January 2006
    08:06 am ET

    Believe it or not, higher education is linked to a greater tendency to believe in ghosts and other paranormal phenomena, according to a new study.

    Contrary to researchers' expectations, a poll of 439 college students found seniors and grad students were more likely than freshmen to believe in haunted houses, psychics, telepathy, channeling and a host of other questionable ideas.

    The results are detailed in the January-February issue of the Skeptical Inquirer magazine.

    'Not Sure'

    The survey was modeled after a nationwide Gallup Poll in 2001 that found younger Americans far more likely to believe in the paranormal than older respondents.

    The new study was done by Bryan Farha at Oklahoma City University and Gary Steward Jr. of the University of Central Oklahoma.

    In general college students checked the "Believe" box less than the general population surveyed by Gallup. But the lack of "Don't Believe" responses among college students was lower for six of the 13 categories: psychic or spiritual healing, haunted houses, demonic possession, ghosts, clairvoyance and witches. That means a higher percentage of college students put themselves in the "Not Sure" column on these topics. [Table of results]

    Less skeptical

    More significantly, the new survey reveals college is not necessarily a path to skepticism in these realms.

    While 23 percent of college freshmen expressed a general belief in paranormal concepts—from astrology to communicating with the dead—31 percent of seniors did so and the figure jumped to 34 percent among graduate students.

    "As people attain higher college-education levels, the likelihood of believing in paranormal dimensions increases," Farha and Steward write.

    The media are likely responsible for some people's beliefs in alien abductions and other paranormal concepts, the scientists write, based on their survey of existing studies. And some people tend to selectively confirm whatever ideas might be in their heads. Even smart people might believe in something offbeat because, in part, they're good at defending whatever they believe.

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    ikki's Avatar
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    Because studying demands belief rather than knowledge?
    I had huge problems believing a word of the textbooks, as they had very poor argumentation, sure there was some math, but then they would suddenly take a leap of assumption and prove that assumption in its own universe, which was by no means connected to any of the earlier arguments.

    So there i was sitting a and reading for exams with the feeling that the books were fishy.. and yet, in the exams they are to be taken as ultimate fact. Demands quite a bit of double-think to keep your minds separated there.

    In that sense practical subjects like law and accounting went better. Not always making sense ofcourse, but atleast far more believable.. that the laws really are like that
    While theoretical economics or even worse sociology... might aswell be studying the bibel as a fact..
    Ignored: Nicholas

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