Loss of Control Increases Belief in Precognition and Belief in Precognition Increases Control

Greenaway, Katharine H., Louis, Winnifred R. and Hornsey, Matthew J. (2013) Loss of Control Increases Belief in Precognition and Belief in Precognition Increases Control. PLoS ONE, 8 8: e71327.1-e71327.5. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0071327

Author Greenaway, Katharine H.
Louis, Winnifred R.
Hornsey, Matthew J.
Title Loss of Control Increases Belief in Precognition and Belief in Precognition Increases Control
Journal name PLoS ONE   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1932-6203
Publication date 2013-08
Year available 2013
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0071327
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 8
Issue 8
Start page e71327.1
End page e71327.5
Total pages 6
Place of publication San Francisco, CA United States
Publisher Public Library of Science
Collection year 2014
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Every year thousands of dollars are spent on psychics who claim to "know" the future. The present research questions why, despite no evidence that humans are able to psychically predict the future, do people persist in holding irrational beliefs about precognition? We argue that believing the future is predictable increases one's own perceived ability to exert control over future events. As a result, belief in precognition should be particularly strong when people most desire control-that is, when they lack it. In Experiment 1 (N = 87), people who were experimentally induced to feel low in control reported greater belief in precognition than people who felt high in control. Experiment 2 (N = 53) investigated whether belief in precognition increases perceived control. Consistent with this notion, providing scientific evidence that precognition is possible increased feelings of control relative to providing scientific evidence that precognition was not possible. Experiment 3 (N = 132) revealed that when control is low, believing in precognition helps people to feel in control once more. Prediction therefore acts as a compensatory mechanism in times of low control. The present research provides new insights into the psychological functions of seemingly irrational beliefs, like belief in psychic abilities.
Keyword Compensatory Control
Paranormal Phenomena
Perceived Control
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2014 Collection
School of Psychology Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 3 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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