Magic in the House of Rain: Cognitive Bases of UFO ‘Observations’ in the Southwest Desert
Certain peoples of the American Southwest plant turkey feathers in their fields, mystically intended to attract rain. Farther south, the wild turkey represents the rain god Tlaloc, whose dwelling beneath the vast American deserts is still, in places, believed to be blessed with abundant water. The dwelling place of Tlaloc is the House of Rain …
Percival Lowell and the Canals of Mars, Part II: How to See Things That Aren’t There
Seth Hurd, Brandon Hoshiko, Erik Wilson, Mary Alyssa Flemming, Simran Nagra, and Maribell Garcia (co-authors) are research students in the Cognitive Science Laboratory under Sharps’s direction, Department of Psychology, California State University, Fresno. The same errors of observation and interpretation that led Percival Lowell and others to see “canals” on Mars can happen today. …
Percival Lowell and the Canals of Mars
The ‘canals’ of Mars don’t exist, and they never did; yet they were repeatedly reported and defended as scientific realities by many great astronomers. Why?
Dissociation and Paranormal Beliefs, Toward a Taxonomy of Belief in the Unreal
In a normal population, dissociative tendencies contribute to many types of paranormal thinking. Psychological dissociation, even at a subclinical level, is an important factor in the cognitive processing that leads to belief in the unreal.
Remembrance of Apocalypse Past: The Psychology of True Believers When Nothing Happens
Research on belief in the 2012 “apocalypse” demonstrates that specific psychological processes contributed directly to the maintenance of paranormal apocalyptic beliefs, even after the apocalypse did not occur.
It’s the End of the World and They Don’t Feel Fine: The Psychology of December 21, 2012
Cognitive science research on belief in the 2012 “apocalypse” demonstrates that dissociative processes contribute directly to this belief through reduction of the “feature-intensive” cognitive processing that would engender appropriate skepticism.