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High cognitive ability not a safeguard from conspiracies, paranormal beliefs

University of Illinois at Chicago

Skepticism toward unfounded beliefs is not a sole function of cognitive ablility, according to research by a University of Illinois at Chicago social psychologist.

We show that reasonable skepticism about various conspiracy theories and paranormal phenomena does not only require a relatively high cognitive ability, but also strong motivation to be rational.

Thomas Ståhl UIC visiting assistant professor of psychology.

Main titles

Analytic thinking is not sufficient to promote skepticism toward various unfounded beliefs.

Analytic thinking and valuing epistemic rationality interactively predict skepticism.
Cognitive ability, rather than analytic cognitive style, seems to account for these findings.