• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Investigation into Gender Differences in Paranormal Beliefs within Society: Introduction

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Introduction The late astronomer Carl Sagan once commented that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence (Sagan, 1980). Claims of paranormal phenomena are most certainly claims of an extraordinary nature, and the task of obtaining this extraordinary evidence is the job of the parapsychologist. According to the Journal of Parapsychology, the term paranormal describes "any phenomenon that in one or more respects exceeds what is deemed psychically impossible according to current scientific assumptions". The term encompasses such anomalous phenomena such as telepathy (the transfer of information between individuals by means other than known sensory channels), extra-sensory perception (the acquisition of information by means other than the known physical senses or deductions from past experience), ghosts and astrology amongst others. Such beliefs are incredibly prevalent in today's society, to an extent out of proportion with the evidence for such phenomena. Approximately 86% ('Worldwide Adherents of All Religions, Mid-2005', Encyclop´┐Żdia Britannica) of the 6.7 billion human beings on this planet collectively share and rejoice in different sets of paranormal belief systems, even though they are not traditionally considered as such due to the extent to which they are woven into the fabric of human nature. Adherents to these belief systems believe that humans in the past were capable of performing acts which defy that defy the laws of physics, disagree ...read more.

Middle

The Rhines found that the results were far beyond what would be expected from chance alone (Blackmore, 1995), and they claimed that they had established the existence of ESP. However, these claims faced considerable opposition within the scientific establishment. The degree of isolation between receiver and experimenter was questioned, thus it was claimed that information could have been passed unwittingly between the two and they questioned the precision of the checks performed on the data. When the Rhines tightened up their experimental procedure, these above chance results became much rarer, although they remained sufficiently common to constitute evidence for ESP. When psychologists without a belief in ESP tried to replicate these findings, they failed to produce any positive results. Another famous experiment which yielded positive results for the existence of paranormal phenomena was the ganzfeld experiments of 1974, conducted by Honorton and Harper. In a typical ganzfeld experiment, there is a receiver placed in a chair in a room with halved ping-pong balls placed over their eyes, with red light being shone on them. They also wear a set of headphones through which "white noise" (static) is played. During this time a sender observes a randomly chosen target and attempts to send this information to the receiver. ...read more.

Conclusion

Data was obtained from 1,765 people, including answers to questions including "Do you believe in ESP?", "Is there such a thing as psychic powers?" and "Do you believe miraculous healing sometimes occurs?" 64% of females indicate a firm belief in paranormal activity, whereas only 36% of males did so. This supported the hypothesis that sceptics of paranormal phenomena tend to males, and believers in the paranormal tend to be females. This was linked to a difference in the importance the two sexes's assigned to "spirituality". Is this really the case? Do females tend to believe in the existence of paranormal phenomena more than males? Aim: To ascertain the ubiquity of paranormal beliefs in contemporary Northern Irish society amongst a student population, and discover whether gender has a role to play in the development of such beliefs in humans. "Paranormal belief" referring to a belief in phenomena which cannot be explained by the laws of science, including unsubstantiated religious claims. This will be conducted via the design and distribution of questionnaires testing the degree of the individual's belief in paranormality. Alternate hypothesis: Significantly more female students will show paranormal belief than male students (one-tailed hypothesis). Null hypothesis: Significantly more female students will not show signs of paranormal belief when compared to male students. Any difference will be due to chance alone. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Social Psychology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

3 star(s)

Summary

As an introduction to this particular topic the writer has included quite a lot of valuable information. A little more time however, needs to be spent of defining the paranormal with some historical references too. How religion is viewed should also be included. It would also be helpful to start by explaining the general consensus, if there is one, with regard gender differences and paranormal beliefs.

Rating 3*

Marked by teacher Linda Penn 26/07/2013

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Social Psychology essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Is Psychology a Science?

    5 star(s)

    One could however argue that we cannot prove that it does not exist either. The majority of the approaches suggest that psychology is in fact a science, but within the field of psychology, in order for it to be classified as a science, each of its perspective should be seen as scientific.

  2. Marked by a teacher

    The effect of the Level of Processing on the amount of information recalled

    4 star(s)

    There were no order effects due to participants only doing the test once. Due to the nature of the experiment, deception of participants was necessary or else participants would have displayed demand characteristics and the experiment would have been biased.

  1. Is sociology a science?

    He describes science as 'public knowledge'. The consensus of rational opinion he sees developing from this process is similar to Kuhn's notion of a paradigm. However Kuhn sees the scientist not as open-minded and rational but operating within limits which influence the questions asked the subject matter and the research method used.

  2. "Anti-Social Behaviour is caused by a person's family background"

    could relate to Miller's theory that juvenile delinquency comes about because of a lack of a positive male role model who could display economic power through their earning potential. This was evident as when looking at the family structure of the participants, I noticed that most single parents families lived

  1. Psychological Theories Of Crime

    Freud's theory cannot be disproved and many psychologists have based a lot of Freud's work on their own to construct very similar theories. Therefore Freud's work must have some substance to it. Another personality theory was proposed by Eysenck (1977).

  2. Symbolic Interactionism is an American branch of Sociology and its founder is George Herbert ...

    Therefore human interaction can be seen as a continuous process of interpretation, with each person taking the role of the other. The Self Mead argued that through the process of 'role-taking' individuals develop a concept of 'self'. By placing themselves in the position of others they are able to look back upon themselves.

  1. The matching hypothesis

    The photos used will be kept together (i.e. they will not be cut into separate male and female sections) for the simple reason that I am also asking the question; do the couples match each other? This would be impossible to do so if the photographs were separated.

  2. An Investigation to see whether the halo effect is present when rating personality ...

    found similar results whereby individuals connect good character traits with more physically attractive people. The halo effect was first investigated by Edward Thorndike (1920) who found that when army officers were asked to rate their charges in terms of intelligence, physique, leadership and character there was a high cross correlation between attractiveness and these good character traits.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work