Paranormal belief and susceptibility to the conjunction fallacy
Article first published online: 8 JUN 2008
Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Applied Cognitive Psychology
Volume 23, Issue 4, pages 524–542, May 2009
How to Cite
Rogers, P., Davis, T. and Fisk, J. (2009), Paranormal belief and susceptibility to the conjunction fallacy. Appl. Cognit. Psychol., 23: 524–542. doi: 10.1002/acp.1472
- Issue published online: 13 MAR 2009
- Article first published online: 8 JUN 2008
Numerous studies have shown paranormal believers misperceive randomness and are poor at judging probability. Despite the obvious relevance to many types of alleged paranormal phenomena, no one has examined whether believers are more susceptible to the ‘conjunction fallacy’; that is to misperceiving co-occurring (conjunct) events as being more likely than singular (constituent) events alone. The present study examines believer vs. non-believer differences in conjunction errors for both paranormal and non-paranormal events presented as either a probability or a frequency estimation task. As expected, believers made more conjunction errors than non-believers. This was true for both event types, with both groups making fewer errors for paranormal than for non-paranormal events. Surprisingly, the response format (probability vs. frequency) had little impact. Results are discussed in relation to paranormal believers' susceptibility to the conjunction fallacy and more generally, to their propensity for probabilistic reasoning biases. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.