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Loneliness increases belief in the supernatural

Have you ever wanted to start believing in the supernatural? Now there is a research studies that suggest a way to inspire such beliefs. All you have to do is start feeling lonely.

People hate feeling lonely. Nicholas Epley (University of Chicago) led a study examining the strategies people adopt when they get the lonely blues. They naturally seek out old friends or try to make new ones. And if that doesn't work, they anthropomorphize gadgets or pets. And they often go further to treat the putative supernatural realm as real and personally relevant to their lives.

Epley used priming experiments to put people into one of a trio of particular emotional states. One group experienced an "isolation" prime, one a "fear" state, and one a "connected" state. participants then filled out one questionnaire about a pet they owned or knew and another about their beliefs in supernatural entities such as angels, the devil, miracles, curses, and God.

Participants who received the isolation prime reported higher levels of anthropomorphic characterizations of pets. They also reported stronger levels of supernatural beliefs.

For more information, read the Live Science article.

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