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Hard Times, Belief and UFOs

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posted on Feb, 6 2009 @ 09:20 AM
Humans are hard-wired to believe in the supernatural. Studies have shown that during rough-times, the need to believe in something seems to increase. Take for instance this study from an article in the New Scientist exploring why humans have this need...

Jennifer Whitson of the University of Texas in Austin and Adam Galinsky of Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, asked people what patterns they could see in arrangements of dots or stock market information. Before asking, Whitson and Galinsky made half their participants feel a lack of control, either by giving them feedback unrelated to their performance or by having them recall experiences where they had lost control of a situation.

The results were striking. The subjects who sensed a loss of control were much more likely to see patterns where there were none. "We were surprised that the phenomenon is as widespread as it is," Whitson says. What's going on, she suggests, is that when we feel a lack of control we fall back on superstitious ways of thinking. That would explain why religions enjoy a revival during hard times.

This editorial makes references to similar studies on the need for belief...

SCIENCE has allowed us to smooth over many of the natural ups and downs of human existence. We have predictable harvests, food on supermarket shelves, savings and pensions that will help us get through difficult times, and economies that provide most people with what they need to survive. Alongside these developments a rational, scientific world view has become the dominant mode of thought.

Take the comforts away, however, and the rationality often evaporates too. When human beings lose control over their lives, they become more prone to superstition, spiritual searchings and conspiracy theories.

Taking this into account, that humans have a need for belief in something, consider this article from the Daily Mail...

UFO Sightings Over Britain Double In A Single Year

There have been similar claims made in recent weeks. Considering the economic downturn and turmoil in the world today, are these sightings coincidence or part of the human need for belief?

posted on Feb, 6 2009 @ 09:35 AM
I've heard it said that one of the things that has increased belief in alien UFOs is the increase of new age religion and the expense of established religions. But I found it somewhat insulting because I think it ignores that many of the people have seen things (even if they've misidentified them).

I think belief colours what people think they have seen - which is why critical thinking and trying to remain objective is important. But I think coupling all sightings with belief is wrong, and as bigger leap as saying belief doesn't influence sightings.

In other words we should try not to generalise when it involves witnesses, rather critically examine each on their merits.

It's a little tangential but there's a thread here:

That discusses the increase as well and there's a few informal hypotheses, as you'd expect on ATS

posted on Feb, 6 2009 @ 09:43 AM
i didn't have any need to believe anything whatsoever when i was attacked by a UFO one night while walking home, so your theory here might be true for some but it is certainly not the only explanation for people seeing/believing UFO's and Aliens.

maybe there should be a thread about...

Hard Times and Non believers of UFO's

just my .02

edit for speeling

[edit on 6-2-2009 by easynow]

posted on Feb, 6 2009 @ 09:44 AM
|Now thats a very interesting point indeed, I havent read the article fully yet but I have heard similar Theorys being used before. There is something hard wired in our brains that makes us see superstion as reality. Maybe it was a important survival mechanism, to be able to imagine a predetor is around the corner instead of just blindly going that way and taking unnessecary risks. Well now we don;t have predators but the impulse is still there to imagine danger. I am also under the understanding that we are the only animals that can really imagine what another is thinking.

they say world paranoia is on the up too....

posted on Feb, 6 2009 @ 10:20 AM
Does the doubling of reports also include details of witnesses claiming an increased belief that the UFOs reported were extraterrestrial? If not, then all I am reading here is that people are seeing and reporting on UFOs and not putting their own beliefs into what they are seeing in them.

Much as the test subjects in the random dots/stock market reports were shown various things, the witnesses in the UFO reports were shown various things. The interpretation of what they're seeing is what is at issue here.

If somehow you're trying to claim that perception of reality during some stress state creates new unidentifiable visual phenomena in the minds of some people that manifests itself as UFO sightings I do not believe this to be the case at all.

Going over the reports and reading exactly what was reported is the only way to even try to draw some conclusions as to what was seen. Misidentification of stars and planets are likely somewhere in some reports, but if there are reports of structured craft then I do not think anyone can say that heightened stress creates additional UFO reports.

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