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Perceptual Biases in Relation to Paranormal and Conspiracy Beliefs.

van Elk M - PLoS ONE (2015)

Bottom Line: Previous studies have shown that one's prior beliefs have a strong effect on perceptual decision-making and attentional processing.In the second experiment, it was found that skeptics showed a classical 'global-to-local' interference effect, whereas believers in conspiracy theories were characterized by a stronger 'local-to-global interference effect'.The present study shows that individual differences in paranormal and conspiracy beliefs are associated with perceptual and attentional biases, thereby extending the growing body of work in this field indicating effects of cultural learning on basic perceptual processes.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychology, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, the Netherlands; Amsterdam Brain and Cognition Centre, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

ABSTRACT
Previous studies have shown that one's prior beliefs have a strong effect on perceptual decision-making and attentional processing. The present study extends these findings by investigating how individual differences in paranormal and conspiracy beliefs are related to perceptual and attentional biases. Two field studies were conducted in which visitors of a paranormal conducted a perceptual decision making task (i.e. the face/house categorization task; Experiment 1) or a visual attention task (i.e. the global/local processing task; Experiment 2). In the first experiment it was found that skeptics compared to believers more often incorrectly categorized ambiguous face stimuli as representing a house, indicating that disbelief rather than belief in the paranormal is driving the bias observed for the categorization of ambiguous stimuli. In the second experiment, it was found that skeptics showed a classical 'global-to-local' interference effect, whereas believers in conspiracy theories were characterized by a stronger 'local-to-global interference effect'. The present study shows that individual differences in paranormal and conspiracy beliefs are associated with perceptual and attentional biases, thereby extending the growing body of work in this field indicating effects of cultural learning on basic perceptual processes.

No MeSH data available.


Stimuli used for the global—local processing task.Participants were first presented with a cue, indicating whether they should attend to global or to local features and the response mapping was displayed. Next, the target stimulus appeared on the screen, consisting of triangles or squares. Depending on the block and the instruction participants were required to report either the global or the local shape of the target stimulus.
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pone.0130422.g002: Stimuli used for the global—local processing task.Participants were first presented with a cue, indicating whether they should attend to global or to local features and the response mapping was displayed. Next, the target stimulus appeared on the screen, consisting of triangles or squares. Depending on the block and the instruction participants were required to report either the global or the local shape of the target stimulus.

Mentions: As stimuli we used pictures representing geometrical figures (see Fig 2; for similar stimuli and procedure, see: [1,5]). Target stimuli consisted of large squares and rectangles that were composed of smaller squares or rectangles. A large rectangle was composed of either 4 x 8 small squares or 4 x 4 small rectangles. A large square was composed of either 4 x 4 small squares or 2 x 4 small rectangles. Thus, in total 4 different target stimuli were constructed in which the global and local features could be congruent or incongruent. All stimuli were presented at a resolution of 464 x 190 pixels.


Perceptual Biases in Relation to Paranormal and Conspiracy Beliefs.

van Elk M - PLoS ONE (2015)

Stimuli used for the global—local processing task.Participants were first presented with a cue, indicating whether they should attend to global or to local features and the response mapping was displayed. Next, the target stimulus appeared on the screen, consisting of triangles or squares. Depending on the block and the instruction participants were required to report either the global or the local shape of the target stimulus.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4482736&req=5

pone.0130422.g002: Stimuli used for the global—local processing task.Participants were first presented with a cue, indicating whether they should attend to global or to local features and the response mapping was displayed. Next, the target stimulus appeared on the screen, consisting of triangles or squares. Depending on the block and the instruction participants were required to report either the global or the local shape of the target stimulus.
Mentions: As stimuli we used pictures representing geometrical figures (see Fig 2; for similar stimuli and procedure, see: [1,5]). Target stimuli consisted of large squares and rectangles that were composed of smaller squares or rectangles. A large rectangle was composed of either 4 x 8 small squares or 4 x 4 small rectangles. A large square was composed of either 4 x 4 small squares or 2 x 4 small rectangles. Thus, in total 4 different target stimuli were constructed in which the global and local features could be congruent or incongruent. All stimuli were presented at a resolution of 464 x 190 pixels.

Bottom Line: Previous studies have shown that one's prior beliefs have a strong effect on perceptual decision-making and attentional processing.In the second experiment, it was found that skeptics showed a classical 'global-to-local' interference effect, whereas believers in conspiracy theories were characterized by a stronger 'local-to-global interference effect'.The present study shows that individual differences in paranormal and conspiracy beliefs are associated with perceptual and attentional biases, thereby extending the growing body of work in this field indicating effects of cultural learning on basic perceptual processes.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychology, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, the Netherlands; Amsterdam Brain and Cognition Centre, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

ABSTRACT
Previous studies have shown that one's prior beliefs have a strong effect on perceptual decision-making and attentional processing. The present study extends these findings by investigating how individual differences in paranormal and conspiracy beliefs are related to perceptual and attentional biases. Two field studies were conducted in which visitors of a paranormal conducted a perceptual decision making task (i.e. the face/house categorization task; Experiment 1) or a visual attention task (i.e. the global/local processing task; Experiment 2). In the first experiment it was found that skeptics compared to believers more often incorrectly categorized ambiguous face stimuli as representing a house, indicating that disbelief rather than belief in the paranormal is driving the bias observed for the categorization of ambiguous stimuli. In the second experiment, it was found that skeptics showed a classical 'global-to-local' interference effect, whereas believers in conspiracy theories were characterized by a stronger 'local-to-global interference effect'. The present study shows that individual differences in paranormal and conspiracy beliefs are associated with perceptual and attentional biases, thereby extending the growing body of work in this field indicating effects of cultural learning on basic perceptual processes.

No MeSH data available.