While COVID-19 spreads aggressively and rapidly across the globe, many societies have also witnessed the spread of other viral phenomena like misinformation, conspiracy theories, and general mass suspicions about what is really going on. This study investigates how exposure to and trust in information sources, and anxiety and depression, are associated with conspiracy and misinformation beliefs in eight countries/regions (Belgium, Canada, England, Philippines, Hong Kong, New Zealand, United States, Switzerland) during the COVID-19 pandemic. Data were collected in an online survey fielded from May 29, 2020 to June 12, 2020, resulting in a multinational representative sample of 8,806 adult respondents. Results indicate that greater exposure to traditional media (television, radio, newspapers) is associated with lower conspiracy and misinformation beliefs, while exposure to politicians and digital media and personal contacts are associated with greater conspiracy and misinformation beliefs. Exposure to health experts is associated with lower conspiracy beliefs only. Higher feelings of depression are also associated with greater conspiracy and misinformation beliefs. We also found relevant group- and country differences. We discuss the implications of these results.
The real or perceived proximity to death often results in a non-ordinary state of consciousness characterized by phenomenological features such as the perception of leaving the body boundaries, feelings of peace, bliss and timelessness, life review, the sensation of traveling through a tunnel and an irreversible threshold. Near-death experiences (NDEs) are comparable among individuals of different cultures, suggesting an underlying neurobiological mechanism. Anecdotal accounts of the similarity between NDEs and certain drug-induced altered states of consciousness prompted us to perform a large-scale comparative analysis of these experiences. After assessing the semantic similarity between 15,000 reports linked to the use of 165 psychoactive substances and 625 NDE narratives, we determined that the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonist ketamine consistently resulted in reports most similar to those associated with NDEs. Ketamine was followed by Salvia divinorum (a plant containing a potent and selective receptor agonist) and a series of serotonergic psychedelics, including the endogenous serotonin 2A receptor agonist N,N-Dimethyltryptamine (DMT). This similarity was driven by semantic concepts related to consciousness of the self and the environment, but also by those associated with the therapeutic, ceremonial and religious aspects of drug use. Our analysis sheds light on the long-standing link between certain drugs and the experience of “dying“, suggests that ketamine could be used as a safe and reversible experimental model for NDE phenomenology, and supports the speculation that endogenous NMDA antagonists with neuroprotective properties may be released in the proximity of death.
This article presents a comprehensive integration of current experimental evidence and theories about so-called parapsychological (psi) phenomena. Throughout history, people have reported events that seem to violate the common sense view of space and time. Some psychologists have been at the forefront of investigating these phenomena with sophisticated research protocols and theory, while others have devoted much of their careers to criticizing the field. Both stances can be explained by psychologists' expertise on relevant processes such as perception, memory, belief, and conscious and nonconscious processes. This article clarifies the domain of psi, summarizes recent theories from physics and psychology that present psi phenomena as at least plausible, and then provides an overview of recent/updated meta-analyses. The evidence provides cumulative support for the reality of psi, which cannot be readily explained away by the quality of the studies, fraud, selective reporting, experimental or analytical incompetence, or other frequent criticisms. The evidence for psi is comparable to that for established phenomena in psychology and other disciplines, although there is no consensual understanding of them. The article concludes with recommendations for further progress in the field including the use of project and data repositories, conducting multidisciplinary studies with enough power, developing further nonconscious measures of psi and falsifiable theories, analyzing the characteristics of successful sessions and participants, improving the ecological validity of studies, testing how to increase effect sizes, recruiting more researchers at least open to the possibility of psi, and situating psi phenomena within larger domains such as the study of consciousness. (PsycINFO Database Record
A large number of theories about the development and maintenance of paranormal beliefs have been raised in the literature. There is, however, a lack of studies designed to integrate the different perspectives. We reviewed the literature and explored a series of factors in a sample of 180 individuals. Seven variables showed significant correlation indices at α = .01. A regression analysis revealed subjective paranormal experience as the variable that contributed the most to the explanation of paranormal belief, z = .43, 95% confidence interval (CI) [.24, .56]. Need for achievement (z = .31, 95% CI [.11, to .46]), conditional reasoning (z = .10, 95% CI [.09, .28]), and schizotypy (z = .29, 95% CI [.09, .45]) also contributed significantly in the equation. The associations found between the subscales of the Needs Questionnaire and belief in the paranormal support the hipothesis that paranormal belief may serve basic psychological needs. Similarly, the association found in the case of schizotypy suggests that paranormal belief might be held within the context of psychopathology. There was no evidence, however, supporting the hypothesis of a reasoning deficit in believers. It was concluded that, once paranormal beliefs develop, there is an interaction between belief and experience that strongly contributes towards its maintenance.