A Double-Blind Behavioral Experiment: The Influence of Paranormal Beliefs and Media Messaging in Undergraduate Nursing and Education Students

Abstract

This case study focuses on a novel controlled quasi-experimental methodology, replicating the methods of earlier work testing the effects of three different versions of a news story concerning the supernatural on the public. This study built on these findings using a web-based survey followed by a double blinded experiment to explore the prevalence of paranormal beliefs in students undertaking undergraduate professional studies and testing if these students discriminated between media stories that offered different interpretations of a reported phenomenon. Our initial presentations of findings led to some resistance and critique. These raised interesting questions about the nature of critical thinking and the role of the university and science-based programs in developing criticality in our students.

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