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The superstitious scholar

The superstitious scholar The development and application of critical thinking skills are an important component of success at University. Such skills permit students to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of evidence, argument and theory. However research suggests that many students believe in paranormal phenomena (e.g. telekinesis). Such beliefs defy the basic principles of science and do not stand up to critical scrutiny. The paper aims to discuss these issues.Design/methodology/approachThis study aimed to investigate paranormal beliefs within a student population: differences among gender, academic discipline and academic performance were explored.FindingsFindings indicated that females expressed higher levels of paranormal belief than males, “hard” science students (e.g. Biology) and “soft” science students (e.g. Sociology) expressed lower levels of belief than arts students, and a significant negative correlation indicated that high achievers were less likely to endorse paranormal beliefs.Originality/valueIn light of these results the authors suggest that paranormal phenomena may be a useful tool for teaching critical thinking skills at university. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education Emerald Publishing

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References (40)

Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
© Emerald Publishing Limited
ISSN
2050-7003
DOI
10.1108/jarhe-08-2018-0178
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The development and application of critical thinking skills are an important component of success at University. Such skills permit students to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of evidence, argument and theory. However research suggests that many students believe in paranormal phenomena (e.g. telekinesis). Such beliefs defy the basic principles of science and do not stand up to critical scrutiny. The paper aims to discuss these issues.Design/methodology/approachThis study aimed to investigate paranormal beliefs within a student population: differences among gender, academic discipline and academic performance were explored.FindingsFindings indicated that females expressed higher levels of paranormal belief than males, “hard” science students (e.g. Biology) and “soft” science students (e.g. Sociology) expressed lower levels of belief than arts students, and a significant negative correlation indicated that high achievers were less likely to endorse paranormal beliefs.Originality/valueIn light of these results the authors suggest that paranormal phenomena may be a useful tool for teaching critical thinking skills at university.

Journal

Journal of Applied Research in Higher EducationEmerald Publishing

Published: Jun 18, 2019

Keywords: Critical thinking; Cognitive ability; Learning in higher education; Paranormal beliefs; Rationalizing

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