Research Digest: Why many people believe in psychic powers

A large proportion of the public – over a quarter according to a Gallup survey in the US – believe that humans have psychic abilities such as telepathy and clairvoyance, even though mainstream science says there is no evidence that these powers exist.

It might be tempting for sceptics to put this down to a lack of intelligence or education on the part of the believers, but in fact past research has failed to support this interpretation.

Now a paper reviewed on our Research Digest blog has looked for differences between believers and sceptics in specific mental abilities, rather than in overall intelligence or education.