Is it normal to believe that you were abducted by aliens? Strange beliefs abound among humans, from the recent rise of the anti-vaccination movement, 1 to the prominence of the Flat Earth movement, 2 many of us have some very strange beliefs. At the time of writing this article, 1.6 million Facebook users have been tagged as participants in an attack on Area 51, an air base in Nevada, United States. A reason for this? \’To see the aliens\’, allegedly hidden by the US government. There are all sorts of explanations we can give for the prevalence of conspiracy allegations, including the makeup of our social groups and widespread internet access rife with conspiracy allegations ( researchers searched Google for “vaccination” and “immunization” which yielded results, 43% of two of which were anti-vaccination sites 3 ).
“To put it in crude terms, in the presence of abnormal experiences, it is normal for humans to form stranger beliefs.”
Why might some people believe the US government is hiding aliens? Of course, for the broken users of a social group and Internet activities, but also because many people claim to have had contact with aliens. For some, this contact is a search for aliens visiting their rooms at night, but for others, it could mean being abducted, taken aboard a spaceship, and once again subjected to medical experiments, including retrieving eggs or sperm. . Some abductees claim to have had sex and produced hybrid offspring with their abductors, as well as receiving important information about the fate of Earth. The prevalence of these beliefs is unknown. 4 to 3.7 million in the US alone.5 If aliens are visiting us and kidnapping (at least) thousands of us, the idea that the US government might be hiding aliens in a secret military base starts to seem less bizarre and more, perhaps, entirely plausible.
So why do people think they were abducted by aliens when they presumably weren\’t? Psychologists who attempt to answer this question will appeal to consciousness during sound paralysis (SPA) and its accompanying hallucinations. During two eyes fast moving sound (REM), or asleep and immobilized. No ASP, or numb, remembers before the paralysis has passed and is aware that it cannot move. 75% two subjects had hallucinations while experiencing ASP. 6 Abductees report a variety of experiences; Hallucinations can be visual, including “lights, animals, strange figures, and demons,” or auditory, including “heavy footsteps, humming, or humming.” 7Several reports of abductees agree with this explanation. Consider one:
A kidnapped man agreed not to panic at night. He was completely paralyzed and felt electricity shooting through his entire body. He felt his energy draining from him. He could see several alien beings lurking around his bed. 8
Now, of course, not everyone who dreads this experience ends up proving they\’ve been abducted by aliens. You may think that for those who do or do something is pathologically wrong. However, “there is no convincing evidence of higher rates of severe psychopathology among abductees compared to the general population.” 9 However, either that it has been found that abductees often hold to New Age beliefs (e.g. in astral projection, future prediction, etc.), or that it may make them more likely to explain their nighttime experience appealing to alien abduction. New Age views, however, are perfectly normal, or pervasive among the healthy population. As psychologist Brendan Maher says, normal people are:
prone to not accrediting the Bermuda Triangle, flying saucers, mind-powered spoonbending, or Abominable Snowman and coming back to life after an out-of-body experience. This list doesn\’t even mention fringe aspects of normal science, like prenatal hypnotic regression, multiple personalities, […] and so on. 10
However, what is interesting about the alien abduction beliefs is that they are extremely bizarre, and yet they are shaped by two rational individuals in a perfectly normal (but not ideal) way. Furthermore, it is a case that highlights the importance of normal range contributions (irrational pregnancy) to bizarre beliefs and may inform our explanations of bizarre beliefs as they occur in the clinical population. Researchers interested in explaining clinical delusions (believed as “my mother has been replaced by an imposter” (Capgras\’ delusion) or “this is dead” (Cotard\’s delusion)) have repeatedly appealed to the idea that people with delusions reason in different ways. clinically abnormal ways. However, the case of belief in alien abduction teaches us that clinically abnormal reasoning need not be part of our explanatory toolbox when trying to understand why so many of us believe strange things; perhaps what is happening is an irrationality of perfectly normal scope. Therefore, we can expect to learn little about the aliens from the Facebook-hosted Area 51 invasion group, as the existence of its participants may shed light on what is happening in clinical cases of delirium. To put it more crudely, in the presence of abnormal experiences, it is normal for humans to form strange beliefs.
Hussain, Azhar, Ali, Syed, Ahmed, Madiha and Hussain, Sheharyar 2018: ‘The anti-vaccination movement: a regression in modern medicine. I heal. volume 10, no. 7, p. 1–8.
Weber, Matt 2018: ‘As the Internet we made accreditation in a Flat Earth’. Medium, medium.
Hussain et al 2018, p. 3.
French, Christopher C., Sanromauro, Julia, Hamilton, Victoria, Fox, Rachel and Thalbourne, Michael A. 2008: \’Psychological Aspects of the Extraterrestrial Contact Experience.\’ cortex. volume 44, p. 1387-95, p. 1387.
Hopkins, Budd; Jacobs, David M. and Westrum, Ron 1992: Experiences of Unusual People: An Analysis of Data from Three National Surveys Conducted by the Roper Organization. Las Vegas, CA: Bigelow Holding Corporation.
McNally, Richard J. and Clancy, Susan A. 2005: \’Child paralysis, sexual abuse and abduction by space aliens\’. Cross-Cultural Psychiatry. volume 42, no. 1, p. 113-22, p. 114.
Holden, Katharine K. and French, Christopher C. 2002: \’Alien abduction experiences: some clues from neuropsychology and neuropsychiatry\’. cognitive neuropsychiatry. volume 7, no. 3, p. 163-78, p. 167.
McNally and Clancy 2005, p. 116.
Holden and French 2002, p. 163.
Maher, Brendan 1988: \’Abnormal experience and delusional thinking: the logic of explanations\’. In Oltmanns, Thomas and Maher, Brendan (eds.) Delusional Beliefs. USA: John Wiley and Sons, pp. 15-33, p. 26