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Gizmodo To Psychologists—Why Do People See Ghosts?

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You live and then you die and then you rot in a hole – or so say the elites, with their glasses, and their PhDs in neuroscience. This bummer reality has never appealed to many people. For example, 72 per cent of Americans believe in some kind of afterlife. It’s a comparatively rarer, though still sizeable, breed of person who believe in some spectral middle ground, in which, instead of rotting or going to Hell, you float around and freak out your kids, or the new residents of the house where you were brutally murdered a hundred years ago. According to Essential Research, 35 per cent of Australians believe “ghosts exist and can influence their will on the living”. And according to Pew Research Center, close to one-fifth of Americans believe they have seen a ghost – a somewhat surprising statistic, given all the other ancient beliefs we’ve mostly jettisoned (bloodletting, for instance, has largely fallen out of vogue). For this week’s Giz Asks, we reached out to a number of psychologists and neuroscientists to figure out why this might be – and in the process learned that, given the number of ways our brain has of tricking us into seeing things, it’s a wonder that that statistic isn’t higher. (READ MORE)


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