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Hallucinations in the general population may be more common than previously thought

shadowgov

Paranormal Novice
From a Scientific American article:

"A 2013 meta-analysis, combining much of the existing data, by Jim van Os of Maastricht University in the Netherlands and Richard Linscott of the University of Otago in New Zealand, found the prevalence of hallucinations and delusions in the general population was 7.2 percent."
The main thrust of the article is that schizophrenia may exist on a spectrum like autism does. However I find the idea that hallucinations might not be uncommon pretty damning to ufology. Especially the Streiber style experiencers.
What are the implications for UFO research? If this is true then it would discredit experiences where there is a single witness with no corroborating evidence.
 

Randall

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
From a Scientific American article:

"A 2013 meta-analysis, combining much of the existing data, by Jim van Os of Maastricht University in the Netherlands and Richard Linscott of the University of Otago in New Zealand, found the prevalence of hallucinations and delusions in the general population was 7.2 percent."
The main thrust of the article is that schizophrenia may exist on a spectrum like autism does. However I find the idea that hallucinations might not be uncommon pretty damning to ufology. Especially the Streiber style experiencers.
What are the implications for UFO research? If this is true then it would discredit experiences where there is a single witness with no corroborating evidence.
Doubters will always find some reason to doubt whatever they want to doubt, just like people who want to believe will find reasons to believe what they want to believe. Then there are the aliens, and they seem just fine with that situation.
 

Wade

FeralNormal master
I agree with ufology.ufology (not the Canadian kind) has always been burdened with the baggage of suspicions of mental illnesses and in a number of cases it is fully justified. I am not so sure a published study with a quantifiable figure is going to change anyone's mind one way or another.
 

Mr. Fibuli

Paranormal Adept
Doubters will always find some reason to doubt whatever they want to doubt, just like people who want to believe will find reasons to believe what they want to believe. Then there are the aliens, and they seem just fine with that situation.
As a doubter I'll say that we (doubters) don't believe anything. That guy must be a negative believer.
 

DaveM

Paranormal Adept
I would worry more about those with schizophrenia walking around in everyday life than those who have hallucinations of ufos.
 

Randall

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
As a doubter I'll say that we (doubters) don't believe anything. That guy must be a negative believer.
Doubting ( if it's honest ) has to go both ways. Therefore, given the evidence, it's just as reasonable to doubt that nobody has seen an alien craft as it is to believe every such claim. Logically, this leads to the conclusion that not every, but some UFO experiences are probably genuine. Continuing to doubt after this point turns a doubter into a denier, and there is a huge difference between doubters and deniers.
 
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shadowgov

Paranormal Novice
it's just as reasonable to doubt that nobody has seen an alien craft as it is to believe every such claim. Logically, this leads to the conclusion that not every, but some UFO experiences are probably genuine.

I believe that some UFO experiences are genuine and that there is a core phenomena at work here. However I disagree that it is reasonable to think that some of these single witness claims are genuine. This is especially problematic if hallucinations are more common than originally thought. At best you can put them in a neutral/grey category.

You can only say that the cases where there are corroborating witnesses and/or some physical evidence are probably real.
 

shadowgov

Paranormal Novice
I agree with ufology.ufology (not the Canadian kind) has always been burdened with the baggage of suspicions of mental illnesses and in a number of cases it is fully justified. I am not so sure a published study with a quantifiable figure is going to change anyone's mind one way or another.

What we don’t really have is a framework for evaluating the various claims. What exists now is a jumble of anecdotal evidence combined with various opinions. No methodical filters... that's the problem.
 

Randall

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
I believe that some UFO experiences are genuine and that there is a core phenomena at work here. However I disagree that it is reasonable to think that some of these single witness claims are genuine. This is especially problematic if hallucinations are more common than originally thought. At best you can put them in a neutral/grey category.

You can only say that the cases where there are corroborating witnesses and/or some physical evidence are probably real.
Certainly multiple witness accounts carry greater evidentiary weight. However that doesn't mean that the rest should be dismissed as hallucinations. Even if we can't be sure on a case by case basis, it still doesn't seem reasonable to assume that everyone else must be either lying or mistaken about what they experienced. Therefore some single witness reports must be reasonably accurate, even if we don't know which ones they are, and I think that is an extremely important thing to keep in mind.

Of more relevance with respect to the article: If a person says they had a funny feeling and saw for a fleeting moment, what they thought was a UFO out of the corner of their eye, that sighting report is still going to carry as little weight now as it did before. So really, nothing has changed on this side of the fence. But I'm sure that as you suggest, some skeptics will probably use it against ufology anyway.

Note: It was also an interesting article, and relevant to the subject. So glad you brought it to our attention :).
 
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