Feb 18, 2011
Why Are Some Paranormal Beliefs More Attractive to Males While Others Are More Appealing to Females?
There are interesting differences between men and women on so-called “paranormal beliefs,” such as the belief in astrology, ESP, UFOs, Bigfoot, and ghosts. An abundance of research in the sociology of religion has found that women are more spiritual than men in a variety of ways. Women are more likely to belong to conventional religious organizations and hold traditional religious beliefs. They are also much more likely than men to believe in psychic powers, astrology, the power of mediums, and ghosts.
Men are more likely than women to believe that some UFOs are extraterrestrial craft and about equally likely to believe in creatures such as Bigfoot. Concerning an escalation of participation to the level of active research, men are also more likely than women to pursue these beliefs by becoming Bigfoot or UFO “hunters.”
These discrepancies indicate that men have a tendency to approach the paranormal differently from women. Men are more likely to see the paranormal as a means of discovery—i.e., they hope to capture Bigfoot to prove to others that it is (empirically) real. Females are more likely to see the paranormal as a source of personal discovery and enlightenment, a route to achieving a more thorough understanding of themselves and their relations to other people. Such lines of interest may also be pursued in the effort to “become a better person.”
Whether the tendency for women to believe more in super-empirical spiritual realities and the differences between men and women in how they pursue the paranormal are more the product of socialization or biological predispositions is currently a matter of intense debate within the sociology of religion.