Who Believes in the Giant Skeleton Myth? An Examination of Individual Difference Correlates

Viren Swami, Ulrich S. Tran, Stefan Stieger, Jakob Pietschnig, Ingo W. Nader, Martin Voracek

Research output: Journal article (peer-reviewed)Journal article

8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This study examined individual difference correlates of belief in a narrative about the discovery of giant skeletal remains that contravenes mainstream scientific explanations. A total of 364 participants from Central Europe completed a survey that asked them to rate their agreement with a short excerpt describing the giant skeleton myth. Participants also completed measures of the Big Five personality factors, New Age orientation, anti-scientific attitudes, superstitious beliefs, and religiosity. Results showed that women, as compared with men, and respondents with lower educational qualifications were significantly more likely to believe in the giant skeleton myth, although effect sizes were small. Correlational analysis showed that stronger belief in the giant skeleton myth was significantly associated with greater anti-scientific attitudes, stronger New Age orientation, greater religiosity, stronger superstitious beliefs, lower Openness to Experience scores, and higher Neuroticism scores. However, a multiple regression showed that the only significant predictors of belief in myth were Openness, New Age orientation, and anti-scientific attitudes. These results are discussed in relation to the potential negative consequences of belief in myths.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSAGE Open
Volume6
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jan 2016
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • anti-scientific attitudes
  • Big Five
  • giant skeleton
  • New Age orientation
  • scientific myths

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (all)
  • Social Sciences (all)

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