Do aliens exist? The psychology behind why people believe

Do aliens exist? A UFO flies over a field in this digital composite. (Photo: Getty Images)

Information from a long-awaited report by US intelligence officials on unexplained aerial phenomena has been leaked and has an interesting conclusion. While the U.S. government hasn’t found any evidence that any strange flying devices spotted over the years are alien spaceships, they also say they can’t rule it out.

The report, which is expected to be released to Congress in an unclassified version by June 25, also says more than 120 unidentified flying object accounts do not appear to be evidence of secret US technology, but do not eliminate either the possibility, officials who were informed of the document said The New York Times. Still, they don’t offer an explanation for the sightings, which include a video showing a sphere-shaped object flying over the water near San Diego, Calif., Which disappeared in the water after a few. minutes.

Former Navy Pilot Cmdr. Dave Fravor described an incident from 2004 to NBC News. “As soon as we look down we see the flowing waters, then we see this little white Tic Tac,” Fravor said. “It points north to south and it goes just forward, backward, left, right.” Fravor said he approached less than half a mile from the ship before it suddenly disappeared.

Reactions on social media have been mixed, with some saying the report reveals nothing, while others accuse the government of covering up the existence of aliens.

Belief in aliens has persisted for centuries, and a third of Americans believe the UFOs people have spotted are alien spacecraft visiting Earth from other planets or galaxies, according to a 2019 Gallup poll. And, while 60% think the unusual sightings can be explained by human activity or natural phenomena, 7% say they are unsure. Another Gallup poll found that 68% of people believe the government knows more about UFOs than it reveals.

“It is important to distinguish between the questions: ‘Do you believe that aliens exist? “And” Do you believe that aliens have ever visited Earth? “”, Christophe C French, head of the anomalistic psychology research unit at the University of London, told Yahoo Life. “Many scientists would answer ‘yes’ to the first question, while specifying that to date we have no proof, and ‘no’ to the second question, because they would find the evidence put forward to support the visits of unconvincing aliens. “

But what makes someone believe that aliens exist? Experts say there is more than a lot of people think.

Peers play a role.

Clinical psychologist John mayer, author of Family Fit: Find your balance in life, tells Yahoo Life that he has “known and treated many people over the years who believe in aliens” and found that they are often surrounded by like-minded people. “Thus, they are strengthened by their beliefs,” he says.

French agrees. “The environment plays a huge role in determining belief levels in extraterrestrial visits,” he told Yahoo Life. This means that if your family and friends believe in aliens, so will you.

The media can influence opinions.

The way newspapers, TV news, and social media talk about aliens matters. “Research shows that the way the media presents information on this topic can affect the level of belief, ”French says. If you constantly read reports of mysterious flying objects that scientists can’t explain, you’re more likely to think there may be more to the story, he says.

And, when reputable sources like The New York Times covering up aliens can also have influence, says Mayer. “Reports from reputable sources ‘allow’ this reflection,” he said. “Such reports can block your thinking because your beliefs are not being refuted.”

Government reports can validate beliefs.

French says it is “understandable” that intelligence and military services are interested in reports of strange things in the sky. “They are primarily interested in potential threats to national security,” he said. But knowing that the government is investigating UFO reports will often reinforce the existence of aliens for some people.

Regardless of the conclusion of the government reports, French says that “true believers” in aliens will not accept the conclusions of the government reports on UFOs unless they declare that aliens regularly visit Earth and authorities hide them. “Otherwise, they will dismiss it as another cover-up,” he said.

“As even ufologists admit, over 95 percent of all UFO sightings can be easily explained in mundane terms if studied,” French says. “Some are very excited about the few cases that can’t. But maybe we just have to accept that sometimes there won’t be enough evidence to draw a definitive conclusion. That doesn’t automatically mean it s “was ET. After all, we don’t. Do you expect the police to be able to solve every crime they investigate, right?”

The need to believe in a higher power can fuel points of view.

For some people, believing in a higher power means turning to religion; for others, it is believing in extraterrestrials. Mayer says that a “strong personality characteristic” of people who believe in aliens is “a person’s need to believe that something exists beyond the earthly reality they are experiencing.”

“For these people, their life is not fulfilling enough – they are looking for something more to fill the void in them,” he says.

But French says the desire to know if we are alone in the universe is “perfectly understandable.”

“As Arthur C. Clarke said, ‘There are two possibilities: either we are alone in the universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying,'” he says.

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