The focus of my research is on the formation of belief and how consequential misbeliefs form and can be changed. Consequential misbeliefs are those that can cause harm to the people who hold them or to those around them. One line of that research explores the role of experience in belief. Are some people more likely to have anomalous experiences? Do these experiences lead to belief? Langston et al. (2020;
) found that there were some personality factors that contributed to experiencing ghosts, and that different types of experience were predicted by different personality factors. Further, when personality was associated with experience, that experience mediated the relationship between personality and belief.
To put that simply, the data predicted that people with certain personality profiles should be more affected by experience than other people. That leaves a lot of open questions, and suggests some lines of research. The purpose of our lab project was to give you a message about pyramid power (a widely discredited idea that pyramids have special preservative and healing powers) and see how your belief changed after seeing the message. A different group of people did everything you did, and then saw bananas “preserved” under an actual pyramid or cube (the pyramid banana looked a little fresher, see Figure L1.1). Does the experience of seeing pyramid power in action do something more than just reading about it? Do people whose personalities suggest they should be affected by experience show more belief change than people with different personality types?
If you’d like to learn more about pyramid power, Markovsky and Thye (2001;
) did a study that was influential on the design of this one. They were looking at social influences on belief change and not personality factors, but the design was similar. There is some information on the Wikipedia pyramid power page that can connect you to some sources (
wikipedia pyramid power article
). The article trying to explain the history of pyramid power and provide a mechanism for it (the one we used to develop the research you read in the study) was presented at
studopedia pyramid power article
. There has been some research attempting to validate some of the pyramid power claims. For example, Abdelsamie et al. (2014;
) claimed that pyramid shaped packaging could be used to help preserve food
s conforming to halal practices.
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