Research on magical thinking, belief in paranormal and critical thinking in medical study process

12:45, 26 October, 2015
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On 2 November at 15:00 in an open meeting of the Medical Promotion Council of Rīga Stradiņš University which will take place at the Hippocrates lecture theatre (16 Dzirciema Street, Rīga), Artūrs Utināns will defend his doctoral thesis “Change of Ratio of Magical Thinking, Paranormal Beliefs and Critical Thinking Disposition in Medical Study Process”.

The concepts of “magical and “paranormal” are understood as phenomena which are immaterial and are opposite to the contemporary scientific understanding, such as belief in ghost, telekinesis or belief in magic. Whereas, disposition to think critically is defined as a constant internal motivation to be open minded, search for the truth, be well informed, as well as be ready for recognising own preconceptions.

The aim of the study was to find out the proportion of disposition to magical thinking, belief in the paranormal and critical thinking of the students of medical study programme, as well as to assess mutual relations between these systems of reasoning. The results of the study show that around 50 % of RSU medical students believe in paranormal phenomena (the obtained numerical values are higher than those obtained in the developed European countries and the USA).

The author has detected a statistically significant relation between the belief in paranormal and such manifestations of the disposition to critical thinking as open mindedness and searching for the truth. It was concluded that neither belief in paranormal nor disposition to critical thinking change within the study period and continue to co-exist in students’ mind also after the graduation.