Maģiskās domāšanas, ticības paranormālajam un kritiskās domāšanas dispozīcijas īpatsvara maiņa medicīnas studiju procesā

Translated title of the contribution: Change of Ratio of Magical Thinking, Paranormal Beliefs and Critical Thinking Disposition in Medical Study Process

Research output: Types of ThesisDoctoral Thesis


Magical thinking, paranormal beliefs and superstitions have been found in all cultures for thousands of years and continue to thrive in modern times in all populations, in all strata of society, including university students despite scientific education, including medical students. The terms “magical”, “paranormal” is defined as a phenomenon which, if authentic, violates a basic limiting principle of science. These basic limiting principles (e.g., a mental event cannot directly cause a physical event, except for one in the witness”s own brain) are overwhelmingly supported by evidence from human experience and from scientific observation. Historically the term paranormal has most often been used on agents such as ghosts, extraterrestrials and on people”s claimed abilities such as psychokinesis and telepathy. Brain neurobiology and neurosciences, taught in medical faculties, proclaimed mental events to be result of physical brain activity (called physical monism) and denies brain and mind dualism. Therefore magical thinking, paranormal beliefs and scientific evidence based thinking are mutually exclusive. Critical thinking is a widely used term that refers to skills in applying, analyzing, synthesizing and evaluating information. A construct of critical thinking is based on a 1990 American Psychological Association Delphi Report, which defined it as a purposeful, self-regulatory judgment that gives reasoned consideration to context, evidence, concepts, methods and standards in deciding what to believe or what to do. It also means being open-minded, and willing to put aside personal biases, as opposed to self-deceptive and wishful thinking in paranormal believers, which are characterized as narrow-minded and not striving to find the truth. Critical thinking disposition describes motivation to know the truth, be open-minded, well informed and engaged, as well as self-critical for one”s own biases. Critical thinking disposition differs from critical thinking skills per se. Critical thinking is considered a desirable outcome of the educational process. Nevertheless there is a lack of conceptual clarity about interrelations between the paranormal and critical thinking. Our study defined religious and paranormal beliefs separately, because it is possible to test scientifically paranormal and magical beliefs, and because of the use RPBS, where these beliefs are separated by the RPB scale author. The aim of the study is to explore the prevalence of paranormal beliefs and critical thinking dispositions among medical students and to assess their interrelations. Material and Methods: Four scales with 120 statements were used. The Magical Ideation Scale is a 30 item forced-choice assessment instrument. It is composed of 30 items in a dichotomous True/False format, with higher scores presumably indicating magical thinking. The Revised Paranormal Belief Scale was used to assess the degree of belief in each of these dimensions: belief in psi, witchcraft, superstition, spiritualism, extraordinary life forms, precognition and traditional religious belief, with seven-point scale ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to 7 (strongly agree). The Critical Thinking Disposition Assessment (EMI) contains three scales (engagement, innovativeness, and cognitive maturity), with seven-point scale ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree). The Critical Thinking Disposition Additional Scales was created by the RSU researchers group. It contain three subscales: “Critical Thinking Self-Assessment”, “Truth Seeking” and “Open-Mindedness”, with seven-point scale ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree). The total sample comprised of 839 subjects – undergraduate students and residents from Riga Stradins University. Responses were collected in two phases: from manually distributed paper questionaires and from electronic questionaires. The administration of paper questionnaires was carried out in groups of 12–20 participants – 149 subjects from medical faculty. Electronic questionaires were spread in the Riga Stradiņš university intranet system – 690 subjects from all faculties including medical. After checking mean scores, median scores and standard deviations for total scales and subscales, the Pearson correlations were calculated between paranormal and critical thinking scales and subscales. Data were analyzed using the SPSS for Windows statistical package. Results: The total mean score for all faculties on the Magical Ideation Scale was 9.69 (SD = 5.01). The mean score on the Revised Paranormal Belief Scale (RPBS) was 92.40 (SD = 26.50). The Critical Thinking Disposition Assessment (EMI) mean score for the total sample was 98.88 (SD = 10.44). The Critical Thinking Disposition Additional Scale mean score was 107.01 (SD = 10.19). Some respondents who get higher scores in EMI, get lower critical thinking disposition scores in Critical Thinking Disposition Additional Scale and statistically significant negative correlation with the Magical Ideation Scale (− 0,333**), and the Revised Paranormal Belief Scale (− 0.415**). Conclusions: The results showed that Riga Stradiņš University respondents are not strong believers in the paranormal, either medical or non-medical control group. The study did not find significant correlations between EMI scales and magical ideation and paranormal belief scales but finded a statistically significant negative correlations with the Critical Thinking Disposition Additional Scales. Negative correlation between paranormal beliefs and critical thinking disposition appear if students are put in a difficult situation between opposite statements of a belief in authority or a fact. Study finded that magical thinking, paranormal beliefs un critical thinking disposition does not changed during university educational process and coexists in a splitted or compartmentalized position in the students and residents minds from all faculties. Research supports a so called “dual process theory” proposed in cognitive sciences.
Translated title of the contributionChange of Ratio of Magical Thinking, Paranormal Beliefs and Critical Thinking Disposition in Medical Study Process
Original languageLatvian
  • Ancāne, Gunta, First/Primary/Lead supervisor
  • Vētra, Jānis, Second/Co-supervisor
  • Villeruša, Anita, Consultant/Advisor
Place of PublicationRiga
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Medicine
  • Subsection – Psychotherapy
  • Doctoral Thesis

Field of Science*

  • 3.2 Clinical medicine

Publication Type*

  • 4. Doctoral Thesis


Dive into the research topics of 'Change of Ratio of Magical Thinking, Paranormal Beliefs and Critical Thinking Disposition in Medical Study Process'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this