Are women really more likely than men to believe in the paranormal?
You'd certainly think so if you were to go by what's on the female-oriented pay-TV channels: ghost hunters, "psychic" detectives, people who claim to talk to the dead, even supposedly psychic children. Women's magazines are full of horoscopes and ask-a-psychic columns, while men's mags are full of beer ads and babes. The conclusion seems obvious, doesn't it?
But Perth teacher and researcher Kylie Sturgess has found that the difference between women and men isn't so much in their propensity to hold paranormal beliefs as it is in the kinds of paranormal beliefs they're likely to hold.
"Women are more likely to be at the 'social' end of paranormal beliefs," Sturgess says. "They're more likely to believe in things like mediums, astrology, psychic healing, and ghosts.
"Men, for instance, are more likely than women to believe in the alien astronaut theories of Erich von Daniken, and more cryptozoological things like the Loch Ness monster."
Studies have also shown that men are also more likely to believe in conspiracy theories, creationism and the notions of historical revisionists, while women are more likely to believe in telepathy and New Age theories.