There is a nice little study that shows that good mood induces one to be more superstitious or prone to believe in things like UFO’s or the Voodoo dolls.

In the experiment they induced good mood by making people imagine a scenario wherein the participant helped a lost child find his/her parents. The mood was thus experimentally manipulated. subsequently they were showed a documentary about UFOs. Those who were in good mood as compared to neutral mood, were more likely to believe in the UFO’s. This was true for only those whose decision making style was intuitive. Those, who were more rationally inclined, were not made to believe in UFO’s by the good mood manipulation.

In a follow up study, those who were more happily inclined and intuitive were less successfully at a dart throwing game in which the target was a photo of a baby. This is due to their attributing some similarity to the target with themselves and thus this impedes their performance.

Now, it is well known, that those bipolar patients who are having a high can also have psychosis. Also while depressive phase of bipolar is marked by sad mood (amongst other), the manic phase is characterized by a happy and exuberant mood (although irritability of mood is also present). It thus seems evident that in a manic phase , people who are intuitive may resort to Magical Thinking and this may lead to full blown psychosis as they lose contact with reality. This is an interesting hypothesis and I would like to see some studies on bipolar patients – both those who are rationally inclined and those whose thinking style is intuitive- and investigate is those who have psychotic episodes are more intuitively inclined- as a happy mood is a commonality to all bipolars in the manic phase.

Also, I haven’t read the original study – couldn’t find on the web- so if someone can point me to a link to the same, or to some other related studies, I would be very thankful.

Hat tip: Mind Hacks

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