Biases in intuitive reasoning and belief in complementary and alternative medicine.

Research paper by Marjaana M Lindeman

Indexed on: 27 Apr '10Published on: 27 Apr '10Published in: Psychology & health


Very little is known about the reasoning underlying beliefs in complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). This study examined whether CAM beliefs can be better explained with intuitive reasoning, paranormal beliefs and ontological confusions of physical, biological and mental phenomena than with 12 variables that have typically been used to explore the popularity of CAM, namely gender, education, income, age, health, desire to control treatment, satisfaction with conventional medicine and world view (unconventional, feministic, environmentalist, exotical and natural). A representative sample of Finnish people (N = 1092) participated in the study. The results showed that intuitive thinking, paranormal beliefs and ontological confusions predicted 34% of the variation in CAM beliefs, whereas the 12 other variables increased the prediction only by 4%. The results help to explain individual, cultural and situational differences in the popularity of CAM and to differentiate between CAM statements that can be scientifically examined from those that cannot.