If you think believing in Conspiracy theories, aliens, monsters, ghosts, and other paranormal beliefs are limited to the people with low cognitive abilities, then a new study may prove you wrong.

It appears Smart People when they want, will also believe in improbable beliefs and theories.

Smart people don’t always act smart

Sci-news.com reports that a recently published paper by two professors found people who are considered to have high cognitive abilities (read "critical thinkers" or "smart people") will believe in paranormal phenomena when they want to, regardless of the evidence.

The study was conducted by Dr. Tomas Ståhl of the University of Illinois at Chicago and Dr. Jan-Willem van Prooijen of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. The study involved two sets of 300 online surveys. People who took the survey were asked to assess their analytical thinking skills and other factors that generally show a resistance to paranormal beliefs.

The scientists reported that people with high levels of cognitive ability tended to not believe in paranormal activity, such as ghosts, or in conspiracy theories, or alien bodies being hidden by the government.

But what they also found was not everybody who had a higher level of Critical Thinking skills wanted to use those skills when it comes to their beliefs.

What the researchers discovered was people who valued logic and evidence were more likely to not believe in paranormal activity.

However, people who possessed similar levels of cognitive ability, but who didn’t apply logic and evidence to their beliefs, were more likely to believe in paranormal activities and conspiracy theories.

So, the level of cognitive ability didn’t matter as much as people applying the skills when examining ideas and events.

This is how it affects you

The takeaway from the study is that having an analytic mind does not mean somebody will base their beliefs on rational thought and evidence. They will only approach an idea analytically if they want to, if they don’t want to then they are likely to believe in paranormal and conspiracy theories.

What this study seems to indicate is if you have a friend who seems reasonably logical and possesses critical thinking skills, but they also believe in conspiracies, it means they want to believe in the theories. They are choosing not to apply critical thinking skills to their beliefs.

The reason for this contradiction appears to boil down to the old saying, “people are going to believe what they want to believe.” And, there is little you or anybody else is going to be able to say that will change their mind.

As the authors stated in their report, “Our findings suggest that part of the reason may be that many people do not view it as sufficiently important to form their beliefs on rational grounds.”