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The Impact of Belief in Paranormal Activities on Orientation to Happiness of youth in Pakistan
Syed Nadeem Abbas Student of MS at Mohammad Ali Jinnah University Islamabad Pakistan

Abstract This paper analyzed the relationship between belief in paranormal activity and orientation to happiness among the youth of Pakistan. The method of linear regression was deployed to analyze the respective model. The research effort concludes that there is no significant relation between the two considered constructs among the target audience. Key Words Paranormal Belief, Orientation to Happiness, Youth in Pakistan, Belief in Paranormal, Religion, Educational Psychology Introduction The presence of paranormal beliefs is widely spread in all nations of the world. However, negligible empirical evidence had been presented to support these beliefs. In developed nations, the notion of the paranormal is currently being scrutinized intensively and therefore many of these paranormal ideas are falling apart. Historically the earth was believed to be flat but it melted away when science proved it wrong. In the less developed world, the paranormal beliefs are well integrated in the societies and therefore it is very difficult to challenge them. But scientific minded people do not believe in the paranormal because there is not sufficient empirical data proving the existence of paranormal power. Nevertheless, most of the paranormal beliefs do not withstand prolonged scientific evaluation. According to many scholars, humans keep on seeking happiness over the span of an entire life. Humans in major cases consider their professions, families, and financial well-being as sources of happiness. But in developing nations majority of the population is noted to find happiness by believing in paranormal ideas. This paper will evaluate the above-mentioned type of thinking on a scientific basis. The description of the key variables of this study is as follows: Belief in Paranormal Activities This paper commences its review of the existing literature on the topic of paranormal activities by defining the phenomenon that can be defined as something which human mind cannot comprehend and therefore identifies it as beyond normal. Unnatural beliefs are those concepts that cannot be explained with the help of common scientific laws (Brugger & Mohr, 2008). The opposers of the paranormal belief somehow have a higher tendency to believe in the supernatural, when confronted with an event they cannot comprehend with the help of scientific laws(Lamont, 2007). It is very important to note that the modifications in a belief system take place due to some human error such as people do not necessarily evaluate the so-called paranormal activities empirically. The nature of Hampton Court Hauntings is identified as superficial by conducting a visit of the place. One group of the participants was told prior to the visit that the place is normal and has no historical reports of supernatural activity. Surprisingly, the group did not report any paranormal activity. However it is quite fascinating to know that those visitors who were told that the place is ghostly before the visit, have reported the place disturbed after concluding their short visit(Wiseman, Watt, Greening, Stevens, & Stevens, 2002). It is safe to assume that the belief in the paranormal is strengthened or weakened by the quality of prior information. People with heightened imagination also have a higher degree of belief in the paranormal(Gow, Hutchinson, & Chant, 2009). As imaginative individuals’ ability to follow scientific thinking
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becomes impaired that plays a significant role in heightening the paranormal belief. The social and peer pressures are also noted to foster paranormal belief(Raz, Hines, Fossella, & Castro, 2008). Paranormal activities are particularly associated with the Prophets and Saints because they are historically believed to be the center of spiritual powers (Huntley & Peeters, 2005). People are highly attached with the possibility of supernatural on an emotional level as this concept is associated with saints(Hart, 2008). Human ability to predict future events such as results of Random Number Generators is considered limited as well(Bosch, Steinkamp, & Boller, 2006) and therefore individuals claiming to have such powers should be scrutinized and their claims must be tested with doubt. Cognitive-Experential Self theory explained that humans are lazy and therefore they analyze paranormal events superficially without using scientific principles(King, Burton, Hicks, & Drigotas, 2007). Additionally, Christians have a faith that paranormal activities are taking place in the daily lives as humans pray to God (Williams, Francis, Astley, & Robbins, 2009). Jews on the other side are famous to have heightened religious beliefs and practices, which are assisting them in performing their jobs effectively in the medical profession (Lazar, 2009). Heightened believe in a religion can influence rationality (Tam, Shiah, Yuan, Li, & Kuo, 2004) and it is believed that questioning of the sacred and religious beliefs has caused revolutions in the history (Chen, Cheung, Bond, & Leung, 2006). Religious thinking must be challenged in order to abolish myths and non-tested concepts. Along with these studies, another one related heightened self-belief of possessing supernatural muscle with people’s ability to find a purpose in the life (Williams, Francis, & Robbins, Implicit Religion and the Quest for Meaning, 2011). Nevertheless, an individual that has an enhanced self-image may have the tendency to become lethargic (Senge) because of his or her false belief of intelligence. This tendency could restrict him or her from hardworking that is a prerequisite for success. Based on above citation it can be assumed that if humans put effort in doing something then they can achieve their purpose with or without believing in spiritual advantage. Thus, conclusively it could be said that human effort is far more superior to a mere belief of possessing supernatural powers. Orientation to Happiness Orientation to happiness is defined, as the level of an individual’s desire, need, and ability of extracting pleasure and bliss of life (Haybron, 2007). It was found that youngsters with a habit of daily exercise exhibit less signs of hopelessness and therefore enjoy higher life contentment. The educational experts should try to guide pupils towards a field which is according to their personality type and interests(Lubinski & Benbow, 2000). This could foster happiness because humans have a tendency to remain happy while doing what they like and want to do. It was highlighted that excessive internet usage can cause youngsters to experience inappropriate content such as explicit sexual content or e-abuse, which can cause the target population to get depressed and therefore, their happiness levels could demolish (Guan & Subrahmanyam, 2009). Another study found that blood relations could play a notable role in enhancing youth’s life contentment and happiness in Mexican society. But, it is imperative to note that family and peers could help an individual in terms of gathering happiness only in a collective culture. In case of individualistic culture peer pressure is not an ideal strategy for increas ing one’s happiness. (Edwards & Lopez, 2006). According to elementary research on the topic, it was found that individuals experience pain and disappointment over the span of their life. However, somehow, they tend to revert towards their basic skills in order to amplify their happiness (Clark, Lucas, Georgellis, Lucas, & Diener). It was found that individuals experience different level of peace with life as time passes. The changes in the level of life contentment and happiness occur roughly within every five years(Fujita & Diener, 2005).
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When the research continued even further, it revealed a very high level of positive link between the constructs of desire to be happy and person’s will to attain excellence in his or her profession. Therefore, this observation highlights the importance of dedication to work regarding happiness in life (Chen, Cheung, Bond, & Leung, 2006). Heightened life contentment and will to gather happiness mitigates the possibility of suffering from mental illness in youth(Proctor, Linley, & Maltby, 2009). In a similar study a supportive link between the tendency to enjoy online games and overall happiness with life (Wang, Chen, Lin, & Wang, 2008). Interestingly, youngsters have the overwhelming tendency to establish unrealistic goals and expectations about life and failure to attain them will cause a notable decrease in happiness (Frijters, Greenwell, Haisken-DeNew, & Shields, 2009). People’s individual happiness with life often effectively predicts the success of their matrimonial relations (Stanley, Ragan, Rhoades, & Markman, 2012). Socio-scientists on the other hand are of the view that youngsters should keep a smile on their faces because it is believed that smiling and considering problems as part of life and take them lightly will enhance their happiness(Cohn, Fredrickson, Brown, Mikels, & Conway, 2009). The will to achieve something great in life is also a successful predictor of happiness in youth(Kwan, Bond, & Singrlis, 1997). The study, which will be serving as a base for this research, notices that belief in paranormal activities and the supernatural is the source of greater happiness in life (Kennedy, Kanthamani, & Palmer, 1994). There is a gap in the literature regarding the interaction between belief in paranormal activity and ability to gather happiness among youth in Pakistan. The above mentioned gap will be filled with the help this research effort. The hypotheses are as follows: Hypotheses Ho: There is a positive linear regression present between the constructs of Belief in Paranormal Activities and the ability to gather Happiness in Life amongst youth in Pakistan Hi: There is an insignificant linear regression between the constructs of Belief in Paranormal Activities and ability to gather Happiness in Life amongst youth in Pakistan Research Methodology This research effort has evaluated above-mentioned model by distributing the questionnaires among 64 (36 Females and 28 Males) youngsters from different colleges in the country. All of the respondents were Muslims, who were selected by using simple random sampling. The sample had ages between 20 to 25 years. The method of linear regression was used in order to illustrate the relation between belief in the paranormal and orientation to happiness in the youth of Pakistan. Dimensions of Belief in Paranormal Activities The dimensions of belief in paranormal activities are as follows Sacred Values: This dimension measures the degree to which an individual believes in sacred values that are usually planted in the mind during early childhood under the concept of religion (Tobacyk & Milford, 1983). Belief in Super Humans and Spiritualism: This dimension forms the base for measuring the level of residue of childhood fantasies about super heroes within the mind of an individual (Tobacyk & Milford, 1983). Devilish Magic: This measure is all about quantifying the viewpoint about black magic. This dimension specifically focuses on finding out that whether or not people believe that through careful calculations, words and methods, individuals can cast a spell upon others (Tobacyk & Milford, 1983). False Beliefs and Myths: This dimension lends the hand in measuring the level of importance given to omens and signs predicting happiness (Tobacyk & Milford, 1983). Belief in Extraterrestrial Life: This measure focuses on finding out the range up to which an individual believes in aliens and other abnormal life forms (Tobacyk & Milford, 1983).
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Humans can Predict Future: This measure is designed in order to find that an individual whether or not believes in astronomical predictions of future (Tobacyk & Milford, 1983). Dimensions of Orientation towards Happiness The dimensions of Orientation to Happiness are as follows Spending a Purposeful Life: This dimension particularly measures an individual’s ability to give a meaning to his or her life (Peterson, Park, & Seligman, 2005). The most common people who can be categorized under this concept include soldiers, doctors and social workers, who usually suffer through immense pain in order to comfort others. Spending an Enjoyable Life: This dimension is developed to measure an individual’s ability of finding happiness and enjoyment in life (Peterson, Park, & Seligman, 2005). Spending a busy Life: The individuals, who score high on this dimension, are found to be indulged into work (Peterson, Park, & Seligman, 2005). Following heading is representing demographics of the sample Demographics of the Sample The study included 36 females and 28 males. All the respondents had the ages between 20 to 25 years. All participants were undergraduate while they were also Muslims and unmarried. Data Analysis Following is the summary of statistical analysis that was conducted during the study Cornbach’s Alphas The paranormal belief subscale developed by Huntley & Peeters was made up of 26 items (α=0.708). The orientation to happiness subscale proposed by Peterson, Park, & Seligman consisted of 18 items (α=0.794). Both of the subscales were found to be highly reliable. Correlations The belief in paranormal and orientation to happiness were not significantly correlated, r = 0.175, p = n.s. Regression Analysis The linear regression analysis was used to determine that whether or not the relation between paranormal belief and orientation to happiness was significant. The results of the linear regression analysis revealed the predictor explained 3.6% of the variance (R2= 0.036, F (0.428, 0.219) = 1.95, p= n.s. It was found that paranormal belief did not significantly predict orientation to happiness (B = -0.175, p= n.s.) T tests Men (M= 2.97, SD = 0.36) and Women (M= 2.57, SD = 0.37) did not differ significantly on the subscale of paranormal belief, t (62), p = n.s. Men (M=3.65, SD = 0.49) and Women (M= 4.11, SD = 0.35) differ significantly on the subscale of orientation to happiness and women scored higher than men, t (62) = -4.386, p<0.05.

Table 1 Regression Analysis Showing Orientation to Happiness as a Dependent Variable (n =64) Predictors Constant R R2 Adj. R2 β T Linear Regression Analysis with Orientation to happiness as Outcome Paranormal 4.454 0.175 0.031 0.015 -0.175 -1.397 Belief Note Adj. R2 = Explained Variance β=Standardized Coefficient *p<.05. **p< .01. ***p< .001. Based on the values of regression coefficients between the respondents’ score on Orientation to Happiness Scale and Belief Paranormal Scale shown in the above table, the equation for linear regression between two considered variables in target audience was derived as follows. Score on Orientation to Happiness Scale= 4.454 – 0.175 (Score on Belief in Paranormal Belief)
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Results By keeping in view, the aforementioned linear regression equation, this paper rejects Ho while is inclined to accept Hi, which considers the linear regression among the considered variables as insignificant. Limitations and Suggestions of the Study The major limitation of the study is a small sample size that was selected due to financial constraints while the investigation is also conducted in one city of the country. Thus, the nature of this research effort is preliminary in nature and therefore another vast scale study is warranted in order to test the results on a broader demographical base. This study suggests that teachers and educational managers should foster dedication to reality among students and should dedicate their efforts towards promoting practicality in youth of Pakistan. The educational institutions should also offer logic as a compulsory subject so that non-empirical thinking can be eliminated from the society. Conclusion and Discussion The unnatural beliefs are those concepts that cannot be explained with the help of common scientific laws. But, it is very interesting to observe that these beliefs are often formed due to misintrepretation of any routine event. People in Pakistani culture are not dedicated towards thinking critically and emprically therefore, they hardly look for any compelling evidence before believing in any paranormal phenomenon. Secondly human mind is accustom to finding and identifying patterns among irregularities such as seeing an image in the sand. The tendency of extrapolation is a natural blessing, which is gifted to humans in order to make educated guesses about the gaps in a current knowledge base but, it should not be used as an only mean of extracting information, rather it must be considered as a last resort. Painfully, majority of humans do not think at all before believing in a paranormal happenings. Thirdly, religious teachings are also designed in such a way that they foster belief in paranormal activities to a greater extent, one great scholar once said religion is an effective method of keeping common people from thinking. Fourthly, people tend to consider pure conincidences as paranormal activity. Finally, medical conditions such as dual personality disorder, sleep deprivation can also effect the logical reasoning of a person(Brugger & Mohr, 2008). Based on the above, it is suggested to consider people with heightened paranormal belief as psychological or physical patients and pursue proper treatment . In the light of the presented empirical evidence, this study suggests the educational management of the country that they should not commit resources in order to focus on the relationship between the two constructs considered. However, the absence of a significant link between belief in paranormal activities and orientation to happiness among youth in Pakistan means that youngsters of the nation believe in practicality rather than false beliefs. They are also attempting to derive the life contentment via achieving excellence in their respective fields (Kennedy, Kanthamani, & Palmer, 1994). In this way, they can cause significant national development in the near future if they keep on believing in the human effort because, human effort and empirical thinking are the basic and fundamental reasons of human evolution. Additionally Pakistani youth is following activity theory by focusing on work because, they are intrinsically aware of the fact that work is the ultimate source of happiness in the longer run. The target population of study is also having an internal locus of control, as they do not significantly believe on paranormal that are fabricated by few individuals in order to control others and consequently turn them into mindless followers. The next generation is fundamentally holding the concept of logic and empirical thinking thus, the youth is forging forward on intellectual journey that is causing them to negate the possibility of believing in the false beliefs as the source of happiness. Future Implications of the Study The future implications firstly include verification of this study’s results via conducting nationwide survey on the topic. Secondly, research community should evaluate the level of
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transference of paranormal beliefs from elders to youngsters through conducting a comparison study that will assist the researchers in finding whether or not the current realistic mindset of youngsters is being corrupted by elders’ outdated paranormal beliefs. Thus, practitioners and governmental bodies will be able to base their student developmental policies on the results of the proposed investigations.

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