Questions for ‘The science of ghosts’


People love scary, spooky stories of spectral phantoms. While there’s no science to support the existence of ghosts, research does provide plenty of explanations for why we might genuinely sense a supernatural presence.

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To accompany feature “The science of ghosts”


Before Reading:

1. What are ghosts? What do you know about them from TV, movies, books or stories?  

2. Do you think ghosts are real?  

During Reading:

1.  How many people in the United States have reported seeing or being in the presence of a ghost, according to one survey?

2.  Have scientists found evidence that ghosts exist? What does the data show?

3.  What sleep condition might explain people’s apparent ghostly encounters?

4.  What is pareidolia? How might it lead people to think they saw a ghost?

5.  What do recordings that “ghost hunters” claim capture ghostly voices reveal about the way our brains process information?

6.  What is inattentional blindness? How might it lead people to think they saw a ghost?

7.  How might a person’s critical-thinking skills affect their belief, or non-belief, in ghosts and the paranormal?

8.  Why does psychologist Philip Tyson think that some scientists’ paranormal beliefs are a problem?

9.  What does Tyson say is important for everyone to do when faced with unexplained phenomena?

10.  What should you do if someone tells you a ghost story?

After Reading:

1.  Which medical condition that you read about in this article seems the most likely explanation for ghost sightings? Explain why.

2.  What questions do you still have about the science of ghosts after reading this article?