Motivation and Emotion

, Volume 41, Issue 2, pp 135–146 | Cite as

We are not alone: The meaning motive, religiosity, and belief in extraterrestrial intelligence

  • Clay Routledge
  • Andrew A. Abeyta
  • Christina Roylance
Original Paper

Abstract

We tested the proposals that paranormal beliefs about extraterrestrial intelligence (ETI) are motivated, in part, by the need for meaning and that this existential motive helps explain the inverse relationship between religiosity and ETI beliefs. In Study 1, we experimentally establish that the motive to find meaning in life increases ETI beliefs. In Study 2, we replicate previous research demonstrating that low religiosity is associated with greater ETI beliefs. In Studies 3–4 we tested and found support for a model linking low religiosity to low presence of meaning, high search for meaning, and greater ETI beliefs. In all, our findings offer a motivational account of why people endorse paranormal beliefs about intelligent alien beings observing and influencing the lives of humans.

Keywords

Meaning Religiosity Atheism Extraterrestrial intelligence 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Clay Routledge
    • 1
  • Andrew A. Abeyta
    • 1
  • Christina Roylance
    • 1
  1. 1.North Dakota State UniversityFargoUSA

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