Psychology and UFO

Psychology, as a field of study, offers a unique perspective in the analysis of the UFO phenomena, striving to understand the experiences of those who report sightings and encounters. It takes into account both the objective existence of UFOs and the subjective human responses and interpretations thereof. The intersection of psychology and UFOs is a study of cognitive perception, sociocultural influences, and potential extraterrestrial encounters’ impacts on the human psyche.

The ‘what’ of this subject is the exploration of the psychological aspects of UFO encounters, looking into areas like perception, memory, and cognition. This involves analyzing the way our brains process unusual or unexplainable sensory inputs, such as perceived sightings of UFOs, and how our memory might distort these perceptions over time. It also extends into areas of mass psychology, exploring why certain cultural or social groups may be more inclined to believe in, or report, UFO encounters.

‘When’ and ‘where’ these phenomena occur is often a matter of personal account, and the psychological aspects can be influenced by the environment, culture, or the individual’s mental state at the time. Reported sightings and encounters can happen anywhere and anytime, from remote rural areas to busy cities, in broad daylight or the dead of night.

The ‘why’ is perhaps the most fascinating question. It probes into why people see UFOs, why they interpret their experiences the way they do, and why some people are more inclined than others to believe in extraterrestrial encounters. This can involve the study of belief systems, suggestibility, and the human tendency towards pareidolia – seeing patterns where none exist.

  1. “Psychologists find that people’s beliefs in visitations from outer space are connected to broader supernatural beliefs, such as belief in miracles and in life after death,” as per research published in The Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research (1992).
  2. The book “UFOs and Folklore of the Skies,” by Thomas E. Bullard, highlights that UFO sightings often align with prevailing cultural myths and societal fears. The interpretation of these sightings can be influenced by popular science fiction or religious and spiritual beliefs.
  3. In 2019, the U.S. Navy acknowledged the existence of ‘Unidentified Aerial Phenomena’ (UAPs), and this acknowledgment could have a profound effect on the general public’s perception of UFOs, potentially reducing the stigma associated with reporting such sightings (CNN, 2019).

Dr. Jacques Vallée, a computer scientist, venture capitalist, author, ufologist, and astronomer, approach the phenomena from a combined perspective of psychology, sociology, and physical evidence. Vallée’s works, like “Passport to Magonia: On UFOs, Folklore, and Parallel Worlds,” argue that the UFO phenomenon is a multidimensional event that cannot be solely explained through conventional physical explanations.

Books like “The Interrupted Journey” by John G. Fuller detail the first widely publicized alien abduction story of Betty and Barney Hill, which has been the subject of numerous psychological studies, including memory retrieval through hypnosis. These accounts highlight the psychological dimensions of such experiences, from trauma to potential psychological suggestion.

Many researchers and psychologists focus more on the human side of the equation: how do these experiences reflect our understanding of reality? How do they shape our cultural and personal beliefs?

Dr. Leo Sprinkle, a psychologist who has worked extensively with individuals claiming to have had an extraterrestrial encounter, found that these experiences, regardless of their objective truth, can lead to profound shifts in the individual’s values and outlook on life, as documented in his book “Soul Samples: Personal Explorations in Reincarnation and UFO Experiences.”

The intersection of psychology and UFOs presents a profound exploration of human cognition, belief systems, and our interpretation of unexplained phenomena. It’s not just about whether UFOs exist or if extraterrestrial life has indeed made contact. It’s also about understanding our responses to such potentially transformative experiences, how these experiences influence our worldviews, and what they reveal about the complexities of human perception and memory.