(The) role of metaphor in magical beliefs : how the belief in mental energy transfer is shaped by physical mechanisms = 마술적 믿음에서 은유의 역할 : 정신적 에너지 전달에 대한 믿음이 어떻게 물리적 기제에 의해 형성되는가how the belief in mental energy transfer is shaped by physical mechanisms
People sometimes believe that their mental energy (e.g., thoughts, prayers, cheers, love, or telepathic messages) can be transferred to others at distance without the aid of physical interactions, but how people come to endorse such a magical belief is less understood. We propose that people metaphorically construct their belief in mental energy transfer based on physical mechanisms. Across five experiments, consistent with our proposal, participants judged that their mental energy can be transferred like physical energy. Specifically, participants judged that the telepathic signal is more likely to be transferred when telepathy senders stay physically close (vs. far) to receivers and when more (vs. less) people engage in sending telepathy. Moreover, altering knowledge about physical energy transfer (e.g., energy weakened vs. constant) changed a belief about mental energy transfer correspondingly. It was also found that the belief in mental energy transfer arises only when physical mechanisms are relevant to energy transfer. The current research explains why people who are well versed in concepts of physical science easily subscribe to magical beliefs. The belief in magic is sometimes constructed based on the knowledge of physical science and thus considered as reasonable.